Iran News Round Up
The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributor John Lesnewich. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Head of the Expediency Discernment Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reportedly criticized media censorship Tuesday and said, “The people are no longer affected by [Islamic Republic of Iran] Broadcasting (IRIB) and the censored box that it gives to the people. The Iranian people are aware today and do not give their mind to the hand of a box that censors.”
- On Sunday, IRIB aired a report on its 9pm news bulletin alleging that Rafsanjani's quotation from Khomeini regarding the elimination of the “Death to America” slogan was not reliable.
- During a speech at Kermanshah general mosque the following day, Rafsanjani’s speech was interrupted by a “small number” who shouted the slogan “Death to America.”
- Shargh newspaper reports that this “pressure group” takes “unilateral” political action from time to time, such as the 2011 attack on the British embassy and shoe throwing at Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani earlier this year. According to a Parliamentarian investigation, some members of the group are linked to hardline cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi but no legal action was taken against the group over the incident.
- Head of the IRGC’s Taban Future Research Center, Reza Sarraj, criticized recent Rafsanjani comments regarding Ayatollah Khomeini’s position on “Death to America” chants:
- “The current that is busy distorting the Imam and the revolutionary ideals of His Eminence in these days is the same historical current that believes some of the fundamentals of the Imam’s doctrine and ideals of the Revolution should be reconsidered and modified to expand and advance the country.”
- “On the agenda of this current is describing undocumented and unapproved memories from the mouth of those who were relatives and close and casual acquaintances of the Imam. Describing memories regarding the Imam’s opposition to the ‘Death to America’ slogan and the insistence of this current on this great historical distortion despite statements by the Works of the Imam Publication Institute Deputy…. is an example of these measures.”
- Religious Seminaries Director Ayatollah Hashem Hosseini Bushehri met the President’s Legal Deputy Elham Amin Zadeh and said, “In case you succeed in compiling this citizens' rights document with a religious and Islamic outlook, a groundwork will be created for living in a spiritual and religious environment in which all citizens' rights are observed.”
- An editorial in the unofficial Supreme Leader organ Kayhan discussed “confidence building” measures in nuclear negotiations and stated, “Instead of creating confidence in the enemy, belief must be created. Belief that despite all of these oppositions and position takings you can continue your path. The enemy must believe that the effect of its pressures and capability of exerting its pressures is not to such an extent that it can force the opposing side to surrender…. Many of the country’s economic specialists and officials, including the country’s Economy Minister, say that Iran can easily be managed with $35 billion and there is no need for the current $120 billion. This $35 billion can easily be secured through the country’s two to three neighbors who have a relatively strategic relationship with Iran.”
- Senior Iranian cleric Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi linked Wahabbism and Zionism while addressing the International Imam Sajjad Congress staff and stated, “Lately, Wahabbis have begun many movements inside Iran whose sources are foreign countries…. Pressuring the minority of Shi’as in some areas to force them to migrate and changing religious [demographics] is considered another attempt by the Wahabbis. Today we are observing around Mashhad that Sunnis are purchasing land and houses from Shi’a so they can increase their relative population…. I have told officials that if they do not ponder a solution for these problems perhaps the matter will reach a point such that they cannot take measures against it.”
Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Universities Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Mohammadian spoke about negotiations, calling them a win for Iran:
- “There is no problem with communication or negotiation with even the most hostile of enemies. It is even possible to have an agreement with the enemy.”
- “America’s view towards us has not changed, and their hostility towards us has increased. People that are now negotiating with America must pay attention to the fact that America is still against us.”
- “These negotiations by our team were successful in proving to the West that they have oppressed the people of Iran and that they are decreasing their oppression. This is considered one of the successes and wins. Otherwise, it is again proven that they are untrustworthy and only think of their own illegitimate interests and bullying, which is also considered a win for the regime.”
- Mufti of the Lebanese Ja’fari Shi’a [a Shi’a school of jurisprudence] Sheikh Ahmad Ghabalan stated, “This country cannot be Syria’s enemy just as it cannot be a friend of Israel or a base for America.”
Military and Security
- Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli was appointed the Supreme Leader’s Deputy to the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), effectively handing over the Supreme Leader’s authority over LEF affairs to the Interior Ministry. Fazli said: “The Supreme Leader decreed that I will be his deputy in the Law Enforcement Forces, and we are following his requests.” He also responded to a question about cutting subsidies: “Cutting subsidies to higher income groups depends on the approval of Parliament. Here, cuts of one, two, or three deciles are proposed, which will probably be implemented in the  budget.”
- The Seventh IRGC Science and Justification of Political Officials conference was held in Oslaviyeh on October 8th and 9th. The IRGC’s Khatam ol-Anbia Construction Base hosted the event during which it reportedly attempted to assuage fears and doubts of people regarding the IRGC, including involvement in economic affairs.
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif evaluated the recent nuclear negotiations as “beneficial,” announced that new members may be added to the specialist committees for the upcoming November meeting, and said that “we will continue our discussions at the specialists level.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member and former senior IRGC commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari stated, “The Iranian negotiation delegation, and especially Mr. Zarif, must know that not only the Parliament but rather the whole country is sensitive towards accepting the [NPT] Additional Protocol.”
- NSFP member Avaz Heidarpour stated, “If the West lifts sanctions pressure on the Iranian people, we will more closely review the matter of joining the [NPT] Additional Protocol.”
- NSFP Spokesman Hossein Naghavi Hosseini said that “Given the new cycle of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, the [NSFP] will examine the topic of negotiations and invite the head of and members of the negotiations team to be present in the commission’s meeting.”
Representative to the UN Gholam Hossein Dehghani stated that the negotiations were an opportunity to test the truthfulness of the West:
- “Iran entered the Geneva negotiations with complete honesty and expectations of the same.”
- “Iran’s goal for entering the negotiations was to lift the worries of the other side by being in serious, scheduled, and effective negotiations.”
- “The other sides must use this opportunity to prove that they are truthful in finding a solution to this issue.”
- Donya-e Eqtesad reports 5.8% negative GDP growth, 21.9% negative gross fixed capital formation, 32% negative growth in capital formation in the construction sector, 1.9% negative growth in private sector consumption and 30.5% inflation in 2012-2013.
- Oil Terminals Company Managing Director Pirouz Mousavi said that after increasing Iranian oil export capacity to 5 million barrels per day, condensated gas exports will also increase. He also announced the operationalization of new Iranian oil and gas terminal tankers in Kharg and Oslaviyeh.
- The Tehran Stock Exchange has reportedly increased its return on investment to 4.5%, marking an 88% increase since mid-March.
Photo of the Day
- Grandfathers, Grandmothers and Grandchildren painting festival in Amol.