Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

Iranian officials are continuing attempts to divide the U.S. and its European allies on the nuclear deal and other issues.

Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati and Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani have both stressed that Iran will not negotiate on Iran’s ballistic missile program or other regional activities. Iranian officials have worked to divide the U.S. and its European allies on their respective policies toward the Islamic Republic. Velayati and Shamkhani’s statements underscore Iran’s fear that European countries may join the U.S. in pressuring Iran regarding its ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities. British, German, and French leaders stressed their commitment to the JCPOA but expressed concern regarding Iran’s non-nuclear regional activities in an October 13 statement following President Trump’s announcement of his new Iran strategy.  

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from October 17-18.

AEI Must Reads
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October 19, 2017

Confusion over the Iran deal.

Fred Kagan clarifies common points of confusion regarding the Trump administration’s decision on the nuclear deal, in “Confusion over the Iran deal.

October 19, 2017

America needs a new strategy to deter Iran’s destabilizing behavior.

Marie Donovan breaks down why a new strategy for dealing with Iran’s destabilizing behavior is necessary, in “America needs a new strategy to deter Iran’s destabilizing behavior.

Citations & Links

Citations & Links

Nuclear Deal Developments
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October 19, 2017

Supreme Leader to Europe: stand up to U.S.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Iran will not “tear up the JCPOA so long as the [U.S.] also does not tear up” the deal, but “if the U.S. tears up [the JCPOA], then [Iran] will rip it to shreds!” during a speech on October 18. Khamenei exclaimed that it is simply “not enough [for the Europeans] to say that they’re against [the U.S. renegotiating the JCPOA and implementing additional sanctions], the Europeans “need to stand up [against] the U.S.” Khamenei claimed that Iran has “chopped off the [U.S.’s] hands” in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

  • On Iran’s economy: Khamenei also said that he “has never been against foreign investment” in Iran but noted that the Iranian economy must be able to withstand turbulence and that Iran’s economy must be inwardly focused.
  • On Iran’s missile program: The Iranian leader stressed the necessity of Iran continuing to develop its missile program in order to defend itself and to not allow history to repeat itself, citing Iran’s poor missile defense capabilities during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. (Khamenei.ir)
  • Rouhani: Iran’s economy is resistant to “foreign political pressures.” President Hassan Rouhani responded to President Donald Trump’s Iran strategy roll-out in a speech on October 17. Rouhani praised Iran’s economic stability, lauding that it has become resistant to “foreign political pressures.” Rouhani said that Trump’s October 13 decertification had no effect on Iran due to the “consciousness and resistance” of the Iranian people. (Fars News Agency)
October 19, 2017

Velayati: Europeans shouldn’t support JCPOA and negotiations on non-nuke issues.

Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati said that “it is not acceptable” to Iran “under any circumstances” that the Europeans are willing to hold talks on Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional activities while upholding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Velayati stressed that the JCPOA “does not have any stipulation [regarding Iran’s regional activities and ballistic missile program] and [the JCPOA] must continue according to what was agreed upon by the P5+1 and Iran.” Velayati criticized the U.S.’s role in Syria and accused the U.S. of seeking to “partition” Syria. Velayati reiterated his statements that Iran did not play any role in the seizure of Kirkuk, Iraq on October 15. Velayati made these comments on October 17 during a meeting with French Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura. (Mehr News Agency)

  • Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohammad Nahavandian said that Iran, European countries, China, and Russia would not participate in any renegotiation of the Iran nuclear deal during an interview with CNN. He added that Iran will abide by the agreement as long as the agreement benefits Iran and other parties in the agreement remain committed. (Fars News Agency) (CNN) (E)
October 19, 2017

Shamkhani: Unacceptable to implement sanctions and keep JCPOA.

Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary RADM Ali Shamkhani stated that the “under no circumstances is it acceptable to implement sanctions and also preserve the JCPOA.” Shamkhani indicated that Iran has prepared various strategies to counter U.S. attempts to “deny [Iran] of its legal right[s],” one of which is potentially leaving the JCPOA. Shamkhani also discussed the closure of Iranian border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan after the Iraqi government’s September 15 seizure of Kirkuk, Iraq. Shamkhani noted that the closure of Iranian border crossings was due to the “perturbed situation of [border traffic]” as a result of the presence of “Iraq’s military in northern Iraq’s disputed territories.” (Fars News Agency) (Euronews) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Khamenei.ir
http://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=37949

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960725001793

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
http://www.mehrnews.com/news/4116529/%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%BE%D8%A7-%D8%AD%D9%82-%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%B0%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B1%D9%87-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B7%D9%82%D9%87-%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B4%DA%A9%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B7%D8%B1%D8%AD-%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960724000435

3. CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/10/16/iran-intv-amanpour-mohammad-nahavandian.cnn/video/playlists/amanpour/

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960726001443

2. Euronews
http://www.euronews.com/2017/10/18/euronews-exclusive-iran-security-chief-labels-trump-a-liar

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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October 19, 2017

High-ranking Iranian and Syrian military officials meet to discuss regional issues.

Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri met with his counterpart Syrian Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Ali Abdullah Ayyoub on October 18 in Damascus, Syria. Ayyoub criticized recent Turkish military operations in Syria and accused Turkey of violating the Astana agreement. Bagheri criticized the September 25 Iraqi Kurdistan referendum and subsequent Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani-led push for Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence. Bagheri applauded the “Iraqi parliament and Iraqi armed forces for regaining control of the situation,” tacitly referring to the October 15 seizure of Kirkuk from Kurdish Peshmerga forces. (Sepah News) (IRNA) (Twitter) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Sepah News
http://www.sepahnews.com/index.php/component/k2/item/4609-%D8%B3%D8%B1%D9%84%D8%B4%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%85%D8%B4%D9%82-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B2-%D8%B1%DA%98%DB%8C%D9%85-%D8%B5%D9%87%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%87-%D9%BE%D8%B0%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%AA%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%AE%D8%B7%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%86%D8%AF-%D8%AE%D8%B7%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B2%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%86%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AA%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF.html

2. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82700207

3. Twitter
https://twitter.com/FDD_Iran/status/920667113437753344

Economy
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October 19, 2017

Norwegian solar company signs $2.95b deal with Iran.

Norwegian solar company Saga Energy signed a $2.95b (€2.5b) deal with Iranian Amin Energy Developers to install solar panels amounting to 2GW in various sites throughout the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran’s central desert region. Norway’s Ambassador to Iran Lars Nordrum said that “Norway is fully committed to the [nuclear deal]” in a statement about the new solar panel deal. Nordrum hoped that Norway will be able to invest more in Iran after this deal. British renewable energy investment company Quercus signed a $1.5b deal with the Iranian Ministry of Energy to build a 600MW solar power station in September 2017. The deal between Norway and Iran is the second major solar energy deal between the Europeans and the Iranians since the nuclear deal’s implementation in January 2016. (Yahoo News) (E) (BBC Persian)

Citations & Links

1. Yahoo News
https://sg.news.yahoo.com/norway-solar-firm-signs-2-5-bn-euro-161143353.html

2. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/business-41661031

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