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 Analysts Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton. 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.
Key takeaway: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi denied any form of Iranian involvement in the recent attacks on U.S. Navy vessels off the Yemeni coast.
Ghassemi dismissed CENTCOM Commander General Joseph Votel’s recent comment that Iran may have “played a role” in the anti-shipping attacks against US Navy warships in the Bab al Mandab strait. Ghassemi claimed that statements thus far from U.S. officials about the attacks have been “contradictory and vague.” Iran or its proxy Lebanese Hezbollah, at the very least, likely provided training, technical, or targeting support to the forces that conducted the attacks.
President Hassan Rouhani defended his foreign policy stance promoting greater global engagement during a speech marking National Exports Day. He stated, “Some think that when we say ‘constructive interaction,’ we mean sitting down with Westerners and Europeans and smiling at them, or talking with them, or dining with them. It isn’t so. Constructive interaction means establishing appropriate relations with the international community for exports, youth employment, the easier import of capital goods and raw material. Can any country say today that it has progressed without relations with the world?” Rouhani also called for investors to be able to “enter and leave Iran comfortably,” several days after news broke that an Iranian court sentenced two dual Iranian-American citizens to 10 years in prison on espionage charges.
- The Critical Threats Project and ISW Naval Analyst Christopher Harmer assess Iran’s role in the recent anti-shipping attacks off the Yemeni coast in “Iranian involvement in missile attacks on the USS Mason.”
- Katherine Zimmerman and Emily Estelle explain the escalations in the Red Sea in the context of broader regional conflicts and the risk to the U.S. in their latest piece, “Escalation in the Red Sea: Yemen’s Civil War, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.”
- The Critical Threats Project team explains the significance of Iranian electoral developments, including the Rouhani cabinet reshuffle, in “Iran Presidential Election Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
- J. Matthew McInnis argues that Washington should expect a new range of potentially escalatory behaviors from Iranian naval forces in “Five reasons the Middle East is becoming more dangerous for the US Navy.”
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Foreign Ministry: We had no role in attacks on the USS Mason. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi denied allegations of Iranian involvement in the missile attacks on U.S. Navy vessels in the Bab al Mandab Strait after CENTCOM Commander Gen. Joseph Votel remarked that Iran may have “played a role” in the attacks. Ghassemi called the allegation “imaginary, suspicious, and unfounded.” He added that comments from U.S. officials about the attacks have been “contradictory and vague.” (ISNA)
Rouhani: Iran must be hospitable to foreign investors. President Hassan Rouhani called for greater foreign investment in Iran during a speech marking National Exports Day. He stated, “We must be hospitable. The Iranian people have been and are hospitable. We need to be so for our tourism industry. We must be hospitable to traders, merchants, and investors who want to enter the country. They must be able to enter and leave Iran comfortably.” He also stated:
- “Some think that when we say ‘constructive interaction,’ we mean sitting down with Westerners and Europeans and smiling at them, or talking with them, or dining with them. It isn’t so. Constructive interaction means establishing appropriate relations with the international community for exports, youth employment, and the easier import of capital goods and raw material. Can any country say today that it has progressed without relations with the world?”
- “You cannot shut down the entire garden and not eat the fruit if a rotten apple is found.”
- Rouhani addressed critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by stating, “We say that we should buy airplanes so that we can export products to targeted countries. If we do not buy the planes, they say, ‘What happened after the JCPOA?’ If we buy the planes, they say that the planes are a luxury, stylish, and new.” He added, “We are only eight or nine months into the implementation of the JCPOA, and we have made good progress.” (Fars News Agency)
- Safavi: Recapture of Mosul could result in increased pressure on Syria. IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi discussed the consequences of the ongoing operation to liberate the city of Mosul. The senior military advisor to the Supreme Leader stated, “The consequences of this operation are very significant. ISIS presence will decrease in Mosul but increase in Syria. This same factor [a greater ISIS presence in Syria] causes increased military and political pressure on Syria.” Safavi added that the “Democrats in the U.S. need this operation in order be victorious in the elections.” (Khabar Online)
Motahari: “Today, the armed forces must not act like a political party or a business.”Moderate-conservative Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent guideline reminding the armed forces not to interfere in elections. Motahari stated, “Imam Khomeini repeatedly warned military members from entering politics because it would lead to disputes between them… Today, the armed forces must not act like a political party… or a business. The concentration of military, political, economic, and media power in one institution is not in the country’s interest and threatens the future of the Islamic Revolution.” Iran’s Constitution forbids IRGC members from engaging in political activity. (Fararu)
- Rouhani administration spokesman: No other cabinet resignations are planned. Rouhani administration spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht stated that the changes in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet are limited to three ministries and specified that “no other changes in the cabinet will occur.” The ministers of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Education, and Sports and Youth Affairs resigned on October 18 and 19. Nobakht added that Rouhani will propose new ministers to Parliament “soon.” Principlist parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Bahonar stated that the cabinet changes “should have happened sooner” and called for additional ministers to resign. (Fararu) (Fars News Agency)
- Maersk shipping line resumes trade with Iran. Iranian news outlets reported that Denmark’s Maersk Line will resume shipping operations to Iranian ports. (IRNA) (E)