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.
- Assembly of Experts and Guardian Council member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, “During the past thirty-five years, we have experienced retreat at every level, did this retreat work? Not only did it not work but Bush called us the Axis of Evil in the region and this was the answer to retreat.”
- First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri announced that the administration is seeking to “identify the three richest tiers [of society] based on scientific work” in an effort to reduce targeted subsidies costs. This is the first time the government has attempted to classify citizens' incomes on this broad of a scale.
- Senior cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani stated, “Some are seeking to alter the literature used by Imam Khomeini that contains expression such as the Arrogant [West] and the oppressed and replace it with words such as superpower powers and vulnerable sector.”
- Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani appointed Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi as his advisor. Larijani’s text release praised Ms. Dastjerdi for her “valuable experiences.”
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered that the sentences of 1,241 prisoners convicted by various courts either be pardoned or lightened. Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Larijani reportedly proposed the move in a letter to the Supreme Leader.
- “Good friend" of President Rouhani, Mohsen Rafighdoust, gave an extensive interview about his experiences with a number of Iranian leaders. He spoke about Rouhani’s personality:
- “Rouhani is one of the few people who has not been distorted over the past 34 years. He has observed the same moderate behavior in everything…. He has always had, and has, this behavior, and he is also a brilliant man. He does not know himself as either a Reformist or Principlist because he is both a Reformist and a Principlist.”
- Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary, and Expatriate Affairs Hassan Ghashghavi announced that Iran and the UAE will discuss consular matters and Iranian residents of the UAE at the eighth Islamic Republic of Iran and United Arab Emirates Joint Consular and Coast Guard Session.
- Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi announced that reports regarding the unfreezing of Iranian assets in the United States are related to assets frozen due to sanctions and not related to assets blocked more than thirty years ago. He added that the Iranian delegate members for the upcoming November 7 and 8 Geneva nuclear negotiations have not been determined yet but that they will include financial, banking and nuclear experts.
- Mohammad Reza Bahrami was named the new Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan and met with President Rouhani, who said, “The two nations of Iran and Afghanistan have many shared cultural and political viewpoints, which are a cause of their friendliness and special relations… The problems of Afghanistan must be solved by the people of that country. It is certain that foreign interventions will have no influence on improving the situation or conditions of this country.” Bahrami also served as Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan 2002 to 2005.
Military and Security
- Russian Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Victor Nikolaevich Bondarev and a senior Russian military delegation visited Tehran and met with a number of key leaders connected to Iran’s air force:
IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh met with Bondarevr at the IRGC Aerospace Force headquarters.
- Bondarev noted: “The IRGC Aerospace Force has great abilities and has achieved significant capabilities…. What I’m seeing today indicates that the IRGC is much more advanced than in the past.”
- Hajizadeh talked about the negotiations between the two forces: “The desired topics were well discussed during this meeting, and the results of the negotiations were assessed as very good.”
- Hajizadeh on the IRGC’s presentation to Russia an IRGC-produced model drone based on the US Scan Eagle drone: “The drone constructed by the IRGC is a sign of some of the technological and technical capabilities of Iran. Today, an actual model of that [drone] was presented as a gift to [Bondarev] and the Russian people.”
- Martyr Sattari Aviation University Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Bakhshandeh met with Bondarev at the school’s Aerospace Engineering College and its Center for Jihad, Self-Sufficiency, and Research.
- “The history of a few decades of cultural, social, political, economic, and military interactions are a sign of the development of the cooperation [between Russia and Iran]. It is hoped that the presence of this respected delegation in this university also provides the development of bilateral scientific and military cooperation.”
- “As the beating heart of research and education, this university is responsible for the mission to organize and train military personnel in the needs of the aerospace forces in the specialties of flight, technology, engineering, and management.”
- “In addition to the university’s influential activities in training personnel in post-graduate areas and undergoing theoretical and industrial research, it is also responsible for the Artesh’s needs in its in influential role by advancing the scientific and technological development goals of the Artesh, the protection of security, and the air power of Iran.”
- Artesh Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Hassan Shah Safi met with Commander Bondarev. They signed a military agreement, which reportedly discusses missiles and defense cooperation.
- Artesh Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Commander Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaeili also met with the Russian general.
- IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh met with Bondarevr at the IRGC Aerospace Force headquarters.
- IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari announced that the IRGC foiled “11 terrorist operations, including suicide operations, in southwestern Iran” in the past year and boasted that “Iran is the safest country in the world today.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi addressed a conference held by the Representation of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC Supervision and Qualification Approval Directorate:
- “In the IRGC, the supervision organ has more necessity than other places because the IRGC is the institution raised by the revolution’s message and born of the Islamic Revolution and the enemy has targeted this institution today. Therefore, the health of this agency and infused institution is one of the main tasks.”
- “Policy making based on the axis of the Supreme Leader’s measures, guidance, training, teaching and increase of awareness in various dimensions of IRGC steering, management, thinking and politics, and also supervision and control, are of the most important duties of the Representation of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC.”
- IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami discussed the Islamic Revolution’s global effects:
- “Iran’s Islamic Revolution was the beginning point of a grand transformation in the system of global values to repair Islam’s global identity that had lost color under the influence of Western doctrine.”
- “The West’s concern from the revolution in Iran caused a fundamental change in the Dominant System’s strategy from confronting communism and Marxism to the new system called Islam represented by the Islamic Revolution. This point was the beginning of a confrontation and continuous battle between the West and the Islamic Revolution from another side.”
- Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri said, “[The West’s two fold policies in confronting terrorism] will backfire sooner or later and the weapons-sights at the hands of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations will target the Americans.”
- IRGC Mohammad Rasoul Allah unit (Greater Tehran) Cultural Deputy Dr. Ahmed Reza Zargar talked about relations with America, “America is always a threat to us and has been looking to destroy our thought and culture.… The crimes and betrayals of America over the past forty years are undeniable. Of course a number [of people] during this time, whether external or internal … take action in order to normalize relations with America. However, know that the ‘Death to America’ slogan is not eliminated.”
- Head of the Representation of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Birjand Office in South Khorasan province Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Reza Tavakoli Rad said, “[W]e must support this path that the Supreme Leader is steering. If we do this we are supporting the Imam of the Age [12th Shi’a Imam Mahdi] and the path for his emergence will be opened.”
- Senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Ali Eraghchi discussed nuclear negations:
- “We hope that we will reach a point after two or three rounds of negotiations that nuclear understanding is signed between Iran and the P5+1 and of course this matter has many enemies, including the Zionist regime.”
- “We will not retreat from the Iranian nation’s rights.”
- “Decision-making regarding the [NPT] Additional Protocol is at the hands of the Parliament and we have stated this to the opposing side. From their perspective, this is a very large confidence-building step. Of course if the Parliament is to make a decision, it is not possible in current circumstances. It is possible for Parliament to approve this if it feels that final steps have been taken and national interests are well secured.”
- “The main load of confidence building is on the shoulders of the American government, and we look at their movement and policies with a pessimistic and suspicious outlook.”
- “We hope that in future negotiations, we [can] fill the accepted framework with content approved by both sides and get closer to the operationalization stage of the design.”
- “In the course of negotiations, we must reach a point where all sanctions, including [UN] Security Council, unilateral and multilateral sanctions or any other sanctions are lifted. Whether the the sanctions are lifted gradually or immediately depends on the trend of negotiations.”
- Member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission (NSFP) Javad Karimi Ghodousi talked about his meeting with leading member of Iran’s nuclear negotiations team Abbas Eraghchi and relayed Eraghchi’s thoughts on Iran’s red lines:
- On the P5+1’s demand that Iran signs the NPT Additional Protocol: “This issue is not under the control of the government, but under the control of Parliament. Parliament has previously imposed law here and is a barrier. However, if you [the P5+1] lift all of the sanctions, maybe the Iranian Parliament will review signing the Additional Protocol.”
- “Frankly, the right to enrichment must be accepted.”
- “Eragchi announced to the representatives: ‘We specified the red lines, Fordo, the Arak heavy water reactor, and the principle of enrichment.’”
- Regarding the nuclear team briefing of the NSFP on Sunday, NSFP Spokesman MP Hossein Naghavi Hosseini said, “precise reporting regarding negotiations and Geneva dialogues to MPs and commission members was emphasized” and that “Additional Protocols has its own path and that path is the Parliament. ”
- Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi met with Head of the European Parliament’s Socialist Party Hannes Swoboda to talk about a variety of issues, including the nuclear file. Ravanchi expressed that the Iranian government is serious about negotiations and moving towards a solution. He emphasized that Iran was prepared to play a positive role in the Geneva 2 negotiations, but would not accept preconditions. Ravanchi added that the sanctions were illegal and that lifting them would be a confidence building measure that showed good will.
- First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri announced the National Expansion Fund has $32 billion in cash on hand, while Chief of Staff to the President Mohammad Nahavandian announced the dedication of $40 billion from the fund to domestic production.
- In an op-ed in Jomhouri-e Eslami newspaper, Head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce Export Commission Asadollah Asgarowladi lists the primary reasons why Iranian non-oil exports have decreased by 13% in the past six months to $17.9 billion:
- In the listed order: Sanctions, transportation, “illegal” taxation of exporters, financial sanctions that prevent currency transactions, an unstable exchange rate and inflation.”
- French Total oil company reportedly announced its official preparedness to return to the Iranian oil sector and that it would sign a contract to expand the Southern Pars gas fields, after what Total Managing Director Christoph De Margerie calls “the alleviation of these obstacles [in the Iranian oil sector] in the shortest amount of time.
- Iranian oil exports to China reportedly increased by 24% to 475,521 barrels per day in September in comparison to September 2012 figures. Exports also increased by 9% between August-September 2013.
- Several economists predict that Iran’s inflation rate will decline for the first time in the past three years, saying futures expectations following changes in foreign relations and the Rouhani’s Administration’s strategies in compensation for a budget deficit will affect the inflation trend in the future. These economists recommend that the administration pursue budget deficit resolutions through stability in prices instead of borrowing from the Central Bank.
Photo of the Day
- Photo gallery of the historic Blue Mosque (Kabud) in Tabriz.