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 Mehrdad Moarefian, Marie Donovan, and Paul Bucala, with contributors Ryan Melvin, Caitlin Pendleton, and Jordan Olmstead. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Key takeaway: Ali Akbar Velayati reinforced Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s interpretation of the nuclear deal, while Hossein Shariatmadari claimed that President Hassan Rouhani is not committed to Khamenei’s redlines on implementing the P5+1 agreement.
Velayati referred to Supreme Leader Khamenei’s prescribed framework for implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and called for strict adherence to regime redlines. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor warned that Khamenei’s endorsement is conditional and predicated on the flawless implementation of the nuclear deal. Shariatmadari, meanwhile, suggested that President Rouhani is not committed to the Supreme Leader’s guidelines. The Managing Editor of the leading conservative news outlet Kayhan claimed that Rouhani’s October 22 letter to Khamenei is indicative of the administration’s intent to implement the JCPOA beyond its authorized framework, leaving the regime vulnerable to “weaknesses and ambiguities” in the agreement.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is scheduled to attend talks on the crisis in Syria with the United States and Russia in Vienna, Austria, on October 30.
Two more Iranians were killed fighting in Syria. One of them, Second Lieutenant Moslem Nasr, was a member of the IRGC 33rd al Mahdi Brigade.
Matthew McInnis analyzes recent reports of Iranian deployments into Syria in support of the offensive towards Aleppo, and discusses the implications for Iran’s role in the ongoing conflict, in his most recent blog post, “Iranian deployments indicate a shift in the Syria conflict.”
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Velayati: Support of the Supreme Leader depends on implementing his JCPOA instructions. Ali Akbar Velayati warned that the "continued support of the Supreme Leader" for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, depends on the adherence of implementing Khamenei’s instructions. The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader spoke to reporters about the letter Khamenei sent to President Hassan Rouhani, indicating that "we saw shortcomings in the implementation of the agreement and pointed out [some] flaws." Velayati stated, "We hope that in the future, [the] implementation of the agreement is made without shortcomings." (ISNA)
Arani censures JCPOA critics. Parliamentarian Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani pushed back on "hardliners" that were speaking out against the JCPOA during an interview with the Iranian Labor News Agency. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member stated that "during the past two years [there were] meetings on different levels inside and outside of Parliament...and all [of the nuclear deal's] aspects were taken into account." He added that all the JCPOA’s conditions should "be accepted," while insisting that "I do not think there will be problems with [the] implementation of the JCPOA." (ILNA)
Shariatmadari: Rouhani’s letter shows he is not “serious” about implementing the deal. Hossein Shariatmadari claimed that President Rouhani’s October 22 letter suggests that the Rouhani administration is not “serious” about implementing the nuclear deal according to Khamenei’s expressed recommendations. The managing editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan said that the Rouhani administration’s approach might allow the “opposing side” in the negotiations to take advantage of the “weaknesses and ambiguities” in the nuclear deal. (Kayhan)
- Prosecutor General: Judiciary has filtering on its agenda today. Hojjat ol Eslam Ebrahim Raisi stated that the Committee for Determining Offensive Contents is scheduled to meet on October 28 in order to make a decision on whether to filter the Telegram messaging application. The Chief Prosecutor stated that “if a decision is reached, it will certainly be announced.” (Mehr News)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Foreign Ministry: Zarif to attend Syria talks in Vienna. Marzieh Afkham announced that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will attend the Vienna II Syria talks. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman said that the Syrian peace talks will be held on October 30 in the Austrian capital. (MFA) (IRNA) (E)
Zarif and Lavrov promote intra-Syrian negotiations. Foreign Minister Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed the ongoing crisis in Syria in a telephone conversation on October 27. Both sides called for internal Syrian dialogue to resolve the country’s political situation. (Tabnak)
Zarif confers with Mogherini about Syria. Foreign Minister Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini talked about the Syrian conflict over the telephone on October 28. (Mashregh News)
- Zarif confers with Mogherini about Syria. Foreign Minister Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini talked about the Syrian conflict over the telephone on October 28. (Mashregh News)
Two Iranians killed in Syria.
- Second Lieutenant Moslem Nasr was a member of the IRGC 33rd al Mahdi Airborne Brigade, and was killed in the vicinity of Aleppo.
- Mehdi Kaeini was killed in an engagement with “takfiri terrorists.” No further details on his unit affiliation or rank were reported. (Shahid News) (Fars News Agency)
Two Afghans killed in Syria.
- Afghan Shi’a militia Fatimiyoun Brigade member Heidar Anvari was buried in Alborz province.
- Khan Ali Yousefi was killed in the vicinity of Aleppo province. No details on his unit affiliation were reported. Yousefi was originally from Jahrom county, Fars province. (Mehr News) (Fars News Agency)
Senior officials attend funeral ceremony for IRGC security unit members. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Deputy Parliament Speaker Hojjat ol Eslam Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard, President Hassan Rouhani’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian, Atomic Energy Agency of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi, Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Elham Aminzadeh, and IRGC Ansar al Mahdi Security Unit Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Asghar Gorji Zadeh attended funeral ceremonies on October 28 for IRGC Ansar al Mahdi Security Unit members Abdollah Bagheri Neyraki and Amin Karimi, who were killed in Syria. The IRGC Ansar al Mahdi Security Unit is responsible for providing security to senior regime officials. (Defa Press)
- Jafari visits Bagheri family. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari and IRGC Ansar al Mahdi Security Unit Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Askgar Gorji Zadeh visited the family of Abdollah Bagheri Neyraki on October 27. (Shahid News)
Larijani visits Karimi family. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani visited Amin Karimi’s family on October 27. (ABNA)
Shamkhani meets with Pakistani counterpart. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani met with the Pakistani Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua on October 28 in Islamabad. (YJC)
- Ayatollah Sedighi criticizes Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute Shiite cleric. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi told reporters that the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al Nimr would be an “irreversible disaster” for Saudi Arabia. (Tasnim News Agency)
Military and Security
- Salami stresses importance of effective deterrence. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami spoke at the 4th National Passive Defense Conference on October 28. The IRGC Deputy Commander stated, “Countries which find the necessary capabilities to manage war can survive…we have no choice but to recognize the reality of this global environment, and…continue pursuing our national aspirations…” He continued, “All the wars which have occurred in history have lacked have not been predictable… therefore deterrence is an important principle…” Salami also stated, “For strategic and rational reasons, to protect the interests of the Muslim world and our national interests, we must be prepared for fights in a variety of forms, such as proxy wars; because if we are not prepared, they will not let us live in peace; therefore, our logic to address this issue is ’passive defense.’” (Defa Press)
Rouhani implements regulations to improve production. President Hassan Rouhani held his weekly cabinet meeting to approve regulations to improve competitive spending on October 28 in Tehran. The regulatory bill allows executive agencies to support production units and research costs by subsidizing up to 50 percent of the costs. Approximately $590,000 was allocated to two ministries: 70 percent of the funds to the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, and 30 percent to the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad. (President.ir) (President.ir) (E)
- India will invest in Chabahar port. Managing Director of the Iran Ports and Maritime Organization Mohammad Saeidinejad announced that Iranian and Indian officials are in talks to finalize an agreement whereby the Indian government would invest $85 million in the Chabahar port, located in southeastern Iran. (IRNA) (E)