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.
- Justice Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi said that the administration “does not interfere” in the matter of jailed 2009 presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi.
- Head of the Judiciary Branch Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani responded to the article published in now-suspended Bahar newspaper last week which clerics have denounced as an undermining of the velayat-e fahigh politico-ideological principle:
- “In the course of history, our ulama have defended Islam and answered misconceptions, but it requires practical, scientific tools. The place for scientific discussion is not in the newspapers.”
- “Just as we remember during the reformist era [former President Mohammad Khatami’s tenure], some sought to undermine the righteous material of the Islamic religion and religious values. On this basis, they sometimes introduced the matter of martyrdom with mockery and sometimes undermined the [Shi’a] Imams. Now it seems that a political current seeks to continue that same work.”
- “We will view anyone who seeks to create a current against the system with historical distortions and weakening of pillars of belief as a deviant political current.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member MP Ahmad Bakhshayesh Ardestani praised the suspension of Bahar newspaper and said that its goal in publishing the controversial article was to “begin criticism of the Shi’a Imams so that it could [eventually] criticise the velayat-e faghih. Meaning, it undermines the legitimacy and infallibility of the Shi’a Imam so it naturally undermines the velayat-e faghih.”
- Grand Ayatollahs Naser Marakem Shirazi and Hossein Nouri Hamedani criticized “Bahar newspaper’s insult to the imamate and the velayat”:
- Shirazi: “All must know that beliefs are our red line. The insolent writer has uttered ugly words regarding amir al-mo’menin [commander of the faithful; referring to first Shi’a Imam Ali]; he must be pursued according to the law.”
- “Someone who does not have religion and is only interested in this country must strengthen his beliefs so that the country is preserved.”
- “There is fire and sedition everywhere but security is established in Islamic Iran. If they take beliefs from us, this country and system will also be harmed.”
- Nouri Hamedani: “In an Islamic country, it must be implemented in a way that no one dares insult our beliefs.”
- “Wahabbism and infidel currents have stood against pure Shia culture with the oil and gas capital of some governments and the support of Arrogant [Western] countries and the Zionist regime, and we must have the utmost awareness against them.”
- First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri issued an order to the Oil Ministry to form the Supreme Supervision of Oil Resources Council. The council is to consist of at least seven members with the chairmanship of the Oil Minister and requires the attendance of the General Prosecutor and Chairman of the Parliamentary Energy Commission and/or Planning and Budget Parliamentary Commission when it convenes.
- President Hassan Rouhani named former Ahlul Bayt World Assembly Secretary General and two-time ambassador to Syria Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Akhtari Head of the Committee to Protect the Islamic Revolution of the Palestinian People.
- Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani met with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and announced Tehran’s readiness to expand bilateral relations.
- Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif will travel to France next week to attend a United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] meeting. Zarif will meet with French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius during this trip.
Military and Security
- Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri addressed the Second National Passive Defense Conference:
- “Hard war has taught us that secrecy is a principle. When we are standing against [the enemy], solving the principle of secrecy, maintaining war morale, and persevering in what we have are of the utmost necessity.”
- “It is possible that Syria will turn into scorched earth, but it can rebuild itself if its mind is not conquered. But Saudi Arabia, in which foolishness took place and conquered its soul and mind can cause trouble for itself and others for hundreds of years.”
- Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam asserted that the administration should “[alleviate] law enforcement forces monetary issues” so that the LEF can increase border security in outposts like Saravan, which recently came under attack by a Sunni militant group, resulting in fourteen deaths.
Basij Operations Deputy Col. Nosratollah Seif announced that the second round of provincial Aleh Beit al Moghaddas exercises will begin soon:
- Over the course of last year, each province staged Aleh Beit al Moghaddas joint IRGC-Basij exercises.
- “The exercises this year will be held with three times the capabilities of those last year.”
- “In these military exercises we will be training the units in confronting hard, semi-hard, and soft threats.”
- “The Central Imam Hadi Base [the central Basij military training base commanded by Basij Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fazli] is responsible for the management of these exercises.”
- IRGC Saheb al-Zaman unit (Esfehan province) Commander Brig. Gen. 2nd Class Mojtaba Fada announced “from [October 30th to November 1st] the [Basij rapid reaction] Beit al-Moghaddas and Kowsar battalions will hold an exercise with 15,750 people from thee battalions.” The exercise will be conducted in cooperation with some Basij units and has the goals of “introducing passive defense, recognizing and countering threats, and creating battle preparedness.”
Tehran MP and former senior IRGC intelligence official Brig. Gen. Ali Reza Zakani recounted a discussion with a now-deceased IRGC commander regarding the acquisition of missile designs in the past:
- “One day, Martyr [Brig. Gen. Hassan] Tehrani Moghaddam [chief of Iran’s missile program before his death in an explosion in 2011] said to me: ‘You are tired. I want to make you happy. I have been to Russia to see a missile. The [Russians] said to me, “We are not giving you this missile because it is only made in Russia. If you can, make it yourself.” I came to Iran and practiced a great deal, but did not succeed. For this reason, I prayed to Imam Reza [the 8th Shiite Imam], and after three days I got my response and drew my own design.’”
- Senior nuclear negotiator and Deputy Minister of Legal and International Affairs Abbas Eraghchi praised the recent trend of Iran-IAEA negotiations and stated, “The dead end that had appeared between us and the Agency and prevented cooperation to resolve a previous matter has been broken to a certain extent with Iran’s nuclear proposal.”
- NSFP Parliamentary Commission Spokesman MP Hossein Naghavi Hosseini discussed the response to the Saravan attack and denied nuclear enrichment suspension reports:
- “Until this moment, no decision has been made to send a delegation to Pakistan to pursue the matter.”
- “What [senior nuclear negotiators] Misters Eraghchi and Takht Ravanchi expressed in the national security commission was that we have red lines, including the right to use nuclear energy inside the country and enrich to any extent that is needed, and that these red lines of ours are nonnegotiable.”
- Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi said that there has been no halt in Iran’s 20% uranium enrichment:
- “Each month the amount [of uranium] needed is allocated in fuel plates to the reactor in Tehran.”
- “20% uranium and fuel plates are produced and created in the country. No stoppage in the method of production has taken shape, nor has it stopped previously.”
Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi said that four people were recently arrested for stealing scrap metal from a nuclear site, but that the “individuals were ‘thieves’ not ‘nuclear saboteurs.’”
- Head of the IAEO Ali Akbar Salehi commented on damage to the site: “If the Intelligence Ministry has investigated and said that they were thieves, then there is no [sabotage]. But what interesting thieves they are who dig under a wall in order to enter the site.”
- Salahi continued: “Whatever the Minister of Intelligence says, we accept, which is why have transferred these individuals to the Ministry of Intelligence.”
- Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced that the Iran-Pakistan gas “peace pipeline” may be cancelled “due to present conditions on the Pakistani side,” and that the oil price in the 2013-2014 budget has been projected at $100 per barrel.
- According to the Iranian Statistical Center, Iran’s point-to-point inflation rate reduced by 4.7% to 32.3%, while the twelve month inflation rate increased by 0.2% to 36.2%.
- Nights in Paveh, Kermanshah.