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: The Iranian Foreign Ministry repudiated media reports claiming that Tehran supports a six-month presidential transition period to facilitate the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian dismissed an October 30 Reuters report asserting that Iran endorses political changeover to oust President Assad. Abdollahian reiterated his October 29 remarks, in which he explicitly stated that the Islamic Republic has not changed its position on Syria; he stressed that all contrary accounts are unsubstantiated. Abdollahian added that “reports stating that Iran has agreed that Assad leave within six months and so on… are strongly and emphatically denied.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, meanwhile, insisted that Iran did not accept any preconditions to participate in the Vienna II talks on Syria.

Matthew McInnis analyzes Iran’s broader strategy towards Russia by examining recent developments in economic, security, and nuclear cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, in his most recent blog, “Iran’s strategy to ‘entangle’ Russia.”

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Tehran rejects reports on a push to remove President Assad. Hossein Amir Abdollahian denied reports claiming that Iran favors the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs stated, “Published reports stating that Iran has agreed that Assad leave within six months and so on… are strongly and emphatically denied.” (Mehr News)
  • Zarif: We didn’t accept any conditions in order to attend Syria peace talks. Mohammad Javad Zarif said on October 29, “There has been no prerequisite for Iran's presence in the Vienna conference; if it were so we would never take part in the meeting.” The Foreign Minister also discussed the Iran-U.S. talks on the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the sidelines of the Vienna II talks, stating, “I will talk only about the nuclear issue with [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry.” (Fars News Agency) (E)
  • Deputy Speaker: Iran has an active role in the Syrian peace talks. Hojjat ol Eslam Hassan Aboutorabi Fard stated that Iran is an active participant, and not just a "secret" presence at Syrian peace talks. The Deputy Parliament Speaker stated that "politicians and commentators" acknowledge Iran's "stability and security in the region." In addition, he stated that the "fight against terrorism" requires the world to acknowledge Iran's role in securing the region. Fard added that a decision on Syria without Iran's assistance "cannot be the right decision." (YJC)
  • Larijani: “The solution to the crisis in Syria lies with the Syrian people.” Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani discussed the conflict in Syria on the sidelines of a meeting with members from the Society of Qom Seminary Teachers. Larijani stressed that Iran will “always be the defender of a political solution for the Syrian crisis” and added, “The solution to the crisis in Syria lies with the Syrian people.”  (IRIB)  


Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Zarif and Kerry meet on sidelines of Vienna talks. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the implementation of the JCPOA on the sidelines of the Vienna talks on Thursday evening. Iran and the P5+1 also held an expert-level meeting on JCPOA on October 30 in the Austrian capital. (Tabnak) (ISNA)
    • Zarif meets with Mogherini. Foreign Minister Zarif also met with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini to hold bilateral talks on the conflict in Syria and the implementation of the JCPOA. (ILNA)
  • AEOI denies giving permission for interviews with nuclear scientists. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) denied that its Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said the AEOI would permit the IAEA to interview Iran’s nuclear scientists during his recent interview with British news station ITV. The AEOI stated in its announcement, “As in the past… an answer will be prepared and offered for any type of question and doubt that is received in writing” from the IAEA. The AEOI also emphasized that the permission it gave to ITV to visit a nuclear reactor in Tehran did not violate “red lines or security considerations.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Boroujerdi discusses Arak reactor renovations. Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi provided details on planned changes to the Arak heavy water reactor on October 30. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman denied that there will be changes to the “structure” of the reactor but stated, “The core of the reactor is comprised of three sections, and based on the descriptions that the experts at this nuclear facility gave during the visit by members of [Parliament’s JCPOA review commission] one third of the core will be removed from the system.” Based on these changes in the core of the reactor, Boroujerdi stated that “the consumption of raw uranium will be changed to enriched [uranium], and at the same time, the rate of production will be reduced… Heavy water will be produced and there will not be changes in that regard, but [according to] the replacement plan, the amount of radiopharmaceuticals will be two times the current status.”
    • Boroujerdi stated that both China and the U.S. have announced their readiness to cooperate in facilitating the changes to the reactor, but he added, “It is necessary for this work that a clear and certified document is arranged in which the schedule for the steps is explicit. This view has been a matter of emphasis for the Supreme Leader, and the responsibility for that will rest with the Atomic Energy Organization [of Iran].” (ICANA)
  • Kermani: JCPOA must “observe” the Supreme Leader’s conditions. Ayatollah Ali Movahedi Kermani discussed the nuclear deal on October 30. The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader stated:
    • "We will recognize the JCPOA only when it observes the nine conditions set by the Supreme Leader." The U.S. and the EU must "officially" announce their intention to lift the sanctions, "otherwise the sanctions will be considered a violation of the JCPOA."
    • On U.S. military option: Kerman stated that President Obama "ordered the military option on the [negotiating] table [for the JCPOA], and stated that as a result Obama "should be ashamed." Kermani stated that the U.S. would "regret" ever using "the military option against Iran."
    • On prominent Saudi Shi’a cleric Nimr al Nimr's death penalty: Kermani warned that Saudi Arabia "should apply some reason, and reflect on their affairs. The death of this great man will be heavy [for Saudi Arabia], and certainly will be a blow to the body of the al Saud regime."
    • On Iran’s presence at Syrian talks: Kermani started that "this is the first solution to the end conflict in Syria and to stop the terror." (Mashregh News)


Casualties in Iraq and Syria

  • Saberin Brigade member killed in Syria. IRGC 3rd Lieutenant Hossein Jamali was a member of the Saberin Brigade connected to the Tehran province IRGC. He was reportedly killed in the vicinity of Aleppo. (Fesaei)



  • New oil contracts will require foreign companies to partner with local firms. Bijan Zanganeh announced that Iran’s new oil sector contracts under the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) will require foreign companies to form partnerships with Iranian firms. The Oil Minister explained that these partnerships will enhance the capabilities of indigenous firms and increase technology transfer. (Press TV) (E
  • Iran-Italy economic conference held in Rome. More than 100 Italian industrialists, businessmen, bankers, and investors met with officials from the International Chamber of Commerce of Iran at a conference discussing challenges and opportunities for Italian firms in the Iranian economy. (IRINN)

Military and Security

  • Sayyari: We will dock at Atlantic Ocean ports “soon.” Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stated, “Our warship will soon berth at ports in the Atlantic Ocean.” The Artesh Navy Commander made the comments during a ceremony welcoming an Iranian flotilla returning from voyage in the Caspian Sea. (Fars News Agency) (E)
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