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.


  •  Adviser to IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Jafari and Expediency Discernment Council Member Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi gave a speech before Friday prayer in Tehran, during which a Death to America chant started. ISNA reports the event: 
    • Harrandi: “This is a situation in which our President went to the UN to solve problems with all options open from the Supreme Leader and a framework of red lines. The American Secretary of State , in opposition to the commitments and  statements he made,  did not recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium, said that none of the officials had agreed on Iran’s right to enrichment and said that no changes had taken shape in this area when he spoke to news agencies and the media.”
    • At this point, ISNA reports that a number of prayer attendees started to chant Death to America. Harrandi responded “Have I chanted anything that you are answering me back?”
    • He continued: “This anger is due to the past memories of these people, and this can be our message. Of course the chant of Death to America has been and will be reinforced over time, because the people have daggers of Americans in the chest, back, and throat of their children. These past memories are added to their treacherous designs [hidden] behind their diplomatic front. Behind the apparent friendliness, their hostility continues.”
  • However, in Fars News Harrandi stated that circumstances surrounding the audience chanting Death to America during his speech before prayer in Tehran were misreported in the media.
    • “When I returned from prayer, I saw reflections on what I had said to those praying. Unfortunately, one of the news agencies had said the exact opposite of what happened and fueled some incorrect reflections in the news.”
    • “One of the agencies titled the piece ‘The First Reactions to the Chant of Death to America During Friday Prayer in Tehran.’ [This is the title of an article on ISNA’s front page]. The story of these events is that I presented some analysis to the people, and in a section of that analysis I said that American conduct is hypocritical and ignored and damaged the rights of our people in these negotiations. It was here that the people spontaneously started chanting Death to America.
    • “In regards to this spontaneous action of the people, I said I call on you to stop chanting, but this chant is influenced by bitter memories from the past with America. Still today their conduct says the same things, and truthfully I wanted to say that which the people themselves chanted against America, reflecting on the stored up pains from the past to today.”
    •  “I meant that America’s conduct today confirms that the Iranian people do not err in seeing America as an enemy, because they demand death or nothing. The same media also included in the news the comment,  ‘In the future, in addition to the bitter memories that are in the mind of people according to past American crimes, their conduct of today in ignoring our people’s rights  will lead to reinforcement of anti-American slogans,’ but I do not know where this antagonistic response of chanting death to America came from.”
    • “These days our people have hoped for the opening of a path under the title of ‘heroic flexibility’ that leads to the realization of their demands, but I am confident that in every respect the conduct of Americas will continue in this malicious direction of the past and failing to evaluate national rights, and certainly their slogans will echo more loudly.”
    • “We have certainly been waiting. On November 4th of this year [the anniversary of the Iranian hostage crisis] , the people’s chants will resonate more loudly than the past, and this will be completely affected by the conduct that Americans may show in the coming days during the progress of negotiations.”
  • Expediency Discernment Council and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami discussed US-Iran relations and reacted to President Barack Obama’s military options comments:
    • From the beginning, America had problems with us, and if the nuclear story ends they will introduce human rights [as a new issue]. Therefore America’s issue is the issue of dominance.”
    • “Americans lie when they say they do not seek the overthrow of Iran’s government, rather they wanted to do so but could not. Therefore, relying on the smiles of Westerners and of this nation’s enemies is an error.”
    • “There are rumors that some have said to abandon the death to America slogan, but they must know that the death to America slogan is the slogan of Iran’s resistance.”
    • “The most idiotic type of speaking with a nation is threatening a nation. With complete obscenity, Obama says that ‘we will put all options on the table’ and we also tell them we have all options on the table, which one of those choices is Eight Years of Sacred Defense.”
    • “Morsi called Shimon Perez a brother, consulted with Obama and did something for America. Therefore, those who seek to back down should look closer at Morsi’s fate. Of course, we do not accept the current that has come to power in Egypt and consider it corrupt.”
    • “Today, the enemy is not trustworthy at all because we are facing an enemy that is not bound to any principles. Of course, we do not say that we should not have diplomatic negotiations.”
  • Qom Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Hashem Hosseini Bushehri praised President Hassan Rouhani and stated, “The President explicated the outlooks of the Islamic Republic system with his logic in defending and supporting the Iranian nation’s rights.”
  • Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda discussed diplomacy and reacted to President Obama’s statements:
    • The country’s officials at the management rank must use foreign policy capacities to resolve economic issues and no one must create obsticles against the administration’s measures.”
    • “This type of diplomacy against the enemy is approve by the Supreme Leader.”
    • “The reality is that the country is stricken with the enemy’s nefarious sanction and issue, but paying attention to these realities must not cause the neglect of revolutionary ideals and strategies.”
    • “America’s intention will never change and the corroboration of this act that America’s President has prohibited nuclear weapons and called using nuclear energy the Iranian nation’s rights. According to [Ambassador Susan] Rice’s statement, Obama acted knowingly in speaking, because he has given the right to use nuclear energy to Iran and not its enrichment.”
    • “In the span of two days, America’s strategy changed against Iran, therefore [settling with] a government that destroyed and annihilated an Iranian aircraft on the Persian Gulf has no meaning.”
  • Grand Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani spoke out against the pervasiveness of Western culture in Iran’s university system: “University culture is West-struck [a term popularized by Jalal Al-e Ahmad and used by Imam Khomeini and others during the Revolution to describe the poisonous influence of Western culture], because in the past they were at the disposal of Westerners, and unfortunately those individuals are raising Freemasons.” He added, “Humanities books based on the West must be put to the side, and humanities based on Islamic culture [instead should be] taught.”
  •  Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sadeghi spoke about Rouhani’s trip to the US and advocated caution with potential relations with the West:
    • “The President was able to present the innocence of the Iranian people to the world’s ear, condemn their illegal, oppressive sanctions, and express the cruelty of these sanctions well.”
    •    Sadighi also alluded to Islamic history, “In Imam Ali’s instructions to Malek Ashtar, he commanded that if the enemy offers you peace, accept it, but be careful it is not a trap or trick…. This is the definition of heroic flexibility that was repeated and best defined in statements by the Supreme Leader.”
    •   He emphasized, “We are not a nation that seeks war, and we have never, are not, and never will be the instigator of a war.”
    • He cautioned diplomats, “We must know that the hostility of America is not limited to the Revolution or post-Revolution, and this is the same enemy that undertook the [1953] Coup.”
  • Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Maj. Gen. Ali Shamkhani made several appointments in the SNSC this past week:
    • Former IRGC Navy Deputy Commander (under Hossein Alaei) and Head of Imam Hossein University, Brig. Gen. Ali Hosseini Tosh, Deputy Secretary for Strategic Affairs (Hosseini Tosh also held this position in the SNSC under then-Secretary Ali Larijani)
    • Former IRGC Chief of Staff and Artesh Navy Deputy & Commander, Brig. Gen. Abbas Mohtaj, Deputy Secretary for Internal Security
    • Former Expediency Council Center for Strategic Studies Foreign Policy Research Deputy, Brig. Gen. Said Irvani, Deputy Secretary for International Affairs
    • Former SNSC Deputy Secretary, Ali Bagheri, Adviser for International Affairs
    • Former Deputy Minister of Defense for Defense Cooperation and International Affairs (under Ali Shamkhani) Keyvan Khosravi, Deputy for Media Affairs. 


  • Cultural Adviser to the Head of the Expediency Discernment Council Gholam Ali Rejaei said Ayatollah Rafsanjani has recieved a letter from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia:
    •  “On Tuesday I heard that ruler of Saudi Arabia King Abdullah had invited Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani to Hajj this year. One of the members of the cabinet said that this is the third invitation by King Abdullah to Mr. Hashemi  in the last few years.”
    • He added, “It is still not clear what answer the Ayatollah will give to the invitation.  You must wait. Anything is possible. The important point that interested me was that King Abdullah, who has a personal relationship with and confidence in Hashemi, wrote a very unique and emotional expression at the bottom of the letter, signed: ‘Your Brother Abdullah. You must well know the strength of this trust. Alas, some do not know.’”


Military and Security

  • Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan reacted to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements:
    • “Netanyahu’s angry reaction and warmongering statements demonstrate the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political success and influence in the international arena.”
    • IRGC Spokesman Commander Ramazan Sharif, following the news of IRGC Karaj unit intelligence officer Mojtaba Ahmadi’s death (reported in yesterday’s Iran News Round Up), confirmed the death of an IRGC member in Karaj, but denied it was an assassination:
    •  “In the beginning, the death of this individual was suspicious, and it was imagined that an assassination had taken place. However, with the examinations undertaken, it has become clear that it was not an assassination, and the police are currently determining the cause of death of this individual.”
    •  He responded to questions about whether an assassination was undertaken by a group called The Iran Monarchists Association, “This was absolutely not an assassination, and these groups are looking to abuse this situation.”
  • Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi spoke during a ceremony bidding farewell to IRGC member Supreme National Security Secretary Maj. Gen. Ali Shamkhani and introducing IRGC Member and Former Minister of Defense Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi as Head of the Center for Strategic Defense Research (an appointment noted in September 27th’s INR) in the presence of high-ranking military officials. 
    • “The work that Iran undertakes as strategic study and research, a strategy whose basic features are that it looks at the current situation, examines the external and internal environment, takes capabilities into account, defines the desired situation, and tells us a strategy of how we can get from the current situation to the desired one. Our desired situation is the foundation of a civilization, but it is not possible to arrive at this civilization in the period of one or five years. It is for this that we have designed a perspective of twenty years, with five-year and yearly plans that allow us to move towards this civilization. The determination of these borders and frameworks is our work. However, because the goal of founding a society is in the future, future projects need to form, and this is also among the duties of strategic research centers.”
    • “Admiral Shamkhani, by spending time and taking it seriously, has been the cause of this center’s growth and many blessings. We hope that he will benefit in his new position from the blessings and efforts he gave to this center.”
    • “Commander Vahidi also has a credible past in the Armed Forces. He had strategic commands in the IRGC and Quds Force. He also undertook study work for committees as secretary of the Expediency Council, was the Minister of Defense, and is now also a member of the Expediency Council and has again aided this organization in its policy making… .The IRGC, military, Law Enforcement Forces, Ministry of Defense, Armed Forces General Staff, and Armed University Forces can all use the products of this [research] center.”
  •  Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader and Former IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi spoke on changing power dynamics in the world:
    •   “It seems to me that both the nature and domain of power are in a state of change and development. The nature of power is changing from hard power to soft, cultural, political, and economic power, and the domain of power is moving from the Western hemisphere to the Eastern hemisphere, specifically movement from Europe and America to Asia.”
    • “The American National Intelligence Council has also predicted that in 2030 power will shift from the Western world to the Eastern world, and the economic power of China will be greater than America’s. It seems that China, India, Russia, and Japan compose the great Asian powers of the 20th and 21st century, and Iran must reinforce its relations with these Asian powers on all sides in order to stand and resist against the cruel American and European sanctions to achieve victory.”
    •  “The Americans and Zionists have deep-seated hostility towards Iran, and have not changed their fundamental carrot and stick politics, but every so often they use one of the two more.”
    •  “It is sad that the US President is under the influence of [Netanyahu’s] pressure and lies about Iran to such an extent, and that he changed his tune and stance towards the Iranian issue. This leads to the US President’s weakness of independent thought and policy and has shown the power and influence of the Zionist lobby and the presence of 6 million Jews in America.”
    •    “The survival and security of the Zionist regime would not last for one day without American protection.”


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