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

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.

Key takeaway: The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) submitted its report to Iranian lawmakers on October 4. Senior Iranian officials continued to echo rhetorical condemnations of Riyadh regarding the Hajj stampede, while the IRGC declared that it is prepared to deliver a “fast and aggressive response” to Saudi Arabia.

The 15-member JCPOA review commission submitted its—generally critical—findings to Parliament on October 4. The report states that the regime will be surrendering some of its “future rights” in submitting to the JCPOA’s limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.  In response, five members of the special commission issued a joint statement which criticized the report and claimed that it ignores the “very positive points” of the nuclear deal. The Parliament also voted on October 4 to approve the review of a single-emergency resolution that would “conditionally approve” the JCPOA.

IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari reinforced the Supreme Leader’s September 30 warning to Riyadh and underlined that the IRGC is prepared to use all its capacity to give “Iran’s fast and aggressive response…to hold the Saudis accountable to the terrible disaster in Mina...” Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, moreover, advised Saudi officials against exacerbating regional tensions and pursuing conflict with Iran. The former IRGC Commander explicitly warned Saudi Arabia not to “take advantage” of Iran’s “patience and decency,” adding: “You should also beware not to play with the lion’s tail…because if this lion comes back it is not clear what will happen to you.”

Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, meanwhile, criticized Riyadh for neglecting its duty to protect Hajj pilgrims and blamed Saudi authorities for the Mina stampede. The Judiciary Head added that the Mina “incident and its various issues shows that the Saudis are not worthy of managing the Hajj and Islamic countries should pay attention to this issue.”

AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis and AEI Research Assistant Tara Beeny analyze recent the Iranian parliamentary moves toward a resolution concerning the JCPOA, and examine how this internal debate provides insight into Iran’s plans for compliance with the nuclear agreement, in their most recent blog post, “Is Iran already gaming the nuclear deal?

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • JCPOA Commission submits report to Parliament. The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) submitted its report to Parliament on October 4. The report is generally critical of the nuclear deal and is divided into the following parts:
    • Introduction and general remarks on the report: Section A introduces the commission’s methodology and describes in general terms whom the commission met with in the Iranian government in researching its report.
    • Legal aspects of the JCPOA: Section B discusses the legal authority of the JCPOA, parliamentary bills on nuclear issues, and Iran’s nuclear “rights” in spite of the JCPOA; it suggests that the IAEA is weak and unable to hold JCPOA parties to their obligations.
    • Scientific, technical, and research aspects of the JCPOA: Section C forecasts a negative impact of the JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear power capabilities and, subsequently, the Iranian economy. Section C states that the JCPOA’s stipulations for Iran are based on erroneous U.S. assessments and do not provide a sound basis for a long-term agreement; for example, it accuses the U.S. of mischaracterizing the Fordow reactor. Section C states that Iran will be surrendering its ‘future rights’ by submitting to the JCPOA’s technical limitations.
    • Security and defense: Section D outlines Iran’s military sovereignty in spite the JCPOA and states that Iran will retain access to its military facilities and that bans on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads will not affect Iran.  Section D also raises concerns about the JCPOA restricting Iran’s ability to fight terrorism in “West Asia and North Africa.”
    • Economic issues and sanctions: Section E discusses the potential for sanctions relief but is not overly optimistic and accuses the U.S. of remaining poised to re-impose sanctions quickly.
    • Political and general: Section F states that the Geneva talks promised eventual “comprehensive relief” of sanctions pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program but that the JCPOA does not carry such language.  Section F also warns that the JCPOA may provide the IAEA the ability to constantly refer Iran to the UNSC.
    • Recommendations: Section G recommends active engagement with the IAEA to promote the Iranian people’s “right” to nuclear power and to expand research and development.  Section G also recommends retaining military deterrence capabilities (for example, via the missile program), continuing to fight “U.S.-created terrorism” in West Asia and North Africa, and restating Iran’s right to self-defense against attacks on its nuclear program. It also recommends that a double emergency resolution be submitted to Parliament conditionally approving the framework of the JCPOA. (Fars News Agency)
  • Commission Spokesman: JCPOA report included many edits and revisions. Parliamentarian Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated that the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA’s report has been delivered to all the parliamentary commissions. The JCPOA Commission Spokesman stated, "We have heard all the comments, and all the talk [on the JCPOA] was transcribed and printed in documentation; finally, based on the discussions in committees and commissions...the commission's final report was developed." Hosseini added, "The commission reaffirmed the general report...saying details of where and what was corrected, or deleted, or added." Hosseini criticized members of the media who thought the process resembled a "dictatorial act.” He admitted that the report could have some people unsatisfied, but stated that “what surprised me the most is that some members of [the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA] have prepared their own report…and now they do not accept the [commission’s] report. It is very strange.” He stated that the commission was "perfectly legal and proper, and in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of Parliament." (Mashregh News)
    • Naghavi Hosseini: The work of the commission is still not yet finished. Hosseini told Tasnim News Agency that the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA is working on preparing a 1,000 page final report on the nuclear deal to be submitted to President Rouhani, Head of the Judiciary Sadegh Amoli Larijani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, senior officials, and Supreme National Secretary Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani. Hosseini predicted that the report will be finalized in two months. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Parliament votes for “single-emergency plan.” Parliament voted to give the “Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the JCPOA” single rather than double-emergency status on October 4. The Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action “permits the government to implement the JCPOA within the sanctioned framework of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).” The Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action will now be sent to the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission for “review.”
    • Article 1 of the Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action reiterates that nuclear weapons are haram “according to Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]’s fatwa.” Article 2 states that the nuclear agreement must be implemented on the basis of “cooperation and mutual respect.” Articles 3 and 8 both discuss preventing new sanctions against Iran, with the latter article asserting that sanctions should be lifted on “the first day of the implementation of final deal.” Article 5 states that “the other side must meet its obligations to redesign Arak Reactor concurrent with the fulfilment of commitments by Iranian side.” Article 6 prohibits inspections of Iran’s military sites unless they are conducted under the supervision of the SNSC. Article 7 calls for Iran to strengthen its “defensive power” by strengthening its “offensive and defensive missile[s] in the Air Force, Army, and Navy.” Article 9 states that any resources resulting from the JCPOA’s implementation should be allocated to the “Resistance Economy and prosperity of national production.”
    • The Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action also calls for the Foreign Ministry to present reports on the JCPOA’s implementation every six months to the NSFP Parliamentary Commission.
    • Original signatories in support of the double-emergency plan for the Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the JCPOA included NSFP Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi and NSFP Vice Chairman Mansour Haghighat Pour.
    • According to an IRIB report, the vote was “tense” and resulted in “a great number of representatives” gathering in protest around the Parliament’s Board of Directors. (IRIB) (Mehr News(E)
  • Five JCPOA commission members issue joint statement criticizing report. Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA members Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Mansour Haghighat Pour, Gholam Reza Tajgardun, Massoud Pezeshkian, and Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani released a joint statement claiming that the report was written “outside of the committee” and that a final vote on it was not held since three members were absent. The statement adds that the report unfairly ignores the “very positive points” of the nuclear deal. (Alef
  • JCPOA review commission members quit session. Parliamentarian Massoud Pezeshkian announced that he and several other members of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JPCOA left a session of the commission due to disagreements over the final report. Pezeshkian claimed that he, Abbasali Mansouri Arani, and Gholam Reza Tajgardoun left the session after they realized it “had not used even one of the reports” from the commission’s several sub-committees. Pezeshkian stated, “Mr. Mansouri Arani, Mr. Tajgardoun, and I were forced to quit the session to show that no subject has been able to influence the preparation of this report. In this way, we exonerated ourselves from attendance in the session and [from] the preparation of the final report.” Pezeshkian added that “many things happened in that session [of the commission], and things were said that are unbecoming of parliamentary representatives. The question is this: If I cannot speak logically, why must I stay in the session?”
    • Pezeshkian also discussed the contents of the final report, stating, “This report wants the government to revise the JCPOA. This is while everyone knows that the government is unable to do so. In fact, they want us to renege [on the nuclear deal].” He added, “It is undoubtable that 80 percent of the people agree with the JCPOA. The reports that are proposed from this specific group [the special commission] have no relation to the desires of the people.” (ILNA)
  • Mansour Arani: The approach of the JCPOA commission had its flaws. Parliamentarian Abbas Ali Mansour Arani claimed that the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA’s report was “unfair” and criticized the approach taken by the commission in drafting its findings. Arani reiterated Pezeshkian’s claim that the JCPOA commission had ignored the sub-committees’ reports in preparing its own report to Parliament. He stated, “Up until Tuesday [September 29], the approach of the special commission as excellent. However, Tuesday was bad. In my opinion, the report was unfair.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Mehrdad Bazrpash: The single-emergency plan should have been sent to the special commission. Conservative parliamentarian Mehrdad Bazrpash criticized the decision by Parliament’s Board of Directors to send the single-emergency plan to the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission instead of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. The member of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA claimed that the decision was a “mistake.” (Mehr News)
  • Shariatmadari: The Parliament’s resolution was what the enemy wanted. Managing editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan Hossein Shariatmadari criticized Parliament’s single-emergency plan for not going far enough in pushing back against the JCPOA. Shariatmadari wrote that the “not a single part of the resolution” disagrees with the “disaster- inducing JCPOA.” (Kayhan)  
  • Rouhani expects Minister of Roads and Urban Development not to be impeached. President Hassan Rouhani claimed that he does not expect Parliament to impeach Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi in a cabinet meeting on October 4. Rouhani stated, “Akhoundi has played an active role in his legal responsibilities, and in the discussions and decisions of the government, therefore, his efforts for the development of roads, rail ways, aviation systems, ports and housing, which are of the government's top priorities, are worthwhile and appreciated.” Rouhani added: “As a result of the nuclear deal and new priority for further attraction and invitation of wide range of foreign investors, it will be appropriated to enjoy the Minister's services for the benefit of the people and country, therefore, government expects Parliamentarians not to vote to impeach the Minister of Roads and Urban Development.” (
  • Supreme Leader attends mourning ceremony for Iranian pilgrims. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attended a memorial service for Iranian victims of the Hajj stampede in Mina Saudi Arabia. The service was held at the Imam Khomeini Hosseinieh on October 4 in Tehran. (


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Jafari: IRGC ready to respond to the Saudis. IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari reinforced the Supreme Leader’s September 30 warning to Riyadh and underlined that the IRGC is prepared to use all its capacity to give “Iran’s fast and aggressive response…to hold the Saudis accountable to the terrible disaster in Mina...” The IRGC Commander added: “The IRGC is firmly and strongly ready for any measure at any time and in any region to defend the dignity of Muslims, particularly the revolutionary Iranian nation, if necessary.” (Sepah News)
  • Rezaei: Saudi rulers should not “play with the lion’s tail.” Mohsen Rezaei warned about enemy plots to destabilize the region in a speech to a gathering of Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) on October 5. The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary expressed his disappointment with certain regional states that have turned to the West to undermine the security of their Muslim brothers. The former IRGC Commander also criticized the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia, stating:
    • “For more than a year, America—according to its own promise—has created a coalition against terrorists, but have their actions produced any results? Has America's 10-year presence in Iraq, bombing weddings and gatherings of people by drones, provided security of this country? Unfortunately, today many of the world’s policemen are a source of insecurity.”
    • On U.S. human rights: “Today we are witnessing the innocent and oppressed black youths in America are criminalized for the color of their skin and in front of their families—while their hands are raised in surrender—they are shot and killed by police in America. These actions by American police against black people are not compatible with any logic or reason.”
    • On Saudi Arabia: “The servants of the two holy mosques [in Saudi Arabia], instead of guarding the unity of Muslims, have raised the banner of religious division in the Muslim world. Instead of guiding Muslims, they [Saudi officials] have become agents of America and Israel and with oil money and the lives of young people they pay the cost to invade Yemen.”
    • “Frankly, I’m telling you do not think of [starting] a new war in the region, and do not abuse and take advantage of our [Iran’s] patience and decency… You should also beware not to play with the lion’s tail…because if this lion comes back it is not clear what will happen to you.”
    • “Be wary; do not start a war with Iran like Saddam Hussein…” (Entekhab)
  • Alavi: We are collecting Mina documents. Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi discussed government actions for following up on the Hajj stampede during a funeral service for Iranian victims in Shiraz. The Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head stated that the government has held several meetings on the stampede and charged the MOIS with the responsibility of collecting documents in order to ascertain whether the stampede was intended or accidental. He also stated that the Vice President for Legal Affairs is preparing legal action with the international legal community on behalf of the Iranian victims’ families. Alavi claimed that Saudi authorities’ “inefficiency, imprudence, and incompetence” both caused the stampede and worsened it in the aftermath. Alavi also emphasized the international character of the Hajj stampede, stating that it is an important issue not only for Iran but also for the entire Islamic world. (Tabnak)
  • Fadavi: The Saudis are very vulnerable. IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi denied allegations that Iran had sent ground forces to Syria to participate in a ground campaign with Russian forces, claiming that Syrians “are strong enough themselves to execute their own operations.” The IRGC Navy Commander added, “Russia has done something very logical and correct; Firstly, Russia and Syria united are very strong and are committed to each other…Secondly, the risk posed to Russia by ISIS and other terrorist groups is real.” Fadavi also claimed that he was “unaware” of any “joint information center” between Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, but noted that such matters are “outside the Navy.” Fadavi also commented on the escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, stating that the Saudis had “abused” Iran’s patience regarding the Hajj incident. Fadavi warned that, “The vulnerabilities of the Saudis are incomparable with the vulnerabilities of the Americans.” (ISNA)
  • Pourdastan: Iran ready to send “tough message” to Saudi Arabia. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that Saudi Arabia showed "incompetence" with the "tragic [Hajj] incident." The Artesh Ground Forces Commander added that Iran is ready to send a "tough message…from the sacred system of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Saudi rulers" to "show that the Iranian army is always in the service of Islam and [the] poor." Pourdastan stated that Saudi Arabia has committed the "greatest betrayal and crimes in the Muslim world," by depicting the Saudis’ role in exacerbating the carnage in Yemen and Syria, while also describing the Saudis’ support of ISIS and the Taliban. (YJC)
  • Shamkhani: Saudi leaders must punish individuals involved in Mecca tragedy. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani urged Saudi Arabia to uphold its commitment to international law by punishing the officials responsible for the Hajj stampede, and fully cooperating with Iranian officials to locate and return the bodies of missing Iranians. (IRNA) (E)
  • Judiciary Head: Saudis are not worthy of Hajj management. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani criticized Riyadh for neglecting its duty to protect Hajj pilgrims and blamed Saudi authorities for the Mina stampede. The Judiciary Head added that the Mina “incident and its various issues shows that the Saudis are not worthy of managing the Hajj and Islamic countries should pay attention to this issue.” (Mehr News)
  • Grand Ayatollah: Iran has thousands of “Qassem Soleimanis.” Grand Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani stated in a speech on October 5 that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s “warning” to Saudi Arabia was a factor in the Saudis’ “withdrawal.” He claimed that Saudi Arabians are “servants of America and the Zionist regime” and that terrorist groups were formed with Saudi Arabia’s oil money. Hamedani also praised Iran’s strength and warned that “Iran has thousands of [IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen.] Qassem Soleimanis.” (Rasa News)
  • Ayatollah Alam ol Hoda: The West wants to end the Hajj. Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda claimed that the West founded the government of Saudi Arabia in order to achieve its goal of “exterminating the Hajj.” The Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader, who is also a member of the Assembly of Experts, blamed the Saudi government for the Hajj stampede and called its security forces “incompetent.” (Rasa News)
  • ?Naghdi: U.S. support for dictators prevents peace in the region. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi warned that “while U.S. support for dictators and criminals in the region continues, it will not see peace” at a memorial for Iranian victims of the Hajj stampede. The Basij Organization Commander added that Iran will “certainly follow up on the events in Mina legally.” (Basij)
  • ?Salami: The stampede shows that the Saudis should not be organizing the Hajj. IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami condemned Saudi Arabia’s response to the Hajj stampede as “ugly” and “hateful.” Salami added that “all these things show that al Saud…is not able to be the organizer of the Hajj.” (Sepah News)
  • Rouhani meets with Croatian Parliament Speaker. President Hassan Rouhani promoted enhanced Iran-Croatia relations in a meeting with Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Josip Leko on October 4 in Tehran. The two discussed regional developments and Rouhani said, “Iran, as a very important country in the Middle East, and Croatia, as another important country in the Balkans can act as a bridge between the two regions.” (


Military and Security

  • IRGC Air Force Commander: Iran should have military presence in “Syria and Iraq. IRGC Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh discussed regional security during an interview at the University of Science and Technology. The IRGC Air Force Commander stated that there is "the need to increase the range of [Iran’s] missiles" when referring "to the presence of American bases in the region." In addition, Hajizadeh added:
    • On Saudi Arabia: Hajizadeh criticized the Saudis’ neglect with the Hajj, while focusing “on cowardly attacking and killing Muslims, defenseless and oppressed people in Yemen."
    • On missiles and defense: Hajizadeh stated that the "civilian industry is more complex than the defense industry. The military and defensive industries could rely on indigenous capabilities and knowledge from our Revolutionary children in the fields such as radar systems, missiles, and drones..." Hajizadeh rejected claims that there are restrictions on the country's missiles, stating that "exercises are...performed without interruption. He also gave his support for the Russian S-300 surface-to air systems.
    • On Syria: Hajizadeh supported Syrian President Bashar al Assad by acknowledging “the fact that the Syrian people support their legitimate government.” He also "stressed the need for a military presence in Iraq and Syria...with the assistance of advisors." (Sepah News)
  • Jazayeri: Iran’s “missiles will soon roar.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri rejected recent statements by Western officials over whether the JCPOA would affect Iran's defense, stating that the JCPOA is "impracticable" and "unenforceable" over Iran’s defense sectors and that our “missiles will soon roar.” The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy added that "in order to ensure national security" it is necessary to strengthen Iran’s military power against the military threats from the U.S. and Israel. (Defa Press)


  • Deputy Parliament Speaker emphasizes importance of foreign investment. Hassan Aboutorabi Fard stated that Iran has made “strategic mistakes” in the effort to secure investment in the past during a conference on investment opportunities in transport, housing and urban development. The Deputy Parliament Speaker emphasized the importance of investment and added that the government “must now more than ever create a platform for the entrance of investors.” He also called for banks to give more support to investors. (ISNA)
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