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 National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission approved the “Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [or JCPOA].” Ali Shamkhani accused the Saudis of using chemical weapons in Yemen in a meeting with members of Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee.
The NSFP Parliamentary Commission approved the “Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation” of the JCPOA resolution with “only one or two minor changes.” NSFP Parliamentary Commission Secretary Mohammad Hassan Asfari stated that the Foreign Ministry is required to submit a quarterly report on the JCPOA’s implementation to the commission. The Energy Commission also approved the resolution and Parliament is set to review it on October 11.
Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Shamkhani met with delegates from Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee on October 6 in Tehran. He condemned the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen and accused the Saudis of committing “war crimes.” Shamkhani claimed that the Saudis are employing genocidal methods of warfare by using “weapons containing toxic gasses and pathogens…and artillery attacks on residential areas with the aim of genocide and undermining the legitimate resistance of the warrior nation of Yemen.” Grand Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, meanwhile, called the government of Saudi Arabia a “tribal regime” that serves American and Israeli interests.
Tehran’s Ambassador to Beirut Mohammad Fathali stressed the importance of Syria to the “Axis of Resistance” and called Lebanese Hezbollah its “most fundamental group.” He stated that Syria and Hezbollah are on “one side with Iran, Iraq, and Russia based on the shared understanding of the region’s condition and recognition of the dangerous plot that has been set for the region.” He claimed that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey are “on the other side next to the U.S., Israel, and some European countries.”
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
National Security and Foreign Policy Commission approves “Reciprocal and Proportional Action” resolution. Mohammad Hassan Asfari announced that the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission approved the “Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the JCPOA” resolution with “only one or two minor changes” during its afternoon session on October 5. The Secretary of the NSFP Parliamentary Commission added that according to the changes, the Foreign Ministry must submit a report on the JCPOA’s implementation to the NSFP Parliamentary Commission every three rather than six months. The NSFP Parliamentary Commission must submit its own report on the JCPOA’s implementation to Parliament every six months. Asfari added that the resolution will be presented to an open session of Parliament on October 11. (Mehr News)
Energy Commission approves “Reciprocal and Proportional Action” resolution. Jalil Jafari announced that the Parliamentary Energy Commission approved the “Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the JCPOA” resolution on October 5. The Energy Commission member added that the resolution was approved with unspecified “slight changes in detail.” (Aftab News)
- Energy Commission approves “Reciprocal and Proportional Action” resolution. Jalil Jafari announced that the Parliamentary Energy Commission approved the “Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the JCPOA” resolution on October 5. The Energy Commission member added that the resolution was approved with unspecified “slight changes in detail.” (Aftab News)
Zakani: The JCPOA commission used all the subcommittees’ reports. Parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani criticized the decision to not send the single-emergency plan for review by the JCPOA commission. The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA Head also responded to allegations from his fellow commission members, saying that all the subcommittees’ reports had been used in drafting the final report to Parliament. (Mashregh News)
Boroujerdi: I have major criticisms of the JCPOA report. Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi claimed that the JCPOA report submitted to Parliament on October 5 was overly critical of the nuclear deal. The NSFP Parliamentary Commission Chairman asserted that the report was written “outside of the special commission.” (Tabnak)
Nobakht: Parliament will make “historical decision” on JCPOA next Sunday. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht stated that “next Sunday Parliament will...make a historic decision on the JCPOA.” The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President claimed that implementing the JCPOA will be a “national honor for the country,” and praised the “three branches of government” for cooperating to remove “ineffective sanctions.”
- On the economy: Nobakht emphasized that President Rouhani held long meetings with his economic team last week to study the implementation of his multi-faceted economic plan.
On vote of confidence for Akhoundi: Nobakht approved of the parliamentary vote of confidence for Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi, and expressed hope that the vote permanently settled the issue of Akhoundi’s impeachment. Seventy-two parliamentarians had voted to impeach Akhoundi because of his perceived failure to implement promised plans for urban development. (IRIB) (Press TV) (E)
- Rouhani holds meeting to promote culture of sacrifice and martyrdom. President Hassan Rouhani chaired the first session of the Supreme Council for Promotion of Culture of Sacrifice and Martyrdom on October 6. Rouhani stressed the importance of promoting Sacred Defense (Iran-Iraq War) values and stated, “Institutionalizing the spirit of sacrifice and martyrdom, as a significant part of the public culture, including the structure of the education system, will protect the country against any conspiracy.” (President.ir)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Shamkhani meets with Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee. Ali Shamkhani met with delegates from Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee on October 6 in Tehran. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary referred to the ongoing Saudi-led campaign in Yemen as “a clear example of war crimes.” Shamkhani stated, “Targeting residential areas, hospitals, and service centers and the carnage of innocent women and children along with the inhumane blockade of the Yemeni people are flagrant examples of war crimes.” Shamkhani condemned Saudi airstrikes in Yemen and accused Riyadh of using “weapons containing toxic gasses and pathogens…and artillery attacks on residential areas with the aim of genocide and undermining the legitimate resistance of the warrior nation of Yemen.” (Alef)
Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon: Nuclear agreement does not influence Iran’s regional stance. Mohammad Fathali discussed Hezbollah and the Hajj stampede in an interview with Mehr News on October 6. Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon claimed that the U.S. has sought to “re-engineer” the Middle East for the past two decades and added, “With such an outlook, one can recognize the bitter events in Syria and Iraq and the emergence of takfiris and terrorism as the implementation of a great scheme drawn up for the region.”
- On “Axis of Resistance”: Fathali called Syria “the most important country in the ‘Axis of Resistance’” and Hezbollah its “most fundamental group.” He added that Syria and Hezbollah are on “one side with Iran, Iraq, and Russia based on the shared understanding of the region’s condition and recognition of the dangerous plot that has been set for the region.” He claimed that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey are “on the other side next to the U.S., Israel, and some European countries.” Fathali added, “I hope that the serious reasons and basis of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s position in Syria and Lebanon, and the entrance of Russian operations in Syria, will be clear with this explanation.”
- On the nuclear deal: Fathali emphasized that Iran resisted Western demands that “regional issues” be solved before or during the nuclear negotiations. He added that President Hassan Rouhani’s “strong stance on Syria shows that the Islamic Republic of Iran considers these issues to be separate, and that the nuclear agreement does not have influence over Iran’s principled positions in Syria, the resistance, and other regional issues.”
On Saudi Arabia: Fathali stated that Iran is in the process of “following up” on the September 24 Hajj stampede. He also discussed Iran’s former Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, who went missing during the stampede. Fathali praised Roknabadi’s record and hoped that his condition will become known soon. (Mehr News)
Minister of Health: The Saudis still have not given us information about the victims. Minister of Health Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi said that over 500 Iranian citizens were still unaccounted for in the Hajj stampede. He blamed the Saudis for failing to disclose information on the victims “since it is possible that some of them are imprisoned or in the hospital.” Hashemi added that over 300 bodies had already been transported to Iran. (Entekhab)
Grand Ayatollah Hamedani: Al Saud is a tribal regime. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani condemned Saudi Arabia’s response to the Hajj stampede and described the Saudi government as a “tribal regime.” Hamedani added that with the mismanagement of the Hajj stampede, the Saudi government was “serving the interests of the U.S. and the Zionist regime.” (YJC)
Croatian parliament speaker meets with Rafsanjani. Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko stated that Iran is Croatia’s most significant economic partner during a meeting with Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Leko stated, “If all countries in the region cooperated with Iran, [the] spread of terrorism to Europe will be largely halted.” (IRNA) (E)
- Iranian delegation travels to Brussels. A parliamentary delegation led by Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani, head of the Iran-Belgium Parliamentary Friendship Committee, traveled to the Belgian capital for discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and senior Belgian lawmakers. The delegation will discuss ways of enhancing economic and energy relations and ways of strengthening cooperation on regional and international issues. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
Military and Security
Jalali: The type of threats against Iran will change after the JCPOA. IRGC Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali announced the Passive Defense Organization’s “new constitution” on October 6. The Head of the Passive Defense Organization enumerated the organization’s “eight new approaches” to oppose “eight potent threats against the country.” Jalali added that these approaches will be in “cyber, biological, radiation, chemical, physical, economic, people-centered, and public defense readiness” areas. He also stated that the Passive Defense Organization has begun work in “31 big cities” and that “many major and dangerous centers exist in Tehran that must be moved.” Jalali also discussed how Iran can “exchange information in the area of cyber threats” with other countries and stated, “We can interact with aligned countries like Russia, China, and India in the cyber domain.”
- On the nuclear agreement: Jalali stated, “We must have a new understanding of threats relating to the JCPOA; the type of threats will change after the [implementation of the] JCPOA.” Jalali warned of “industrial espionage” and the “collection of data on the country’s infrastructure” and added, “Headquarters should be formed to monitor the implementation of JCPOA, specifically America's actions, so that we can survey and control all of the Americans’ actions, behavior, and speech.”
On Saudi Arabia: “Hajj management should be shared. Authorities should convince Islamic countries to enter the subject of Hajj administration.” (Sepah News)
Defense Minister confirms Russia’s S-300 delivery. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan denied rumors that there has been a change in Russia’s delivery of the S-300 missile system. The Defense Minister stated that the delivery “is continuing in its implementation stage according to the previously reached contract.” (ABNA)
- LEF Commander: Iranian police are prepared to provide Hajj security. Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari discussed the recent stampede in Mina Saudi Arabia and stated that Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) is ready to undertake the responsibility of ensuring the security of Hajj pilgrims. The LEF Commander added: “If the Saudis do not have the ability to provide security for pilgrims…that responsibility should be given to the police of Muslim countries.” (Mehr News)
- LEF Deputy Commander discusses JCPOA critics’ “illegal” gatherings. Brig. Gen. Eskandar Momeni briefly discussed “police clashes with illegal gatherings of critics of the JCPOA.” Qom was reportedly one of the cities in which such a gathering occurred. The LEF Deputy Commander stated, “Just as the Chief of Police [Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari] mentioned, the police will act based on the rules and regulations of law enforcement councils. (ISNA)
- Japan trade delegation travels to Iran. Chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization Hiroyuki Ishige expressed hope for increasing industrial cooperation between Japan and Iran during a meeting with the Chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce. Ishige stated that currently, 30 large companies in the oil, gas, petrochemical, and automobile industry are engaged in direct discussions with Iranian stakeholders to determine pathways for surpassing obstacles to stronger economic ties. Ishige added that major Japanese car manufacturers like Mitsubishi and Suzuki are in talks with Iranian carmakers to manufacture automobiles and automobile components in Iran. (IRNA)