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 Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton and contributors Hirad Yaldaei, and Ali Javaheri. 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: Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati reiterated Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al Assad and its opposition to any partition of Syria or Iraq.
Velayati praised Iranian support for the Assad regime during a meeting with Syrian “economic activists” in Tehran, stating, “We do not see another example in the region of two governments being so committed to each other.” Velayati asserted that the Syrian government will be “victorious in the battle over the fate of Aleppo” and criticized the U.S. for seeking “the partition of Syria and Iraq.” Other senior Iranian officials have similarly voiced Iran’s opposition to political solutions that involve partitioning the states.
The spokesman for Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, dismissed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s recently filed lawsuitagainst the Iranian government. Iranian security forces detained Rezaian in Iran for over a year until his release in January 2016. The lawsuit asserts that the Iranian government held Rezaian hostage for “the unlawful purpose of extorting concessions from the U.S. Government and others.” Naghavi Hosseini claimed that Rezaian “was a spy, and the charges against him were proven.”
The Iran News Round Up will resume publication on Tuesday, October 11.
- Paul Bucala and Shayan Enferadi analyze the implications of recent instability in Iranian Kurdistan in “Iran’s Kurdish Insurgency.”
- The Critical Threats Project team explains the significance of Iran’s upcoming 2017 presidential election and tracks important electoral developments in “Iran Presidential Election Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
- J. Matthew McInnis argues that Iran has likely recognized its limit in managing Iraq’s fractious political sphere in “Big questions in Iran’s great Iraq game.”
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Velayati: We will be victorious in Aleppo. Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati discussed Iran-Syria relations during a meeting with Syrian “economic activists” in Tehran. Velayati praised Iran’s support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime. He stated, “We do not see another example in the region of two governments being so committed to each other.” Velayati also commented on the Assad regime’s ongoing military campaign around Aleppo, stating, “We believe the government and the people of Syria will be victorious in the battle over the fate of Aleppo. The defeat of the enemy in Aleppo will lead to [more] defeats in Syria.” He also stated:
- On Iranian aid to Syria: “I congratulate [Syrian] economic activists who are pursuing reconstruction in Syria… This is an investment for the future of Syria, and the Islamic Republic will never hesitate in its support of Syria in various sectors and dimensions.”
- On the partition of Iraq and Syria: Velayati criticized the U.S. for seeking “the partition of Syria and Iraq” and stated, “The people of Syria and Iraq will show that with their unity, they will be able to defeat the wishes of the enemy.”
- On American-Russian negotiations on Syria: “The Syrian people and government should be allowed to deal with the terrorists. Syria was ready for a ceasefire, but America destroyed the ceasefire with the bombing at Deir al Zour."
On the recent Saudi naval exercises in the Persian Gulf: “These types of maneuvers are not able to prevent the damage that [the Saudis] have created in their country.” (ILNA) (Tasnim News Agency)
Parliamentarian: Jason Rezaian’s claims are baseless. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, the spokesman for Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, dismissed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian’s recently filed lawsuit against the Iranian government. Naghavi Hosseini responded, “Jason Rezaian was a spy, and the charges against him were proven. Everyone knows that execution is the punishment for espionage in our Constitution.” (Mehr News Agency)
Iran’s ambassador to UN urges more “constructive” reports on nuclear deal. Iran’s Ambassador to the UN, Gholam Ali Khoshroo, praised the UN’s “realistic assessment” of the nuclear deal and the deal’s “positive impact on our region and beyond.” He also called upon the UN to take a more “constructive approach” in its reports on the accord’s implementation, however. Khoshroo stated that the reports should reflect Iran’s “full compliance” with the deal and the “non-performance” by other parties. Senior Iranian officials including President Hassan Rouhani have accused the U.S. of falling short of its commitments under the deal. (ISNA)
- Rouhani announces trade agreements with Vietnam. President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran and Vietnam agreed to “boost trade ties to $2 billion” during a press conference in Hanoi. Rouhani also stated that there is a “great opportunity to export oil, gas, and petrochemicals from Iran to Vietnam” and “invited Vietnamese companies to invest in Iran’s oil and gas sectors.” Rouhani arrived in Vietnam on October 5 on the first leg of his three-day tour of Southeast Asia. Rouhani is also scheduled to travel to Malaysia and Thailand. (Press TV) (E) (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
Military & Security
- Defense minister: Israel and the U.S. do not have the courage to attack Iran. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan praised the “defenders of the shrine” for defending Iran “a thousand kilometers from its borders.” Iranian officials use the term “defenders of the shrine” to refer to Iranian forces and Iranian-backed militias fighting in Syria and Iraq. Dehghan also claimed that Israel and the U.S. “lack the courage” to attack Iran. (Fars News Agency)
- Iranian Statistical Center: Inflation is at 8.3 percent. Iranian Statistical Center Head Omid Ali Parsa announced that Iran’s inflation rate currently stands at 8.3 percent. Iran’s inflation rate dropped to single digits in June 2016 reportedly for the first time in 25 years. (Tasnim News Agency)
Senior cleric defends concert ban. Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi discussed an ongoing controversy over holding concerts in the holy city of Qom in remarks on October 5. Yazdi, who is head of the influential Society of Qom Seminary Teachers and a former Assembly of Experts chairman, called for officials to “protect the sanctity of Qom” and stated, “We are not opposed to happiness… We are opposed to uncontrolled programs.” Some senior clerics have criticized the Rouhani administration, particularly Rouhani’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Ali Jannati, for permitting concerts in Qom and Mashhad. (Nameh News)
- Conservative politician: Ahmadinejad’s candidacy would have created divisions among principlists. Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the head of the conservative party Front of the Followers of the Imam and Leader's Line, commented on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s decision to bar former hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in the 2017 presidential elections. Bahonar stated, “Ahmadinejad not running in the race will have consequences. Ahmadinejad has strong supporters and critics among the principlists. It was clear that his participation in the race would have created serious divisions among the principlists.” (Mehr News Agency)