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: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out the possibility of expanded negotiations with the U.S.

Supreme Leader Khamenei proscribed any future negotiations with the U.S. during a meeting with IRGC Navy commanders on October 7 in Tehran. Khamenei stressed that “we now have to negotiate with the entire world,” but warned that “negotiations with America would mean paving the way for [U.S.] infiltration into the country’s economic, cultural, political and security domains.” The Supreme Leader also censured a “certain group” for attempting to “justify negotiations” between the U.S. and Iran. Khamenei also condemned the U.S. airstrike on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, Head Ali Reza Zakani responded to allegations from fellow commission members Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Mansour Haghighat Pour, Gholam Reza Tajgardun, Massoud Pezeshkian, and Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani that the commission’s report was written “outside the commission” and unfairly ignores the “very positive points” of the nuclear deal. Zakani stated that the report used “all of the [commission] subcommittees’ reports.” Zakani also criticized the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission’s review of the resolution implementing the JCPOA, arguing that it had rushed their appraisal of the resolution earlier this week. NSFP Parliamentary Commission members Mansour Haghighat Pour and Hossein Sobhani Nia both noted that Parliament’s review of the resolution is unlikely to change its contents.

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

  • Supreme Leader: “Negotiations with America are forbidden.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei underlined the importance of maritime security and deterrence in a meeting with IRGC Navy commanders on October 7 in Tehran. The Supreme Leader praised the IRGC Navy for intimidating the enemy and stated, “Preparedness must be such that…it strikes fear in the heart of the enemy.” Khamenei also hailed Iran’s culture of sacrifice and martyrdom; he stressed the need for synergy between the IRGC and Artesh naval forces and stated:
    • “Security is the foundation of a country’s advancements. If there is no security, there is no economy, culture, personal happiness, and general welfare of the community…the nature of the enemy has always been intertwined with the spirit of aggression and infiltration. Therefore, scientific and equipment capabilities should increase day-by-day through continuous innovations.”
    • On American infiltration: “Under such circumstances, with God’s grace, the Islamic Republic has, in addition to blocking enemy infiltration, blocked the materialization of the enemy’s plots and plans in the region in many instances.”
    • “Therefore, the bulk of the arrogant powers’ efforts and planning is concentrated on enmity toward the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and America’s claims about its willingness for negotiations with Iran lies within this framework and is aimed at paving the way for infiltration.”
    • “The enemies are trying to change [our] officials’ calculations and influence the thoughts of people, particularly youths, and everyone should be vigilant and conscious [to prevent this].”
    • On negotiating with the U.S.: “Alongside these simple-minded people [in Iran] stand carefree people and others who do not care for and pay no attention to the country’s expediency and national interests.”
    • “These people say how come that Hazrat-e Imam Ali and Hazrat-e Imam Hussein negotiated with their own enemies, but now, negotiations with America face opposition?” 
    • “Such an analysis about the issues of the history of Islam and the country’s issues indicates the ultimate degree of simple-mindedness.” Khamenei noted that first Shi’a Imam Ali did not negotiate with az-Zubayr [who rebelled against Ali], and third Shi’a Imam Hossein did not negotiate Umar bin Sa’ad [who fought against Hossein] “in today’s sense of the word of “making a deal”; but both of these venerable figures admonished their opposite party and advised them to fear God.”
    • “Unfortunately, a certain group, in a bid to justify negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Great Satan America, are raising these issues in newspapers, speeches, and in virtual space through a commonplace view, which is totally wrong.”
    • “But the issue is different when it comes to America, because they have come up with a definition of negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran which means infiltration and paving the way for imposition of their demands on Iran.”
    • “Negotiations with America would mean paving the way for infiltration [of the U.S.] into the country’s economic, cultural, political and security domains.”
    • “We are not against dialogue in the modern sense; we now have to negotiate with the entire world. We will negotiate with the European governments, the governments of Latin America…we have no problem with negotiating.”
    • “Negotiation with America is banned because such negotiation will not only have no advantage [for Iran], but will also entail numerous disadvantages.”
    • On U.S. human rights: “We do not pursue war and we will not start any war, but the enemy’s audacity to start war must be [deterred]… these powers would not shy away from resorting to very dangerous equipment and inhumane methods for killing innocent people. Their claims about advocating human rights and citizenship rights are unreal and absolutely senseless and absurd.”
    • “Today, the biggest danger to the world is the hypocrisy and pretense and the dishonesty of the self-styled advocates of human rights.”
    • “Look at what they [the Americans] are doing in Iraq and Syria…or Afghanistan and Pakistan… They attack hospitals with bombs killing dozens of sick and injured people [referring to the U.S. bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan], then they say ‘sorry it was a mistake,’ sometimes they do not even apologize [for their crimes].”
    • “In Gaza, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Iraq, and in other areas human tragedies are occurring with astounding brutality…how can they watch [and tolerate] this? [ISIS] will place a man inside a cage and burn him alive! [Meanwhile] human rights organizations just sit and watch. But when a dog or cat falls into a well, they will use all tools and measures to get it out alive, meaning they [ostensibly] support life…they lie.”
    • On P5+1 nuclear talks: “In these [nuclear] negotiations, the opposite side sought to seize any opportunity for infiltration and take a step against the country’s national interests. Of course, Iranian negotiators were fully aware, but Americans finally got the chance in some instances.” ( (Audio)
  • Haghighat Pour: The Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action must go to the Guardian Council after Parliament accepts it. Parliamentarian Mansour Haghighat Pour said that the “Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)” will “probably” be reviewed in Parliament on October 11. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Vice Chairman added, “Suggestions from parliamentarians will also be proposed, but I imagine that we will not see changes in the plan’s content.” Haghighat Pour also stated that the Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action “must go to the Guardian Council after [its] acceptance in Parliament.” (ICANA)
  • Parliamentarian says deadline for Parliament’s decision on the JCPOA is October 18. Social Affairs Parliamentary Commission Deputy Head Farajollah Arefi stated that Parliament’s deadline for a “decision” on the JCPOA is October 18, although he added that there would be “no negative consequences” for postponing it. (ISNA)
  • Larijani: Some of the sanctions are being canceled; some are being suspended. Ali Larijani praised the nuclear deal, noting that the world powers had finally recognized Iran’s right to enrich and conduct nuclear research. The Parliament Speaker added, “In addition, some of the sanctions are being canceled and the U.S. sanctions are being suspended.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Jafari: JCPOA approval process has to involve both the Parliament and the SNSC. IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari stated, “The path of the JCPOA’s approval must go through Parliament and the Supreme National Security Council.” Jafari noted that “some [people] are revolutionary but are not Islamic revolutionary,” and stated: “To confront the true Islamic Revolution, which was drawn up by the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini], a large amount of direct and indirect opposition takes place.” The IRGC Commander stressed that Iran must avoid disputes over the text of the nuclear deal, and stated: “From the beginning of the [Islamic] Revolution, the Americans sought to influence Iran, but all of their efforts have been in vain; today, however, the enemy’s influence is one of the most hostile threats.” (Sepah News) (ISNA)
  • Mohammad Dehghan: Some of the Supreme Leader’s red lines do not exist in the resolution. Conservative Parliamentarian Mohammad Dehghan criticized the single-emergency resolution currently being reviewed in Parliament. The member of Parliament’s Board of Directors claimed, “Some of the Supreme Leader’s red lines do not exist in the resolution; for example, the Supreme Leader emphasized that one of the red lines was the cancelation rather than the suspension of sanctions.” Dehghan added that it is possible that the Guardian Council will reject the resolution. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Hossein Sobhani Nia: The single-emergency plan serves the nations interest. Hossein Sobhani Nia praised the single-emergency plan resolution and remarked that it will be presented next week to Parliament. The NSFP commission member noted that recommendations might be presented on the final resolution but in general, the resolution’s contents “will not change.” (ICANA)
  • Zakani describes drafting the final report and vote on single-emergency resolution. Parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani discussed the drafting of the JCPOA commission’s report to Parliament and voting on the single-emergency resolution during an exclusive interview with Tasnim News Agency. The Special Parliamentary Commission Chairman reiterated that the final report used “all of the sub-committees’ reports” contrary to allegations by his fellow commission members. Zakani also criticized the NSFP commission’s review of the single-emergency plan, claiming that it was rushed. (Tasnim News Agency
  • Yazdi calls for unity in JCPOA debates. Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi stated that differences in opinion on the JCPOA must not lead to “hostility” in Parliament. The Assembly of Experts Chairman added that Iranians must be “compliant” with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s oversight. (Mehr News)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Zarif: There has been inadequate cooperation with Saudi officials. Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed relations with Saudi Arabia at a commemoration ceremony for Mohammad Rahim Aghaei Pour, an Iranian victim of the September 24 stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Minister stated that cooperation with Saudi officials has been “very inappropriate and incomplete,” but added that “it has gotten much better in recent days.” Zarif added that since “the beginning of the Mina tragedy, all our efforts have been first to guarantee the safety of pilgrims as much as possible and, secondly, to guarantee the return” of Iranian victims’ bodies.
    • Zarif was reportedly confronted by “four or five students” shouting “‘Death to America’ with towering voices” as he left the commemoration ceremony. A professor then reprimanded the students, calling them “uncivilized” and stating, “What person shouts slogans of death in front of his own guest?” (ISNA)
  • Grand Ayatollah Hamedani: Saudi Arabia’s “management of Mecca and Medina” is like the time before Islam. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani called for “the identification and punishment of the culprits responsible for” the Mina stampede and stated, “The management of Mecca and Medina must be removed from the hands of al Saud because Saudi Arabia manages these two holy places like a tribe. This kind of management is like the Age of Ignorance [period before Islam].” Hamedani also criticized Saudi Arabia’s relations with the United States.
    • Hamedani complimented the Iranian nuclear negotiating team but added, “One cannot trust other countries’ negotiating teams because they have acted contrary to their promises several times before.” Hamedani referenced Iran’s red lines and stated, “We must never allow other countries to visit our military centers.” (Tabnak)
  • Velayati: “No need for relations with the U.S.” Ali Akbar Velayati discussed Iran’s position towards the U.S. following a meeting with a Yemeni delegation. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor added that "the Iranian nation is independent, great, and powerful" and that there is "no need for relations with the U.S." He added that "our people are knowledgeable, and they know the U.S. does not show mercy even to its allies, and [this] is applicable in Yemen and Syria, which once had the greatest relationship with the U.S." In addition, Velayati reiterated that the Supreme Leader has "fixed positions in relation to negotiations with the U.S... including the nuclear issue." He continued by stating that Iran rejects "any foreign interference in Yemen," but condemned “America’s role in silencing the [UN] Security Council about Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen.” (IRIB)
  • Rafsanjani: No country thinks Saudi Arabia’s explanations of the Mina tragedy are convincing. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani condemned Saudi Arabia’s response to the Hajj stampede, claiming, “No country that lost citizens in the incident is convinced by Saudi Arabia’s explanations [of the incident].” The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman also called some Saudi officials “immature and arrogant.” (Fars News Agency


Military and Security

  • Fadavi: IRGC Navy “waiting to give the lesson of history to the big Satan.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi stated that the IRGC Navy had “caused our enemies to voice the need to change their naval strategy” by displaying their “fighting capability and readiness” during a meeting with naval personnel attended by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The IRGC Navy Commander boasted that the naval capabilities known to the U.S. pale in comparison to those the U.S. remains unaware of, and warned that the IRGC Navy is “awaiting [the Supreme Leader’s] command to give the lesson of history to the big Satan and its mischievous the region.” (Fars News Agency)  
  • Iran unveils new air defense systems. Brig. Gen. 2C Amir Abu al Fazl Sepahrirad announced that Iran has fielded trainer versions of three new air defense systems during a visit to Shahid Nasr Isfahani Central Air Defense Region. The Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Deputy Commander stated that fielding the systems demonstrates that Iran is “taking our first steps” towards self-sufficiency, but “must expand our activities in this field until, God willing, we arrive at a situation of self-sufficiency.” (Defa Press)
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