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 Office of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a statement reiterating Khamenei’s comments on the nuclear deal. IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari echoed the regime’s fears of “soft war” in the post-nuclear deal environment.

The Office of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published a statement asserting that Khamenei has “made clear-cut, transparent, and explicit comments” on the nuclear deal. The statement stressed that “anything attributed to the Supreme Leader outside this framework is invalid.” This statement is likely a response to comments made by Hossein Shariatmadari, the managing editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan, who asserted that Khamenei clearly opposes the nuclear deal.

IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari rejected the notion that the West’s enmity towards Iran has decreased following the nuclear deal, claiming that the West’s “tools…are being channeled towards soft war.” Jafari also revealed that 250 Basij battalions will participate in the September 2-3 “Power of Sarallah” exercises.

IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani briefed the Assembly of Experts on regional developments.

The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages on to help clarify the hyper complex language of sanctions relief under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and to provide additional information about some of the entities that will be freed of international restrictions.

AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis and AEI Research Assistant Tara Beeny analyze recent attacks on Iranian vehicles travelling in Turkey in the context of expanding Turkish involvement in Syria and Iranian media reports claiming Turkey’s support to ISIS in their most recent blog post, “Are Iran-Turkey relations on the rocks?"

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Supreme Leader’s office releases statement on Khamenei’s stance towards the deal. The Office of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a statement in response to recent commentary regarding Khamenei’s views on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The statement reiterated that the Supreme Leader has made “clear-cut, transparent, and explicit comments, without interpretation…in recent months and [his comments are] available to everyone and…anything attributed to the Supreme Leader outside this framework is invalid.” (Tabnak)
  • Soleimani: Riyadh fears Ansar Allah’s power in Yemen. IRGC Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani addressed the 18th meeting of the Assembly of Experts on September 1 in Tehran. The IRGC Qods Force Commander pointed to America’s “failed strategies” in the Middle East and claimed that “America plans to preserve ISIS” and use the group as “leverage” to make Muslims dependent on America for regional security. Soleimani also discussed the situation in Yemen, specifically Ansar Allah (the political wing of the al Houthis), which he called a popular movement that is “supported by many Yemeni people.” Soleimani added: “Saudi Arabia is afraid of Ansar Allah’s rise to power… [therefore, the Saudis] imposed this war against the people of Yemen.” (Mashregh News)
  • Yazdi: The Guardian Council’s supervision is not “ceremonial.” Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi discussed the Guardian Council’s supervisory role in elections and Iranian foreign policy in the post-deal environment during the 18th meeting of the Assembly of Experts. The Assembly of Experts Chairman stated that the type of supervision done by the Guardian Council in elections is “approbation” rather than “ceremonial.” He added:
    • “This supervision is done from the moment of registration until the announcement of results.”
    • Yazdi also said that the JCPOA should be reviewed and approved by Parliament according to the Constitution. He added, “This misgiving that has been stated – that there is no need to sign it and approve it in Parliament – is unclear… The words of the JCPOA itself demonstrate commitments.”
    • Yazdi stressed that Iran still recognizes the U.S. as its foremost enemy and stated, “Just as the Supreme Leader stipulated, we must be vigilant that this agreement does not change our foreign policy… The nuclear talks have nothing to do with bilateral relations [with the U.S.].”
    • Yazdi emphasized the importance of the Resistance Economy amid increasing economic relations with foreign countries and added, “Even ordinary pens and paper must be produced domestically.” (Rasa News)
  • Rouhani attends Assembly of Experts meeting. President Hassan Rouhani attended the 18th meeting of the Assembly of Experts. Topics under discussion included the nuclear negotiations, reviewing the nuclear deal, and regional issues. (
  • Fazli: The Interior Ministry is in “complete harmony” with the Guardian Council. Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli discussed elections and the role of the Guardian Council, emphasizing that the Interior Ministry’s goal is “holding lawful, healthy, and superb Elections.” The Interior Minister said it is “important” for the Interior Ministry to turn elections into “a display of national power.” He stated that the Interior Ministry is “striving for elections to be competitive” and added, “This means that when the people turn to electoral candidates, they should see their own tastes… Every person should vote according to their own mentality and demands. The president has also emphasized this matter.”
    • Fazli emphasized that the Interior Ministry is in “complete harmony” with the Guardian Council. He added that the Guardian Council’s supervisory duty means “approbation” and that the Guardian Council also has the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution.
    • Fazli stressed “government noninterference” in elections and dismissed the “rumor” that the government has supported a particular person or faction in elections.
    • Fazli responded to a question about his recent comments that the Rouhani administration will last for eight years. He stated, “Some have written that the Interior Minister wants to cheat, but it is not clear that I will be the minister at that time [of Rouhani’s re-election]... The possibility of abuse and fraud does not exist in Iran’s elections.” (Entekhab)
  • Boroujerdi: The Parliament is examining JCPOA with extra sensitivity. Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated that lawmakers are examining the JCPOA with “extraordinary sensitivity.” The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman stated that Representative of the Supreme Leader in the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili and former Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Fereydoon Abbasi had attended a session of the special commission for examining the JCPOA on September 1. (IRNA) (E)
  • Kowsari: “If the nuclear deal is not an agreement, why is the U.S. Congress in a fight to review it?” Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari responded to President Rouhani’s remarks on parliamentary review of the nuclear deal under Article 125 of the Constitution. The NSFP Parliamentary Commission member stated:
    • “After the recent speeches of President Rouhani, several questions have been raised. First, if nothing was signed and an agreement did not occur, why did the UN Security Council (UNSC) issue Resolution 2231? Second, if an agreement did not happen, why is the U.S. Congress in a fight to review it? Third, if an agreement did not occur, what is the reason for the happiness of President Rouhani and the negotiating teams and the whole administration?” (Raja News)

Official Statements

  • Jafari: Don’t think that American enmity against Iran has stopped. IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari discussed the upcoming “Power of Sarallah” exercises, Iran’s security in the wake of the nuclear deal, and American military and soft-power threats against Iran. The IRGC Commander stated:
    • On the “Power of Sarallah” exercises: Over 50,000 Basij members in 250 battalions will attend the “Power of Sarallah” exercises, which will take place on September 2 and 3 in Tehran. He continued, The “Imam Ali, Imam Hossein, Beit al Moghaddas, Ashoura, Kowsar, al Zahra Battalions” as well as “rescue and relief battalions will showcase part of the readiness of the armed forces, particularly in the public sector, to deal with security and defensive threats.”
    • On Iran’s post-deal security: “Unfortunately, one of the notions which emerged following the negotiations is… that by negotiation and dialogue with the enemy, the security of the system of the Islamic Republic has been ensured; it seems that [this notion] is not… one of the main components of the power of the Islamic Republic of Iran… [the fact] that some people believe that the America’s enmity against us has finished, or has been dropped, is alarming.”
    • On the American stance on Iran: Jafari also reacted to American officials’ recent comments that the prospect of a war with Iran is “grim”; he stated, “Comments reflect the fact that the enemies know their own strategy of a war… against the nation of Iran and other nations… is ineffective;… they are worried about our Islamic Revolutionary and sustainable position.” Jafari also stated, “Not only has the global arrogance’s [the West’s] enmity against us not diminished, but the tools have changed, and are being channeled towards soft war; the Supreme Leader of the Revolution has said that it is the task of officials to explicitly declare their revolutionary positions.”
    • On the IRGC’s focus on soft power threats: “Especially in recent decades, the IRGC has placed its focus on confronting and neutralizing the enemies’ soft and semi-hard threats and planning.” Jafari stated, “We believe that in the current situation… [a] military threat against Iran is not expected; however, today, the enemies have been focusing on the political, cultural, and economic fields, and we are pursuing different plans in all of these fields in order to neutralize these threats.”
    • On Iranian support for its regional partners: “The Islamic Republic of Iran, especially the IRGC, has prepared with all of its abilities and has plans to deal with proxy wars and confront the opponents of the ‘resistance front’; in addition to experience-sharing and advisory support, we support any kind of request of us who are in the IRGC and the armed forces; these programs will continue until the final defeat of the enemy.” He stated, “It is our duty to provide decisive and comprehensive support as far as possible to the Syrian resistance.” (Sepah News)  
  • Zarif: The nuclear deal is an opportunity for the U.S. to regain Iranian trust. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iranians currently have “no confidence” in American policies during a press conference with Tunisian journalists. He added, “The clear implementation of the nuclear agreement creates an opportunity for America to show that it can repair at least some of the lost confidence of the Iranian people.”
    • Zarif emphasized that the negotiations were on the nuclear issue alone, stating, “We did not permit any regional issue to enter the negotiations.”
    • Zarif stated that Iran “has always been the vanguard in the fight against ISIS.” He said that “setting aside double standards” can help the fight against ISIS and added, “One cannot fight ISIS in one country and then take steps that help them in another country.”
    • When one Tunisian journalist questioned whether the capitals of “four Arab countries” are under Iranian control, Zarif responded that Iran has “great respect for the Arab world” and that “the Arab people have control over their own capitals.” (IRIB)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Larijani meets with Ban Ki-moon. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani discussed regional developments with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in New York. Larijani warned about the spread of terrorism in the region, claiming that the “world powers have not been able to take significant steps in combating ISIS.” (ISNA)    
  • Abdollahian: Iran will not forget those who supported it “during the sanctions era.” Amir Hossein Abdollahian stated that Iran “will not forget those who have been with us during the sanctions era.” emphasized the importance of South African investments in Iran, and claimed that South Africa would receive priority consideration for future investment projects. Abdollahian also expressed hope that Iran and South Africa could strengthen bilateral economic ties by removing barriers to banking and reopening the shipping line between Bandar Abbas and Durban. (Fars News Agency) (E)


Military and Security

  • Supreme Leader meets with military commanders. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged readiness for enhanced counter-threat measures in a meeting with Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base commanders on September 1 in Tehran. The Supreme Leader stated, "The vital defense sensitivities and concerns indicate that you should identify the vulnerable points and all possible enemy methods and work out specific plans and ways to confront all of them." (
  • Alavi: Ministry of Intelligence disrupted several enemy plots within Iran. Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi reported that the Ministry of Intelligence has prevented enemy groups from “making unrest and explosions in various parts of the country” during a briefing to the Assembly of Experts. The Intelligence Minister stated that the Ministry of Intelligence is actively repelling efforts by “takfiri groups” and “enemy intelligence services” to recruit Iranian citizens for spying and sabotage. (IRNA) (E)



  • Judiciary spokesman: Judiciary is ready to remove barriers to foreign investment. Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei stated that Iran’s judicial system is ready to remove obstacles to facilitate foreign investment. The Judiciary spokesman said that that there will “be no difference between domestic and foreign investors” that added that the government is “is bent on eliminating all existing obstacles to investment and production, especially within the state-run organs. (Press TV) (E)
  • Nematzadeh: No plans for establishing trade ties with U.S. Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh announced that “for the time being, we do not have any plans for the establishment of economic relations with the U.S.” The Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister added, “Over time, if everything goes well, we’ll consider what the opportunities are.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
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