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: Former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili stated that the extent of IAEA supervision violates Iran’s redlines.
Saeed Jalili also stated that Iran has “accepted oversight beyond the commitments based on” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The Supreme Leader’s Representative to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) argued that “10, 15, 20, and 25-year supervision is also beyond accepted protocol.”
Nuclear negotiator Hamid Baeidinejad replied to Jalili’s September 7 criticism that the JCPOA violates the Supreme Leader’s redlines. Baeidinejad singled out Jalili’s record as senior nuclear negotiator under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; he claimed that during Jalili’s tenure as senior negotiator, “Iran did not even enter the negotiation stage.” Several other senior regime members have also reacted to Jalili’s comments. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati contended that Jalili’s statements constituted his “own interpretation,” while SNSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani censured “previous and current negotiating teams’” criticisms of one another.
The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages onwww.irantracker.org 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 analyzes President Hassan Rouhani’s efforts to use nuclear negotiation success as fuel for his broader reform movement, and Supreme Leader’s Khamenei’s decision to make sure Rouhani doesn’t get too out of hand in his most recent blog post, “Did the Supreme Leader cut Rouhani down to size?”
Jalili: IAEA supervision is contrary to red lines. Former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili addressed the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA and stated that the extent of IAEA supervision violates Iran’s red lines, stressing: “If a single country complains about Iran, the sanctions will return.” The Supreme Leader’s Representative to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said that Iran has “accepted oversight beyond the commitments based on the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. A wider circle has been included. For example, we cannot use certain types of cameras… This is contrary to normal international supervision.” Jalili also said that “10, 15, 20, and 25-year supervision is also beyond accepted protocol” and that “the permanent presence of the agency [IAEA] in the country is also an accepted matter in the current agreement. The agency’s hand for verifying the use of oil centrifuge technology has also been left open.” (Entekhab)
Baeidinejad replies to Jalili’s comments on the JCPOA. Hamid Baeidinejad replied to former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s criticisms on the nuclear deal in an Instagram post. The Foreign Ministry’s Director for Political and International Affairs singled out Jalili’s record as senior nuclear negotiator under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Baeidinejad noted that when Jalili was the lead negotiator, Iran “did not even enter the negotiation stage.” Baeidinejad added that comparing “the previous discussions [on Iran’s nuclear negotiations] with the new round of negotiations are illogical.” (YJC)
Rezaei: “Parliament has the right to comment” on the JCPOA. Mohsen Rezaei discussed the JCPOA and the ongoing review of the agreement. The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary echoed the Supreme Leader’s support for Parliament’s legal right to scrutinize the nuclear deal. Rezaei also warned against measures aimed at bypassing Parliament and stated, “Some may say that this agreement was imposed if Parliament does not examine the JCPOA.” The former IRGC Commander stressed the need for a comprehensive review of the agreement and advised opponents and supporters of the nuclear deal “to express their opinions in a relaxed atmosphere.” Rezaei added:
- “The important point is that the JCPOA has given Iran certain opportunities and it reduced sanctions…” Rezaei, nevertheless, urged officials to see if Iran’s economic problems will be solved by the agreement.
On the U.S. military option: Rezaei claimed that President Obama is facing “pressure from the propaganda campaign” and the rhetorical construction of the Iranian nuclear threat by Congress. However, he added that the JCPOA “has made it more difficult for America… If America attacks Iran, it will have no justification and will be condemned by the international community.” (Rezaei.ir)
Naghavi: Statesmen’s promises have not been realized. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated that it is necessary for parliamentarians to “perform their role” as the nation’s representatives by reviewing the JCPOA. The Spokesman of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA also reiterated the Supreme Leader’s recent statements on the JCPOA and stated that “our goal from this transaction [the nuclear deal] has been the cancellation of sanctions. The people are waiting for the effects of the cancellation of sanctions, and they want to see the effects of this agreement in their economic life.” He added, “Many statesmen promised that if the [nuclear] agreement was realized, sanctions would be cancelled, industry would be pulled from recession, conditions for young people’s marriages would be facilitated, and [problems with] drinking water would be solved. But, still, such things have not been assured.” Naghavi stated, “If the agreement has been realized and the JCPOA enacted, but the framework of sanctions is preserved and they enact sanctions wherever they like – this defeats the purpose. For 12 years, we sat at the negotiating table. With what goal did we negotiate?” (Mashregh News)
JCPOA commission member: There were discrepancies in statements made by Shamkhani, Araghchi, and Salehi. Parliamentarian Mahmoud Nabavian, who is a member of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA, claimed that there were discrepancies between statements made by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi and statements by SNSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi during a session of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA on September 9. Nabavian said that Shamkhani, Salehi, and Araghchi contradicted each other over the existence of a “fourth document” in the JCPOA called “the long-term research and development plan.” Nabavian stated, “Mr. Araghchi is a complete denier of the existence of such a document, while Mr. Shamkhani, in yesterday’s session, stated that in addition to the JCPOA, the Security Council resolution, and the Agency’s roadmap, a fourth document also exists… Mr. Salehi also stated that a fourth document exists.”
- Nabavian also stated that the JCPOA is not an “agreement” and added, “When the American Congress and Parliament approve the JCPOA, it becomes an agreement.” He also expressed his concerns about sanctions being suspended rather than cancelled.
- Nabavian stated that “some officials in the Foreign Ministry” who have been present at the special commission’s sessions “do not have good encounters with parliamentarians.” (Raja News)
Najafi: Iran will not accept any disclosure of secret side deals. Reza Najafi addressed the IAEA Board of Governors meeting regarding the nuclear deal and requested that “all former resolutions from the [IAEA] Board of Governors, which from the perspective of Iran are political and unjustified, must be canceled.” Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors also stressed that the IAEA and the UNSC must “fundamentally change their approach to Iran, as presented in the preamble to UNSC Resolution 2231.” Najafi commented on the IAEA-Iran “secret side deal,” warning that Iran would not accept “any disclosure of classified information.” (ISNA) (Tasnim News Agency)
Najafi: We have not decided on how to reduce our uranium stockpile. Reza Najafi addressed reporters on the sidelines of the IAEA meeting. Najafi mentioned that Iran “has not yet decided on how to reduce its uranium stockpile” as per the terms of the JCPOA. (Ghatreh)
- Najafi: We have not decided on how to reduce our uranium stockpile. Reza Najafi addressed reporters on the sidelines of the IAEA meeting. Najafi mentioned that Iran “has not yet decided on how to reduce its uranium stockpile” as per the terms of the JCPOA. (Ghatreh)
Boroujerdi: There is “no possibility” of regional cooperation with the U.S. Alaeddin Boroujerdi echoed the Supreme Leader’s warnings regarding American influence in Iran and stated that “the nature of America has not changed in any way” since the Islamic Revolution. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman added that “the Supreme Leader’s interpretation at the start of last year is based on the undeniable fact that America, with a velvet glove and an iron fist, is extending its hand to Iran."?
On regional cooperation: Boroujerdi said there is “no possibility for cooperation with America on regional issues.” He claimed that the U.S. has been a “strong supporter of terrorism in the region” and created ISIS. He added, “Therefore, at the present moment, the coalition against ISIS is only a political show.” Boroujerdi added that Iran’s resistance to cooperation with the U.S. is “completely logical and permanent.” (ICANA)
- On regional cooperation: Boroujerdi said there is “no possibility for cooperation with America on regional issues.” He claimed that the U.S. has been a “strong supporter of terrorism in the region” and created ISIS. He added, “Therefore, at the present moment, the coalition against ISIS is only a political show.” Boroujerdi added that Iran’s resistance to cooperation with the U.S. is “completely logical and permanent.” (ICANA)
Grand Ayatollah Golpayegani: Stop the internal disagreement. During a meeting with Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani stated, “internal divisions are not in the interest of the nation or the political system.” He stressed, “Everyone must work to protect the interests of the general public… internal divisions must not become the cause of economic and livelihood-related pressure on the honorable people of Iran.” (Rasa News)
Deputy Speaker: Parliamentary Commission on the JCPOA will give a report. Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard stated that the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA “will review the JCPOA text in several meetings in order to reach an acceptable report.” The Deputy Parliament Speaker did not give a date for presenting the commission’s final report. (IRNA) (E)
Rafsanjani: I have always been a moderate. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stated, “I have always been fixed in the principles of moderate thinking…” The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman continued, “The JCPOA is a good lesson for the people, because they will know who is sympathetic to the political system, the [Islamic] Revolution, the country, and the people, and who, with extremist ideas, is pursuing his own personal, factional, and political interests.” (ILNA)
- Rahmani Fazli appointed as president of Ghadir International Foundation. Managing Director of the Ghadir International Foundation Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali Boroujerdi appointed Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli as president of the Ghadir International Foundation. Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali Boroujerdi is also a member of the Assembly of Experts. (ABNA)
Military and Security
Basij forces kickoff two-day military exercises. Brig. Gen. 2C Farhang Mostae’ed announced that Basij forces started combat and defensive drills on September 10 in northeastern Iran. The IRGC Hazrat-e Abbas (Ardebil) 37th Brigade Commander added that the Basijis will also work on relief and rescue operations. (Fars News Agency) (E)
Defense Minister: Development of the Makran coastal strip is a priority. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan praised the Iranian armed forces for ensuring a secure environment for national infrastructure development projects. The Defense Minister said that development of the Makran region south of Sindh and Baluchistan is a priority for the current government. (Tabnak)
- Sayyari: Developing Makran’s coasts is one of the Navy’s main priorities. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari called creating security for Iran’s maritime borders important for developing trade and added, “Developing the coasts of Makran in Chabahar and Konarak is [one of] the Navy’s main priorities. With the creation of new bases in these coasts, the Navy creates security and conditions for development.” The Artesh Navy Commander also stated that “the security of the country’s vessels in the Indian Ocean is the result of the strong presence of Iran’s Navy… Know that the Navy is currently watchful over the country’s maritime borders with authority.” (Mehr News)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Atrchian: Turkey did not close the border because of a transportation dispute. Mohammad Javad Atrchian stated “the issue of security in Turkey” was the cause of Turkey closing its border with Azerbaijan, not a “dispute over transportation.” The director general of the Department of Transit and Border Terminals in the Road Maintenance and Transport Organization added that his organization warns drivers against moving into Turkey overnight, and advises drivers who do cross the border at night to wait overnight in the Gorbalgh customs station parking lot and proceed to their destination in the morning. (IRIB)
- Afkham: Violations of territorial integrity will destabilize region. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham criticized Turkey’s recent ground incursion into Iraq, stating that violations of territorial integrity and breaches of sovereignty “will complicate the crisis in the region and provide foreign countries with a justification for intervening in the region.” (MFA)
- Zamaniniya: Japan approves of proposal to increase Iranian oil imports. Amir Hossein Zamaniniya announced that Japan welcomed an offer to increase Iranian oil imports to a level as high as 350,000 barrels per day during meetings with a senior Japanese trade delegation in Tehran. The Deputy Petroleum Minister for International and Commercial Affairs stated that Iran is “not after taking revenge on countries that left Iran during the period of sanctions,” and will “move ahead...based on our national interests.” (Press TV) (E)