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: Members of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA censured former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s criticisms of the JCPOA.
Several members of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA reacted to Supreme Leader’s Representative to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili’s September 7 criticism that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, is a violation of the Supreme Leader’s redlines and entails the renunciation of many of Iran’s nuclear rights. Parliamentarian Massoud Pezeshkian stated that Iran was “seeking just two rights, [both of] which we obtained.” Parliamentarian Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani, meanwhile, criticized Jalili’s tenure as a senior nuclear negotiator under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors Reza Najafi stated that it is “possible” that Iran will export its nuclear stockpile to Russia. Under the JCPOA, Iran must either down-blend its excess stockpile of enriched uranium hexafluoride, or sell it internationally.
The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages on www.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 the nuclear negotiations’ success as fuel for his broader reform movement, and Supreme Leader’s Khamenei’s decision to make sure Rouhani does not get too out of hand in his most recent blog post, “Did the Supreme Leader cut Rouhani down to size?”
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
JCPOA commission member responds to Jalili’s comments on the agreement. Parliamentarian Massoud Pezeshkian reacted to former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s criticism that accepting the, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, would be the renunciation of Iran’s “100 God-given rights.” The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA member stated, “We were seeking just two rights, which we obtained. The first was international authorization for nuclear activities, and the second was to have heavy water, both of which were included in the JCPOA.” He continued, “In my opinion, the JCPOA is a great achievement…” Pezeshkian also stated, “Several commission members have personal conflicts that are incompatible with an unbiased review.” (ICANA)
Arani: “What was the result of Jalili’s approach?” Parliamentarian Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani pushed back against former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s criticisms of the JCPOA. The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA member questioned Jalili’s record as a nuclear negotiator, asking, “What was the result of Jalili’s approach during his six years… Which was harsher, [UNSC] Resolution 2231 or [UNSC] Resolution 1929?” UNSC Resolution 1929 was the 2010 resolution which required the UN member states to impose sanctions on individuals and entities involved in ballistic missile or nuclear activities, IRISL subsidiaries, Iranian banks, and IRGC-linked entities and individuals, among other new sanctions. (ILNA)
Najafi: We are considering sending nuclear stockpiles to Russia. Reza Najafi said it is “possible” that Iran will export its nuclear stockpile to Russia during a press conference in Vienna. Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors stated that Iran is currently reviewing its “strategies, methods, and options” and added, “One existing option is changing and converting stockpiles, and another option is exporting products to other countries.” Najafi stated that Iran’s policies “have always been based on the Supreme Leader’s historical fatwa banning the access, production, stockpiling, or use of nuclear weapons.”
On Israel: Najafi discussed a recent statement from the Non-Aligned Movement and stated, “In this statement, it was announced that all the countries in the Middle East have joined the NPT and are implementing the [IAEA’s] safeguards. The only member of the IAEA that has not joined the NPT or submitted its weapons to [IAEA] oversight is the Zionist regime.” Najafi stated that the Agency’s members should demand that Israel “join the NPT and submit its weapons to Agency oversight.” (Tabnak)
- On Israel: Najafi discussed a recent statement from the Non-Aligned Movement and stated, “In this statement, it was announced that all the countries in the Middle East have joined the NPT and are implementing the [IAEA’s] safeguards. The only member of the IAEA that has not joined the NPT or submitted its weapons to [IAEA] oversight is the Zionist regime.” Najafi stated that the Agency’s members should demand that Israel “join the NPT and submit its weapons to Agency oversight.” (Tabnak)
Kamalvandi: There is no additional fourth document. Behrouz Kamalvandi denied that Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi admitted to the existence of a “fourth text” to the nuclear agreement during a session of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. The AEOI Spokesman quoted Salehi as saying, “Based on paragraph 52 of the first annex of the JCPOA, it was established that we will submit information about our general research and development program to the Agency [the “long-term enrichment R&D plan”].” Kamalvandi added, “When countries implement the Additional Protocol, they must also submit this plan. Right now, we are in the process of preparing this plan, and after it is ready, we will submit to the Agency.” Kamalvandi said that the information on this program does not necessarily qualify as an additional “document” to the agreement. He added that it is the AEOI’s responsibility to prepare the plan and that “various countries normally submit this information to the Agency confidentially.” (ILNA)
Kowsari: The IAEA “cannot be trusted.” National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member Mohammad Esmail Kowsari responded to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano‘s September 9 remarks concerning “ambiguities” about Tehran’s past nuclear activity. Kowsari, who is also a member of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA, criticized the IAEA and said that “the agency cannot be trusted.” Kowsari claimed that the IAEA acts at the behest of American officials, specifically stating: “Amano and his [subordinates] are completely dependent on America and its allies.” (Mehr News)
Ayatollah Kermani: Parliament “must carefully examine” the nuclear deal. Ayatollah Ali Movahedi Kermani reiterated the Supreme Leader’s call for a comprehensive review of the JCPOA in Parliament. The Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader advised opponents and supporters of the nuclear deal in government to take “legal steps” in order to facilitate an objective examination of the agreement. Kermani also warned that Iran will reverse its nuclear suspensions if the U.S. fails to perform its obligations under the JCPOA. (ABNA)
Ayatollah Khatami defends the Guardian Council’s right to supervise elections. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami stated, “That fact that some raise ‘the right of the people’ as a weapon to beat the Guardian Council is itself against the rights of the people.” The Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member said, “In our country – where religious democracy rules – this principle has been accepted, and all people – whether supporters or opponents - accept approbatory supervision, wherein candidates must meet a set of conditions…” (Fars News Agency)
Assembly of Experts member: “European presence is dangerous.” Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda discussed the P5+1 nuclear deal and the threat it poses to the Islamic Republic. The Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader, who is also a member of the Assembly of Experts, suggested that some Iranian officials believe that the JCPOA will lead to rapprochement with the U.S. He also warned about Western plots to influence the Iranian nation. He referred to a recent wave of European delegates coming to Iran and stated that “European traffic is dangerous.” Alam ol Hoda emphasized the regime’s red line on negotiating beyond the nuclear issue, stating, “[The Supreme Leader] explicitly said that our negotiations are strictly nuclear.” He added that Iran will not be led astray from the Islamic “Revolution and one day open [its] eyes and see the same nation of the country’s former empire [ruled by Reza Shah].” (Mashregh News)
Mansour Haghighat Pour: “The defeat of the Republicans weakens the Zionists.” Parliamentarian Mansour Haghighat Pour discussed the debate in the U.S. Congress on the JCPOA during an interview with ICANA News Agency. The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA member stressed that the “Republican defeat” in the Senate weakens the “Zionists” and stated, “The main message of this defeat is that the extremist American currents have gone into decline…” (ICANA)
- Sedighi calls for vigilance against American plots to gain influence in Iran. Hojjat ol Eslam Kazem Sedighi said that Iranians must remain alert to the threat of foreign influence. The Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader asserted that the U.S. continues to hatch plots to spread sedition in the Iranian nation. (Rasa News)
Seif: CBI is working on lowering inflation and interest rates. Valiollah Seif discussed the state of the economy during an interview with the IRIB News Agency. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Head stated that CBI’s measures to organize the country's "unauthorized financial institutions" have “made progress.” In addition, Seif stated that with "the reality of our economy, reducing inflation and interest rates should be adjusted” in line with the market, but acknowledged that "it takes time" to implement these policies. Seif also discussed "a new momentum in banking reform," while describing the poor state of the banking system stemming from a "volume of bad loans accumulated in the past 10 years..." He added that the country needs to improve its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) to at least 4%, which is the average amount needed to “raise capital in the banking system…” (IRIB)
- France to send major trade delegation to Iran. A French trade delegation comprising 130 firms, including French companies Total and Peugeot, will arrive in Tehran later in September to "study investment potentials." Thibault de Silguy, the vice president of French lobbying firm Medaf, stated, "There will need to be offers that have a strong local dimension and are competitive in pricing, but also the financial problems need to be resolved." (Press TV) (E)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Larijani: American presidential candidates do not understand Iran. Ali Larijani discussed the nuclear deal and regional crises during an interview with a German newspaper. The Parliament Speaker noted that a sufficient number of votes have been reached in the U.S. Congress to approve the nuclear deal and added that “statements” from American presidential candidates demonstrate “that the topic of Iran is not clear or comprehensible for them.” Larijani was also asked about what would happen if a Republican became the next U.S. president and subsequently refused to implement the deal. He responded, “We will give a mutual response... But it is ugly if the U.S. does such a thing, and it will show to the world that there is no confidence whatsoever in the American government’s decisions.”
- Larijani was asked if “cooperative relations” with the U.S. are possible. He responded, “This issue is completely dependent on the U.S. The Supreme Leader has said that the nuclear agreement should be considered a test.”
- “Overall, I am confident that the Vienna agreement is acceptable. The American government never stopped harassing us during negotiations. They have constrained us to things that have no legal, technical, or intellectual logic. The Islamic Republic of Iran has nonetheless achieved some of its goals. This agreement has weaknesses and shortcomings. People in Iran exist who reject this agreement, and many of them sit in Parliament.”
- On regional issues: “Without Iran, Baghdad and other Iraqi cities would fall into the terrorists’ hands. A group of other countries are saying that they fight terrorists, but in reality, they help them. Where do terrorists’ weapons come from? They don’t fall from the sky...”
- “Countries in the region exist that want to revive their past empires, and at the same time, countries exist that want to spread their extremist ideas. In the past four and a half years, they came to us and said that they will occupy Damascus within two weeks. We warned them about the bitter consequences of this type of action and the formation of new terrorist groups in Syria. I said the same thing to European politicians, but they did not listen to me. The only person who listened to me was the Foreign Minister of Germany.”
- On resolving the Syrian crisis: Larijani stated that a political solution in Syria must have four parts. The first is that it must take the “desires of the people” into account rather than being “aristocratic.” The second is that there must be “one united national government” in Syria, and that “no group must feel that they have been ignored by the government.” Larijani stated that the third required component is that “the rights of minorities are protected,” and the fourth is that the solution must “fight against extremists.”
On Tehran-Riyadh relations: “The Saudis are like brothers to us, but they are making errors, and they should not expect us to support them in that regard.” Larijani pointed to Saudi Arabia’s “interference in Yemen and Bahrain” and stated, “If we assume that they are concerned about their personal interests and that their concerns are well-founded, does this issue give them the right to attack this country, kill people, and destroy infrastructure? They must solve this issue diplomatically.” Larijani added, “Rivalries are stupid.” (Entekhab)
Ali Larijani meets with Iraqi counterpart. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani attended a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Salim al Jabouri in Tehran. The two discussed "bilateral relations" and “exchanged views” on numerous issues. (YJC)
- Zarif to visit China. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Beijing on September 15 to meet with his Chinese counterpart and “other senior officials.” (IRNA) (E)