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 contributor 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: Foreign Ministry officials announced Iran’s support for the Syrian ceasefire plan brokered by the U.S. and Russia.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi stated that Iran “always welcomes a ceasefire in Syria.” Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari also praised the ceasefire, stating, “Iran welcomes any kind of ceasefire and peace plan that ends or limits the human tragedy in Syria and that is based upon the Syrian nation’s votes.” The Syrian government and rebels reportedly violated the ceasefire within an hour after came into effect at sunset on September 12, however.
IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri denied that IRGC Navy vessels have violated international norms during recent interactions with U.S. vessels in the Persian Gulf. He stated, “Iranian vessels always act according to international laws and regulations based on defined standards. The [Americans’] claims have no truth and stem from their fear of the power of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s soldiers.” Senior American officials including U.S. CENTCOM Commander General Joseph Votel have expressed concern about the recent uptick in Iranian vessels’ harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf. An anonymous American defense official recently told CNN that there have been 31 “unsafe” encounters between U.S. and Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf so far in 2016, up from 23 incidents in all of 2015.
- J. Matthew McInnis explains what Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s recent speech declaring Iran’s “inalienable right” to “offensive and defensive capabilities” could mean for Iran’s future military developments in his latest blog post, “Ayatollah Khamenei takes Iran on the offensive.”
- Marie Donovan analyzes how Russia’s use of an Iranian air base could improve Iran’s deterrence capabilities against the U.S. in “Russian Basing in Iran is about More than ISIS.”
- Christopher Harmer explains why international attention must turn to Moscow’s delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran in “The Strategic Impact of the S-300 in Iran."
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Foreign Ministry officials support Syria ceasefire. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi discussed the most recent Syrian ceasefire during remarks on September 11. He stated that Iran “always welcomes a ceasefire in Syria and the facilitation of the access of all the country's people to humanitarian aid.” Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari also stated that Iran “welcomes any kind of ceasefire and peace plan that ends or limits the human tragedy in Syria and that is based upon the Syrian nation’s votes.” Ansari travelled to Russia on September 12 to discuss regional issues with Russian officials. Iranian media reported that “there is a high probability” that Syria will be the focus of the discussions. (Press TV) (E) (ISCA) (ILNA)
IRGC brigadier general denies IRGC Navy harassment of U.S. vessels. Massoud Jazayeri, a deputy of the Armed Forces General Staff, denied that IRGC Navy vessels have violated international norms during recent interactions with U.S. vessels in the Persian Gulf. Jazayeri stated, “Iranian vessels always act according to international laws and regulations based on defined standards. The [Americans’] claims have no truth and stem from their fear of the power of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s soldiers… When the Americans pass by Iranian vessels at a distance of several kilometers, they claim that Iranian ships came within a single kilometer.” Jazayeri also vowed that Iran will continue to protect its “territorial waters and economic interests” and “will never be held captive by the propaganda of the enemies outside of the region and their stooges in the region.” (Entekhab)
- Zarif: The Saudi regime is cruel and irrational. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the government of Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorism and called the Saudi regime “cruel and irrational” on the anniversary of the death of hundreds of Iranian Hajj pilgrims in Mina, Saudi Arabia in 2015. Zarif added that the Saudi government was born out of “stubbornness, stupidity, intolerance, and extreme wealth and size.” The Mina incident has been a source of tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia recently. (MFA)
- Guardian Council rejects parliamentary resolution to limit vetting powers. Guardian Council Spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei announced that the Guardian Council rejected a parliamentary resolution limiting the time periods in which the council can disqualify electoral candidates. The conservative-dominated Guardian Council has veto power over all parliamentary legislation and also vets electoral candidates. It has disproportionately disqualified reformist candidates. The council sparked controversy during the spring 2016 parliamentary elections by disqualifying a reformist candidate after she had won a seat. Opponents of the decision, including President Hassan Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, had asserted that the Guardian Council only has the right to disqualify candidates before election day. Kadkhodaei explained that the resolution would have violated Article 99of the Iranian Constitution, which empowers the Guardian Council to “supervise” elections. (Jamaran)
Military & Security
IRGC reportedly kills four Jaish al Adl members in Sistan and Baluchistan province. The IRGC announced that its forces killed “the leader of this group and three other members” during a clearing operation in Sistan and Baluchistan province. The report added that two other members of the group were wounded during the operation. Jaish al Adl is a Sunni insurgent group based in Sistan and Baluchistan province. In recent months, Iranian news agencies have announced a number of arrests and security operations targeting the group, which Iranian officials claim receives support from Saudi Arabia. (Raja News)
Artesh Navy admiral dies while “on mission.” Admiral Gholam Reza Shirani, the commander of the Artesh Navy’s 2nd Naval District, died while “on mission,” according to a statement released by the Artesh Navy. Iranian news agencies did not disclose the cause, date, or location of his death. (Tasnim News Agency)
- AFGS chief issues Eid-e Ghorban statement. Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri called for the “destruction of takfiri terrorists” and the complete “liberation of Islamic territory from Zionist occupiers” in a statement commemorating Eid-e Ghorban, the Islamic holiday honoring Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God. (ISNA)
Iran and Russia officially begin construction on planned reactors. Iran began construction of two planned nuclear reactors with Russian assistance on September 10 in the southern city of Bushehr. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi noted that the two reactors will be completed within ten years. First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri called the construction a “product of the nuclear deal’s implementation.” Moscow and Tehran signed an agreement to construct up to eight new nuclear reactors in Iran after Russia completed its work on Iran’s first nuclear reactor in Bushehr in 2013. (Press TV)
- Supreme Leader’s representative: The IRGC doesn’t need the banks. Abdullah Haji Sadeghi, the Supreme Leader’s deputy representative to the IRGC, stated that if some banks “cause the IRGC to lose resources, it is [the banks themselves] that will be damaged... The IRGC has many capabilities such that it can manage itself. It is others who need the IRGC.” Two Iranian banks reportedly refused to work with the IRGC’s engineering wing recently. (Fararu)
Casualties in Iraq & Syria
- Fatimiyoun commander killed in Syria. Morteza Ataei, the deputy commander of the Afghan Shia militia Fatimiyoun Brigade’s Omar unit, was killed in Latakia, Syria. (Defa Press)