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: The senior military advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned against escalating tensions with Saudi Arabia.

IRGC Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi stated that Iran “should never move towards tensions with Saudi Arabia” during remarks on September 13. Safavi also claimed that Saudi Arabia “wants to have tense relations with Iran,” indicating that he does not expect a complete de-escalation in tensions, however. Iran and Saudi Arabia have escalated criticism of each other over the past week leading up to the anniversary of the 2015 Hajj stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia, where over 2,400pilgrims, including over 460 Iranians, died. Safavi also stated that Iran needs to improve its relations with other Gulf states, including “Oman, Kuwait, and even Qatar.” President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, discussed regional issues in a telephone conversation with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani.

Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati stressed that the newly-brokered Syrian ceasefire must not “be used as a vacuum” upon which groups such as Jabhat Fatah al Sham, the successor of Syrian al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra, could capitalize. Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan also stated that all parties involved in the ceasefire “must submit to the will” of the Assad regime.

Fox News reported that the Iranian military “threatened to shoot down” two U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft that were flying near Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, according to three unnamed U.S. defense officials.

AEI Must-Reads

  • 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.

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Senior advisor to Supreme Leader: Iran should not increase tensions with Saudi Arabia. IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi called for Iran to improve its relations with the Gulf states during remarks on September 13. Safavi stated, “We must improve our relations with Oman, Kuwait, and even Qatar. We should never move towards tensions with Saudi Arabia.” Safavi claimed that the Saudis “want to have tense relations with Iran” and stated, “The Saudis are incensed at Iran’s increasing geopolitical weight. They blame Iran for their own failures in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and even Yemen.” (Asr Iran)
    • President Hassan Rouhani stated that “regional issues must be solved by regional countries and only via political negotiation, dialogue, and understanding,” during a phone conversation with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani. (Mehr News Agency)
  • Velayati: Syrian ceasefire “should not be used as a vacuum.” Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati commented on the Syrian ceasefire recently brokered by the U.S. and Russia. He stated, “The ceasefire is acceptable when it has been agreed to by all parties, especially the Syrian government and Syria’s allies, including Iran and Hezbollah.” Velayati also noted, “The ceasefire and the cessation of fighting is to everyone’s liking. However, if the price is that the enemies of the Syrian government and nation exploit the ceasefire, it will not only be useless, but also harmful… The ceasefire should not be used as a vacuum, such that terrorist groups like [Jabhat] al Nusra have time to strengthen their objectives.” (Mehr News Agency)
  • Defense minister: Parties involved in Syrian ceasefire “must submit to the will” of the Assad regime. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan discussed the Syrian ceasefire plan. He stated, “All parties must submit to the will of the legitimate government of Syria. It is important that the Syrian crisis not have a military solution. The ceasefire should be used to help the besieged areas.” Dehghan stated, “Of course…  it is possible that the sponsors of the takfiri terrorists might use this opportunity [of the ceasefire] to equip the terrorists.” (Tasnim News Agency)


  • Iran expresses interest in buying nuclear reactors from Japan. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) HeadAli Akbar Salehi said Iran is ready to buy nuclear reactors from Japan. Salehi stated that “Iran is ready to enter negotiations in this field if we receive an offer or proposal that we consider to be interesting.” (ILNA)
  • Rouhani administration spokesman defends FATF regulations. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht stated that the Friday prayer leaders who criticized Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regulations for Iran are “unaware of the government’s actions.” Nobakht added, “We expect… compassion and fairness regarding the services of the Islamic Republic of Iran and government in... Friday prayer forums.” (ISNA)
    • Jalil Rahimi Jahambad, a member of Parliament’s Judiciary Committee, announced that Parliament has started to review the FATF regulations. Jahambad said that “as experts we have the duty to review contracts and agreements as well as other political, economic, and security aspects of the treaty.” (Fars News Agency)

Military & Security

  • IRGC unveils new vessel. The IRGC Navy unveiled the Shahid Nazari, a new “high-speed” catamaran, in the port city of Bushehr. The ship reportedly can carry up to 100 people and a helicopter. Iranian media claimed that the ship was 55 meters long and 14 meters wide. (Tasnim News Agency)
    • IRGC Navy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi spoke about the IRGC Navy’s operations in the Persian Gulf during the unveiling ceremony. He praised the IRGC Navy for “completely tracking all of the vessels belonging to the six countries under the dominance of the U.S in the Persian Gulf,” likely a reference to GCC states. (Tasnim News Agency)
    • The president of the IRGC Navy’s Research Organization stated that the “construction of a ship with these capabilities” supports the IRGC’s “plans to establish a presence in far- off waters.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Military delegation travels to South Africa. Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari is heading a senior military delegation to Johannesburg for an aerial military equipment exhibition. (Tasnim News Agency)
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