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 criticized the nuclear deal for preserving the “legal framework of sanctions.” President Rouhani called for measures that will expand the role of the private sector in the national economy.

Former nuclear negotiator Jalili claimed that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) fails to removes the framework of sanctions during a meeting with members from the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. In response, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reassured members of the commission that sanctions will be removed upon implementation of the nuclear deal.  Deputy Parliament Speaker Hojjat ol Eslam Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard reinforced Zarif’s comments claiming that the termination of previous UNSC resolutions is a “major victory” for Iran. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani, meanwhile, warned U.S. Republicans against any attempts to re-impose sanctions on Iran.

President Hassan Rouhani attributed the majority of Iran’s economic deficiencies to former President Ahmadinejad’s failed policies. He stated that Iran has dramatically reduced its dependence on oil revenues. Rouhani also urged all sectors of the government to transfer their “share in the economy to the…cooperative and private sectors…”

The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages on Iran Tracker 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

  • Jalili: The legal framework for sanctions remains in place. Former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili was present at a session of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Supreme Leader’s Representative to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) discussed the nuclear agreement’s implementation, sanctions, verification measures, and enrichment. 
    • “To start implementing the agreement, Iran must take 80 actions; 40 of them are positive and 40 of them are negative. But in this time, the opposing side sets and accepts the rulebook.” Jalili reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s stance that if the sanctions are just “suspended,” Iran will merely “suspend” its nuclear program as well.
    • “We must use [our] leverage. For example, [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry stresses that there is no option other than the agreement. Therefore, we are a witness that the opposing side has been forced into a decline. Even in the Geneva agreement, we forced them to free $4.2 billion of Iranian money.”
    • On verification measures: Jalili added that “where the [IAEA] can slip in for tests is a topic of concern… The [IAEA] has a duty to ask questions and do verifications. But there is something noteworthy in the JCPOA – that we have given wider permissions for verifications than is in the NPT and in [regular] protocol.”
    • “Of course, if one of the P5+1 countries complains that Iran’s nuclear activities are outside of the [JCPOA] framework this complaint will be put to a vote in the dispute resolution council. If five members agree, Iran is required to give access to [the IAEA]. And if such permission is not given, [United Nations Security Council, or UNSC] Resolution [2231] and the JCPOA will be cancelled.”
    • “One of the topics that we must note is what perception the review process and our actions create in the enemy… We must be vigilant that the enemy is not struck by a mistaken perception so that they want to increase their excessiveness.”
    • On sanctions: Jalili stated that the “legal framework for sanctions” remains in the nuclear agreement. He added, “Of course, a portion of them [the sanctions] are temporarily limited, particularly the European Union sanctions. It must be noted that some of them are suspended, and some other ones will be suspended after eight years.” Jalili emphasized that “the Security Council’s sanctions also return with merely one member’s complaint.”
    • “Yes, Europe is cancelling its sanctions, but the entire debate is that it [the nuclear agreement] preserves the framework of sanctions. Our question is why this framework must remain when you say that sanctions will be cancelled after eight years… Obama said in a letter to Democratic senators, ‘Don’t worry; we’ll issue sanctions in other areas.’”
    • On enrichment: “America did not accept [our] right of enrichment in Muscat, Geneva, or Vienna. They have not accepted it anywhere. Even in the JCPOA, they have used the words ‘has been allowed.’” (ICANA)
  • Zarif: I will not respond to Jalili’s comments. Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed the nuclear deal and recent statements made against the nuclear deal by former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. The Foreign Minister stated, “I have no intention of responding to Dr. Jalili. When he was responsible for negotiations, I did not give a single interview [about him] because I don’t recognize arguments as being in the country’s interest.”
    • On sanctions: “All of the economic, financial, and European Union sanctions will be cancelled on Implementation Day. All of the sanctions that America imposed on non-American actors – their implementation will come to a halt… Do you want to be [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu’s pawn and say, ‘Hey, why are sanctions [just] halted?’ These words that you say are against the Supreme Leader’s opinion.”
    • On investment: “Be mindful of the future. A friend said, ‘No sane person wouldn’t invest in Iran.’ Now there is a queue for having a presence in Iran. European governments have brought all their business. We are not insecure about our country’s room for investment… Iran is the safest country for investment.” (Entekhab)
  • Rezaei: Trust the Supreme Leader on the JCPOA. Citing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “supervision in all affairs,” Mohsen Rezaei stressed that “there is no particular cause for concern” with respect to the JCPOA. The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary also expressed his support for the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA’s assessment of the deal. In response to the question of “whether you [Rezaei] intend to separate from the Islamic Resistance Front of Iran [political organization Rezaei helped found in 2011] in order to run separately in the elections,” Rezaei stated: “I do not intend to participate in the elections.” (
  • Deputy Parliament Speaker: Cancelation of UNSC Resolutions is a major victory. Hojjat ol Eslam Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard criticized former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s comments on the JCPOA. The Deputy Parliament Speaker, who is also a member of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA, hailed the termination of previous UNSC resolutions as a “major victory” for Iran. Addressing Jalili, Aboutorabi Fard noted, “If you had allowed conversations to take place in your own era [as a nuclear negotiator], maybe [UNSC] Resolution 1929 would not have been passed.” (Tabnak)
  • Salehi: JCPOA and roadmap involve reciprocal measures. Ali Akbar Salehi stated that the JCPOA and the Iran-IAEA Roadmap involve “reciprocal measures” that should be observed by both sides. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head also stressed that UNSC Resolution 2231 authorizes Iran to possess “peaceful nuclear technology including full fuel cycle and the right to enrichment, while preserving its existing nuclear infrastructure,” and that Iran is “determined to further develop peaceful nuclear technology for national needs.” (Press TV) (E)
  • Kowsari: UNSC Resolution 2231 needs to be clarified. National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member Mohammad Esmail Kowsari stressed that UNSC Resolution 2231’s impact on Iran’s missile capacity must be clarified. Kowsari, who is also a member of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA, asked: “Why has the issue of Iran’s missiles come [under] Resolution 2231? Even though [Iranian] diplomats say that Resolution 2231 has no effect on the missile industry, what is the reason for discussing this issue in this resolution?” (Raja News)
  • Parliamentary review commission to decide how to submit final report. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated that the Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati and “some international lawyers” will attend the commission’s morning session on September 16. The Spokesman of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA added that the commission will then decide how to send their final report on the JCPOA to Parliament during its afternoon session on the 16th. (ILNA)
  • Shafi: The SNSC will have the final decision. Parliamentarian Nozar Shafiei discussed parliamentary review of the JCPOA during an interview with ICANA News Agency. Shafi, who is also a member of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA, stated that “it is not predicted in Parliament that a negative vote will be given to the JCPOA; it is arranged for us to review the JCPOA and it is my belief that the SNSC will have the final decision.” (ICANA)
  • Shamkhani to U.S.: Do not try to re-impose sanctions on Iran. Ali Shamkhani called on the Obama administration to stop any attempts to reapply sanctions against Iran. The SNSC Secretary promised that “any kind of sanction that would lead to the revival of pressures on Iran would naturally receive a decisive response from the Islamic Republic of Iran." (Fars News Agency) (E)
  • Assembly of Experts member: The Supreme Leader has given the final word on the Guardian Council. Ayatollah Abbas Kaabi stated that “it is imperative that the statements of the Supreme Leader about the Guardian Council are the final word for all political currents and factions.” The Society of Qom Seminary Teachers member explained that while “the presence of righteous candidates in elections is...the right of the people,” verifying their qualifications is the “duty of the Guardian Council.” Kaabi censured those who “insist on doubting [the Guardian Council’s] supervision and raise questions about the law, because they… lack the necessary legal qualifications for entering into the governmental institutions of the Islamic system.” Kaabi added that “the Guardian Council will act legally to protect and defend the rights of the people from the beginning of electoral activities until the end.” (Mehr News)
  • Kayhan editorial: “If Rouhani had criticisms of the electoral process, he should not have been a candidate.” Conservative news outlet Kayhan published an editorial criticizing President Rouhani’s comments on the Guardian Council. The editorial stressed that the “continual constitutional violations in the behavior and comments of administration officials—including not sending a bill about the JCPOA to Parliament and attacking the approbatory supervision of the Guardian Council—does nothing but increase the people’s distrust of the government.” The editorial added that “if Rouhani had criticisms of the electoral process, he should not have been a candidate.” (Kayhan)
  • Iran, U.S., and China hold trilateral talks on JCPOA. Senior officials from Iran, the U.S., and China held a trilateral meeting regarding the JCPOA on the sidelines of the 59th annual IAEA General Conference in Vienna. One topic of discussion was the process for preparing documents related to redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
  • JCPOA commission inspects Arak heavy water reactor. Members of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA inspected the Arak heavy water reactor at Khondab. The visit is to ensure that the facility is operating within the parameters of the JCPOA agreement. (IRIB)
  • Governor of Qom meets with Assembly of Experts Chairman. Governor of Qom Mehdi Sadeghi met with Assembly of Experts Chairman Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi. Yazdi praised Qom for its role as a center for the spread of revolutionary thought, and noted that “while the enemies of the [Islamic] Revolution are numerous and have changed, the support of clergy and the original revolutionaries has led to the failure of the enemy in this field.” (Rasa News)



  • Rouhani: Government’s share in the economy should be privatized. President Hassan Rouhani met with heads of Iranian cooperative unions on September 12 to discuss the economy. Rouhani attributed Iran’s economic hardship to previous administrative flaws and stated, “Unfortunately, despite [its] positive points, rich culture, and educated people, our country has witnessed some deficiencies in the economic sector.” He identified dependency on oil revenues as a major economic weakness and highlighted the government’s efforts to address such deficiencies, Rouhani added:
    • On privatizing the economy: “We must take small steps and [transfer] the government’s share in the economy to the…cooperative and private sectors; however, certain parts of the government [will] not tolerate giving parts of the economy to the people… But all government sectors must prepare themselves for this important work.”
    • “We should identify cooperatives as a sector of the economy that brings justice to all; however, despite hopes for an increased role of cooperatives after the [Islamic] Revolution, it ceased to hold its role in economy; the Ministry of Cooperatives and Labor should carry out an investigation into the causes of success and failure in the sector.”
    • On sanctions and falling oil prices: “Iran’s economy is based on a single product and oil; a dependence which has not been completely abolished yet.”
    • “Some large oil producing countries that are dependent on [Western] power—in order to place pressure on Iran and later Russia—decided to reduce oil prices from $110 to $40 [price per barrel].”
    • “Our nation has resisted… Our nation should know that the arrogance and the big powers have placed chains on Iran’s economic movement and impeded its progress, targeting its dignity, freedom, trade, and sale of its resources. And now, the JCPOA has broken all the chains.”
    • On the JCPOA: “No one can claim throughout history that what our national heroes did in holding talks with the [P5+1] powers for two years in the context of the [nuclear] deal is inconsistent with the dignity…of the Iranian nation. You do see that the whole world and all countries, excluding an illegitimate regime [in Israel] and a number of extremists inside America, have been humble before the agreement, taking it as a move in line with international peace.” ( (E)
  • Firouzabadi: Officials have been notified of Resistance Economy policies. Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi discussed the Resistance Economy during a conference with senior officials from the IRGC, Artesh, and Law Enforcement Forces (LEF). The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief stated that the “General Staff have been notified of the policies" of the Resistance Economy and "there is no excuse" for officials to not understand the Supreme Leader's position. He added that the Armed Forces should "exploit their capabilities" to implement the Resistance Economy and “move our nation” forward. (ABNA)
  • Seif: “In the last two years, we have been effective in curbing inflation.” Valiollah Seif described the Central Bank of Iran (CBI)’s monetary policy. The CBI Head praised President Rouhani’s administration for having “a central role” in curbing inflation and stabilizing the economy. (YJC)
  • Iran to build a GTP plant with assistance from a European bank. Abbas Sha'rimoqaddam stated that the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) is planning to build a gas-to-propylene plant "through a joint investment with a European bank." The NPC Managing Director did not name the specific bank, but announced that the required construction permits for the GTP have already been obtained from the Ministry of Oil. (Kayhan) (E)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Rouhani meets with Brazilian foreign minister. President Hassan Rouhani called for expanding Tehran-Brasília ties in a meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira on September 13 in Tehran. Rouhani invited Brazilian companies to invest in Iranian projects. (
    • Rouhani issues statement on the Jewish New Year. President Rouhani issued a congratulatory message to the Jewish people on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah. (Entekhab)
  • Shamkhani meets with Brazilian foreign minister. Shamkhani met with Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira in Tehran on September 13. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary stressed “the need to confront the urgent threat of ISIS and al Nusra Front,” and called for “effective and sincere international cooperation and the powers' abstention from using terrorism as a tool to impose their will on independent countries.” (Fars News Agency) (E)
  • Amoli Larijani: Saudi Arabia fosters sedition. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani expressed his condolences for victims of the crane collapse in Mecca’s Grand Mosque during a meeting with senior officials from the Judiciary. The Judiciary Head criticized Saudi Arabia for “fostering sedition and training takfiri groups.” Larijani also warned of U.S. plots to expand western influence after the nuclear deal. (Mashregh News)
  • Abdollahian: Iran’s ambassador to Yemen left Sana’a for a medical checkup. Hossein Amir Abdollahian rejected a recent Al Jazeera report claiming that Tehran’s ambassador to Sana’a has fled Yemen. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs stated that Ambassador Seyyed Hossein Niknam returned to Iran “for medical examinations.” Abdollahian stressed that Iran has “no plans” to shut down its embassy in Yemen. (ISNA) (E)

Military and Security

  • Pakpour: Operations in northwest Iran to clear terrorists. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour discussed two successful security operations in northwestern Iran against "terrorist groups, drug traffickers, and thieves." The IRGC Ground Forces Commander stated that the operations were "considered ambitious and unattainable… [due] to the ruggedness of the mountains… [which] required extensive preparatory actions before the military operations..." Pakpour announced that the armed forces have cleared terrorists in the country's northwestern border areas and that "our soldiers" have a "permanent presence there." (Sepah News)
  • Fazli: Western influence on the government caused 1999 student protests. Basij Organization Deputy Commander IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fazli discussed the July 1999 student protests in Iran. Fazli, who was the IRGC Sarallah Base (Tehran) Deputy Commander at the time, argued that “Western influences on the government were the source of the university student intrigue.” (Basij)
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