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: President Rouhani declared that the IRGC is not the sole guardian of the Islamic Revolution and stressed the need for national unity.
President Hassan Rouhani praised the IRGC for its vital role in safeguarding the Islamic Republic. Rouhani, however, insisted that “representatives in Parliament, the Supreme National Security Council, and the…armed forces, and other institutions share this duty, and…all institutions of the Islamic Republic are obliged to protect” the Islamic Revolution.” Rouhani urged Iranian officials to coalesce into a unified front and help the government overcome economic challenges. Rouhani, meanwhile, appeared to be walking back past remarks on sanctions, stating: “We are not saying that the cruel sanctions imposed by the great powers [the West] can be lifted overnight, but through the nation’s resistance, the brave armed forces, and the Supreme Leader’s guidance we were able to [overcome] this issue.” Rouhani previously touted the negotiating team’s success in defeating the sanctions regime.
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
Rouhani: Economic strength will deter the enemy from sanctioning Iran. President Hassan Rouhani addressed a gathering of senior IRGC commanders and officials on September 15 in Tehran. Rouhani hailed the IRGC for protecting the nation and stated, “It is true that the IRGC is the guardian of the Islamic Revolution… However, representatives in Parliament, the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), and the…armed forces, and other institutions share this duty, and according to the Constitution, all institutions of the Islamic Republic are obliged to protect and preserve the achievements of the Islamic Revolution.” He also attributed Iran’s success in the P5+1 talks to its defensive might and diplomatic reasoning. Rouhani added:
- “If we want different institutions to fulfill their duties—the highest of which is to preserve the Islamic Revolution—we should not forget that the success of this [duty] is only possible if everyone [is united]…”
- “The government requests the help of all, in particular the armed forces, in accordance to Article 147 of the Constitution, which states that in conditions of peace the armed forces must assist the government in building the country and overcoming these challenges.”
- “We have an [Islamic] Revolution, a path, and a system… with the slogan of independence, freedom, and the Islamic Republic…”
- “Today, no superpower is capable of making decisions for the Islamic Republic and we will not also allow such a move, but independence has other dimensions as well…True independence means that in our own region we can be an effective player and are able to support our interests, our friends, and other Muslim interests.”
- Rouhani censured regime hardliners who are opposed to the nuclear deal and said, “If we face hurdles in selling our own oil in global markets, it is contradictory with full independence.”
- “We may claim to have reached one hundred percent political independence, but in the fields of science and economy… we should take more steps.”
- On sanctions: “It is correct that we regard the big powers’ sanctions as unjust and did not accept them, but others and even our friendly countries have unfortunately enforced these sanctions. So, it is necessary for us to fully display our independence in the international scene.”
- “We are not saying that the cruel sanctions imposed by the great powers [the West] can be lifted overnight, but through the nation’s resistance, the brave armed forces, and the Supreme Leader’s guidance we were able to [overcome] this issue.”
- On the Resistance Economy: “Resistance Economy means a deterrent economy and just like our country created military deterrence so that our enemies will not even think of attacking Iran, the economic sphere should also reach a level of deterrence so that the enemy feels that Iran sanctions and lack of economic cooperation with Iran is a detriment to them.”
- On the nuclear deal: “We do not think that just because we achieved diplomatic victory against the P5+1…that all the problems have been resolved; our enemies are sitting waiting for the end of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic, which of course they will certainly take this wish to the grave.”
- On Fordow: “The Fordow site—even its name was not supposed to remain—will continue working as a research center with more than 1,000 centrifuges.”
- On regional crises: “Can we remain silent and sleep well, while our Muslim brothers in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Islamic territories in the North African region are being brutally killed under enemies' plots? Is it possible for us?”
- “Today Muslims are killing each other in Iraq and they (the enemies) have given control over people's life and properties to a number of mercenaries under the name of jihad. Who will take benefit from this move?"
- “Is it acceptable that the Zionist [Israeli regime] has hired a number of mercenaries to dominate the people of Iraq in the name of jihad?”
- Notable attendees at Rouhani’s speech included IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami. (President.ir) (ABNA) (President.ir)
Velayati: Saudi Arabia’s policies in Yemen cause disagreement. Ali Akbar Velayati discussed regional issues during a visit with a German delegation in Tehran.
- The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor stated, “We have no problem with Saudi Arabia. We are two Muslim and brother countries that have relations, more or less, with each other. Some of Saudi Arabia’s regional policies, especially with Yemen, are what have created problems… At the same time, I hope their policies for Iraq and Yemen change. In this regard, I must say that Saudi Arabia’s old politicians also know that this direction that has been taken is not correct. That is why Saudi Arabia has taken huge hits in the six wars that it has had in the past.”
- “Our position on Syria is the same as it was before… The interference of foreign forces by dispatching weapons, political support, and manpower to Syria to fight against this country’s government has never had any justification to us.” Velayati added that even if someone has “problems” with Syrian President Bashar al Assad, “these actions and casualties are not justified.”
- Velayati also praised Iranian-German relations, stating that he was optimistic about the future of bilateral relations. (ISNA)
Araghchi: Parliament will ratify the Additional Protocol when Congress cancels sanctions. Abbas Araghchi discussed the restrictions in the nuclear deal during a session of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs said that “the time for ratifying the Additional Protocol in Iran’s Parliament will correspond to the cancellation of sanctions in Congress.” He also stated:
- On the JCPOA: “If the next American president does not accept the JCPOA, then we will cancel the JCPOA.”
- “The JCPOA says that Iran will accept the restrictions for eight years, and after that, Iran will have its own [nuclear] program. Iran itself will define this program… We will arrive at 192,000 SWU [Separative Work Units] in the thirteenth year. No restrictions for Iran’s [nuclear] program will exist. At that point, we will define our own [nuclear] program for ourselves.”
- On red lines: “The Supreme Leader’s red lines have been completely observed. We accept the restrictions for ten years. The assumption is that after ten years, confidence has been built. Therefore, after ten years, this resolution will dissolve spontaneously.”
- “It is not pretty talk when we say that the Supreme Leader’s red lines have not been observed. The root of the sanctions will be cancelled. None of the Supreme Leader’s red lines have been rejected.” (Entekhab)
Shariatmadari: Khamenei was not satisfied with the SNSC review. Hossein Shariatmadari published an editorial analyzing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments regarding parliamentary review of the nuclear deal. The Managing Editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan notes that the SNSC’s initial report on the JCPOA was submitted to the Supreme Leader before the September 3 speech in which Khamenei announced that Parliament should not be “sidelined” on the nuclear deal. Shariatmadari speculates that Khamenei did not find the SNSC review of the JCPOA “sufficient,” prompting the Supreme Leader to stress the necessity of Parliament reviewing the JCPOA. (Kayhan)
Boroujerdi: If sanctions are not removed, we can return to our previous activities. Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi discussed the statements made by members of both current and former negotiating teams during a session of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman, who is also a member of the special commission, warned that “it was always emphasized that if the opposing side does not act on its commitments, we can return to the first position.” (Mashregh News)
Araghchi and Nahavandian attend session of the special parliamentary commission. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini said that Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi and the President’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian attended a session of the special commission’s morning session on September 15. Nahavandian outlined the economic effects of sanction relief for commission members. (IRIB)
Saeedi: The nuclear program is one of our greatest tools. Ali Saeedi identified the “nuclear issue” as one of Iran’s “greatest tools.” The Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC added, “We must observe all conditions and be prepared for any situation.” (Fars News Agency)
Zakani invites IAEA Director General to address Parliament’s JCPOA commission. Parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani invited IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to attend a hearing session. The Head of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA referred to Amano’s recent meeting with the U.S. Congress and implicitly questioned the IAEA, stating: “We all know that America is the enemy of the [Islamic Revolution], but Amano has gone to Congress. Accordingly we would like to hear his opinions in the Iranian Parliament.” (ICANA)
- Salehi meets with Amano. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi met with General Secretary of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano on the sidelines of the 59th Annual General Conference in Vienna. (Tabnak)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Zarif meets with Chinese Prime Minister. Mohammad Javad Zarif thanked China for its “positive role” in the nuclear negotiation process during his visit with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing. The Foreign Minister hoped that China “will continue its positive role in the process of implementing the JCPOA.” He added that Iran can become more of a “strategic partner” to China after the JCPOA’s implementation. (MFA)
- Abdollahian: Iran and Kuwait are determined to increase bilateral cooperation. Hossein Amir Abdollahian described Iran-Kuwait ties as “constructive” and praised President Hassan Rouhani and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah for cooperating to establish stability in the region. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs insisted that extremists and enemies will be prevented from undermining ties between regional countries. (Press TV) (E)
Military and Security
Salami: The IRGC has a strategy to counter Western soft power threats against Iran. At a gathering of senior IRGC commanders and officials on September 15 in Tehran, IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami stated that Iran’s “resistance is underway in a new form today, by the directive of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution that the enemy’s strategy is to infiltrate [Iran’s] governance and values to change minds and hearts… in this new atmosphere, the IRGC has a countering strategy, and we are here to say that today, nothing has changed.” The IRGC Deputy Commander also stated, “The Basji Organization is an important part of our Islamic Revolution, and we seek to develop it into an even bigger and better version of itself.” (Sepah News)
- Sayyari: The Artesh Navy 36th Fleet will be deployed by the end of the week. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that the Artesh Navy 35th Fleet, which is composed of the frigate Alvand and the support ship Bandar Abbas, “will enter territorial waters by the end of the week.” The Artesh Navy Commander stated that the Artesh Navy 36th Fleet, composed of the support ship Bushehr and frigate Jamaran, will leave Iran and “will begin its mission before” the return of the 35th Fleet. (Defa Press)
Ghalibaf criticizes the “non-implementation” of the Resistance Economy. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf criticized the “non-implementation of the Supreme Leader’s guidelines” for the Resistance Economy. The mayor of Tehran stated that Iran could achieve the Supreme Leader’s goals for the Resistance Economy “if the culture of sacrifice and martyrdom were running through various administrative levels of the country.” Ghalibaf added that Iran’s “power and authority are derived from a culture of martyrdom and sacrifice. As long as this culture flows through our society, nothing can threaten us.” (Rasa News)
Nobakht unveils new economic project on equity shares. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht stated that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance is “currently involved in a new plan in which people can make better use of their equity shares.” The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President stated that a report with more details on the project will be released. He added that the ministry is concerned with “increasing the purchasing power of households.” (YJC)
Iran plans agricultural outsourcing in Ukraine. Mohammad Beheshti Monfared said Iran will expand its economic transactions with Kiev during a meeting in Tehran with a Ukrainian trade delegation led by Ukrainian Chargé d’affaires in Iran Sergey Krasnoshapka. The Iranian Ambassador to Ukraine stated that Iran will begin "agricultural land outsourcing in 8,000 square meters of the mainland of Ukraine in the form of dry farming, and it aims to increase the figure up to 20,000 square meters in future." He announced that a direct Tehran-Kiev flight will start operation under Iranian Mahan Air "within a month" and that an Iran-Ukraine joint economic cooperation commission is scheduled for November. (Fars News Agency) (E)
Karbasian: Iran will have $26 billion in mining sector investments by 2020. Mehdi Karbasian stated that the investments in the mining sector will reach $26 billion by 2020. The Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade added that Iran will invest $500 million for “the discovery of new iron ore reserves” in the next five years. (IRNA) (E)
French hotel group will open two hotels in Iran. AccorHotels will open two four-star hotels near Tehran’s international airport on October 15. AccorHotels will partner with the Iranian company Aria Ziggurat, which owns the building. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
- NPC officials meet with Spanish investors. Officials from the Spanish National Association of Manufacturers of Capital Goods (SERCOBE) met with representatives from Iran's National Petrochemical Company (NPC) to discuss areas of future investment in Iran’s energy sector. SERCOBE is a Spanish organization representing over a hundred industrial companies. (Mehr News) (E)