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 contributors Shayan Enferadi and Hirad Yaldaei. 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: IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani issued a statement downplaying divisions between the IRGC and the Rouhani administration.

Soleimani asked for Iranians to ignore “the enemy’s remarks, which are made with the goal of sowing discord and creating confrontation.” He did not mention any American by name, but Iranian media reported that he was referring to recent remarks by former American diplomat Dennis Ross. Ross recently called for the U.S. to “affect the balance of power” between the IRGC and President Hassan Rouhani by blocking the IRGC’s activities in the Middle East and reducing its influence. Soleimani also appeared to deny that he will be entering politics, vowing that he will remain “a soldier until the end of my life, God willing.” Iranian law prohibits active IRGC members from holding political office.

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.

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Soleimani warns Iranians that enemy has “the goal of sowing discord.” IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani released a statement criticizing “the enemy’s divisive comments” on September 15. Soleimani asked for Iranians to ignore “the enemy’s remarks, which are made with the goal of sowing discord and creating confrontation.” Soleimani also appeared to deny that he will be entering politics. He vowed in his statement that he will remain “a soldier until the end of my life, God willing.” Soleimani recently reignited speculation that he will be entering politics when he criticized the Bahraini government for stripping the citizenship of leading Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim. Rumors that Soleimani was interested in entering politics also arose after the Quds Force Commander met with a group of pro-Larijani parliamentarians in late May. (Fars News Agency(E) (IRIB)
  • Zarif meets with Mexican FM. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu in Mexico City to discuss expanding bilateral economic and trade cooperation, specifically in the banking sector. (Fars News Agency(E)


  • Officials debate “manipulated” economic statistics. Kazem Jalali, the moderate-conservative  head of the Parliament Research Center, criticized the Statistical Center of Iran’s work during a televised debate with the Statistical Center’s head, Omid Ali Parsa, on September 14. The two institutions released differing statistics on the growth of the Iranian economy last year. Jalali accused the Statistical Center of publishing false statistics, stating, “Sometimes statistics are incorrect, and sometimes there have been manipulation and interference in them. Professional institutions do not accept the Statistical Center’s statistics.” Parsa denied that his center received an order to “manipulate the statistics.”. Jalali also criticized the “politicization” of statistics and referred to the differing statistics given by the Statistical Center, the Rouhani administration, and the Central Bank of Iran for the year 1391 (2012-2013). He stated, “No center accepted the statistics of any other center. This must change.”
    • The debate between Jalali and Parsa follows Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s criticism of differing statistics on September 13 during a meeting with officials from the Statistical Center of Iran and the National Population and Housing Census. Khamenei criticized erroneous statistical reporting for creating “mistrust among the people.” He referenced “the labelling of some statistics from previous administrations as incorrect by subsequent administrations” and stated, “The source of this divergence must be made clear.” Khamenei was likely referring to accusations by President Hassan Rouhani that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration falsified important economic statistics. (Alef) (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Russo-Iranian trade increases 67 percent. Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei announced that trade between Tehran and Moscow increased 67 percent in the first six months of the current year compared with the same period in 2015. Iran confirmed reportsearlier this year of Russia’s plan to open a $5 billion credit line for Iran to help finance joint infrastructure projects. (Fars News Agency(E)
  • Kayhan: Compliance with the FATF regulations is an affront to Iran’s sovereignty. Leading conservative newspaper Kayhan published an op-ed claiming that the ongoing controversyover Iran’s compliance with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regulations is “more important than preventing the financial transactions of the IRGC or the Ministry of Defense.” The op-ed claims that Iran’s compliance with the regulations “are a step down a road that leads to us losing our independence.” (Kayhan)
    • Friday Prayer Leader Policymaking Council: The administration does not coordinate Friday prayer leaders. Reza Taghavi, the head of the Friday Prayer Leader Policymaking Council, pushed back against recent comments from Rouhani Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, who criticized Friday Prayer leaders for their objections to the proposed FATF regulations. Taghavi noted that the Rouhani administration has no authority to coordinate or recommend topics for Friday prayer speeches. (Raja News)

Casualties in Iraq & Syria

  • Two Afghans buried in Yazd. Iranian news outlets reported that two Fatimiyoun Brigade fighters killed in Syria were buried in Yazd. (ABNA
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