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: Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani reinforced the Supreme Leader’s IRGC sentiments and advocated measures to increase the IRGC’s role in the economy.

Ali Larijani declared the IRGC is living embodiment of the Islamic Revolution; he explicitly praised the IRGC Qods Force for “defending the oppressed people of the region.” Larijani, moreover, suggested that the government should support the IRGC’s role in the economy, stating: “If the IRGC and Basij [Organization] have a meaningful program for rural economies, we are ready to assign [them] a share in the Sixth [Development] Plan for this work.” The Parliament Speaker’s statements reflect a calculated effort to indirectly sell the nuclear deal to the IRGC in the context of sanctions relief

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Larijani: We are prepared to allot funds from the Sixth Development Plan to the IRGC. Ali Larijani addressed a gathering of IRGC commanders on September 16 in Tehran. The Parliament Speaker said that the IRGC personifies the Islamic Revolution and its values; Larijani added that the IRGC is not only committed to protecting the Islamic Republic, it also stands for the “oppressed countries in the region.” He also discussed Iran’s support for regional resistance movements against the West and its allies and claimed: “If we support the Yemeni people it is because they are oppressed.” Larijani added:
    • “The fact that we fully support the [IRGC] Qods Force does not mean that we are after an empire in the region; we are only defending the oppressed people of the region.”
    • Defense capabilities: “IRGC’s military preparedness especially in the field of missiles should increase, and there should be no limitation in this regard.”
    • IRGC role in the economy: “If the IRGC and Basij [Organization] have a meaningful program for rural economies, we are ready to assign [them] a share in the Sixth [Development] Plan for this work.” (Sepah News)
  • Kowsari: JCPOA commission report will be presented to Parliament on October 2. National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member Mohammad Esmail Kowsari indicated that the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is still interested in interviewing officials that have not attended a session. Kowsari, who is a member of the JCPOA commission, stated that “the Special Commission to Review the JCPOA is summing up its views…the final report will [likely] be presented to Parliament on October 2.” (YJC)
  • Iran and IAEA complete meeting on roadmap. Reza Najafi stated that the IAEA and a team of Iranian scientists have concluded a series of talks aimed at “discussing and examining” the IAEA’s questions. Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors added that “all activities have been agreed upon, including expert meetings and discussions ending by October 15.” (Alef)
  • Kayhan editorial: “Did Rouhani not say that all sanctions would be removed?” Leading conservative news outlet Kayhan published an editorial criticizing the Rouhani administration’s rhetoric on sanctions relief under the JCPOA. The editorial asks, “Did the President not clearly say; ‘I announced that all sanctions will be removed on Implementation Day – even the missile and weapon sanctions would be removed on Implementation Day?’… But the reality is something else.” The editorial also pushed back on the administration’s changing rhetoric on the frozen assets scheduled to be released through the JCPOA: “The amount of the frozen assets has shrunk from the announced $180 billion to $5 billion …Why did all the promises change suddenly?” (Kayhan)
  • Ayatollah Khazali is buried in Tehran. Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali, who passed away on September 16 at the age of 90, was buried at Tehran University on September 17. Khazali was a member of the Assembly of Experts, the head of the Al Ghadir International Foundation, and a former member of the Guardian Council. Funeral attendees included NSFP Parliamentary Commission member Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi, and the Supreme Leader’s Representative to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili.  (Rasa News)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • U.S. reportedly reaching out to Iranian diplomats in Iraq. According to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), American diplomats in Iraq are interested in holding talks with Tehran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danaeifar. The report cites an unnamed source in the Iraqi government stating, “As far as I know, American officials asked a number of Iraqi figures” to mediate the talks. The Iraqi official added: “Iran's diplomatic initiative in Iraq and the region, its popularity among the Iraqi political parties and tribes as well as Tehran's complete awareness towards the diplomatic situation of the region are the main reasons…[why] American diplomats [want] to communicate with their Iranian counterparts in Iraq.” (IRNA(E)
  • Ambassador to Iraq stresses importance of Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity.Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Hassan Danaeifar reiterated Tehran’s position on maintaining a sovereign and unified Iraqi state in a meeting with former Iraqi Vice President Osama al Nujaifi in Baghdad. (Fars News Agency(E)
    • Former Iraqi VP requests Iran's help to free abducted Turkish workers. Former Iraqi Vice President Osama al Nujaifi requested that Tehran help release 18 kidnapped Turkish workers during a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Hassan Danaeifar in Baghdad. Danaeifar promised Tehran's “all-out aid and assistance to Baghdad.” (Fars News Agency(E)
  • Larijani meets with Syrian ambassador in Tehran. Ali Larijani met with Damascus’ Ambassador to Tehran Adnan Mahmoud on September 16. The Parliament Speaker reiterated Iran’s commitment to the Syrian people and officials, stating: “The Islamic Republic of Iran continues its support for Syria and believes that, with a new political strategy and initiative, Syrian leaders should be given the opportunity to solve their internal problems and overcome the terrorists.” (ICANA)
  • Iran and Russia scheduled to hold talks next week. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian will meet with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov on September 21 in Moscow to discuss regional developments. (Tasnim News Agency(E)
  • Tehran: GCC statement is “baseless.” Marzieh Afkham rejected the final statement of a recent meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers as “baseless and unsubstantiated.” The statement accused Iran of interfering in the affairs of GCC member states. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman stated that several GCC states seek to derail Iran’s return to the global community and its efforts to engage constructively with neighboring states. Afkham also advised GCC countries to discontinue destabilizing policies that escalate regional tensions instead of accusing Iran of supporting terrorists. (MFA) (E)
  • Foreign Ministry official denies prisoner swap with al Qaeda. An unnamed official at the Foreign Ministry denied that Tehran secured the release of an Iranian diplomat held in Yemen by freeing five senior al Qaeda operatives. The official stated that “such fabrications seek to distort the facts and overshadow Iran’s efforts against terrorism and extremism.” (Press TV) (E)


Military and Security

  • SCC holds first meeting. The Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC) held its first meeting after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed new members to serve four year terms on September 5.  Abolhassan Firouzabadi was elected as the Secretary of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace and Head of the Iran National Cyberspace Center. Abolhassan Firouzabadi has reportedly spent over 25 years in the IT sector and held senior positions in several Iranian companies. It is reported that he was a candidate for minister for Communications and Information Technology under Rouhani’s administration. (Gerdab) (Fars News Agency)
  • Artesh Navy 36th Fleet heads to the Gulf of Aden. The Artesh Navy 36th Fleet, composed of the support ship Bushehr and frigate Jamaran, has departed Iran for the Gulf of Aden. The Artesh Navy 35th Fleet, which is composed of the frigate Alvand and the support ship Bandar Abbas, is scheduled to return to Iran’s waters today. Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stressed that “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s continuous presence in the waters of the region and the world will persist.” (Tasnim News Agency) (ISNA)
  • Alavi: Our eastern border is secure. Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi credited Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) operatives and “other security apparatuses” for increasing Iran’s security. The MOIS Head stated, “We enjoy a high level of national security, and the people feel it… Our country’s eastern borders are secure, and the country has unparalleled stability overall.” (YJC)


  • Mesbah Yazdi: “How can it be said that inflation has lessened?” Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi discussed inflation rates and the threat of foreign influence at a gathering of university students. The Assembly of Experts member stated, “Today we buy a commodity or a product at, for example, 3 thousand tomans, but this product costs 8 thousand tomans the following week. How is it said [referring to the Rouhani administration] that inflation has been reduced and sanctions have been lifted?”
    • Head of the Imam Khomeini Teaching and Research Institute Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi also criticized “decision-makers” who do not fully understand “cultural danger.” He stated, “Iran is the subject of an invasion from every side through economic, scientific, and defensive sanctions… That which will cause our victory over the enemies is cultural service.” Yazdi added that the enemy’s “greatest struggle” is “eliminating culture” and stated, “From the moment of the Islamic Revolution’s victory, the enemy understood that it must take away revolutionary thinking from the nation and change the nation’s values in order to suppress the [Islamic] Revolution. Unfortunately, [the enemy] is being successful.” (Entekhab)
  • EU court annuls sanctions against Iranian Aluminum Company. The Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization released a statement reporting that the General Court of the European Union voted to annul sanctions against the Iranian Aluminum Company. The Iranian Aluminum Company is the largest aluminum producer in Iran. (Press TV) (E)
  • Microsoft reportedly opens branch in Iran. According to Iranian news outlet Tabnak, Microsoft “recently” opened a branch in Tehran. The report noted that “not a single Microsoft official” has confirmed the news. (Tabnak)
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