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: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei downplayed the nuclear deal’s role in reducing the threat of military conflict.

Khamenei stated that “some officials have credited the removal of the military threat and war to certain [political] measures… The only factor in removing the military threat has been and will continue to be military and defensive power.” He made the remarks during a speech before IRGC commanders ahead of Sacred Defense Week, which marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. Khamenei’s statement conflicts with Rouhani’s comments in July crediting the nuclear deal and Iran’s negotiating team with helping prevent a “military attack on Iran.” Khamenei and Rouhani have expressed competing views on the nuclear deal’s impact in other arenas as well since its implementation in January. Khamenei has questioned, for example, whether the deal has had any “tangible effect on the people’s lives,” while Rouhani has argued that the deal expanded Iran’s economic choices.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi condemned the U.S. airstrike around Deir al Zour in eastern Syria that allegedly killed more than 60 Syrian soldiers. He claimed that the attack indicates that terrorist groups “enjoy America’s support in Syria.”

Iran denied Saudi Arabia’s letter to the UN Security Council alleging that Iran had provided arms to the Houthis rebels in Yemen. Iran called the allegations “unsubstantiated claims.”  

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

  • Khamenei rejects U.S.-Iran dialogue on regional issues. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for an increase in Iranians’ mistrust of the U.S. and praised Iran’s military capabilities during a speech before IRGC commanders on September 18. Khamenei deemphasized the role that President Hassan Rouhani and the nuclear deal played in avoiding military conflict, stating, “Throughout the past several years, some officials have credited the removal of the military threat and war to certain [political] measures. That is not true. The only factor in removing the military threat has been and will continue to be military and defensive power and the creation of fear in the enemy.” Khamenei also stated:
    • “We observed America’s hostility during the long years after the Islamic Revolution, during the recent nuclear negotiations, and in other issues.”
    • “Mistrust in America must increase daily… Some individuals say that America is an enemy, but there are no feelings of mistrust in them.”
    • Khamenei stated that the U.S. has been pursuing negotiations with Iran on regional issues including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. He warned that the U.S. “has no aim except preventing the regional presence of Iran, the primary factor behind America’s failures… Negotiations with the U.S. are not only useless but also harmful.”
    • IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari and IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani attended the speech. Jafari stated during the event, “We will not allow America’s evil plan to influence and transform [Iran’s] political system to be realized.” (Tasnim News Agency) (Khabar Online)
  • Foreign Ministry condemns U.S. airstrike on Syrian troops. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi denounced the U.S. airstrike in eastern Syria that allegedly killed more than 60 Syrian soldiers, according to the Russian military. Ghassemi stated that the attack shows that terrorist groups “enjoy America’s support in Syria.” U.S. officials have stated that ISIS militants were the intended target. National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi also denounced the strike. He stated, “It is expected that Russia will [now] attack terrorist groups and positions with even more force.” (Mehr News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)
    • Deputy foreign minister meets with Bashar al Assad. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari reaffirmed Iranian support for the Syrian government during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus. (Fars News Agency)
  • Iran denies Saudi allegations of arms transfer to Yemen. The Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN addressed Saudi Arabia’s September 14 letter to the president of the UN Security Council (UNSC). The letter alleged that Iran had provided arms to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Iran called the Saudi allegations “unsubstantiated claims that have not been verified by any independent entity” and condemned Saudi Arabia’s “irrational war against the people of Yemen.” (ABNA(E)
  • AEOI “rejects” EU’s demand to disclose details of rotor tube development. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi dismissed the EU’s demand that Iran disclose the details of its development of rotor tubes, a component of centrifuges. Kamalvandi referenced the most recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which confirmed Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal despite its production of rotor tubes. He also “blasted certain EU members for their excessive demands, and said if they want more information, they should provide Iran with necessary materials for the rotors of centrifuges,” according to Fars News Agency. Kamalvandi added that the EU’s demand was unofficial, stating, “One or two members of the EU may have certain views, and these views are not considered as the EU's definite view.” Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, similarly dismissed the EU’s demand as “political propaganda.” (Fars News Agency(E) (IRNA)
  • Salami: Iranian presence in the Persian Gulf is not “provocative.” IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said that Iran’s presence on the boundaries of its territorial waters and in international waters “is not provocative.” He added that Iran has a “duty” to have complete intelligence of potential enemy activities. Salami was likely responding to recent statements from U.S. Navy and government officials that the IRGC Navy has harassed American vessels in the Persian Gulf. (Press TV) (E)
  • Hardliner parliamentarian criticizes visit by Utah state senator. National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member Javad Karimi Ghodousi accused Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis’s recent visit to Iran of being part of the West’s “infiltration plot” against Iran. Ghodousi added that he will question Intelligence Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi on the senator’s trip during an upcoming parliamentary hearing. (Tasnim News Agency)


  • Parliamentary panel gives final approval for IPC contract. Parliament’s Energy Commission Spokesman Asadollah Qarehkhani announced that a parliamentary panel has approved the Rouhani administration’s third draft of the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) for final implementation. Criticism from prominent hardliners, particularly in Parliament, has forced the Rouhani administration to revise the text of the agreement several times. The IPC is designed to provide more incentives for international firms to invest in Iran’s energy sector compared to the terms of the previous “buyback” model. The IPC allows contracts to last up to 25 years, for example, and gives foreign partner companies more control over the development of oil fields. The Iranian government hopes that the sweetened terms of the IPC will attract nearly $50 billion of annual investment into Iran’s energy sector. (Shana)
  • Former foreign minister: The SNSC has approved “new conditions” for FATF compliance.Kamal Kharrazi, the head of the Iranian Strategic Council on Foreign Relations and a former foreign minister, announced that the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) has approved “new conditions” for Iran’s compliance with the proposed Financial Action Task Force (FATF)regulations. Kharrazi added that Parliament is currently debating legislation that would codify Iran’s obligations under the agreement with the FATF. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Minister: U.S. to deliver licensing for aircraft sales by end of the month. Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan stated that Iran expects the U.S. will issue regulatory approvals for the sales of Boeing, Airbus, and ATR aircraft to Iran “by the end of September.” He noted that Iran had initially expected that the U.S. would issue the necessary licenses by the end of August. Iran must acquire regulatory permissions from the U.S. for the sales to be completed due to the high number of U.S.-supplied parts in the aircraft. Reuters alsoreported that Iran reduced the number of planes it intends to buy from Airbus from 118 to 112 following the regulatory approval delays. (Tasnim News Agency)
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