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 expressed his approval for the nuclear deal. The “Power of Sarallah” military exercises began in Tehran.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said that he considers the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) a “good deal” in an interview with CNN. Larijani suggested that the agreement is a “beginning for a better understanding” with the U.S. Larijani also acknowledged that he cannot say whether the deal will be approved or not.
IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari commenced the “Power of Sarallah” military exercises. Twenty-three IRGC “cultural cyber-space” battalions from the IRGC Mohammad Rasoul-Allah unit are also holding cyber security drills in the exercises.
The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages on www.irantracker.org 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 and AEI Research Assistant Tara Beeny analyze recent attacks on Iranian vehicles travelling in Turkey in the context of expanding Turkish involvement in Syria and Iranian media reports claiming Turkey’s support to ISIS in their most recent blog post, “Are Iran-Turkey relations on the rocks?"
Larijani: Negotiating with Washington signals “a beginning for a better understanding.” Ali Larijani discussed the nuclear deal, relations with the U.S., and regional issues in an exclusive interview with CNN on September 1. The Parliament Speaker said that the nuclear deal “in general is an acceptable agreement.” Larijani also stated:
- On the nuclear deal: “The agreement reached is acceptable, although there may be some shortcomings in it, but overall I think it is a good deal.”
- “I think this deal is a more realistic solution because the Americans adopted a different path in the past regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, which was based more on bullying or intimidation. And of course sanctions. But it proved to be very ineffective and that's why the Americans chose another way and that was negotiations.”
- Larijani said that he cannot say whether the deal will be approved or not, but stated, “Parliament will pass its judgement [on the nuclear deal] in a month.”
- On Iran-U.S. relations: “There is no doubt that America’s past behavior and warmongering in the region caused a lot of damage.”
- “The warmongering of the former American President [Bush]… was not easy…the Iraqi people saw the damage of war… more than a million [Iraqi] people were killed and injured…”
- “Even [Iraq’s] war against Iran, now that the Iraqi intelligence officials have released documents, shows that the Americans encouraged and supported Saddam [Hussein] in the [Iran-Iraq War]. These actions caused America to be called the Great Satan…”
- “I think this path [of negotiations] that they [the Americans] chose is a more realistic one. And it is a beginning for a better understanding for other issues as well. I mean the regional and international issues. And I think because there was not such a proper understanding in the past [between Iran and the U.S.]; there were some challenges between us.”
- On the “destruction” of Israel: “Saying [that] Iran is anti-Semitic is all wrong; we [Iran] do not have any problem with Judaism, we believe that it is a heavenly religion. We have so much respect for the Jews, for the Prophet of God Moses… and for his heavenly book the Torah; we believe that Moses was a great prophet… You know that there are Jews living in Iran, a small minority of 20,000 Jews, but they have their own representative in the Iranian Parliament…”
- “We are in no way anti-Semitic; we respect Jews… but we have problems with the government of Israel… Why should some people make other people displaced and drive them out of their homes? And these Palestinians need to leave their motherland and go to [refugee] camps… and live in poverty… They [the Israelis] are forcing a nation [the Palestinians] out… This is wrong and oppressive.” (Mashregh News) (CNN) (E) http://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/461999/%D9%86%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D9%85%D9%86%D9%81%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D9%88%D8%B6%D8%B9%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%86-%DA%A9%D9%85%DA%A9-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B2%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%B3%D9%85-%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%AA%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%A8%DB%8C-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D8%B4%D8%AF http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/02/world/amanpour-transcript-ali-larijani/
Pourdastan: The U.S. wants to create a new Middle East order. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that American politicians’ “opposition to the Islamic Republic” soon after the nuclear deal was reached “demonstrated that the Supreme Leader was not speaking nonsense when he said, ‘I am not optimistic about negotiations.’”
- On relations with the U.S.: The Artesh Ground Forces Commander added that after the agreement, “some felt that we don’t have any problem with America, and that everything has been solved; but the reality is not like this because our enmity with America is deep-rooted… Although we have reached an agreement today with the other side, we must be aware that our country opposes America on many regional issues.” He added, “The Americans seek the disintegration of regional countries, especially Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, because the creation of a new Middle East is only possible this way.”
- On soft war: “The Iranian nation’s historical memory is full of American crimes because America launched the  rebellion in Kurdistan by supporting opposition groups after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Then they launched the Eight-Year War [the Iran-Iraq War] to destroy the Islamic Republic… When they were unable to reach their goals with a hard war, they were forced to change their tactics.”
- Pourdastan accused the U.S. of “using religion against religion and launching proxy wars” to achieve its regional goals. He said that ISIS’ goals of “distorting the true face of Islam and destroying the values of this ideology” follow the same “soft war” tactics implemented by the U.S.
- Pourdastan added that the U.S.’s soft war with Iran includes targeting young people, and stated, “We must be watchful of our children and young people… Young [Iranians] should not be concerned with WhatsApp, Viber, Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram.” (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/52221
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Rouhani calls for expanded IT network. President Hassan Rouhani discussed measures that will help expand Iran’s information network in a cabinet session on September 2 in Tehran. Rouhani stressed the importance of increasing productivity and reducing transaction costs in all sectors in order to service a “mobile and electronic government.” He added that the government plans to enhance the role of information and communications technology to facilitate economic growth. Rouhani also stated that Iran “must have the necessary planning for cultural and educational dimensions and optimal use of cyberspace for moral and cultural development of young people.” (President.ir) http://president.ir/fa/89118
Araghchi: Enrichment will not stop “for even one day.” Abbas Araghchi said that the nuclear negotiation team “fully observed” Iran’s red lines during a meeting of the Assembly of Experts. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs stated, “Enrichment will not stop for even one day; this is while the opposing parties abandoned their own policy of ‘zero enrichment.’” Araghchi claimed Iran “has reached all of its goals and desires in the negotiations” and “has imposed its will on the opposing side regarding the continuation of enrichment.” He added that one characteristic of the accepted restrictions is that “not one of them is permanent or eternal.”
- Araghchi discussed “the move toward industrial and commercial enrichment 15 years in the future.” He stated that “industrial and commercial enrichment has been formally recognized” in both the negotiations and the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
On surveillance of its nuclear program: “Iran does not have a secret nuclear program. For that reason, accepting greater surveillance over its nuclear program does not create fear per se, unless this surveillance is misused for other goals.” Araghchi added that there has been “coordination with security and military institutions and apparatuses so that the possibility of misuse [of surveillance mechanisms] is zero. So in that sense, we have no worries.” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=93765
JCPOA review commission to inspect Fordow and Natanz. Spokesman of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated that members of the commission will inspect the Fordow and Natanz nuclear facilities. Commission members will discuss with experts at each site on the changes being made according to the deal. Hosseini added that the inspections will continue until September 2, and that an inspection of the Arak reactor is scheduled for September 9. (Entekhab) http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/223877
Dehghan: No inspections beyond the scope of the NPT. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stated that Iran will cooperate with the IAEA according to the requirements of the NPT. The Defense Minister warned that while Iran is “committed to our obligations,” it has “no plans for the future to allow them access to whatever site they want.” (Press TV) (E) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/09/02/427413/Iran-Defense-Minister-Hossein-Dehqan-IAEA-NPT-nuclear-sites-
Ayatollah Kaabi recommends formation of Assembly of Experts commission to review deal. At a dinner for Assembly of Experts members, Ayatollah Abbas Kaabi recommended the “formation of a special commission of Assembly of Experts members to review the nuclear deal.” The Assembly of Experts member said the commission would provide the “Assembly of Experts’ opinion” in the form of a “proposal,” which would be presented to the Supreme Leader and the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Hosseini Bushehri also stressed the need “to provide academic and administrative solutions for the serious struggle against manifestations of corruption and the enemy’s cultural NATO.” (Rasa News) http://www.rasanews.ir/NSite/FullStory/News/?Id=284859
- Baeidinejad: Our negotiating team divided the U.S. Congress. Hamid Baeidinejad stated that the nuclear negotiations divided U.S. Congress "for the first time in the history of America." The Foreign Ministry’s Director for Political and International Affairs stated that the negotiations have put Americans "in serious trouble" with Israeli lobbyists. In addition, Baeidinejad stated that the West believed Iran entered the talks in a position of weakness due to the sanctions, "but we proved to them [Western negotiators] that Iran is... [negotiating] from a position of strength..." Baeidinejad concluded by stating that “Iran will soon be one of the leading nations in the field of nuclear energy." (Tabnak) http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/528659/%D8%A8%D8%B9%DB%8C%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%98%D8%A7%D8%AF-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%DB%8C%D9%85-%DA%A9%D9%87-%DA%A9%D9%86%DA%AF%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%B4%D8%AF
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Larijani meets with British, French, Syrian, and Omani counterparts. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani discussed regional developments with his Syrian, British, French, and Omani counterparts during the sidelines of the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in New York.
- With Syrian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Jihad al Laham: Larijani stressed Iran’s continuing support for Syria and claimed that the “axis of resistance will certainly be victorious.”
- With Speaker of the British House of Lords Baroness Frances D'Souza: Larijani warned about the expansion of terrorism in the Middle East, claiming that “fighting terrorism requires the partnership of everyone.” Larijani also discussed expanding foreign investment and trade between the two countries.
- With French Deputy Parliament Speaker Laurence Dumont: Larijani discussed the nuclear deal, stating that “although the nuclear deal has problems, it is an acceptable agreement… but we must wait and see the result of the discussions in the Iranian Parliament.”
With Omani Parliament Speaker Sheikh Khalid bin Hilal al Mawali: Larijani discussed the Syrian civil war, stating that “a political solution must change the situation.” Larijani added, “All groups, except for radical terrorist groups, can have a role in the future of Syria.” Larijani also praised Oman’s “positive role in the region, especially in negotiations with Yemen.” (ISNA) http://www.isna.ir/fa/news/94061107031/%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%86%DA%AF%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%B3
Deputy Foreign Minister meets with Nasrallah in Lebanon. Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed regional developments in a meeting with Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on September 2 in Beirut. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs warned Muslim countries about Israel’s plot to exacerbate tensions in the region by supporting terrorist groups. Abdollahian reiterated Tehran’s position and said, “Iran always backs security and stability in Lebanon and the region.” (Mehr News) http://www.mehrnews.com/news/2902342/%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B2%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%86%D8%B5%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%85%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%AA%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B7-%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1
- Abdollahian: President Bashar al Assad is “part of the solution” in Syria. Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that President Bashar al Assad is “part of the solution” to the Syrian conflict during a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut. The Deputy Foreign Minister said that he also emphasized Assad’s role in the peace process during a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940611000821
Military and Security
Jafari commences the “Power of Sarallah” military exercise. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari commenced the “Power of Sarallah” military exercise with a statement declaring recognition “to the real commander of the drill, the Last Messenger of Allah.” “Sarallah” means “blood of God,” in reference to the blood spilled by Hossein, the third Shia Imam. (YJC) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5310546/%D8%B1%D8%B2%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B4-%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AB%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%DA%A9%D9%84-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A2%D8%BA%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%B4%D8%AF
IRGC holds cyber security exercises. Twenty-three IRGC “cultural cyberspace” battalions from the IRGC Mohammad Rasoul-Allah unit will hold cyber security exercises in the “Power of Sarallah” drills. The twenty-three battalions reportedly consist of over 3,000 members. (Gerdab) http://www.gerdab.ir/fa/news/15234/%D8%B1%D8%B2%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B4-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%81%D8%B6%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B2%DB%8C
- Iran deploys new radars. Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili announced the deployment of two “unprecedented” radar systems during a Tuesday ceremony. The Artesh Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Commander claimed that the new radars can detect threats “far beyond” Iran’s borders, and work in wavebands that are “impossible to eavesdrop.” Esmaili further claimed that the Nazir long-range radar can detect objects with small cross-sections from 800 kilometers at altitudes of 100,000 feet, and that the Bina 3-dimensional radar system can identify “radar-evading objects” and be used for electronic warfare. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/846744