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: IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano traveled to Iran to meet with senior officials and visit the Parchin military site.

IAEA Director General Amano met with President Hassan Rouhani, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi, and members from the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. Amano also visited the Parchin military site.  Ali Reza Zakani, the head of the special commission, criticized the IAEA for its “political involvement” in Iran’s nuclear activity.

Amano also stated that environmental samples from Parchin had been collected and submitted as per the Iran-IAEA roadmap.  AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi acknowledged, however, that samples were collected by Iranian experts rather than IAEA inspectors. 

President Hassan Rouhani claimed that Tehran and Washington have taken “the first steps” towards decreasing their enmity in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”  Rouhani added that “the distance, the disagreements, the lack of trust, will not go away soon” despite the nuclear deal.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed regional developments with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow on September 21.

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 and AEI Research Assistant Tara Beeny analyze Iran’s motives in increasing cooperation with Russia, and discuss the extent to which Russian and Iranian goals in Syria align in their most recent blog post, “Iran’s Russian Play in Syria.” 

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Zakani: IAEA is “involved politically” when it should only be involved “technologically.” Parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani discussed IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s meeting with members of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on state television.
    • On meeting with Amano: In response to a question regarding Zakani “and other parliamentarians’ criticism of the IAEA’s performance,” the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA Head stated, “The parliamentarians raised their issues at this meeting. I, too, as a public servant, said some things.” Zakani stated his and other commission members’ criticism was “related to” the hostile relationship between Iran and the IAEA in the past. Zakani added, “We were among the first countries that joined the IAEA, but the question is… what obligation has the IAEA carried out for our country?”
    • On the IAEA’s relationship with Iran: “The IAEA should have helped us so that we could have worked with peaceful nuclear technology; however, the IAEA worked in such a way that the great powers could put pressure on our country, in order to stop [Iran] from undertaking these peaceful activities.”
    • “We said at this meeting that the IAEA should be involved technologically; unfortunately, they are involved politically.”
    • Zakani stated that the halt in the import of radiopharmaceutical drugs to Iran due to sanctions is an example of the IAEA’s “sabotage” against Iran. He stated, “After this incident, we have emphasized why you are obstructing in the case of human rights. These radiopharmaceuticals have completely medical uses.”
    • “Between 1382 and 1384 [2003-2005], we accepted the [Additional] Protocol and sealed all of our nuclear facilities, even research divisions. At that time, we did not have anything that we wanted to hide. But in those same days, the Board of Governors issued five or six resolutions against us, and those became the origin of subsequent resolutions.”
    • On Amano’s visit to Iran: Zakani stated that the purpose of Amano’s trip was to build “confidence and familiarization with Iranian society” but added, “Our trust will not be caused by someone’s speech. It will be caused by actions.”
    • On Parliament’s role in the JCPOA review process: “A golden opportunity exists for carrying out a momentous representative duty. This opportunity is rare in the history of Parliament.”  (Mashregh News)
  • Naghavi Hosseini: “Solving our differences with the IAEA before the end of 2015 is a big promise.” Hossein Naghavi Hosseini discussed the IAEA Director General Amano’s visit to Iran in a televised interview. The Spokesman of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA discussed the details of IAEA inspection, stating “If the interviews with nuclear scientists are about technical issues…there is no issue, but if…the interviews are designed to gather intelligence, this is our red line.” Hossein Naghavi Hosseini reiterated that “inspections of our military sites are not possible; in the JCPOA and the [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231… inspections have a special formula and shape.” Hosseini added, “Solving our differences with the IAEA before the end of 2015 is a big promise.” (ISNA)
  • Rouhani meets with IAEA Director General. President Hassan Rouhani met with IAEA Director General Amano in Tehran on September 20. The two discussed the details of Iran-IAEA cooperation.  President Rouhani stressed that Iran “has not and will not seek weapons of mass destruction due to its religious beliefs and military doctrine.” (
  • AEOI Head Salehi meets with Amano. Ali Akbar Salehi and IAEA Director General Amano held direct talks on Iran’s nuclear program on September 20 in Tehran. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head said that his meeting went well and announced that Amano also met with Parliament’s 15-member JCPOA Commission. Salehi also stated, "Mr. Amano left Tehran fully satisfied and we hope that the case related to Iran’s past and present nuclear activities will be closed by December 15." (Tabnak)
  • Amano tours Parchin. The Foreign Ministry’s Director for Political and International Affairs Hamid Baeidinejad wrote on his Instagram page that IAEA Director General Amano was given a tour of the Parchin military site “to show him that all allegations made about the center are lies” on September 20. (Fars News Agency) (E)
  • AEOI: Samples taken at Parchin without IAEA inspectors. Behrouz Kamalvandi reported that Iranian experts took samples at the Parchin military complex without the presence of IAEA inspectors. The AEOI Spokesman stated that the samples were taken “in accordance with relevant directives and procedures” before being submitted to IAEA experts. He added that the sample-taking fell within the framework of a recent “roadmap” agreed upon by both Iran and the IAEA. (Press TV) (E)
  • Rezaei: The West only wants dependent countries in the region. Mohsen Rezaei warned about the threat of foreign influence on Iran and stated, “Had the Americans been able to infiltrate Iran, they would have done so already...” The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary and former IRGC Commander also criticized the West for imposing economic sanctions on Iran under the pretext of “false propaganda” against Tehran’s nuclear program, as well as spreading “Iranophobia” and anti-Shi’a rhetoric. He stated that “the enemies of the [Islamic] Revolution did not think that we would resist and—under the conditions of sanctions—install 20,000 centrifuges…” Rezaei added:
    • “When they [the West] observed that Iran has reached this level of development, they took us out of isolation and they [the P5+1] all went to the [nuclear] negotiating table.”
    • “Our enemies seek to join their friends and supporters…in the region such as Saudi Arabia and Israel and to allow the takfiris [terrorists] to try to prevent Iran’s progress and the creation of a great civilization and immaculate life for the people. They do not want Islamic Iran to become a great and advanced country in the region…”
    • “The [West] only wants Islamic countries to be their servants and puppets… They [the West] have made these countries so dependent that if one day they do not spare parts or send weapons to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the Saudi and Turkish armies will fall…”
    • “They [the West] are upset that Iran…is self-sufficient in the military industry…” (
  • Velayati: The nuclear negotiations are not over yet. Ali Akbar Velayati discussed the nuclear agreement during a press conference on September 19. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor stated that “the legal review process in Parliament is not over yet. As long as the investigation continues, it would be premature to comment on it. It will certainly be something beneficial to us.” Velayati also praised Iran-China relations. He stated that Iran and China will “strive to revive the Silk Road. This road can start with China, pass through Iran, go to Turkey, and then go to Europe.” (
  • Judiciary Head: The migrant crisis is a Western plot. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani characterized the ongoing “migrant crisis” in Europe as “the result of Western countries’ plots and actions.” The Judiciary Head called for European countries and the U.S. to “move toward solving the roots of this crisis instead of debating the extent and numbers for accepting these migrants.” He also blamed Western countries for creating instability by supporting “extremist and terrorist groups.”
    • Larijani discussed the recent unrest at the al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, stating that “the silence of Islamic countries in this matter is regrettable… Unfortunately, some Islamic governments start sedition in the name of ISIS and other terrorist groups, instead of [having] empathy and solidarity against the Zionist enemy. [Those Islamic governments] are busy supporting these [terrorist] groups.”
    • “The path of opposition to the Zionist regime is the same path of the Islamic Republic of Iran. One must strive for the elimination of this cancer from the region. If governments and Muslim countries do not opposite the Zionist regime, how often will this occupying regime take further steps to violate other Muslim nations?” (Mehr News)
  • Rafsanjani: ISIS came within 35 kilometers of Iran. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed ISIS and IAEA Director General Amano’s trip to Iran. The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman stated, “There was no need for [Amano] to go to Parliament. But he saw that if he did not go, there would be discrimination and the creation of problems. For that reason, he opted to go to Parliament with Dr. [Ali Akbar] Salehi.”
    • Rafsanjani credited Iran’s relative security to Iranians’ political participation but stated, “Right now, our region is the most insecure region in the world… Today we see that ISIS has a foothold in the east of our country. ISIS also came close to Qasr-e Shirin and 35 kilometers of our western border. We threatened that we will strike if they came closer. Therefore they remained in the same place, but they are still there.” (Entekhab)
  • Boroujerdi: Parliamentary commission to visit embassies next week. Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated that the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission will visit various embassies next week in order to “survey the situation of embassies” in Iran. The NSFP Parliamentary Commission Chairman also criticized “the interference of other commissions” in matters relating to foreign policy. (ICANA)
  • IRIB Supervisory Council to investigate broadcasts of JCPOA commission hearings. A senior official at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) announced that the IRIB Supervisory Council will review the “manner of broadcasting” the meetings of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. Ramazan Ali Shojaei Kiasari, the vice-president of the IRIB Supervisory Council, stated, “It was felt that IRIB has taken the side of the JCPOA’s critics; therefore, the IRIB Supervisory Council will investigate this issue next week.” (ICANA)
  • Pourdastan: Hostility has not ended with America. Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that “Imam Khomeini teaches that America is the Great Satan and we do not extend the hand of friendship towards the Great Satan anywhere” during a ceremony commemorating the publication of books by the Center for Documenting the Islamic Revolution. Pourdastan claimed that the United States has attempted to undermine Iran’s political, economic, and territorial stability since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and warned that hostility with America “has not ended with the signing of this agreement.” (Tasnim)
  • Mesbah Yazdi calls for hardliners to prepare for the 2016 elections. Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi discussed the Assembly of Experts and parliamentary elections during a meeting with student groups. The Assembly of Experts member stated, “Considering that this year we have two big elections coming up, what are the Principlist movement and revolutionary forces planning?” (Ghatreh)
  • Interior Minister: “We have the most minor disagreement with the Guardian Council.” On the sidelines of a meeting with governors, Interior Minister Abdul Reza Rahmani Fazli stated, “We had several meetings with Ayatollah [Ahmad] Jannati and his colleagues [in the Guardian Council]; our meetings with the Guardian Council are on the expert level; we have the most minor disagreement with the Guardian Council.” (Rasa News)
  • Rouhani appoints new governor to Kermanshah province. President Rouhani appointed Asadollah Razati as the new governor of Kermanshah province. Kermanshah’s former governor, Ebrahim Rezaei Babadi, had served since 2013. (


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Rouhani meets with Dutch foreign minister. President Hassan Rouhani promoted enhanced Iran-EU relations in a meeting with Holland’s Foreign Minister Bert Koenders on September 20 in Tehran. Rouhani highlighted investment opportunities in Iran and discussed the ongoing refugee crisis. (MFA)
    • Shamkhani: U.S. intervention led to regional insecurity. Ali Shamkhani stressed the importance of national sovereignty, particularly in Iraq and Syria in a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Koenders. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary attributed ongoing regional crises to American intervention and called for collective efforts to block terrorist funding. Shamkhani also discussed the P5+1 nuclear deal and warned against the re-imposition of sanctions, stating: “Any attempt to restore or maintain sanctions is against the JCPOA and will exacerbate mistrust [between Iran and the West].” (IRIB)
  • Iran and Russia hold talks on regional issues. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov on September 21 in Moscow. Both sides called for increased dialogue to help resolve ongoing regional crises and Bogdanov stated that increased “consultations between Tehran and Moscow are quite necessary regarding acceleration of developments in the Middle East.” (MFA)
  • Abdollahian: Iran will not close embassy in Sana’a. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced that Iran has no plans to close its mission in Sana’a, despite reporting to the contrary by Arab media. (IRNA) (E)


Military and Security

  • Artesh Navy Commander: Missile exercises to take place “soon.” In response to a reporter’s question on military exercises, Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibbolah Sayyari stated, “Missile exercises will be held soon.” When asked about the frigate Damavand’s visit to Russia, the Artesh Navy Commander stated that it “will travel to Russia, but the exact time [of the visit] is unclear.” (YJC)
  • ?Fazli: The Basij are prepared to maintain security in the country. IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fazli claimed on September 20 that “2,250 Beit al Moghaddas, Imam Hossein, and Imam Ali battalions are completely prepared to maintain security in the country.” The Basij Organization Deputy Commander also praised the Basij for their readiness, noting that “during the history of the [Islamic] Revolution... whenever an incident happened, it was the Basij that came to the field and took care of it.” (Defa Press)
  • AFGS lauds new “generation” for spreading the “discourse of the Islamic Revolution” abroad. The Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) released a statement to mark the occasion of Sacred Defense Week, which begins September 22. The statement discussed the “emergence of a generation which, thanks to resistance, sustainability, and their martyrdom-seeking beyond the imagination of the ‘global arrogance’ [the West], has marked the ‘tenacity of the Islamic political system’ and the ‘influence of the discourse of the Islamic Republic’ beyond the borders of Islamic Iran.” (Sepah News)



  • France opens commercial trade office in Iran. French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl inaugurated the French Commercial Trade Office in Tehran on September 21. (ILNA)
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