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:  President Rouhani and senior military officials praised Iran’s military capabilities during a ceremony commemorating Sacred Defense Week in Tehran.

President Hassan Rouhani described Iran’s armed forces as the Middle East’s “greatest power against terror and intimidation” during a military parade for Sacred Defense Week. Senior military officials, including Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, Artesh Commander Major General Ataollah Salehi, IRGC Air Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, and IRGC Navy Commander Brigadier General Ali Fadavi also attended the ceremony. During the parade, Iranian armed forces displayed a number of domestically manufactured missile systems, including Sejjil and Shahab medium-range ballistic missiles. Sacred Defense Week commemorates the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980.  

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian stressed that Syrian President Bashar al Assad must “be part of the solution” in Syria during a press conference in Moscow.

Parliamentarian Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani, who is also a member of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA, claimed that the special commission will submit two reports to Parliament if its members do not reach a consensus on the nuclear deal.

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 analyzes the effectiveness of Iranian policy in Iraq and discusses reports that Tehran’s leadership has reigned in IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in his most recent blog post, “Is Iran’s strategy in Iraq adrift?

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Rouhani: The P5+1 initially said we could only have 100 centrifuges; “today we have 6,000.” President Hassan Rouhani praised the armed forces at a ceremony commemorating Sacred Defense (Iran-Iraq War) Week on September 22 in Tehran. Rouhani also touted Iran’s nuclear achievements and resistance against the P5+1 and attributed Iranian resilience to the Iran-Iraq War and stated, “The 8-year Sacred Defense was a lesson to everyone and despite its difficulties and damages, it left behind invaluable effects… It held our nation together, strong, and resistant in confronting invaders.” Rouhani criticized the West for accusing Iran of being an aggressor, while supporting Saudi and Israeli aggression in the Middle East and stated:
    • “Some believe that a blade is needed to hold a nation together, but after the [Islamic] Revolution, we witnessed a great power which succeeded in integrating the people… in which we saw all ethnic and religious groups integrated in a single line and stood against the enemy.”
    • On the P5+1 nuclear deal: “A year ago the six world powers [the P5+1] told us ‘only 100 centrifuges and nothing more,’ and today we have succeeded in keeping 60 times that, meaning we have kept 6,000 centrifuges active.”
    • “A year ago the six world powers told us told us that ‘not even one centrifuge will stay at Fordow,’ and today 1,000 times that, meaning 1,000 centrifuges are active at Fordow. Also, despite their demand to dismantle the Arak heavy water reactor, they have agreed to build a more modern reactor in Arak. These achievements are the result of a great nation, mighty armed forces, creative and competent diplomats, and the guidance from our wise Supreme Leader.”
    • On regional security: “Today, the region’s greatest power against terror and intimidation is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces.”
    • Rouhani reassured regional states that they can rely on Iran to help them fight terrorism, adding: “Just like we did in Iraq and Syria—at the request of the governments—we helped them stand against terrorism.”
    • Rouhani advised Muslim countries not to rely on U.S. security, stating: “Do not think that the big powers and the West will defend [you].”
    • “If the countries that are illegitimately oppressing their neighbors today [referring to Saudi Arabia] are attacked by terrorists groups later, and if they [the terrorists] intend to topple those governments [referring to Riyadh], the only armed forces that are capable of fighting them off at the request of the nation [being attacked] is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s armed forces.” (
  • Firouzabadi: Republicans “want to return to the era of the presidency of crazy Bush.” Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi emphasized that Iran is fully prepared to defend itself against any act of aggression. The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief dismissed U.S. rhetoric, specifically from Republicans in Congress, concerning military options against Iran and stated, “Of course some people scream out of fear. In these circumstances, it must be said is not a threat to the Iranian nation.” Firouzabadi added: "They are reactionary people and want to return to the era of the presidency of crazy [George W.] Bush. Bush made his utmost efforts to attack Iran but he could not… Republicans are only chanting empty words and slogans.” (Basij)
  • Nuclear negotiating team travels to New York. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif led Iran’s nuclear negotiations team to New York on September 22 to attend the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Zarif is expected to discuss technical elements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) such as reconstruction of the Arak heavy water reactor,   and the removal of American and European sanctions. Zarif is also expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini. Zarif will reportedly meet with his P5+1 counterparts too on September 28. (Tabnak)
  • Baeidinejad: The JCPOA commission’s final report should support the nuclear deal. Hamid Baeidinejad released a statement claiming that the JCPOA’s commission final report should highlight the positive dimensions of the nuclear deal. The Foreign Ministry’s Director for Political and International Affairs praised the nuclear deal for accomplishing the following eight goals:
    • “Consolidating 100 of Iran’s God-given rights.” 
    • Officially recognizing Iran’s nuclear research program.
    • The inspections regime under the JCPOA is limited to 15 years.
    • Removing all financial and economic sanctions imposed by the EU on implementation day. America is committed under the deal to halting all of its sanctions.
    • All previous UN Security Council resolutions will be “canceled.”
    • No restrictions on defense programs, including Iran’s ballistic missile development.
    • No inspections of military sites.
    • Iran can return to “the old path” if the “opposing side” does not implement its commitments. (ISNA)
  • Naghavi Hosseini:  The final JCPOA report will be submitted before the end of the next week. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini announced that the special commission’s report will be submitted to an open session of Parliament “before the end of next week.” The Spokesman of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JPCOA added that the subcommittees of the special commission will submit their own reports to the commission at the beginning of next week. (ICANA)
  • Arani: If we do not reach a consensus, we will be forced to submit two reports to Parliament. Parliamentarian Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani discussed Parliament’s review of the JCPOA during an interview with Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA). The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA member stressed the necessity of the special commission to arrive at a consensus on the deal. Arani added that the final report “must exactly reflect the viewpoints of every member of the commission.” Arani warned, however, that if a consensus is not reached “each group will submit its own report to Parliament.” (ILNA)
  • Boroujerdi: Parliament should pass a legal resolution on the nuclear deal. Alaeddin Boroujerdi claimed that IAEA inspectors were not “present” during the collection of environmental samples taken at Parchin. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman added that the method of the sampling would remain “classified.” Boroujerdi also discussed the nature of Parliament’s upcoming review of the JCPOA. He argued Parliament should pass a “legal resolution” allowing the government to implement the nuclear deal, rather than simply voting on the deal or issuing a statement. Boroujerdi noted that this decision was currently being discussed in Parliament but would require a few more days to be put into motion. Boroujerdi predicted that Parliament would likely pass such a resolution. (Entekhab)
  • Najafi: We will not allow inspections at Parchin. Reza Najafi denied a September 21 Reuters report claiming that samples were taken at Parchin in the presence of IAEA inspectors. Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors stated, “We will not allow any Agency inspector to enter the Parchin [military] site for sampling or to supervise sampling… We took our own samples, and this is a red line. No inspector has the right to enter a military site for inspections.” Najafi also addressed IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s recent trip to Iran, stating that the visit by Amano and his deputy to Parchin was “public and ceremonial” and was only long enough for them to see that “there is nothing suspicious and that the claims about [Parchin] are completely false.” (Alef)
  • Araghchi to chair JCPOA follow-up committee. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ordered the creation of a “JCPOA follow-up committee” in the Foreign Ministry. The committee will be chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi. (YJC)
  • Larijani: Iranians must be united against the country’s enemies. Ali Larijani stressed the need for national unity during a ceremony marking Sacred Defense Week on September 22. The Parliament Speaker reiterated the Supreme Leader’s warning about the threat of foreign influence and stated, “Perhaps the style of war these days has changed [since the Iran-Iraq War], but our enemies have not changed.”
    • “One of the officials of a regional country said to me, ‘During the [Iran-Iraq War], we spent 40 billion dollars helping Saddam.’ In fact, an international convergence against Iran had formed. But these events were followed by two lessons. Enemies cannot act against Iran if all Iranians are united, and if today Iran enjoys a high level of security, it is because there is a spirit of jihad and stability prevailing in the country.”
    • On ISIS: Larijani claimed that Iran will prevent ISIS from expanding in the region. He added, “The coalition that has been created [against ISIS] is only a futile gesture.”  (ICANA)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon: Assad is the only option that can save the region from ISIS. Mohammad Fathali reiterated Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al Assad, claiming that he is the “only option” that can protect the Middle East from ISIS and other terrorist groups. Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon emphasized the need for a “political solution” to the Syrian crisis and stated that Assad “enjoys a high level of popular support.” Fathali added that Assad and Lebanese Hezbollah’s opposition to terrorism “will be recorded in history.”
    • Fathali also censured U.S. “plots” to create a new Middle East order and added, “We recognize the bitter events in Syria and Iraq and the emergence of takfiris and terrorism as the implementation of [America’s] plan… The goals of this plan are the expansion of the Zionist regime’s territory, looting the wealth of the region’s people, disintegrating and breaking regional countries, and creating small countries that cannot oppose the Zionist regime.”
    • “From our viewpoint, a great game is occurring. Its goal is engineering the region so that the life, welfare, and interests of the people of the region are thrown in danger, not just for now, but forever in the future.” (ISNA)
  • Abdollahian: Zarif discusses new options for ending Syrian crisis with Assad. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with President Assad to discuss new proposals for resolving the Syrian crisis during a press conference in Moscow on September 21. Abdollahian remarked that while Assad must be “part of a solution” in any option for solving the crisis, Iran and Russia will continue to pursue all possibilities for ending the crisis, including dialogue with Syrian opposition groups. Abdollahian also accused Israel of destabilizing Syria through support for ISIS and Jahbat al Nusra. (IRNA) (E)
  • Iran, Afghanistan and India agree to build transit road to Chabahar. Director general of the Office for Transit, Tolls and Border Agencies Mohammad Javad Atrchian announced that Iran, Afghanistan, and India signed an agreement to construct a road between Afghanistan, India and Iran to Chabahar, an important port city in southern Iran. Atrchian stated that the agreement will help facilitate regional integration and increase economic growth. (IRIB)


Military and Security

  • Basij cyber conference held in Mashhad. A cyber conference was held for provincial Basij cyber commanders in Mashhad on September 21. Notable participants included Basij Organization Commander IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, IRGC Brig. Gen. 1C Hossein Nejat, Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda, and Hamid Reza Zandi, the Managing Director of the Basij National Cyber Space Headquarters.
    • Hamid Reza Zandi claimed that “the Supreme Council of Cyberspace did not meet expectations in the previous term.” He added that “creation of the necessary infrastructure for the active participation of people in this realm is one of the major concerns of the Supreme Leader.” Hamid Reza Zandi also criticized the lack of “Islamic-Iranian” content in cyberspace and said that the Basij National Cyber Space Headquarters has focused on “producing effective content” in addition to entering “the technical and infrastructure realms.”
    • Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda noted that cyber space has become “the decisive and main” field of battle since the “enemy is unable to seriously enter the physical field of battle.”
    • IRGC Brig. Gen.  Mohammad Reza Naghdi outlined the efforts of the “arrogant powers” to combat Iran and claimed that the enemy places a high importance on “waging war on public perception and ideals.”
    • Deputy Commander for Cultural and Social Affairs IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Nejat praised the Basij National Cyber Space Headquarters and urged for further progress in developing “appropriate content” for cyberspace. (Fars News Agency)
  • Safavi: The U.S. has “sensibly chosen a type of flexibility and retreat” against Iran. IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Safavi reiterated Iran’s interest in regional cooperation to combat terrorism, stressing: “We want cooperation and convergence with regional states. We are not hostile to any country, except a forged regime. We specially seek expansion of relations with regional states and 57 Muslim states, not willing to go to war with any country.” The Supreme Leader’s Senior Military Advisor underlined Iran’s position regarding regional issues and stated, “We have a set of principles, the most important of which is non-acceptance of domination as per guidelines from the Supreme Leader…” Safavi attributed ongoing crises in the region to U.S. foreign policy and intervention; he also identified Israel as the main source of insecurity in the Middle East. Safavi added:
    • “The Islamic Republic enjoys intelligence superiority over the trans-regional powers' military moves and knows how many warships, military bases and fighter jets America has in the region and this superiority is a component of our deterrence power.”
    • "It seems that the Americans have understood this reality that Iran is a powerful and stable country in the region which follows a logical and wise path in confronting its enemies and they [the Americans] have sensibly chosen a type of flexibility and retreat in facing Iran.” (Sepah News)
  • Fadavi: The U.S. is “passive in the Persian Gulf.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi claimed that Iran has achieved deterrence power and suggested that the U.S. knows better than to attack Iran. The IRGC Navy Commander stated, "America is obedient and passive in the Persian Gulf and we impose our sovereignty in the Persian Gulf very powerfully." (Sepah News)
  • IRGC plans to hold missile exercises. IRGC Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced that the “missile drills will be held soon,” but did not provide any further details. (Defa Press)
  • Artesh and IRGC display missile capabilities during Sacred Defense Week parade. “Various units” of the Artesh Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base, the IRGC Ground Forces, Navy, and Air Force, along with a “Border Guards unit and a special unit of Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and the Basij Organization” participated in a parade near the Imam Khomeini Shrine in Tehran. During the parade, the Artesh Air Force displayed, among others, the Qadr missile, the Zoobin and Sagheb missile, the Yasser and Sattar-1 missiles, the Sejjil missile, the Shahab missile, the Nasr missile, a KAB-1500 L bomb, the R-27 missile, the R-60 missile, and the R-73 missile. The Artesh Ground Forces displayed the Fajr 5 rocket launcher with the “latest generation of air defense missiles,” among other weaponry. The Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base displayed the air launched and intermediate-range Ghaem cruise missile,” the Qased bomb, and the Nasr missile, among other features. The Artesh Navy presented the Nasr missile, the Nur missile, the Raad missile, and the Shahab missile, among other weaponry. (ABNA)
  • Salehi: “Certainly, we will destroy Israel.” Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi stated, “We will never accept any threat from our neighbors, we will stand against it strongly; certainly, we will destroy Israel, and are eager for Israel to attack us sooner, in order for us to ascertain this destruction in fewer than the 25 years that was promised…” The Artesh Commander said, “We do not see another option against us on the table today, which is why today they only threaten.” Salehi stated, “Regional countries which joined the resistance front against the global arrogance, are in our complete support today.” (Mashregh News)
  • Pourdastan: We have control over regional terrorist groups. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that Iran has “control” over terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Artesh Ground Forces Commander added, “We have delineated a line 40 kilometers from our borders. Any person who wants to cross this border will face our sharp response.”
    • Pourdastan also discussed the Supreme Leader’s recent comments on the “necessity” of preventing American influence in Iran. Pourdastan stated, “The Americans do not have influence in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but they only sought to influence Iran after the victory of the Islamic Revolution… They imagined that they could gain a foothold for themselves through some European countries after the JCPOA.” (Mehr News)
  • Pakpour: Northwestern region of Iran is secure. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour stated, “Establishing the security of the borders in this area [northwest region of Iran] is our responsibility; no conflict exists in this region – thanks to god, the borders are secure.” The IRGC Ground Forces Commander stated that ISIS and PJAK members “are not present near our borders.” (Defa Press)



  • Fazli announces creation of provincial Resistance Economy headquarters. Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced plans to form headquarters corresponding to Iranian provinces in order to improve implementation of the Resistance Economy. The Interior Minister added that provincial governors “certainty have a significant role” in creating secure conditions in the country and facilitating national resistance against Iran’s enemies. Fazli also praised Iranian elections, emphasizing “observance based on neutrality, the full implementation of the law, and the lack of biased enforcement.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Danish firm will open insulin device factory in Iran. Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk agreed to build a factory for FlexPen insulin devices at a ceremony attended by the Iranian ambassador in Copenhagen and the Danish ambassador in Tehran. During the ceremony, CEO of the Iranian Food and Drug Organization Rasoul Dinarvand stated that Iran would become a regional hub for the production and export of anti-diabetes drugs as a result of the deal, and Iranian Health Minister Hassan Hashemi remarked that Iran will continue to “welcome investments” if they are accompanied by technology transfer, jobs and capital. (IRNA) (E)
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