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: IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani continued his increasingly vocal commentary on political issues by warning against establishing relations with “the enemy.”
Soleimani stated, “Some in [Iran] think that we have been isolated, and in order to come out of that isolation, we must establish relations with these countries. Nothing of value comes from such governments.” Soleimani did not specify to whom he was referring but added, “It is treason if someone in a position [of power] wants to portray the enemy as a friend.” Soleimani also commented on the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for May 2017, stating, “Unity does not mean that we gather around one personality only during elections. The most important and fundamental issue is maintaining unity against the enemy.” The Quds Force commander has become increasingly vocal on political issues over the last several months. He released a statement last week emphasizing unity between the IRGC and the Rouhani administration and criticizing what he described as the “enemy’s” strategy of manipulating internal divisions in Iran.
President Hassan Rouhani criticized America’s implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) during an interview with NBC News on September 21 and a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 22. Rouhani accused the U.S. Treasury Department of sabotaging banks and financial institutions’ partnerships with Iran and claimed that America’s “lack of compliance” with the JCPOA should be “rectified.” Rouhani also joined Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in dismissing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s request to ground aircraft in northern Syria. Rouhani asserted that the Syrian conflict “doesn’t have a military solution.”
- J. Matthew McInnis argues that Iran has likely recognized its limit in managing Iraq’s fractious political sphere in “Big questions in Iran’s great Iraq game.”
Military & Security
Soleimani: Portraying the enemy as a friend is treason. IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani delivered a speech commemorating the anniversary of the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War in Hamadan province on September 22. He stated:
- “There are now some countries that are summoning us in their direction. Some in [Iran] think that we have been isolated, and in order to come out of that isolation, we must establish relations with these countries. Nothing of value comes from such governments… It is treason if someone in a position [of power] wants to portray the enemy as a friend.”
- “If we are isolated, then why does the enemy want to come to agreements and establish relations with us? ...We have had influence in the region in previous eras, but the deep influence that Iran has now in the region is without precedent in any other era.”
- “Unity does not mean that we gather around one personality only during elections. The most important and fundamental issue is maintaining unity against the enemy.”
- “The Ba’ath Party ruled in Iraq. In America, you have Democrats and Republicans. There is no difference between the Ba’ath Party and the American parties.”
- “Sometimes there are debates in the country in which half of a percentage of people are involved, but they attribute it to all of society.” (Fars News Agency)
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Rouhani criticizes U.S. implementation of the nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani discussed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and regional issues during aninterview with NBC News on September 21 and a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 22.
- Iranian coverage of Rouhani’s interview emphasized his assertion that the Syrian conflict “doesn’t have a military solution.” Rouhani joined Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in dismissing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s request to ground aircraft in northern Syria to contain tensions and avoid errant airstrikes. Rouhani also defended the nuclear agreement in a reference to presidential candidate Donald Trump’s pledge to renegotiate the JCPOA, stating, “Candidates can bring up any topic that they see best suits their campaigns… No one can say here or there that I don't accept this agreement, I want to renegotiate.” Rouhani also accused the U.S. Treasury Department of purposefully complicating banks and financial institutions’ partnerships with Iran.
- Rouhani praised the JCPOA as a “success” but reiterated his criticism of America’s implementation of it during his address to the UN. He claimed that “the lack of compliance with the JCPOA on the part of the United States in the past several months represents a flawed approach that should be rectified forthwith.” He called the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that permits the seizure of $2 billion in Iranian frozen assets “the latest case in point.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
Rezaei accuses Saudi Arabia of supporting Kurdish separatist groups in Iran. Former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei accused Saudi Arabia of providing arms and money to the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan and the Komalah Party. Rezaei stated that Iran “will endure this because we don’t want war.” He also warned the Saudi government that “behind this patience and tolerance lies a strong slap.” Iranian officials have repeatedly blamed Saudi Arabia for increased instability in its border regions. (Mehr News Agency)
- Safavi: We exported the values of the Islamic Revolution to Iraq and Syria. Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Brig. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi stated that Iran’s enemies “wanted the message of the [Islamic] Revolution not to reach other countries, but we were able to spread [this message].... to other countries such as Iraq and Syria.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Airbus representatives to visit Iran next week. Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development for International Affairs Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan stated that representatives from Airbus will travel to Iran next week to discuss Iran’s purchase of 111 civilian aircraft. Reutersreported earlier this week that Iran was planning to reduce the number of planes it intends to buy from Airbus from 118 to 112 following a delay in issuing regulatory approvals. Fakhrieh said that Iran and Airbus have not yet agreed upon provisions of their contract, and that “negotiations with Airbus have not stopped and are continuing.” The U.S. Treasury Department has granted permission to both Boeing and Airbus to begin the sales of commercial aircraft to Iran. (YJC)
Casualties in Iraq & Syria
Two Iranian fighters reported killed in Syria. Iranian news outlets reported the deaths of Hossein Raeisi and Mohammad Pourhang in Syria. Raeisi died while undergoing surgery in a hospital. No further information on their ranks or unit affiliations was provided. (Dana) (Golestan24)
IRGC fighter confirmed dead in Syria. Authorities confirmed the death of Mahmoud Shafiee in Syria. His body was lost during pro-regime offensives in December 2015. He was from Tehran province. (Eslam Shahr Khabar)
Afghan fighter buried in Iran. The body of Hossein Ali Mohammadi, a member of the Afghan Shia militia Fatimiyoun Brigade, was buried in Semnan province. (Mehr News Agency)