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: Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that Iran will use “all of its power” to resolve the conflict in Syria with “the cooperation of Russia.”   

Deputy Foreign Minister Abdollahian stated that Iran will work to resolve the conflict in Syria with Russia’s cooperation at a press conference in Moscow. Abdollahian also underlined Iran’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts in Syria in separate comments during an interview with Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

JCPOA Commission Spokesman Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated that the commission’s final report will recommend that Parliament draft a resolution specifying the “framework” for implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. This resolution, he claimed, would not “approve” or “reject” the nuclear deal but would rather “conditionally approve” the agreement.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said that the IAEA has no plan to investigate military sites or interview scientists in response to criticism surrounding IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s trip to Parchin. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for Western countries to “fundamentally change” their behavior on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly. 

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?

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Deputy Foreign Minister: We will cooperate with Russia to solve the crisis in Syria. During a press conference in Moscow, Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that Iran will use “all of its power to solve the crisis in Syria with the cooperation of Russia.”  In separate comments during an interview with Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs underlined Iran’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to restore peace and stability in Syria. Abdollahian stated that Iran and Russia support collective action to resolve the ongoing crisis in Syria. (IRNA) (ISNA)
  • Khamenei issues statement to Hajj pilgrims. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a message to Hajj pilgrims in which he denounced the “evil policies of the arrogant powers” and the “Zionist regime’s crimes and the repeated insult of the sacred al Aqsa mosque.” Khamenei claimed that these two issues “are the leading problem for all Muslims.” (
  • Rouhani calls Omani Sultan to discuss ongoing crisis in Yemen. President Hassan Rouhani conferred with Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said on September 22 about recent developments in Yemen. Rouhani praised Oman for its humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people and called for international condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes against Yemeni civilians. Both sides also expressed mutual interest in broadening Tehran-Muscat bilateral relations. (YJC
  • Rezaei meets with the German ambassador. Mohsen Rezaei met with German Ambassador to Tehran Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg. The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary welcomed “an expansion of economic relations with Germany,” but also mentioned that there are people “inside and outside of Iran” that do not want to see the country become “close with Europe.” In addition, Rezaei stated that Iran and Germany could have “a very good market in Central Asia” and that Iran would provide licenses for German investments. In terms of security, Rezaei explained that both countries consider terrorism and regional security concerns as “very important.” (Rezaee)
  • President Rouhani issues Eid al Adha message. President Hassan Rouhani released a statement congratulating Muslim heads of state on the occasion of Eid al Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice), or Eid-e Qorbon in Persian. (


Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Zarif: Change in West’s attitude is more important than JCPOA’s implementation. Mohammad Javad Zarif called for a “fundamental change” in the behavior of Western counties on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 23. The Foreign Minister stated, “There is much distrust in Iran as a result of Western countries’ behavior, the use of double standards, and the creation of unreasonable barriers against the development of the Iranian people… We want to see this situation end. We want to see serious determination and political will from Western countries about implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). More important than implementing the JCPOA is that they show that they also want to create different relations not based on force, but relations based on cooperation, trust-building, and conversation… Iran has shown that it is ready for such relations.” (ISNA)
  • AEOI: The IAEA has no plan to investigate military sites or interview scientists. Behrouz Kamalvandi said that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s trip to the Parchin military site was aimed at “building transparency.” The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman claimed that Amano’s trip to Parchin “did not violate the Supreme Leader’s redlines” because “an inspection did not take place.” Kamalvandi stated, however, that there “has not and will not” be any plan to inspect military sites or interview scientists. Kamalvandi also reiterated Amano’s statement that the collection of environmental samples from Parchin by Iranian experts “met the standards of the IAEA.” Kamalvandi added that the IAEA will announce the results of the samples “in one or two months.” (Mehr News)
  • Hosseini: We should neither approve nor reject the nuclear deal. Parliamentarian Hossein Naghavi Hosseini discussed the final report of the Special Commission to Review the JCPOA in an interview with Tasnim News Agency on September 22.  The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA Spokesman said that the commission’s final report would likely recommend that a resolution be drawn up on the JCPOA. This resolution, Naghavi claimed, would not “accept” nor “reject” the nuclear deal. Instead, Hosseini argued, it would “provisionally approve” the JCPOA within the frameworks of the Supreme Leader’s “redlines.”  (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Rafsanjani: The world now trusts Iran’s goals. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stated that Iran has “a greater need for stronger unity now” than during the Iran-Iraq War in a meeting with veterans. The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman also added that the Islamic Revolution “still has a long road ahead for its goals… Up to now, despite all of the hostilities, it has had impressive successes.”
    • Rafsanjani said that Iran “is now a member of the nuclear club” and that all of its nuclear advancements have been “legal.” He added, “Now the world trusts that Iran’s goal is not and has never been to reach an atomic bomb with its nuclear activities.”
    • Rafsanjani addressed “people who were upset at the ending of the Iran-Iraq War” and stated, “It is not clear what goal this group is seeking.” He recalled the words of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who stated that accepting UN Resolution 589 that established a ceasefire was like “drinking from a poisoned chalice.” Rafsanjani stated, “Two or three months after accepting the resolution, Imam [Khomeini] said, ‘If the cup of poison was bitter then, it is sweet now.’” (Entekhab)
  • Naghdi: Relieving sanctions is not enough to fix our economy. Basij Organization Commander IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi stated, “Iran’s economy will not flourish with the cancellation of sanctions, even if all the countries which are the enemies of Iran lift them… The fixing of problems, progress, and prosperity in the country depends upon the proper use of [its] capacities and resources; if this process goes well, sanctions can be kept on the sidelines.” (Basij Press)
  • Guardian Council Spokesman: We will not promise to accept any candidate’s qualifications. Nejatollah Ebrahimian stated that there is “no use” in any discussions regarding the Guardian Council’s method for reviewing candidates’ qualifications for office before the vetting process has begun. The Guardian Council Spokesman stated, “It has been decided that not a single one of the members of the Guardian Council… will discuss the issue of qualifications with any of the potential candidates.” (Fars News Agency
  • MP: There will likely be a resolution drawn up on the JCPOA. Parliamentarian Mohammad Hossein Farhangi discussed the parliamentary review of the JCPOA during an interview with ICANA News Agency. The Parliament’s Board of Directors member said that that lawmakers will likely “draw up and present” a resolution that would allow the government to implement its commitments as stated in the JCPOA. (ICANA)
  • MP: “Do not trust the IAEA.” Parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Mohseni Sani proclaimed that the “IAEA reports [are] tailored to the demands of [the] superpowers” during an interview with Fars News Agency in Mashhad. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member argued that history has shown IAEA’s “suspicion and distrust” towards Iran; he stated, “Do not trust the IAEA.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Shirazi: Western countries are trying to change Iranian culture. Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi claimed that the West is using the nuclear agreement to build influence in Iran and “shake the foundations of Islam.” He stated that Western countries “think they can find influence in Iran and take Iran into their hands with soft war. This is nothing more than wishful thinking.” Shirazi claimed that Western accusations about Iran building an atomic bomb are only a “pretense” in order to “change Iranian-Islamic culture.” Shirazi added that it is “unclear that Western countries will adhere to the nuclear agreement.” Shirazi also stated, “Some individuals are very naïve when they say, ‘Let the people be free and do whatever they want!’ These individuals have fallen into a slumber of neglect… We hope God will wake [them] up.” (Fars News Agency)


Military and Security

  • Rouhani appoints Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC) Secretary. President Hassan Rouhani officially appointed Abolhassan Firouzabadi as Secretary of the SCC and Head of the National Cyberspace Center on September 22. SCC members nominated Firouzabadi to these positions on September 17. Firouzabadi has reportedly spent over 25 years in the IT sector and held senior positions in several Iranian companies. (
  • Aboutorabi Fard: The Parliament is ready to support the SCC. Deputy Parliament Speaker Hassan Aboutorabi Fard pledged Parliament’s support for the SCC during the inauguration of Abolhassan Firouzabadi as SCC secretary. Hassan Aboutorabi Fard stated, “In its new term, the SCC will be able to pave the way for development and advancement in various areas…with the policies and capabilities issued by the Supreme Leader.” (ILNA)
  • Greater Tehran IRGC unit sets up propaganda booths throughout Tehran for Sacred Defense Week. In conjunction with Sacred Defense Week ceremonies, the IRGC Mohammad Rasoul Allah unit (Greater Tehran) conducted “2 operational exercises” in 22 districts throughout the greater Tehran area. The unit also set up “more than 40 cultural exhibitions” throughout parks in Tehran, with such titles as “the role of Western countries in the struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” “spirituality during the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq War],” “economic war,” and “the role of women and martyrs during the Sacred Defense.” (Basij Press)
  • Artesh Air Force unveils new reconnaissance drone. The Artesh Air Force unveiled the Mohajem 92 drone for the first time publically on September 22. The domestically-produced reconnaissance drone purportedly has a range of 500 kilometers and can fly for up to 6 hours. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
  • Fadavi: Iran’s military might has caused American passivity in the Persian Gulf. IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi stated on September 23 that the essence of Iran’s disagreement with America is not confined to issues like the economy. The IRGC Navy Commander stated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s deterrent capability caused the Americans to act passively.” He continued, “It should be noted that of the three countries of the world which have gas reserves, two of them are located in the Persian Gulf; because [Iran’s] revolutionary forces are present in the Persian Gulf, the Americans have never taken an aggressive stance; they are always passive.” (Defa Press)
  • Ashtari: Transmitting the Sacred Defense culture will help us combat Western infiltration. During a visit to the Sacred Defense News Agency offices on September 23, Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari stated, “The best way to deal with cultural invasion is to consider the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq War] from different angles, and transfer it without distortion to subsequent generations.”  (Defa Press)



  • Oil Minister: Iran will produce 4.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2016. Bijan Zanganeh claimed that Iran's oil production will reach 4.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2016. The Oil Minister said that Iran will not hold back its oil production once sanctions are lifted. (Press TV(E)
  • Iran and China to boost cooperation in maritime industries development. Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and Chairman of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Liu Qitao signed an agreement on September 22 to expand Tehran-Beijing cooperation in development of maritime industries and facilities. (IRIB)
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