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 Ali Javaheri. 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: Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader Yahya Rahim Safavi expressed concern over Russian cooperation with the U.S. in Syria.
IRGC Major General Safavi stated, “There are currently arrangements between the Americans and the Russians. I hope the Americans do not deceive the Russians so that the Russians are dragged into a game that benefits Washington or gives a smaller share to Iran.” Safavi called upon Iranian politicians not to “overlook Iran’s interests” in Syria. Russian warplanes have intensified airstrikes amid increased fighting on the ground around Aleppo City just days after the breakdown of a Russia-U.S. brokered ceasefire. The ceasefire had envisioned the possibility of both countries sharing intelligence and developing “actionable targets for military action” against Jabhat Fatah al Sham, the successor of Syrian al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra.
President Hassan Rouhani stated that America’s fellow P5+1 members “decisively told the U.S. that it is not closely conforming” to the terms of the nuclear agreement. Rouhani claimed that the U.S. “promised to correct its conduct” and called the admonishment “a major achievement” for Iran. Rouhani’s outspoken criticism of America’s implementation of the nuclear deal was a focus of his visit to the U.S. for the UN General Assembly in New York.
- The Critical Threats Project team explains the significance of Iran’s upcoming 2017 presidential election and tracks important electoral developments in “Iran Presidential Election Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
- 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.”
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Safavi: The U.S. must not trick Russia on Syria. Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi commented on Russian-American cooperation during a televised news interview. Safavi stated, “There are currently arrangements between the Americans and the Russians. I hope the Americans do not deceive the Russians so that the Russians are dragged into a game that benefits Washington or gives a smaller share to Iran.” Safavi called upon Iranian politicians not to “overlook Iran’s interests” in Syria. Safavi added that Iran, Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah, and Russia form a “coalition” against the “coalition” of the U.S., Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and “Arab states.” (Asr Iran)
Rouhani: P5+1 members admonished U.S. on nuclear agreement’s implementation.President Hassan Rouhani discussed America’s implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with reporters in Tehran on September 23. Rouhani stated that the P5+1 and Iran met “at the level of directors and foreign ministers” on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 22. He claimed that the other five countries in the P5+1 “decisively told the U.S. that it is not closely conforming to the [JCPOA’s] terms” and that “Washington has also promised to correct its conduct,” according to Tasnim News Agency. The P5+1 refers to Germany as well as the UN Security Council’s five permanent members: the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France. Rouhani stated, “The fact that six countries adopted a united stance by warning the U.S. to modify its behavior was a major achievement for the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Rouhani has vocally criticized America’s implementation of the JCPOA over the past week. He accused the U.S. Treasury Department of sabotaging banks’ relationships with Iran during an interview with NBC News on September 21. He also statedthat America’s “lack of compliance” with the JCPOA should be “rectified” during his speech at the UN General Assembly. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
- In a separate press conference on September 22, Rouhani referred to the $2 billion in Iranian frozen assets seized in an April U.S. Supreme Court ruling. He called the ruling “international robbery” and vowed that Iran will retrieve the money and interest via the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Iran announced that it filed a complaint with the ICJ in mid-June over the Supreme Court ruling. (Mehr News Agency) (E)
Military & Security
Esmaili: Some politicians “want to smile at the enemy.” Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Commander Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili addressed Iranian politicians who he claimed ask, “Why do we need to fire missiles?” He stated, “Some politicians who believe that they must smile at the enemy to please it are unaware of the fact that we do not need their approval. We should seek to please only God and the people.” The Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base is the branch of the Artesh responsible for Iran’s land-based air-defense systems. Esmaili added that Iran’s air-defense forces warned off an American U-2 spy plane that was trying to enter Iranian airspace in “recent days.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Friday prayer speeches focus on developing military capabilities. Gorgan Friday Prayer Leader Seyed Kazem Nourmofidi called for Iran to strengthen its deterrent capabilities during his sermon on September 23. He referenced recent remarks by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who similarly stated earlier this week that developing strong military and defensive power is the only way to protect Iran. Nourmofidi stated, “We have a Quranic order to strengthen ourselves so that enemies dare not attack us. We do not wish to attack any country, but we want to instill fear in the enemy so that they do not dare attack us.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Deputy Chief Artesh Brig. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi stressed the need to increase “offensive and defensive” military capabilities during a speech before the Friday prayer sermon in Tehran. Mousavi’s comments echo recent statements from Khamenei calling for increased “offensive and defensive” capabilities. Khamenei’s and Mousavi’s remarks are significant because Iran has historically described its military capabilities in defensive rather than offensive terms. (Mehr News Agency)
- IRGC deputy commander: The FATF agreement has no effect on IRGC activities. IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami criticized the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regulations as an “imposed American double standard” and a “tool for American interests.” Salami also stated that “the FATF has no effect on the domestic and regional actions of the IRGC.” The FATF recently suspended some of its restrictions against Iran for a year to allow Tehran to implement an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing action plan. (Mehr News Agency)