Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

 

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: Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei discussed the possibility of a regional coalition composed of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Russia.

Former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei stated that Iran “foresees a new coalition forming in the region with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia, and some other countries against the takfiris.” Rezaei’s comments follow President Hassan Rouhani’s September 25 statement that he “does not see a coalition between Iran and Russia for fighting terrorism in Syria.”

Following comments from Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani that the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JPCOA would submit its report to Parliament on September 29, commission spokesman Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated that the commission will finalize its report “in the next few days.” Naghavi Hosseini had previously stated that the commission would submit its report before October 2. Commission member Massoud Pezeshkian also said that the commission needs “more time and more scientific evidence” due to “disputes” amongst commission members. During a September 28 meeting with her counterparts in the P5+1 and Iran on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini indicated that the exact schedule for the implementation of the nuclear deal depends upon Parliament’s decision.

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

  • P5+1 and Iran hold meeting in New York. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his P5+1 counterparts on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 28. EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini indicated that a Joint JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] Monitoring and Implementation Commission will begin its work once Parliament approves the deal. When asked about a “schedule for the implementation of the agreement,” Mogherini stated: “We are awaiting the Iranian Parliament’s decision. In the context of the agreement, the deadline for confirmation of the agreement is in the month of October. However, in the instance of its early approval by the Iranian Parliament and the necessary preparation of technical measures, the possibility of implementing the agreement on time and sooner is there.” When asked “about the possibility of cooperation between Iran and the P5+1 on the Syria issue,” Mogherini stated, “Considering that this important and international nuclear agreement was achieved by dialogue and negotiation, we will proceed about Syria in the same way, but the main framework will be the framework of the United Nations.” (IRIB)
     
  • Rezaei: We predict a new coalition of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Russia against terrorism. Mohsen Rezaei discussed the JCPOA and Russia’s participation in the Syrian crisis with reporters on September 29. The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary stated that the U.S. sought to isolate Iran; he then claimed that the political benefits of the JCPOA are even greater than its economic benefits because Iran can now “break the project of Iran’s isolation.” Rezaei stated that Iran’s economic condition will improve compared to the era of sanctions, but added that “the situation will not improve more than the era before sanctions” due to the risk posed to investors by the possibility of re-imposed sanctions.
    • On Russia: Rezaei claimed that Russia’s entrance in Syria “has not occurred without consultation with some European countries, especially Germany. My impression is that some European countries agree with Russia’s participation.” Rezaei stated that Iran considers Russia’s entrance to be “positive” and added that “all [states] are obligated to be active against terrorism.”
    • Rezaei stated that Iran “foresees a new coalition forming in the region with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia, and some other countries against the takfiris. Of course, we also requested that European countries participate in this fight against terrorism.” Rezaei added that he encouraged the German ambassador to Iran to join the fight against terrorism. 
    • On the U.S.: “Our fundamental difficulty with the Americans is that they advertise the fight against terrorism, but they don’t take serious action at all. Many doubts and uncertainties exist in this area that forces inside America are cooperating with takfiris.” (Tabnak)
       
  • Rouhani and Putin hold direct talks. President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on September 28 in New York. Rouhani expressed Iran’s interest in strengthening bonds with Russia in various fields and stressed that Tehran-Moscow relations are strategic and essential for regional security. Putin referred to recent developments in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen and stated, “Interaction between Iran and Russia to fight terrorism and [to strengthen] international and regional security is at a high level.” (President.ir)
    • Rouhani meets with Chinese counterpart. Rouhani praised China for supporting Iran during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Rouhani thanked China for its economic support; he stressed that no power can undermine Tehran-Beijing relations. Rouhani highlighted economic opportunities in a post-sanctions environment and expressed hope that Iran will soon be granted membership status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Rouhani stated, “We are ready to cooperate with China on the very important plan of the Silk Road, as well as other sectors like transit, [and] expanding the Chabahar port… ” President Jinping underlined China’s interest in enhanced bilateral ties and said, “Iran and China share the same opinion on a lot of important international and regional issues and Iran is considered as a trustable partner for China.” Jinping added: “Iran, as a highly influential country in the region, can peacefully solve the Yemen problem and we are willing to help Iran in this regard.” (President.ir(E)
    • Rouhani and Cameron discuss nuclear deal and Syria. President Rouhani met with British Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and regional developments. Rouhani reiterated that Iran is committed to fulfilling its obligations under the nuclear agreement and called on the P5+1 to lift sanctions. Rouhani underlined the importance of collective and sincere efforts in combatting terrorism, stating: "How can terrorists extract and sell oil in Iraq and Syria and receive its money and use it to intensify their actions, but do not face the very sanctions that some countries are suffering from? This overt action of terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq raise doubts over whether the countries which claim they are fighting terrorism are serious in doing so.” (MFA)
       
  • Zarif presents Iran’s Syria plan to French counterpart. Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius on the sidelines of the 70th UNGA session in New York. The Foreign Minister presented Iran’s proposal for a “political solution” to the Syrian crisis, which included the “formation of a national inclusive government and the reform of political structures.” Fabius reportedly had a “positive reaction” to the proposal and welcomed French cooperation. (YJC)
     
  • Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor highlights Iran and Russia’s strategic ties. Ali Akbar Velayati lauded President Vladimir Putin’s position on Syria in a meeting with the Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Leonid Reshetnikov on September 29 in Tehran. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor referred to Tehran and Moscow’s joint cooperation on regional issues and stressed, “…Iran and Russia's stance toward Syria, Iraq and Yemen are very close together and both countries believe that terrorism and extremism should be dealt with.” Velayati also announced plans for a series of meetings between officials from Iran and Russia’s strategic research centers. (Alef)
     
  • ?Health minister leads delegation to Mecca. Health Minister Sayyid Hassan Hashemi and Deputy Foreign Minister of Parliamentary and Consular Affairs Hassan Ghashghavi arrived in Mecca with a delegation to evaluate the situation of Iranian Hajj stampede victims on September 29. (Raja)
     
  • Zarif: Saudi Arabia should cooperate with Islamic states on Hajj ceremony. Foreign Minister Zarif discussed the Hajj stampede in a message to his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil. Zarif stated that he hopes Saudi Arabia will “prepare the grounds for cooperation” and “utilize the experiences of Islamic states” to prevent another catastrophe during the Hajj. (IRNA(E)
     
  • Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization revises total death toll in Hajj stampede. The Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi claimed that 228 Iranian pilgrims were killed in the Hajj stampede. (Alef)
     
  • President Assad condoles with Khamenei and Rouhani. Syrian President Bashar al Assad wrote a letter of condolence to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani over the Hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia. (ISNA)
     
  • ?Fazli: Saudi incompetence caused the Mina disaster. IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fazli stated that “this year, our Eid was... turned into mourning because of the disaster that was due to Saudi incompetence.” The Basij Organization Deputy Commander proceeded to claim that Saudi Arabia’s defense of ISIS and other takfiri groups contributed to their inability to prevent the disaster in Mecca. Fazli added that the Basij Organization intends to celebrate Eid al Ghadir (which marks the ascension of Ali to the Caliphate) at “132 points throughout the country,” and expressed hope that “one day, with the fall of [the house] of al Saud, we will be able to celebrate Eid al Ghadir at its true location.” (Sepah News)
     
  • Tehran: Airstrikes in Yemen are violating humanitarian law. Marzieh Afkham criticized the “Saudi-led coalition” for the September 28 air strike on a Yemeni wedding party. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman stated that the “continuous attacks on residential areas” and denying international organizations access to areas for humanitarian relief “is considered a violation of the principles and rules of humanitarian law.” Afkham called upon the United Nations and “international institutions” to investigate “the catastrophic situation of the people of Yemen.” Afkham also responded to reports from Saudi officials that Riyadh had no official record on Iran’s former Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi entering Saudi Arabia to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage. She called the reports “hasty” and said Roknabadi entered the country with a normal passport. (ABNA) (IRINN)

 

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • JCPOA review commission: We won’t be able to submit report tomorrow. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated on September 29 that the time at which Parliament’s JCPOA Commission will submit its report to Parliament “cannot be announced because still some committee reports and related issues remain. It is therefore unlikely that the report will reach tomorrow’s public session in Parliament.” The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JPCOA Spokesman said that the commission will draw up the “final report in the next few days,” and that “certainly, the final report… will be read in Parliament by Sunday of next week [October 4].” (ICANA)
     
  • Shamkhani: Parliament is giving the government permission to implement the JCPOA. Ali Shamkhani stated that Parliament is “in the final states of reviewing the JCPOA” and that it is “giving the government permission to implement the JCPOA with reservations.” The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary also censured Saudi authorities, stating that Saudi Arabia has shifted its focus to “war with Yemen” and subsequently cannot handle administering the Hajj. He added that Saudi Arabia is second only to ISIS in the damage it has done to Islam. (Fars News Agency)
     
  • Pezeshkian: JCPOA review commission needs more time. Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JPCOA member Massoud Pezeshkian said, “Not only are disputes a barrier to concluding [the report], but also if we want our views to be closer to one another, we [the Commission members] need more time and more scientific evidence.” Pezeshkian also criticized Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani’s comments on the JCPOA at an earlier commission meeting, stating, “As someone who has spent hours in the Supreme National Security Council and in the service of the Supreme Leader at meetings on the nuclear negotiations and the JCPOA, Larijani cannot have an unacceptable opinion about the JCPOA.” (YJC)
     
  • Nobakht: The SNSC has confirmed we have not crossed any redlines. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht criticized the Saudi response to the Hajj stampede during a press conference on September 29. The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President called the behavior of Saudi officials “irresponsible” and claimed that Saudi Arabia had adopted a “hostile position” towards Iran. He added that the Saudi foreign ministry was not cooperating with Iran and said, “We must therefore use other options to send aid to the pilgrims.” Nobakht also stated:
    • On the review of the JCPOA: “The Parliament is not a competitor of the administration… but it has begun reviewing the JCPOA as the peer of the administration… The SNSC has confirmed that we have not crossed any of the red-lines... Whatever it is, the opinion of Parliament regarding the JCPOA will be respected.”
    • On prisoner transfers: “In no way will bilateral negotiations occur with America for exchanging prisoners.” (Mashregh News)
       
  • Hossein Sobhani Nia: Parliament must define its position on the JCPOA. Parliamentarian Hossein Sobhani Nia discussed Parliament’s review of the JCPOA and stated, “The ball is now in Iran’s court… The defensive, political, legal aspects [of the nuclear deal] in addition to the implementation of the Additional Protocol, sanctions, and snapback sanctions must be considered.” The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member added, “Therefore, it is arranged that a double-emergency plan will be presented [to Parliament] which both permits the administration to implement the contents of the JCPOA and also considers the general interests of the political system.” (ICANA)
     
  • Haghighat Pour: We hope reports about Zarif shaking Obama’s hand are untrue. Parliamentarian Mansour Haghighat Pour expressed concern over rumors that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Barack Obama shook hands in New York. The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA member said, “We hope that this report cannot be verified because if Mr. Zarif did do such a thing, he certainly ignored the system’s [referring to the Iranian regime] red lines.” (Tasnim News Agency)
     
  • Alavi: MOIS must increase society’s “psychological security.” Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi stated that the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS)’s strategy for upcoming elections is “the creation of a lively atmosphere for the representation of various tastes within the framework of the law.” The MOIS Head added, “If we want to establish security in society, we must seek to increase society’s psychological security. Today, the Ministry of Intelligence is striving for people to live in complete security, vitality, and happiness.”
    • Alavi also censured Saudi officials for their “foolish” handling of the Hajj stampede, stating that “the Islamic world will not forgive their behavior.” Alavi also called for Saudi officials to accept delegations from countries affected by the stampede and stated, “Instead of pouring salt in the wound of the Islamic ummah, they can put balm on their aches.” (Tasnim News Agency)
       
  • Larijani: “Reason must govern political behavior.” Ali Larijani discussed the upcoming elections during a meeting with local officials in Markazi province. The Parliament Speaker stressed that “all preferences and opinions” must be considered in the elections. He added, “Reason must govern political behavior… Political behavior must not cause dispute.” (Mehr News )
     
  • Nahavandian: If America fulfills its commitments, there is the possibility of cooperation on counterterrorism. The President’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian said that successfully implementing the nuclear deal could pave the way for cooperation with the U.S. on counterterrorism. (Entekhab)

 

Economy

  • Iran to receive $700 million payment from India on Wednesday. Indian oil refiners will pay Iran $700 million on September 30, as part of their first debt payment for crude oil imports. (ISNA(E)
     
  • Iran plans to attract $15 billion in foreign investment to develop mining sector. Mohammad Khazaei announced that the 6th Five-Year Development Plan calls for $15 billion dollars in foreign investment for the mines and mining industries sector. The Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade added that the mining sector is “the main base and mother of development for other sectors.” (Press TV) (E)
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