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, Hirad Yaldaei, 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: Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh praised OPEC’s agreement to curb oil production as an “exceptional decision.”
Zanganeh claimed that OPEC members agreed to cut “around 700,000 barrels per day” from OPEC’s collective oil output during talks on September 28 in Algeria. The preliminary agreement, however, did not include specific production quotas for member states. The lack of details in the agreement has raised questions over its viability. Zanganeh told reporters that a special committee will be established to propose individual production quotas, which will then be debated during a formal OPEC meeting in November. Reports indicate that Iran will be exempted from the proposed cutbacks.
An IRGC lieutenant colonel and a Basij member were killed in Syria. They were likely involved in pro-Assad operations around Aleppo, where regime forces have launched a new ground offensive against rebel positions.
Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that Iran intends to dispatch ships to South Africa and into the Atlantic “in the near future.” Sayyari and an Iranian military delegation made a multi-day visit to South Africa in mid-September.
- Paul Bucala and Shayan Enferadi analyze the implications of recent instability in Iranian Kurdistan in “Iran’s Kurdish Insurgency.”
- 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.”
- Zanganeh: The OPEC agreement was an “exceptional decision.” Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh praised OPEC’s agreement to curb oil production in remarks to reporters after an OPEC meeting in Algeria on September 28. He stated, “OPEC made an exceptional decision... After two and a half years, OPEC reached a decision on managing the market.” He told reporters that the agreement includes cutting oil output from OPEC members to a range of 32.5-33.0 million barrels per day. Zanganeh also announced that a special committee will be established to assign production caps to different member states. (Press TV)
- Iran and Iraq agree to connect pipelines. Zanganeh and his Iraqi counterpart Adil Abdul Mahdi agreed to connect pipelines between their two countries on the sidelines of the OPEC meeting in Algeria. The connected pipelines will allow Iraqi oil to reach the Persian Gulf via Iran. (ILNA)
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Shamkhani: We will get serious if the U.S. continues to sabotage our business opportunities. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani stated that if Iran continues “see America’s sabotage and disruption of such smaller endeavors as buying planes, we will make more serious decisions about our rights.” President Hassan Rouhani and other senior officials have repeatedly claimed that the U.S. is not complying with its requirements under the nuclear deal because it is sabotaging banks and financial institutions’ partnerships with Iran. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Zarif discusses Syrian conflict with Turkish prime minister. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made an unannounced visit to Ankara on September 28 to discuss developments in Syria with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. The two reportedly agreed on the need to halt fighting and deliver humanitarian aid to civilians. (IRNA)
Military & Security
Sayyari: “We will soon move toward South Africa.” Artesh Navy Commander RADM Habibollah Sayyari claimed that Iran intends to dispatch ships into the Atlantic via South Africa “in the near future.” (Fars News Agency)
Supreme Leader’s representative to IRGC: Missiles intimidate our enemies better than the smiles of diplomats. Hojjat ol Eslam Ali Saidi, the Supreme Leader’s representative to the IRGC, addressed “opinions based on setting aside military might for economic development” in a likely reference to Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s recent commentsattributing Germany and Japan’s economic success to their lack of a military after World War II. Saidi stated, “That which could lift the shadow of war was not the smile of diplomats but the roar of missiles.” Saidi also warned that the U.S. seeks to “polarize” Iranian society and stated, “They intend to convert principlists and reformists into groups supporting and opposing the Islamic system and to convert disagreements within the system to disagreements against the system.” Saidi’s remarks closely resemble those from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who recently asserted that Iran’s military capabilities prevented war more than diplomacy and warned against polarization in Iranian politics. (Tasnim News Agency)
Alavi: Issue of foreign influence is “more serious” than before. Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi called the issue of foreign influence “more serious and more fundamental than before.” He noted, “When you open a window for fresh air, harmful insects also come inside. The solution to preventing the insects from coming is not to close the window, but rather to create a barrier to their entry.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Judiciary head rejects calls by lawmakers to abolish death penalty for drug trafficking. Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani said that “laws regarding drug trafficking are not set in stone, but allegations about the death penalty not being effective are false.” Drug trafficking currently carries the death penalty in Iran. Lawmakers have debated the impact of the death penalty on the drug trafficking industry in recent months, and some officials have argued to replace the death penalty with long prison terms and hard labor. (Tasnim News Agency)
Casualties in Iraq & Syria