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: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that "there will be no deal" if sanctions are not lifted. Khamenei also called for a parliamentary review of the nuclear deal. 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the nuclear deal would be jeopardized without the removal of sanctions during a meeting with the Assembly of Experts. Khamenei asked, “If the framework of the sanctions is to remain in place, what did we negotiate for?”

Khamenei also stressed that “Parliament should not be sidelined on the nuclear deal.” Khamenei added, however, that he has no “advice to Parliament regarding the type of review or regarding the approval of the JCPOA or disapproval of it; the representatives of the nation must decide about it.” Khamenei singled out President Rouhani, who recently voiced opposition to allowing the Parliament vote on the nuclear deal. The Supreme Leader stated, “I have said, Mr. President, it is not in the best interest to exclude Parliament from reviewing the JCPOA.”

The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages 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 and AEI Research Assistant Tara Beeny analyze recent attacks on Iranian vehicles travelling in Turkey in the context of expanding Turkish involvement in Syria and Iranian media reports claiming Turkey’s support to ISIS in their most recent blog post, “Are Iran-Turkey relations on the rocks?"

Official Statements

  • Supreme Leader: “Parliament should not be sidelined on the nuclear deal…” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his demand for the complete removal of sanctions in a meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts on September 3 in Tehran. The Supreme Leader also discussed the ongoing review of the Joint comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by Iranian lawmakers and highlighted threats associated with the P5+1 nuclear deal. Khamenei stated:
    • On Parliament reviewing the JCPOA: “Regarding the legal aspects of this issue and its requirements, suitable experts and legal experts should comment [on the nuclear deal], but in general, I believe and I have said, Mr. President it is not in the best interest to exclude Parliament from reviewing the JCPOA.” 
    • “I have no advice to Parliament regarding the type of review or regarding the approval of the JCPOA or disapproval of it; the representatives of the nation must decide about it.”
    • “I discussed these issues and advised our dear brothers in government… and now I will express them in order to inform the Assembly of Experts and all the people.” 
    • On the U.S.: “In reality, the main party in our negotiations is the American government, but the rhetoric of American authorities is very bad and this issue must be clarified.” 
    • “Don’t say that the Americans say these things to satisfy their domestic rivals; however, I believe that the internal conflict in America is real and they do have differences with each other and the reasons for these differences are clear to us. But what is officially stated by [by the U.S.] needs to be answered…”
    • “The American government speaks to Iran like the British did in the 19th century; they seem to be two centuries behind the world. [On one hand] the world has changed and superpowers are not able to act like before and on the other hand, there is the Islamic Republic with its known and unknown capabilities, which will be realized when necessary in action.”
    • “Iran is not like some backward countries, to which they [the U.S.] can talk in any way they like.” 
    • “American officials expect officials of the Islamic Republic to do a different job, which means ignoring our Islamic values, but such a thing will never happen and if anyone dare to do so the Iranian nation and government will never tolerate it.”
    • On sanctions: “If the framework of the sanctions is to remain in place, what did we negotiate for? This is completely against the reason why the Islamic Republic of Iran partook in negotiations, since the goal of the talks was the removal of the sanctions."
    • “If we made some concessions…it was mainly for termination of economic sanctions and there was no other reason to continue talks. Otherwise, why should we have negotiated? We would continue our [nuclear] work and would rapidly increase the number of our centrifuges from 19,000 to 50-60,000 in the shortest possible time, and continued with 20 percent enrichment of uranium and also promote our research and development plans.” 
    • “Should sanctions remain in place… there will be no deal. So this issue must be resolved.”
    • “We asserted sanctions must be removed, not suspended. In case sanctions are suspended, the [nuclear] measure we need to take will respectively be suspended, not fundamental.”
    • “The other side says that the removal of sanctions is not under America’s power; we say those under the control of American and European governments must be removed.”
    • On the Resistance Economy: “Policies of the Resistance Economy are comprehensive and inseparable and their implementation needs a complete action plan. Therefore, I have asked the honorable President and the government to implement a comprehensive program…to achieve the Resistance Economy…” (
  • Salami: “Whether or not the deal happens,” America is still Iran’s principal enemy. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami attended the “Power of Sarallah” exercises on September 3 in Tehran. The IRGC Deputy Commander praised those in attendance, stating: “Your…. power and resistance were your glory and greatness, which forced the enemy away from the military option and path of economic sanctions… towards the path of diplomacy.” Salami also praised the Basij’s role in suppressing the 2009 Green Movement, stating: “You have come from a time of complex intrigue [the Green Movement], which the dominating system [the West] designed to transform the character and content of the Islamic Revolution…”  
    • On America’s limited role in the region: Salami stated that while American officials can say what they please, “they cannot do whatever they please; the difference between their speech and their action is the difference between their hallucinations, fantasies, dreams, and wishes, with their ability to act.” 
    • “America’s operational and field strategies in Islamic lands in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Yemen will be confronted with defeat…” 
    • On Muslim countries’ attitude towards America: “The balance of power is shifting in favor of the Muslims, and today our enemies’ policies have been stopped; they should know that they can no longer plunder the material wealth and spiritual identities of  Muslim nations, because the Muslims have awakened… and all Islamic lands have turned to… the resistance against America’s strategies; this fact will shape the future geopolitical landscape of the world and the region.” 
    • “Know this: whether or not the deal happens, America is the number one enemy of the Islamic nation of Iran and the Islamic world… whether there will be an agreement or not, we will support the oppressed and Muslim nations against America’s domination.” (Sepah News)
  • Velayati: We have never trusted America. Ali Akbar Velayati stated that “the words of John Kerry and foreign officials against Iran do not exceed our expectations,” because Iran “has never been optimistic about the Americans.” The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader also discussed “the behavior of America’s Congress” and stated, “America’s enmity has become tangible for everyone.” He added, “The successful efforts of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team is worthy of congratulations, but without a doubt, the arrogance’s record is not good. We have never been and are not hopeful about America’s goodwill in any situation.” (Rasa News)
  • Naghdi: We should pursue indigenous technology. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi stated that “the enemy” seeks to gain influence in Iran through “false promises about solving economic problems by establishing relations with America.” The Basij Organization Commander said that the Supreme Leader considers relying on foreign assistance for economic prosperity to be “useless and unfruitful.” Naghdi added, “Instead of dreaming about technology imports today, we must strive to achieve original indigenous technology.” He quoted “other officials” as saying, “If the import tariff is lifted, we will be incapable of competing in any technology except goat stew and ghormeh sabzi.” (Basij News)
  • Pourdastan: Creating sectarian tensions is the new U.S. strategy. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan claimed that the nuclear deal will not usher in a new wave of relations with the U.S. during a ceremony in Dorud city, Lorestan province. The Artesh Ground Forces Commander blamed the U.S. for creating ISIS and “takfiri groups” in order to increase sectarian tensions. Pourdastan stated that the U.S. is conspiring to “break apart the counties of the region, including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and even Saudi Arabia.” Pourdastan added that “the Americans” are currently engaged in “soft war” against Iran, claiming that “today the enemy is focusing on the youth and wants to change [their] style of living; therefore we must be even more careful.” (Mehr News) 

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Shariatmadari responds to Khamenei’s comments on Parliament reviewing the JCPOA.Managing Editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan Hossein Shariatmadari responded to Khamenei’s remarks on parliamentary approval of the JCPOA during an interview with the news outlet Young Journalists Club. Shariatmadari noted:
  • Larijani: The nuclear agreement started a new era in Iran-West relations. Ali Larijani said that the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 began “a different era in relations between Iran and the West.” The Parliament Speaker said the nuclear agreement is “positive overall” despite having “drawbacks” and added that the West “was forced to acknowledge our nuclear rights.” He also enumerated priorities in the post-agreement era, stating that Iran needs “new investment in the fields of oil, gas, and petrochemicals.” Larijani emphasized that Iranians living abroad can wield “a positive influence” in politics, media, and public opinion by investing in Iran. (Tabnak)
  • Shariatmadari: Rouhani is worried that Parliament might reject the nuclear deal.Managing Editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan Hossein Shariatmadari responded to President Rouhani’s comments on the parliamentary approval of the JCPOA in an op-ed on September 1. Shariatmadari stated:
    • “If individuals in the administration are worried that passing the JCPOA in Parliament means making the deal legal and an obligation [for the government], [then] this concern also exists with the Supreme National Security Council passing the JCPOA. But they are worried over [Parliament] rejecting the nuclear deal… also 90 days after the date [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231 was issued, the JCPOA will become an international treaty and it will be binding. Therefore, from this angle as well, President Rouhani and other officials’ worries over legalizing the JCPOA and [creating] obligations for Iran to implement the deal’s commitments are baseless and lack validity.” (Kayhan)
  • JCPOA parliamentary review commission to visit Arak facilities. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated that members of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA will visit the Arak heavy water reactor facilities on September 9. The Spokesman of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA also stated that Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi and “other current members of the nuclear negotiations team” will attend the special commission’s session on September 6, when they will discuss the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231. Hosseini added that Representative of the Supreme Leader in the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili and “other members of the past nuclear negotiations team” will attend the special commission’s session on September 7 to discuss “the contents of the JCPOA.” He stated that Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi will attend the special commission’s session on September 8 “in order to provide explanations about the details of the JCPOA’s text.” (Tasnim News Agency)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

Military and Security

  • Esmaili unveils new air defense command and control system. The Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Commander Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili unveiled a new air defense command and control system in a ceremony at an unspecified military site. Nicknamed the “Great Prophet,” this system was domestically designed and produced. All the country’s air defense networks will reportedly be connected to this command and control system. Artesh Commander Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi was also present at the ceremony. (Fars News Agency) 
  • Salehi attends IRGC drills. Ali Akbar Salehi attended the IRGC “Power of Sarallah” exercises on September 3 in Tehran. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head addressed reporters on the sidelines and stated: “I came to the exercise here today with pride and the Basijis made it clear once again that the Iranian nation is…alert and it will never be unaware.”
  • Spokesman: The “Power of Sarallah” exercises demonstrate the Basij’s cyberspace capabilities. IRGC Brig. 2C Naser Sheibani stated that a “piloted aircraft named ‘Jamravesh’” that was “designed and built by Basiji specialists” was used for the first time during the “Power of Sarallah” military exercises. The spokesman for the “Power of Sarallah” military exercises added that an “impenetrable communication system” was used for the first time as well. He stated the Basij have “demonstrated their abilities in cyberspace in addition to their hardware capabilities” and mentioned the presence of 3,000 university professors who are “fluent in the use of cyberspace” as evidence of such capabilities. (Defa Press) 
    • Spokesman: The “Power of Sarallah” exercises demonstrate Basij’s “epic power.” Sheibani stated that the “Power of Sarallah” exercises will last “30 hours and 30 minutes in 7 stages.” He described the fourth stage as “demonstrating the epic power of 50,000 Basijis” and added that it will include a parade and practice for “identifying and neutralizing suspicious packages” and “neutralizing bombs.” (Defa Press)


  • Senior Spanish officials will lead economic delegation to Iran. Three Spanish officials including Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo will lead a 70 member delegation of business representatives, including executives from Respol, a major global oil firm. The delegation, which leaves Sunday, will also include businessmen from companies specializing in infrastructure and development. (Press TV) (E)
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