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: Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani stressed that Parliament will “make a decision” on the nuclear deal based on the report from the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. The commission’s head stated that the Guardian Council’s interpretation of the Constitution backs a Parliamentary vote on the deal.
During a press conference on the last day of his trip in New York, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani stated that Parliament will “make a decision” on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, according to the report of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA.
Ali Reza Zakani, the commission’s head, stressed that the administration has a legal duty to present a bill on the JCPOA to Parliament. He claimed that President Rouhani’s saying that the JCPOA does not need to be submitted to Parliament is “contrary to the law,” according to the Guardian Council’s interpretation of the Constitution. Their comments follow Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments on September 3rd calling for parliamentary review of the JCPOA.
The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages onwww.irantracker.org 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?"
Larijani: Parliament will “make a decision” on the JCPOA based on the special commission’s report. Ali Larijani answered questions from American reporters about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Iran’s relationship with Saudi Arabia during the last day of his trip to New York.
- On the JCPOA: The Parliament Speaker stated that the JCPOA’s parliamentary review is “based on the Constitution.” He added that the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA will submit a report to Parliament, and Parliament will “make a decision” based on it.
- On Saudi Arabia: “The people of Saudi Arabia are our brothers, and Saudi Arabia is an Islamic and neighboring country. But we have objections about some of their behavior.”
- “What reason is there for occupying Yemen and killing the defenseless people of this country with the false pretext of probable cause and threats toward Saudi Arabia from Yemen? This is incomprehensible for Yemen.” Larijani added that the people of Saudi Arabian must realize that “supporting terrorists eliminates the welfare of the rest of the world.” (ICANA)
JCPOA parliamentary commission head discusses Parliament’s options.Parliamentarian Alireza Zakani discussed the possibility of a Parliamentary vote on the JCPOA and ongoing concerns over “snapback” sanctions.
- On presenting the JCPOA to the Parliament “as a bill”: Zakani said that presenting a bill on the JCPOA to the Parliament is the administration’s legal duty, and stated: “We are waiting for the government to present the bill to Parliament, although we will not wait around [for the government to present the bill.]”
- “Reviewing the JCPOA is a national issue, and must not be dealt with in a political, illegal, or partisan way…. According to the interpretation of the Constitution by the Guardian Council, it is contrary to the law when the administration says that presenting the JCPOA to the Parliament in a form of a bill is not beneficial and is political.”
- Zakani mentioned that the Parliament can also draft a proposal to approve the JCPOA and said, “If the administration presents the JCPOA as a bill to Parliament, or 15 members of Parliament prepare and create a proposal, we in the commission will review that [bill or proposal].”
- “The Parliament can furthermore give a detailed statement [about the JCPOA]…”
- On the special commission’s report on the JCPOA: “The Special Commission to Review the JCPOA’s report will certainly be reviewed and discussed in a public session of Parliament.”
- “The commission’s report is not something which the Parliament will approve; rather, it is the proposal or the bill that, we, after a detailed review, will present to the Parliament for a vote.”
- Zakani noted that they hope to submit the commission’s report to the general Parliament by early October.
- Zakani stated, “The commission is not dealing with the recent [UN] Security Council Resolution … we are reviewing the entirety of the JCPOA and its five annexes.”
- On “snapback” sanctions: The Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA Head stated, “Except for six UN Security Council resolutions which were amassed into one resolution, the European Union lifts sanctions but maintains their infrastructure [of sanctions] for eight years.”
- “Although it would suspend some sanctions, America would also keep the sanctions infrastructure at the same time.”
- “The reversibility of our commitments would not be fast; some [of the commitments] are totally irreversible….they can very quickly and easily restore sanctions.” (ISNA)
Khatami: If sanctions are suspended rather than cancelled, then we will suspend rather than cancel our nuclear program. Ahmad Khatami discussed the nuclear deal, the Guardian Council’s supervisory role in elections, and the legal review process for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) during his Friday prayer sermon in Tehran. ?
- On sanctions: The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member stated, “It was agreed that sanctions will be cancelled after the JCPOA, not suspended. Suspension is a violation of America’s promise. If it is agreed that sanctions are suspended, then we will also suspend rather than stop our nuclear program.”
- On the JCPOA’s legal review process: Khatami reiterated that the Supreme Leader’s position is that the JCPOA should go to Parliament. Khatami said that according to the law, all international agreements must be “accepted” in Parliament. He stated, “This agreement that has created a 15-20 and 25-year commitment for our people must also be accepted by the representatives of the people.” Khatami said that it is also “completely legal” for the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to “enter this issue” alongside Parliament.
- On regime change: “Obama expressly said, ‘We hope the Iranian government will change after the JCPOA.’ But this dream has never and will never be explained.”
- On the Guardian Council: Khatami stated that there is no one in Iran who “is compassionate about the Revolution but does not have respect for the rule of law.” He stated, “Everyone must accept the rule of law, and according to Article 99 in the Constitution, the Guardian Council has supervision over elections for the Assembly of Experts and Parliament.” He added that the Guardian Council’s supervisory duties also include “the verification and disqualification of candidates.”
On the media: Khatami stated that “the owners of media, the directors of websites, and all people who are in journalism must be vigilant that the ground is not laid for American influence.” He added, “Every pen that is lifted to beautify the face of America and erase the hate for the Americans is unmistakably the pen of the Americans.” (IRIB)
- Afkham responds to statements made by U.S. Secretary Kerry. Marzieh Afkham responded to recent comments by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the nuclear deal. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman stated that the Israeli lobby has pressured U.S. officials into making "unfounded and exaggerated remarks about the Iranian nuclear program.” She described Kerry's statement about Iran being on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons as "a big lie," adding that nuclear weapons are against the Supreme Leader’s fatwa. Afkham stressed that Iran's diplomacy during the negotiations illustrated the "ineffectiveness of the sanctions." (MFA)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Zarif: No agreement has been reached for a transition of power in Syria. Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that “no country has the right to make decisions for the Syrian nation” and that “the path to solving the Syrian crisis is in the hands of the Syrian people” during a televised interview in Algeria. The Foreign Minister said that “no agreement” has been reached among Iran, Russia, America, and Saudi Arabia regarding a transition of power in Syria and denied that Syrian President Bashar al Assad has subsequently become a “refugee” in Algeria. Zarif also stated that a “joint commission” of the two countries will be formed and that it will include discussions on economic cooperation in areas including oil markets.?
On regional issues: Zarif stated that Iran has already discussed sectarianism, extremism, and solutions to problems in Syria, Yemen, and Libya with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and “other Algerian officials.” Zarif said that a solution to regional terrorism should not be limited to military strategy, but must also include “cultural, religious, economic, and international” strategies. He added, “If necessary, one can resort to the military option.” (Tabnak)
- On regional issues: Zarif stated that Iran has already discussed sectarianism, extremism, and solutions to problems in Syria, Yemen, and Libya with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and “other Algerian officials.” Zarif said that a solution to regional terrorism should not be limited to military strategy, but must also include “cultural, religious, economic, and international” strategies. He added, “If necessary, one can resort to the military option.” (Tabnak)
Ali Larijani says there are “practical solutions” for freeing Rezaian. Ali Larijani said that there are “practical solutions” to free detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian during an interview with NPR. The Parliament Speaker mentioned the possibility of a prisoner swap, saying, “For example, there are a number of Iranians imprisoned here [the U.S.]. In issues like this, one can come up with solutions.” Larijani also mentioned that he was uncertain of the result of Parliament reviewing JCPOA, noting “some have important criticisms of the agreement.” (Fars News Agency)
Fazli: Iran will provide security to Afghanistan. Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli stated that Iran is ready to help “restore peace” and improve security in Afghanistan during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul. The Interior Minister called for the two countries to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. He added that “a threat to Afghanistan will in fact be a threat to Iran.” (Press TV) (E)
- The president of Kyrgyzstan arrives in Tehran. Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev arrived in Tehran on a three day visit, during which he will meet with "President [Hassan] Rouhani and other Iranian officials..." Both countries will survey ways to increase political and economic cooperation, while also discussing the construction of the "Iran-Afghanistan-Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan-China railway." (IRNA) (E)
Military and Security
Esmaili: We monitor the breath of the enemy from 3,000 kilometers. Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili praised Iranian military capabilities during a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base’s establishment. The Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Commander claimed that Iranian self-sufficiency “has crystallized in weapons systems ranging from radars to missiles.” Esmaili claimed that these systems of more than “3,700 sites throughout the country” allow Iran to “monitor the breath of the enemy at distances of more than 3,000 kilometers.” Esmaili proceeded to assess that “practical observations of recent wars in the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen show that the leading threat has been attacks and preliminary invasions by air and... long-range missiles.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Parliamentarian: “Resistance Economy headquarters is being formed.” Head of the Planning and Budget Parliamentary Commission Hojjat ol Eslam Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam stressed the necessity of implementing Resistance Economy policies during a speech on September 4. Mesbahi Moghaddam, who is also a member in the Expediency Discernment Council, stated, “We in the Expediency Discernment Council repeatedly called for measures to implement a Resistance Economy headquarters, which was confronted with some opposition from individuals in the administration; but now, with the approval of the Supreme Leader, a Resistance Economy headquarters is being formed.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Seif: CBI has special plan to increase domestic production. Valiollah Seif stated that the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has devised a special plan to increase the “production cycle inside Iran to support the country’s manufactures.” The CBI Head stated that CBI is working with the Economic and Finance Ministry on the plan; he said the plan has been sent to the Money and Credit Council (MCC). (Press TV) (E)