Situation Report Iran

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Iran Situation Report

Authors

Mehrdad Moarefian

Latest Edition

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For archived reports, please click here.

 

August 29, 2014

Key takeaway: IRGC Commander echoes the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call to arm the resistance in the West Bank with advanced missile capabilities. Iranian officials continue to downplay gaps in Iran’s airspace, which were exploited by an alleged Israeli drone.

IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari’s statement not only reiterates the regime’s concerted effort to arm Palestinian resistance; it underscores specificity of material support: “The Palestinian defense infrastructure has to be strengthened as much as possible in the occupied West Bank, you [resistance fighters] should increase the volume, range and precision of your missiles.” Jafari’s call to enhance the missile capabilities of Palestinian militants is a method to deter Israel, while bolstering Iran’s regional force projection.

Defense Minister and IRGC commander Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan’s phone calls to Palestine Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah and Hamas Political Leader Khaled Meshaal, reaffirm Iran’s unwavering commitment to Palestinian resistance against Israel.  

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavorov in Moscow to discuss a variety of bilateral measures that signal deepening strategic ties between Tehran and Moscow. Presidents Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet twice in September to discuss ways of withstanding Western economic pressure. Lavarov stated “economic relations between Tehran and Moscow are a matter of sovereignty for Russia and are based on international law.” A senior Iranian official in Tehran also announced negotiations for Iran to export its agricultural products to the Russian market, which has seen rising food prices since sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis took effect. These measures underlining Rouhani’s efforts to devise viable options, should nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 fail to secure a comprehensive deal.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elman Abdullayev dismissed allegations of providing logistical and material support to Israel to conduct operations against Iran and reiterated Baku’s commitment to stable relations with Tehran, reflecting both the recent de-escalation in tensions between the neighboring countries and a concern among Iranian circles that Azerbaijan permitted Israel to launch the stealth drone, reportedly shot down near Natanz earlier in the week. 

Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh openly admitted to insufficient domestic financing for investment in energy sector infrastructures and expressed satisfaction with this past year’s performance of IRGC Khatam ol-Anbia Construction Base (GHORB), highlighting the Rouhani administration’s commitment to endogenous private sector growth and employing GHORB’s economies of scale for massive civil projects. 

Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht reiterated the administration’s commitment to submitting the 2015-2016 budget to Parliament before December 6. He also announced that the administration is drafting the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan based on the long-term measures of the Supreme Leader’s Economy of Resistance policies.

 

August 28, 2014

Key takeaway: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei admonished President Hassan Rouhani and his hardline critics for their escalating public spats, with regards to the P5+1 nuclear negotiations, which reinforced the Supreme Leader’s proactive role in maintaining regime unity and indicates heightened sensitivity to political discord. IRGC Deputy Commander touted Iran’s regional reach, while dismissing the viability of American hard power, attributing its decline to failed policies and the lack of a comprehensive strategic vision. 

Addressing senior administration officials, the Supreme Leader urged them to project cohesiveness and unanimity in their messaging points; “Criticism must be with a good and fair tone, and its goal must not be shaming the other side. This method is certainly incorrect.” The first part regarding fair criticism seems to be directed at Rouhani’s conservative critics, whereas the latter part of the statement is an indirect message to Rouhani, which stems from his recent barrage of condemnation of corrupt Iranian officials who seek to preserve the status quo of affairs under sanctions. Khamenei also discussed pressing economic issues, approving Rouhani’s main drive to achieve sustainable economic growth through “non-oil manufacturing” and institutional monetary reform, underscoring the Supreme Leader’s active role in charting out guidelines and a strategic course for policymaking. National Iranian Oil Company Managing Director Rokneddin Javadi approved the prioritization of financing projects that increase oil production capacity, underscoring the Iran’s concerted effort to increase production across the board.

Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani held separate telephone conversations with Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramezan Abdollah and Head of the Hamas Political Office Khaled Meshaal. IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami delivered a lengthy speech reiterating Iran’s unwavering commitment to Palestinian armed resistance, while touting America’s inability to exert hard power, due to recent failures in Iraq and Syria; “Americans have embarked on a quest based on the [false] belief… They supported ISIS in Syria, and now, they are forced to confront them due to their erroneous strategy.”

Islamic Republic of Iran Artesh Air Force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah Safi inspected an air base in Tabriz (northwestern Iran) and immediately issued orders to address security deficiencies. Meanwhile, Artesh Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili attended a drone exercise in Babolsar (northern Iran). These simultaneous visits following the reported downing of an Israeli drone may indicate that Iranian officials suspect the Republic of Azerbaijan of providing logistical and material support to Israeli intelligence agencies. However, Esmaili’s visit was seemingly scheduled prior to this week’s event, as his inspection was accompanied by a testing of the “Pari Palen” drone and an announcement that the “Talash 3” missile defense system will be unveiled on September 22. Nevertheless, Esmaili’s call for enhanced air defense coverage highlights the threat perception of senior officials regarding the integrity of Iran’s air space.

Iranian media outlets are providing conflicting reports on the circumstances surrounding the alleged death of Jaish al Adl Head Abdolraouf Reigi on AUG 28, in Pakistan. Some sources report that he was killed in Kuwaitiyeh, while others claim that he was killed in the city of al Bandin, alongside his nephew Abu Bakr Reigi. Also, some media sources have reported that an escalating feud between Jaish al Adl and Jaish al Nasr (offshoot of Jaish al Adl that reportedly broke off over disagreement of distributing drug trade money) led to Reigi’s death; the details of Abdolraouf’s death remain unclear.

 

August 27, 2014

Key takeaway: Iran’s Foreign Ministry continues regional outreach, dispatching senior diplomats to Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said preparation is under way to launch advanced IR-8 centrifuges ahead of nuclear talks with the P5+1 in September.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrapped up his trip to Iraq where he visited he visited Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. Zarif met with a number of Iraqi officials, including President Fuad Masum, Prime Minister-designate Heider al Abadi, outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Parliament Speaker Salim al Jabouri, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Kurdish President Barzani hailed Iran’s support to Iraqi Kurdistan in combatting ISIS, underscoring Iranian efforts to cooperate with a broad-base of Iraqi officials.

Iran and Saudi Arabia hold their highest levels of talks since Rouhani took office in June 2013.Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal in Jeddah on Tuesday. The two sides emphasized the necessity of overcoming previous difficulties, highlighting the security concerns of both states with regards to regional developments, particularly Iraq, Syria and Gaza.

Atomic Energy Agency of Iran Head Ali Akbar Salehi discussed a variety of key nuclear issues and announced preparation for launching the new generation IR-8 centrifuge machines and that Tehran and Russia are in the final stages of negotiations to begin constructing two power plants in Bushehr. Salehi also dismissed claims about the military dimension of the research in Parchin and detonations allegedly tied to the military application of nuclear technology. Parliament Speaker Larijani's speech delineated Iran’s commitment to provide stable energy, highlighting a significant shift in Tehran's strategic outlook in the post-revolutionary era.  

Ali Larijani’s congratulatory letter to Hamas Political Leader Khaled Meshaal, praising Palestinian resistance and its role in the “historical defeat” of Israel in Gaza underlines Iran’s unwavering commitment to Palestinian armed resistance. Representative of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Tehran Nasser Abu Sharif extolled Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Iran for their unparalleled support for Palestinian resistance.

 

August 26, 2014

Key takeaway: Defense Minister dismisses the need for an agreement with the P5+1 to allow for IAEA inspections of the contended Parchin nuclear site. IRGC Deputy Commander touted Iran’s regional influence and declining American hard power. Senior Iranian official confirms Lebanese Hezbollah’s involvement in Iraq.

IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami’s speech underlined Iran’s commitment to a regional strategy of Resistance. Salami echoed previous statements made by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei regarding the declining hard power of the US. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli discussed the various dimensions of Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah involvement in Iraq. It marks the first time that a senior Iranian official has acknowledged the presence of LH in Iraq.

Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan dismissed the need for IAEA inspections of Parchin, following an earlier announcement by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Head Ali Akbar Salehi that Iran and the IAEA have reached an agreement to inspect some “centers.” Dehghan’s statement highlights the tension between the IRGC and the Rouhani administration regarding the ongoing nuclear negotiations and the IRGC’s insistence on keeping non-fuel production elements of nuclear capabilities, such as weaponization and ballistic missiles, off limits.

Op-ed on conservative-leaning Alef website criticized the involvement of “military institutions” in the civilian sector of the economy and listed the names of major financial entities linked to the IRGC.

 

August 25, 2014

Key takeaway: Senior Iranian officials claim that the IRGC shot down an Israeli drone. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian traveled to Riyadh to meet with senior Saudi officials to discuss areas of mutual interest.

IRGC Air Force Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Haji Zadeh held a press conference on Monday to announce that his forces successfully shot down an Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with a surface-to-air missile. Haji Zadeh said that Iran would in turn accelerate its efforts to arm the resistance in the West Bank, reaffirming the regime’s commitment to the Supreme Leader’s call to ramp up material support to the Palestinian resistance. Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan added that Iran will give a “crushing response” to such acts. Senior Iranian officials have exhibited increasing levels of concern that Israel will actively seek to sabotage Iran’s nuclear facilities ahead of the September round of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abdollahian's meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal confirms previous reports that the Saudi foreign openly expressed the Kingdom’s interest in pursuing a diplomatic course of action with Iran. Foreign Minister Zarif’s trip to Baghdad and Najaf, where he met Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani underscore Iran’s continued commitment to a unified Iraqi government.

 
august 24, 2014

Key takeaway: Senior officials and IRGC commanders echo the Supreme Leader’s call for the expansion of an armed Palestinian resistance. 

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s speech underlined the regime’s intent to expand the resistance; “We believe that the West Bank must be armed like Gaza.” 

Khamenei’s message was reiterated in an open letter by former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei to the commander of Hamas’ armed military wing al Qassam Brigades, which reads in part: “Your fight continues and your needed arms and ammunition will reach you even if they come from underneath a rock.” Senior officials also heightened anti-Zionist rhetoric in proclaiming Iran’s support of Gaza, while criticizing regional countries that remain silent on the Palestinian issue.   

 

August 23, 2014 

Key takeaway: Ahead of the annual international Quds Day rally several former and present senior IRGC commanders signed an open letter titled “Million March from Karbala to Jerusalem.” 

Iranian forces and proxy elements continue to be spotted in Kurdish territory; according to a security official from Daquq, “approximately 200 Iranian [Shi’a militiamen],” left Kirkuk today. 

Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani’s meeting with the head of the Syrian parliament signifies Iran’s commitment to multiple fronts of the Resistance campaign. Iraqi officials said Shamkhani was accompanied by “intelligence, security, foreign affairs, and [IRGC] representatives,” during his visit to Baghdad and Najaf last week. 

Iranian officials continue their diplomatic outreach in an effort to gain popular support for the Palestinians. 

Foreign ministry confirmed receipt of the final tranche of frozen funds per the Joint Plan of Action. 

 

August 22, 2014

Key takeaway: Iran’s Foreign Ministry and Lebanese Hezbollah condemned Israel’s targeted killing of three senior Hamas members and vowed to continue supporting the armed resistance in Palestine, reaffirming Iran’s regional ambition to bolster resistance networks. 

Senior cleric Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi thanked President Rouhani for respecting the Parliament’s impeachment of former Minister of Science, Research, and Technology Reza Farji Dana, indicating a consensus still remains across a broad spectrum of the Islamic Republic’s political establishment to confront perceived security threats.

Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan and Head of the Passive Defense Organization IRGC Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalili tout Iranian achievements in the defense sector, despite facing crippling sanctions, claiming that Iran can enter the global defense industry market. Meanwhile, senior administration officials report progress on investments in information technology (IT) and information communication technology (ICT) sectors, pointing to a national internet network, highlighting Iran’s drive to reduce dependency on crude oil exports and gain competitive market attributes in the 21st century global economy. The announcements are a part of Tehran’s concerted effort to reduce vulnerabilities to Western economic and military pressures.

Officials announce that Iran has the capacity to export natural gas to Japan and Europe, though serious negotiations have yet to take place, underscoring Tehran’s strategic outlook to project itself as a stable and reliable energy provider to European and East Asian industrialized states. The growing interest among the Europeans reflects their concerns regarding dependency on Russian natural gas imports amid the intensifying Ukrainian crisis.

Iranian film producers discuss several released documentaries on the Syrian crisis where they were embedded with Syrian government forces and announced that a film crew is heading to Iraq on August 24 to begin production on the Islamic State (IS) crisis.

 

August 21, 2014

Key takeaway: President Rouhani continues to downplay perceived tensions between conservative and reformist members of parliament, following the impeachment of former Science, Research, and Technology Minister Reza Farji Dana. Foreign Minister Zarif’s televised interview discussed potential Iran-U.S. cooperation in repulsing the ISIS threat.

Official statements indicate that the Parliament’s impeachment of Rouhani-appointed Minister Reza Farji Dana has not threatened concerted efforts among all government institutions to tackle the grave security and economic threats facing Iran. Foreign Minister Zarif and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani reinforced Rouhani’s efforts to shift the media spotlight away from internal discord between conservative and reformist members of parliament. Zarif’s remarks regarding potential grounds for cooperation with the U.S. underline Iran’s goal of removing crippling sanctions; “If we agree to do something in Iraq, the other side of the negotiations should do something in return; all the sanctions that are related to Iran's nuclear program should be lifted." 

President Rouhani claimed that great “transformations” are forthcoming in Iranian relations with Russia, Turkey, and Iraq, underscoring the administration’s efforts in overcoming international isolation and developing alliances aimed at mitigating and preventing the effects of future Western economic pressure.  Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi ensured investors that corrupt government officials that impede private sector development will face the wrath of the state’s “security institutions,” indicating that Rouhani has shifted the mission of MOIS from cracking down on internal political and security threats to confronting widespread corruption and creating the necessary space for immediate private sector growth.

 

August 20, 2014

Key takeaway: Iran’s hardline leaning Parliament impeached the former Minister of Science, Research, and Technology Reza Farji Nia, underscoring the ongoing culture war between President Rouhani’s technocratic approach and conservative officials’ hardline approach, who insist on enforcing stringent Islamic ideals on society.

President Rouhani urged his supporters to respect the Parliament’s vote of no confidence, but he kept the impeached Farji Nia in the administration as an advisor to the president and appointed Mohammad Ali Najafi in his place, signaling an unwillingness to jeopardize the Islamic Republic’s hard-fought consensus achieved in addressing external threats during the past year.  However, Rouhani’s move to keep Farji Nia in his circle indicates that he will not abandon his 2013 presidential campaign platform of confronting the oppressive cultural environment of the regime.

Islamic Republic of Iran Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that the IRGC Navy and Artesh Navy will hold a joint maritime exercise before the end of the Iranian calendar year in March 2015. The commander also reported that the Artesh Navy’s 31st fleet is in the Gulf of Aden, highlighting Iran’s efforts to develop its naval capabilities and expand its presence in open waters, while projecting its regional force.

 

August 19, 2014

Key takeaway: President Rouhani emphasized the importance of acquiring foreign technology and expertise, underscoring the administration’s release of economic proposals which are realistically only achievable in a world without sanctions. Defense Ministry touts Iran’s regional influence by hailing Gaza as a symbol of Islamic Resistance, reaffirming Iran’s commitment to expand armed resistance movements in the Middle East.

The memorandum of understanding signed by the Passive Defense Organization and Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base signifies the Islamic Republic’s concerted effort to reinforce deterrence capabilities through “smart” defense measures, which seek to enhance cooperation across military channels. 

 

August 18, 2014

Key takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani continues to promise the national audience that he will safeguard Iranian interests in any nuclear deal with the P5+1. Rouhani reiterated this point during his meeting with IAEA Chief Yukia Amano, saying Iran’s defensive capabilities is non-negotiable. IRGC commanders call for heightened security measures by strengthening defensive and cyber capabilities. Reports are beginning to resurface again regarding Saudi interest in pursuing talks with Iran.

President Rouhani’s outright dismissal of tying Iran’s missile capabilities to nuclear negotiations underscores his concerted effort to pushback against senior Iranian hardline officials amid growing criticism of his administration’s push for a comprehensive nuclear deal. The Supreme Leader’s senior advisor announced that Khamenei has issued “many warnings” to government officials about an internal “danger” that is undermining the revolution, reflecting the permeation of this belief among the establishment.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that lifting United Nations Security Council sanctions are necessary for any deal with the P5+1; meanwhile Iranian official expresses confidence that based on insider information, a comprehensive nuclear deal will be reached, highlighting the Iran’s recent mixed messaging to external and internal audiences. The official also indicated that the Rouhani administration has not developed economic policies should negotiations fail.

IRGC Navy Commander Brigadier General Ali Fadavi’s and Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Ali Reza Sabahi Fard’s statements to IRGC and government officials underlined Iran’s commitment to strengthen defensive capabilities, while Head of the Passive Defense Organization IRGC Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali called for enhanced measures to reinforce the country’s deterrence capacity in the cyber realm, indicating a comprehensive push for robust defense initiatives. 

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal statement underscores Riyadh’s willingness to develop ties with Iran; “We are ready to improve bilateral ties based on common interests, honesty, and openness.”

 

August 15, 2014

Key takeaway: Senior officials reiterate Iran’s support for a broad-based national coalition under newly elected Iraqi Prime Minister Heidar Abadi. Senior MP echoed the Supreme Leader’s support of President Rouhani’s diplomatic initiatives as well as his nuclear redlines, demanding the preservation of the core capabilities of the Arak heavy water reactor and Fordo enrichment site, which also served as a warning to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his team of negotiators, heading into the September round of negotiations.  

Rouhani’s recent statements condemning conservative critics of nuclear talks with the P5+1 have sparked criticism from Expediency Discernment Council member and Cultural Deputy to the IRGC Commander Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi. Harandi’s remarks may be a prelude to more harsh conservative criticism as the administration inches closer to the September nuclear talks.

Officials announced ongoing and proposed projects to export electricity to neighboring states in the Caucuses and the Arabian Peninsula, underlying the Rouhani administration’s efforts to acquire and secure robust trade partnerships. Iran is drafting a proposal to construct a free economic zone with Qatar, which would provide it access to the latest information and communication technology in developing its knowledge-based sector.    

 

August 14, 2014

Key takeaway: Iran continues to voice its support for newly elected Iraqi Prime Minister Heidar Abadi, paving the way for Nouri Maliki’s exit; Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani said Maliki was an impeding Iraq’s internal stability. Tehran denies reports of alleged secret negotiations with Washington regarding PM Abadi, underlining Iran’s complete opposition to direct talks with the U.S., beyond the nuclear issue.  

SNSC Shamkhani’s remark about PM Abadi as “the only existing option in the path of preserving stability,” underscore the fact that Iran sought to exhaust all options before pulling its support from Maliki.

On the anniversary of 33-day war between Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) and Israel, senior officials praised the efforts of LH in the ongoing regional resistance. Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei’s open letter to LH Secretary General Hassan Nassrallah reaffirms Iran’s commitment to expand the resistance front beyond the “axis” (Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria), into West Bank.

 

AUGUST 13, 2014

Key takeaway: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei set out to reinforce the value of prudence and heroic flexibility to his foreign ministry ahead of upcoming nuclear talks with the P5+1. Khamenei’s comprehensive foreign policy guidelines underscored a deliberate attempt to highlight the inutility of reconciliation efforts with the U.S., while reiterating his support for negotiations that safeguard national interests.

Some Iranian officials may be feigning intransigence on nuclear negotiations as an attempt to conceal indicators that Iran’s economic sustainability lies in a deal that lifts sanctions. Representatives from the private sector exposed the Achilles heel of the Rouhani administration’s economic recovery package: It is unfeasible to achieve the necessary growth and stimulate demand in the short term via non-oil exports. Oil Minister Zanganeh was rather frank when he stated that there is no possibility in the present situation to access $2.3 billion owed by Shell. One businessman said “sanctions will be lifted sooner or later.” The West may have more leverage than it perceives in the nuclear negotiations.

 
August 12, 2014

Key takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani continued to defend his record at home, a year into his presidency, assuring the senior the domestic audience that his administration’s comprehensive economic policies will safeguard national interests, by providing alternative measures, should nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 fail to produce a final deal. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani underlined the regime’s support for the newly elected Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi Iran’s foreign ministry echoed the statement of support for the election results.

SNSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani affirmed Iran’s support of a broader Shi’a bloc-supported Prime Minister, signifying that Tehran was not wedded to the divisive Nouri al Maliki, due to his inability to maintain Iraqi unity.

President Rouhani’s economic policies and statements regarding nuclear negotiations underscore a concerted effort on behalf of his administration to withstand long-term  sanctions; Rouhani reiterated his commitment to reach a final nuclear deal, while also expressing his outlook on the possibility of failure in striking a comprehensive deal with the P5+1. Rouhani’s criticism of Ahmadinejad failed economic policies and "uncalculated" injection of $500 billion underscored a recent uptick in his criticism of hardliners and internal economic corruption.  

 

August 11, 2014

Key takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani’s speech underlines his concerted effort to shun conservative critics of negotiations with the P5+1, while assuring the nation of his administration’s economic policies independent of a final nuclear deal. IRGC statements and an open letter written by a Basij-affiliated Jihadist group, reiterate Iran’s commitment to pursue comprehensive measures in an effort to provide material support to Palestine.

President Rouhani’s blatant remarks towards hardline critics of his administration are part of a recent uptick in his efforts to solidify popular support for negotiations. Continuous reinforcement of the Supreme Leader’s message of “heroic flexibility” seems to signify Rouhani’s implicit intent to deflect attention away from critics, who charge his administration with applying a framework that will lead to a comprehensive nuclear deal at the cost of Iran’s abject surrender. Using Khamenei’s notion of flexibility Rouhani will likely seek to intensify efforts to secure much needed economic relief under the guise of innovative foreign policy, as stated: “Foreign policy does not have an independent doctrine and is part of the complex which we call national policy and national strategy.”

IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami’s televised address underscored the regime’s continued efforts to facilitate and expedite armed resistance in the West Bank in order to “traverse the trend of the Gaza strip.”  Salami touted Iran’s regional reach by pointing to Palestine Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) missile capabilities saying, “…the entire terrain of the Zionist regime is within the range of… [PIJ] missiles." Iran’s strategy of arming Palestinian resistance movements remains unclear; however, the regime’s intent to provide material support is explicitly echoed by the senior leadership.

An open letter written by a 3,000 member jihadist group affiliated with the Basij Organization, urged President Rouhani to implement measures that will arrange for the group’s travel to Gaza for “reconstruction” efforts. This announcement follows the recent formation of a parliamentary Gaza delegation headed by former IRGC commander Esmail Kowsari, which remains on standby, awaiting approval by Egypt’s foreign ministry.

Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government Massoud Barzani reportedly thanked President Rouhani for providing humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees.

 

August 8, 2014

Key takeaway: President Rouhani addressed the external challenges facing Iran, while praising Iran’s elevated status in the international arena, through flexible foreign policy measures that are resistant to economic pressure and submission. Rouhani promised to safeguard the nation’s nuclear rights; "All accept that after a short time Iran will enrich like every state member of the NPT, and this is a great victory for the Iranian nation…” Iran and U.S. nuclear negotiators met in Geneva to discuss existing differences on the future of Iran’s nuclear program.

President Rouhani hailed the administration’s achievements in the past year; “Our relations at the global stage are incomparable with the past. You witnessed the reception of the president's presence at the United Nations and the Davos conference. Everyone accepts that if we take one or two more steps in foreign policy the gates will be completely open, and you will witness that Iran will become one of the important centers of investment in the region." Referring to the Supreme Leader’s message of “heroic flexibility,” Rouhani underlined the importance of advancing national interest through innovative policies, while reiterating his commitment to the principle of resistance against economic pressure. The economic woes facing Iran, were not all attributed to sanctions; Rouhani took a strong stance in condemning internal corruption; "They gave the oil to some and looted it and circumvented the Iranian nation in the name of circumventing sanctions.  The games that they are playing these days are to conceal these exposures.”

Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri reiterated Iran’s support for armed resistance in Palestine, while outlining a comprehensive soft war strategy against Israel; “The legendary resistance of Palestinian Islamic Jihad warriors in defending Gaza, which has its roots in religious and revolutionary teachings, will once again trap the Zionist war machine in the Gazan swamp…Confronting Zionist media requires the unity, coordination, and synergy of loyal media, the Islamic Revolution’s media front, and the establishment of a think tank, a strong command with cutting edge knowledge and technology, and professional human forces who possess strategic outlooks.”

American and Iranian negotiators held a previously unannounced meeting in Geneva on 07 AUG, ahead of the official nuclear talks, which are set to begin first week of September.

 

August 7, 2014

Key takeaway: President Rouhani addressed the external challenges facing Iran, while praising Iran’s elevated status in the international arena, through flexible foreign policy measures that are resistant to economic pressure and submission.

President Hassan Rouhani promised to safeguard the nation’s nuclear rights; "All accept that after a short time Iran will enrich like every state member of the NPT, and this is a great victory for the Iranian nation…”

Iran and U.S. nuclear negotiators met in Geneva to discuss existing differences on the future of Iran’s nuclear program.

 

August 6, 2014

Key takeaway: President Rouhani reiterated the Supreme Leader’s message of “heroic flexibility,” while underlining the distinct difference between flexibility and submission. IRGC Commander touts Iran’s regional reach in spreading the revolutionary framework for Resistance.

President Hassan Rouhani’s address underscored the regime’s unwavering commitment to resistance against economic pressure from the West; “Iran’s foreign policy today is different than in the past…at least 7 billion dollars have been taken from [the West’s] clenches… The world knows that threatening and sanctioning this great nation is no longer effective… We will have heroic flexibility just as the Supreme Leader stated. Abject flexibility is prohibited. Surrendering to great powers is prohibited, but through logic and reason… we will retrieve the people’s rights and will safeguard this nation’s rights.”

IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari’s statement highlighted Iran’s commitment to exporting the revolutionary Basij model of resistance; “The Basij of the Islamic world based on the Islamic revolution’s model has taken shape in the world. This is a dream and it has become a reality.”

 

August 5, 2014

Key takeaway: New report suggests that Iran may be backing away from supporting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, following a reported meeting between senior Iranian and officials and a delegation from Maliki’s Dawa Party. Senior officials continue to pledge support for arming Palestinian resistance.

According to Reuters Anonymous Iranian officials indicated that Tehran is willing to abandon support for PM Maliki. One official said that Grand Ayatollah Sistani now agrees with Iran that Maliki can no longer "preserve the unity of Iraq." The source claims that an unnamed “senior Iranian official” said: "With Maliki in power, Iraq will be divided. To fight against the Islamic State, Iraq needs a powerful government and we back this idea. A divided Iraq is a threat to Iran's national security." Another anonymous Iranian official denied reports of a meeting between Maliki’s Dawa Party and Iranian officials including, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani and Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in Tehran.

Basij Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi’s warning to the Jordanian government reaffirms Iran’s commitment to Palestinian resistance; "The Jordanian government must know that if it stands with Israel it will be crushed under the feet of nations." Naghdi also lauded Gilan Province merchants for raising funds to donate “100 cases of weapons” to Palestine.

National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi’s announcement confirms Iran’s commitment to arming Palestinians; “A number of the National Security Commission members are drafting a plan to arm the Palestinian people against the oppressing attacks of Israel.”

Iran and Russia sign an agreement to expand banking, commerce, and economic ties.

 

August 4, 2014

Key takeaway: Iranian officials continue to pledge support to Palestine and regional resistance. The Supreme Leader’s senior military advisor calls for Islamic unity in forming a comprehensive strategy to counter American-Zionist threats. Law Enforcement Commander reaffirms Iranian border security; “The armed forces of Iran are completely dominant on their borders and will confront any measures against border security.”

IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari reiterated Iran’s commitment to sustaining the resistance movement and said “The battle of Gaza demonstrated that the power of the resistance is non-ending, has internalized, and is still expanding.” Head of the IRGC Public Affairs Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif underlined the strategic importance of Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani’s call to arm the West Bank; “The unceasing, total aid of Iran regarding the Palestinian resistance and its expansion to a practical measure of the Islamic world will certainly make the Zionist regime face a destructive tsunami. It will cause Tel Aviv to face a great problem, threatened by a serious and strategic predicament.” 

Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam reaffirmed Iran’s border security; “The armed forces of Iran are completely dominant on their borders and will confront any [threat]… [IS] is very far from our borders, although we track their movements and are completely aware.”

Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi outlines a comprehensive strategy that calls for Islamic unity; “It is time for the Islamic world to review its destiny. The threats of America and Zionist capitalist controlling the American system concerns all Islamic governments and nations…”

Tehran MP Ali Motahari urged the release of political prisoners associated with the 2009 post-election protests calling for an inclusive environment for officials to air grievances and criticism; “What is wrong with having some opposition who live by themselves in a corner? These are opponents who say that they accept the system, constitution, principle of the velayat-e faghih [guardianship of the jurisprudence] but protest their performance in 2009. It is possible for some to be like this, but must we arrest these individuals?”

 

August 1, 2014

Key takeaway: Iranian officials continued expressing their full-throated support for Hamas as a key partner in the “Resistance Front,” despite diverging views over the war in Syria. Iran began receiving additional unfrozen assets under the terms of a 4-month extension of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1.

Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian stressed that differences between Iran and Hamas over Syria, which had strained their ties over the last few years, will not prevent them from working together.

Former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Mohsen Rezaei urged President Hassan Rouhani to coordinate and call for an international campaign to seek Israel’s “nuclear disarmament,” the removal of “America’s strategic equipment reserve” in the region, an end to “the siege of Gaza,” and installation of air defense systems in the Palestinian territories.

Iran received $500 million in previously frozen assets, the first of six additional installments totaling $2.8 billion, under the terms of an extended interim nuclear agreement with the P5+1. Iranian and P5+1 representatives will resume negotiations in September; the two sides extended the original July 20 deadline for an agreement to late November.

Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi urged Iraqi politicians “to resolve their differences” and to seek out guidance from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Najaf, who has recently indicated that he would not support Nouri al Maliki remaining on as Prime Minister.

An Iranian parliamentarian indicated that the Egyptian government has not approved visas for a six-member parliamentary delegation that wants to travel to Gaza through Egypt.