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.

 

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

Key takeawayIran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) secretary holds separate meetings with Lebanon’s prime minister and Hezbollah’s secretary general in Beirut, prior to meeting senior Syrian officials in Damascus. 

SNSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam to reiterate Iran’s commitment to Lebanon’s security, in doing so Shamkhani announced plans to provide the Lebanese Armed Forces with material support: “Iran’s assistance will be delivered to Beirut during an upcoming visit by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan to Lebanon.” Shamkhani’s meeting with Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah not only reaffirmed Iran’s pledge to its regional resistance strategy; it also underscores Iranian efforts to strengthen its political leverage over Beirut’s central government.  


Syrian President Bashar al Assad praised Iran for its continued support during his meeting with SNSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani in Damascus, highlighting the Islamic Republic’s intent to maintain its regional axis of resistance. Talks between Shamkhani and Syria’s Security Council Secretary Major General Ali Mamluk seem to suggest plans to coordinate military efforts against ISIL. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 will resume within two weeks, underlining the interest of both sides to reach a final deal. 

 

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014

Key takeawaySenior IRGC official reiterates Iran’s advisory position in the ongoing Iraq crisis.  

Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Deputy Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Gholam Ali Rashid stated that “Today, some of our commanders are providing advisory assistance to Iraq and its army,”  reiterating Iran’s advisory position in the ongoing conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  He also called for “more intellectual and structural cohesion” with partners in Palestine and Iraq, underscoring complications in Iran’s regional strategic endeavors.  Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdestan reiterated the readiness of Iran’s ground forces to aid Iraq. He argued that if “The Americans… want to deal with ISIL, they need to confront the countries that provide them with weapons and financing”, reinforcing the regime’s stance that Western countries are responsible for the terrorist group’s growth. 


IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour stated that Iran is prepared to respond to “any act of aggression… especially in the northwest and southwest,” emphasizing enduring security concerns for the regime in those areas. 


In a speech about the Iran-Iraq War and the 33-day Israel-Lebanon War, IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Suleimani stated that “Iran has thousands of organizations like Hezbollah and millions of people like those in Hezbollah”, reflecting the regime’s efforts to augment its regional partners in its resistance movement.


IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari stated that the regime’s soft war “has no time or end”, stressing the regime’s ongoing fight against the infiltration of Western culture and values. 


President Hassan Rouhani met with President Vladimir Putin ahead of a summit of the Caspian Sea littoral states, highlighting his attempts to improve regional diplomatic ties. 

 

SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

Key takeawayIran’s nuclear negotiators seem optimistic about the current round of talks with the P5+1, while senior Iranian MP reiterates nuclear redline.   


Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi called Iran “the strongest and primary fighter” against terrorism, and argued that some European and Arab countries helped form ISIS through their “anti-Shi’a and Wahhabi thinking.” This statement underscores the regime narrative of blaming the West and its regional partners for the existence of ISIS. Armed Forces General Staff Intelligence and Operations Deputy Major General Mohammad Bagheri, meanwhile, discussed “red lines” with ISIS such as border security and protection of Iraqi holy sites, reiterating President Hassan Rouhani’s previously stated ultimatums with regards to Najaf and Samarra.   


Basij Organization Commander IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi and Expediency Discernment Council Secretary, former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei awarded Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah the Role Model of Resistance award at the thirteenth Hezbollah Resistance Film Festival. This ceremonial gesture reaffirms the Islamic Republic’s unwavering support for its regional strategy of resistance. 


International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi met with US Secretary of State John Kerry and European Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton. Araghchi displayed optimism coming out of the meeting by saying, “Negotiations have now reached a breathing level. We have now reached a point where we can reach a solution that is acceptable to both sides.” 


Iran and Russia have come to an agreement to facilitate the export of goods through agricultural organizations in the private sector, which would be facilitated by Iranian businessmen in Russia, according to the Head of Iran’s Central Organization of Rural Cooperatives, Hossein Safaei

 
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

Key takeawayPresident Rouhani reiterates the Islamic Republic’s pledge to support Iraq in its fight against ISIS. Iran and China hold joint naval exercise in Persian Gulf.

President Hassan Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Heidari met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York. Rouhani assured Heidari that Iran is fully committed to Iraq’s stability, he also underscored Iran’s opposition to US intervention by saying: “In helping Iraq we have not received permission nor will we ask in the future; we will not give other countries permission to interfere in the relations between Iraq and Iran.”

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham censured British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech at the UNGA and echoed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s statement that the US and its allies are responsible for the ongoing regional crisis and the rapid advances of ISIS. 
Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian denied reports that claim Yemen released two kidnapped Iranian diplomats. The reported release follows a recent agreement reached between the government of Sanaa and the political wing of the Houthis, a regional partner of the Islamic Republic.   

Artesh Navy commander Rear Admiral Hossein Amir Azad announced that Iran and China held a joint naval exercise in the Persian Gulf. The two sides worked on intelligence exchange and relief and rescue operations. The joint operation underscores Iran’s ambition of becoming the guarantor of Gulf security. IRGC Air force commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Haji Zadeh touts Iran’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) advancements; “Today, despite the sanctions, we have developed the most sophisticated and advanced facilities, we manufacture our own range of equipment and have become self-sufficient.”

 

SEPTEMBER 24, 2014

Key takeaway: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed senior military commanders and advisors to discuss lessons from the Iran-Iraq war, furthering the regime’s rhetorical position of the war as a “sense of pride for Iran.” IRGC Air Force Commander touts Iran’s role in supporting Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan against ISIS.


Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani condemned US airstrikes in Syria, reiterating the regime’s opposition to the US-led campaign against ISIS, arguing that Washington has supported terrorists in the region to do its political bidding: “America’s claim of fighting ISIS terrorists in Syria is not acceptable as Washington and its allies have supported terrorists in the Arab country [Syria].”


IRGC Air Force Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Haji Zadeh stated that Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani and 70 of his Quds Force guards have been on the ground in Erbil helping Kurdish forces repulse ISIS. The statement signifies an active move by the regime to tout its role in fighting ISIS and helping Iraq.


Iraqi President Fuad Masum underscored the importance of Iran’s role in resolving regional crises; “Iran cannot be kept out of the campaign against ISIS and the Baghdad government needs Tehran on its side to fight the takfiri militants.” The Official Spokesman of Sadrist Leader Muqtada al Sadr, Sheikh Salah al Obeidi, meanwhile, reiterated the group’s opposition to US intervention in Iraq by saying, “Expelling the American military in Iraq in 2011 was a historical achievement and a victory for the Iraqi nation. Do not let the [ISIS] name strip away this great achievement.”


President Hassan Rouhani maintained that once pressure to continue trade relations with countries that opposed sanctions continues, the sanctions regime will erode. This statement underlines Iranian interest in reducing the effects of sanctions as nuclear negotiations carry on. 


Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari discussed Iranian maritime presence in the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean, highlighting Iran’s regional ambitions.

 

SEPTEMBER 23, 2014

Key takeawayIran unveils first combat drone. Iranian officials continue to criticize US efforts to combat ISIS; Iranian military-affiliated news outlet claims picture of IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani as the most recent photo of him in Iraq. Senior security official congratulates Yemeni government on reaching an agreement with the political wing of the Houthis.

President Hassan Rouhani addressed a conference in New York and censured America’s campaign to defeat terrorism, while Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian slammed US airstrikes in Syria by saying, “From Tehran’s view any military intervention on Syrian territory without permission from the Damascus government and adherence to international law is not acceptable…” Abdollahian’s statement reiterated Iran’s opposition to military intervention in Syria, as well as underscored its support for Syrian President Bashar al Assad. 

IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari touted Iran’s growing status as a regional power and emphasized the regime’s support for the Iraqi government: “Today the government of the sovereign state of Iraq is a Shiite government whose policies are very much consistent with the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani, meanwhile, congratulated the Houthi political wing Ansar Allah for reaching an agreement with the Yemeni government. Shamkhani’s remarks reaffirm the Islamic Republic’s support for the Houthis as part of its broader regional strategy of resistance. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his British counterpart Philip Hammond on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session. Zarif’s Deputy Hossein Amir Abdollahian chaired a political committee between Iranian and Kuwaiti officials in Tehran in order to enhance bilateral cooperation in resolving regional crises.  

Iran’s armed forces unveiled its first combat armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). 

 

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

Key takeawayIran’s armed forces hold annual military parade, unveiling several new missile systems including the high-altitude, air-defense system Ra’d 2; Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Commander announces plans for a joint naval exercise with China. Senior military advisor to the Supreme Leader touts America’s waning hard power. Iranian and Saudi officials hold diplomatic talks on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session. Supreme Leader issued the state’s comprehensive science and technology policies to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.  


President Hassan Rouhani addressed the armed forces of Iran during a military parade commemorating Sacred Defense Week in Tehran at the Holy Shrine of Imam Khomeini. The parade showcased more than 58 new military weapon systems including “Rakhsh tanks, T-55 battlefield recovery tanks, Pegasus vehicles, 120mm Howitzer canons, 170mm artillery canons, Fajr 3 and 5 rockets, Zelzal 1 rockets, and anti-naval rockets.” Many other missiles were shown at the parade, including the short-range Hormuz 1 and 2, which are anti-radar and can be used to destroy radar sites, aircraft carriers, or intercept Patriot missiles.


Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced plans for a joint naval exercise with China this Wednesday; a Chinese naval fleet is currently docked in the Iranian port Bandar Abbas. This upcoming joint effort underscores Iran’s regional ambition of being the security guarantor of the Persian Gulf. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UNGA to discuss regional security. Zarif expressed optimism following the talks and described them as a “new page” in bilateral relations between Tehran and Riyadh. The talks are reportedly aimed at setting the groundwork for President Rouhani’s travel to Riyadh next month. 


Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi dismissed US hard power: “The Americans will never again repeat Afghanistan and Iraq. The Islamic Republic of Iran has become so strong that it will answer any military threat with superior power. I am confident that neither the Zionists nor the Americans are military threats for us.” Safavi’s remarks sought to reinforce Iran’s roles as a regional power; “The result of the Supreme Leader’s decision and the policies of the Supreme National Security Council was an increase in Iran’s geopolitical weight. Our weight has become supreme in West Asia, meaning Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, and Arab countries.” Safavi, moreover, reiterated Khamenei’s opposition to cooperating with the US by saying, “We cooperated with the Americans, in a way after the Afghanistan adventure [2001] but they did not give us any concessions.” With regards to the internal dynamics of the Islamic Republic, Safavi underlined Khamenei’s opposition to IRGC involvement in politics; Safavi stated that “[the Supreme Leader previously] announced to all commanders that they absolutely have no right and then gave an official order…The IRGC must not interfere in any political party.”


International Affairs Deputy to Speaker of Parliament Hossein Sheikholeslam responded to the US nuclear negotiators’ proposal to disconnect uranium enrichment centrifuges instead of dismantling them: “This proposal is ridiculous…If such a proposal is formally presented by American officials; it indicates their childish outlook on the negotiations or stupid assumptions of the Iranian side.” Sheikholeslam’s statement underscores the significant differences remaining between Iranian and American negotiators.

 
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued the state’s comprehensive science and technology policies to the executive, legislative and judicial branches on September 21. The policies aspire to transform Iran into the Islamic world’s science and technology leader and to develop a robust knowledge-based Iranian market. Khamenei’s statement places a heavy emphasis on preserving Islamic “values, ethics, and considerations.”

 

SEPTEMBER 19, 2014

Key takeawayIranian officials continue to echo Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s opposition to joint efforts with the US in combatting ISIS. Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades announced plans for an upcoming operation to “clear” a village near Amerli, Iraq. 


National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member and former IRGC commander MP Mohammad Esmail Kowsari’s statement was aimed at dissuading American intervention: “In such a case, the people of Syria and Iraqi will confront America just like [they did] with ISIS.” Kowsari’s remarks seem to serve as a warning to the US and an implicit reminder of attacks against American forces in Iraq. Chief Prosecutor Hojjat al-Eslam Ebrahim Raisi added “The Supreme Leader has stated that we will not enter anywhere that has American presence, because we consider them our enemy.” 


Head of the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades Political Committee Hossein al-Ramahi briefed IRGC-affiliate Fars News Agency on the group’s “most important operations against ISIS,” in the areas of “Jarf al-Sakhr, Ibrahim bin Ali, al-Zeidan, Jasr al-Rafoush, al-Azim, and several points in crisis areas.” Al-Ramahi announced that the group has proposed a plan to clear al-Hawi village, 60 kilometers from Amerli. 


Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and expressed his optimism about the nuclear negotiations, meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry’s Political and International Affairs Director Hamid Baidinejad reiterated Tehran’s positions on immediate sanctions relief, the Arak heavy water reactor, and ballistic missiles, rejecting negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missiles capability; “we can clearly announce this as [part of an] agreement because we do not intend to use nuclear weapons and use missiles for nuclear arms use.” Baidinnejad, however, expressed hope in progress ahead of the P5+1 talks in New York. 


National Iranian Gas Company signed a $100 million agreement with a company with an unnamed EU member-state.

 

SEPTEMBER 18, 2014

Key takeawayPresident Hassan Rouhani’s NBC interview reinforced Iranian support for its  "axis of resistance," while senior officials continued to censure the US-led coalition against ISIS. 

President Hassan Rouhani’s interview with an NBC correspondent in Tehran reinforced regime rhetoric towards the West and its policies on terrorism, arguing that “The West has failed in the fight against terrorists…” Rouhani also reiterated regime commitment to its regional partners in resistance: “In our opinion a citizen of Iraq, Syria, or Palestine being attacked by terrorists, would be like one citizen of Iran is being under attack.”

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underscored Iran’s objections regarding President Obama’s ISIS strategy while speaking at an event held by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Zarif, moreover, denounced the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq for excluding Iran from participating adding: “The summit in Paris is a ‘coalition of repenters’...I call this coalition against ISIS a coalition of repenters because the countries sitting at the table in this summit also had a hand in forming ISIS.”

Commander of IRGC Beit al Moghaddas unit (Kurdistan) Brigadier General 2nd Class Mohammad Hossein Rajabi sought to reassure the domestic audience of security along the Kurdistan border. An unnamed source, meanwhile, claimed that the purported Israeli drone recently shot down by the IRGC originated from the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan, with the tacit involvement of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

 

SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

Key takeawaySenior Iranian officials continue to criticize the US-led coalition against ISIS, while blaming the US and its allies for creating ISIS. President Rouhani is scheduled to attend the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met in New York to discuss the upcoming nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. 


Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani reiterated Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s opposition to cooperating with the US-led coalition against ISIS , announcing that “The request of the Danish Foreign Minister to have Iran participate in the coalition was denied.” Assembly of Experts Member and interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami echoed recent statements made by senior Iranian officials regarding ISIS; Khatami called the group a product of the West. 


Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht announced that President Hassan Rouhani is not scheduled to meet with President Obama during his visit in New York. 


National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi remarks insisting on the safeguard of Iranian nuclear rights reinforced the Supreme Leader’s nuclear redlines ahead of negotiations with the P5+1. Students from Shahid University, meanwhile, wrote a letter to President Hassan Rouhani urging him to not make the “slightest retreat” during negotiations. 


Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani underscored the importance of Iran’s role in resolving the ISIS crisis; “In my opinion Iran’s role should not be dismissed. I believe that it would be better [and more constructive] if they participate.”

 

SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

Key takeawayTop IRGC Commander reiterates Supreme Leader’s assertion that the US created ISIS. Iranian foreign minister travels to New York for nuclear talks with the P5+1. 

IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari called US actions to combat terrorism “a dramatic front, because today it has been revealed to everyone that America formed ISIS.”  Jafari’s statement underscores Iran’s strong opposition to any form of cooperation with the US and its regional allies in fighting ISIS. Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Kata’ib Hezbollah announced yesterday that it would kill any American forces it found on the ground in Iraq, signifying that Iranians are prepared to match rhetoric with action.

National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, moreover, echoed this messaging point: “America and its allies…have a selective and insincere policy for fighting terrorism and they seek personal gains in the region.” 

Expediency Discernment Council President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani criticized the US for adopting devices policies in its war on terror. 

President Hassan Rouhani met with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong. Both sides expressed interests in expanding bilateral ties. Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan met with the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov to discuss enhanced relations. Both meetings accentuate Rouhani’s concerted diplomatic outreach. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton are scheduled to meet Wednesday ahead of the upcoming nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. 

 

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

Key Takeaway: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that the US asked for and was denied Iran’s help in fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that despite a personal request from US Secretary of State John Kerry for Iranian aid in the ISIS crisis, Iran would continue to refuse cooperation with the US in the matter. Khamenei stated that this was “because their [the Americans’] intentions and hands are polluted.” Head of the Supreme Leader’s Inspectorate Office Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri also spoke on the purported US request, touting Iranian regional strength as “so serious that the Americans now know that they must rely on Iran to confront [IS].” In a response to President Obama’s strategy to defeat ISIS, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Maj. Gen. Ali Shamkhani  argued that America “seeks to continue unilateral policies and violate the sovereignty of other countries under the pretext of fighting against terrorism,” reiterating the Iranian stand against American involvement in the ongoing crisis in Iraq and Syria.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published five red lines for the Iranian nuclear negotiations team, including the requirement to “lift all sanctions” and refuse “closure of any [nuclear] sites” ahead of the nuclear talks with the P5 + 1.

Following a series of bilateral trade agreements with Moscow, Parliament Executive Board Spokesman MP Behrouz Nemat claimed that the Russians are only “extending a tactical hand” now because “they have been targets of the wraths of America.” This emphasizes distrust among Iranian regime elements over the agreement, echoed in a Jomhouri-ye Eslami op-ed which downplayed the 70 billion euro ceiling as “not so achievable,” due “to the present economic situation in Iran and Russia’s specific disabilities.” 

 

SEPTEMBER 12, 2014

Key TakeawayDefense Minister of Azerbaijan Zakir Hasanov met with Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Ghassem Taghizadeh. He strongly denied that the Israeli drone downed by Iran originated in Azerbaijan. He reiterated Azerbaijan’s commitment to a partnership in security and defense with Iran.    


Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani congratulated the new cabinet members of the Iraqi government, underlining Iranian interest in political stability in Iraq.

President Rouhani conveyed Iran’s desire to develop economic partnership with India, declaring that “We hope to see a new era in relations between our two countries.” This statement reflects the Rouhani administration’s commitment to greater economic outreach with regional partners.

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin met and spoke with each other at the 13th annual Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, demonstrating Russian and Iranian efforts to increase economic and diplomatic ties and cooperation in the face isolation by both countries towards the West.

Iran will reopen the jointly owned Iran-United Arab Emirates Nosrat oil field and increase production to over three times the original rate. Nosrat previously produced 3,400 barrels of oil per day and Iranian officials expect to produce over 10,000 barrels per day with three wells. This reflects the Rouhani administration’s effort to focus on unfinished projects in jointly-owned energy fields.

The Chief of Staff of the Office of the Supreme Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Golpayegani responded to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s remarks that Iran poses a greater danger to the United States than IS. Golpayegani said that Iran stands as the first bulwark against terrorism, and that the chief danger facing the Muslim world today is the Islamic State. His comments reflect a deep distrust of the United States among Iranian conservative clerics in the face of a common and dangerous adversary.

 

September 11, 2014

Key takeaway: Tehran and Moscow sign landmark 70 billion euro trade agreements and pledge to increase the volume of their economic transactions tenfold from $1.5 billion to $15 billion.

Head of the Supreme Leader’s Inspectorate Office Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri stated that Rouhani’s administration “is a blessing” and “has created stability in the country.” This statement reflects the Supreme Leader's support of President Rouhani's efforts during his first year in office.

President Rouhani claimed that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has worked hard to improve the “quality of collaboration with its observer members,” pointing to Iran’s long held interest in regional coalition-based security efforts.

International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi stated that discussions with representatives of the P5+1 ahead of the nuclear negotiations next week were helpful and constructive despite enduring differences, underlining Iran’s desire for a permanent nuclear agreement.

Tehran and Moscow sign landmark 70 billion euro trade agreements, replace ruble and rial with dollar in transactions, and pledge to increase the volume of their economic transactions tenfold from $1.5 billion to $15 billion, reflecting the efforts of Tehran and Moscow to nullify the effects of Western sanctions. Iran and Russia established six permanent joint committees comprising industry, mining, trade, agriculture, tourism, finance, technology, energy, and border matters to implement the 70 billion euro agreement.

 

September 10, 2014

Key takeaway: Iranian and Russian officials hail landmark transformations in bilateral trade relations and deepening strategic, economic ties between Tehran and Moscow.  The IRGC repelled an attack along the Iran-Pakistan border.

Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy IRGC Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri said that the West has no authority to speak about human rights in Iran two days after Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iran would speak with the West on human rights, underscoring social differences between regime elements. The IRGC repelled an attack at a border check point in Saravan, Sistan and Baluchistan, with one IRGC KIA and two Basij volunteers wounded.

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi wrote a letter condemning the Israeli drone recently downed by Iran as “a violation of [IAEA] resolutions for the non-violation of private peaceful nuclear activities and facilities,” accentuating tensions between Iran and Israel.

Iranian and Russian officials hail landmark transformations in bilateral trade relations and deepening strategic, economic ties between Tehran and Moscow, announcing that trade volumes alone will increase tenfold from $1.5 billion to $15 billion.

Iran and China sign $4 billion agreement to finance eight Iranian petrochemical projects, reflecting the Rouhani administration’s efforts to devise economic plans that can succeed should P5+1 negotiations fail.  

 

September 8, 2014

Key takeaway: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei underwent prostate surgery; Iranian media outlets reported the procedure as routine and successful. Senior Iranian official dismisses talks of Iran-US cooperation in combatting ISIS.

Supreme Leader Khamenei announced on state television that he would undergo routine surgery and said, “Of course there is no room for concern…this is a normal procedure.”

Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani stated that Iran’s fight against terrorism is ”at odds” with America’s “ineffective” approach, underlining the regime’s disinterest in cooperation with the US in repulsing ISIS. President Hassan Rouhani reiterated the Islamic Republic’s unified opposition to the West’s approach to tackling the threat of terrorism; “There still has not been a change in some countries in supporting terrorists, and they continue to equip and support terrorists; something must be done to stop support for terrorists.”

Citing the election of Iran’s “most moderate” President (Rouhani) as evidence that Iran is prepared to engage with the West in dialogue, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran is “ready for any candid and open discussion about human rights.”

A Russian business and government delegation will be travelling to Tehran tomorrow to discuss bilateral negotiations across various economic sectors, reflecting a convergence of interests between the two states in light of recent sanctions imposed on Moscow. President Rouhani is scheduled to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; he highlighted Iran’s relationship with Kazakhstan and the need for Iran’s private sector to be “more associated with regional countries and neighbors,” underlining Iran’s interest in expanding its regional economic presence. 

 

September 5, 2014

Key takeaway: Iran's Representative in the International Atomic Energy  Agency (IAEA) denies that Iran has missed its Aug. 25 deadline to provide detanator research for weaponization program; Foreign minister reports "beneficial" progress in nuclear negotiations; Interim Friday Prayer Leader praises Rouhani administration for "creating peace." 

Iran’s Representative in the IAEA Reza Najafi denied the agency’s reports that Iran has missed its Aug. 25 deadline to provide information on its explosive detonator research for its suspected weaponization program, claiming that Iran had previously notified “complexities” have it impractical to meet the deadline. Najafi then announced that Iran considers the matter “closed,” as it has provided sufficient evidence to satisfy its assertion that the detonator research was related to civilian application, underscoring ongoing disputes and lack of progress ahead of talks. Meanwhile, International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi reported “beneficial” progress on bilateral negotiations with the U.S.

Iranian official denies Western report that Tehran “backs U.S. military contacts” to fight the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, reiterating previous public statements that rejected cooperation with Washington. 

Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami praised the Rouhani administration for “creating peace” in society, reaffirming the Supreme Leader’s support of President Hassan Rouhani’s measures during the past year. Khatami then announced that “the path is open for the seditionists’ repentance,” signaling a relaxation of attitude towards individuals affiliated with the 2009 post-election protests.

 

September 4, 2014

Key takeaway:  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his support of President Hassan Rouhani, delivered remarks on Iran’s strategy to influence “the formation of the new global order,” and urged officials to “understand” international power trends as they are, highlighting the inclusion of power-based paradigms in Iran’s strategic outlook.  

Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani hailed  the Islamic Republic as “the anchor of stability” and “the only variable” in derailing the West’s plan to “accelerate” change in the region. He also stated that the West has a "widespread and long-term plan to confront the Islamic Awakening", in which plan "IS is the main instrument."

President Rouhani pledged to fulfill the Supreme Leader’s directives on social issues and tasked his chief deputy to provide a full report on the administration’s fulfillment of Khamenei’s directive, highlighting Rouhani’s efforts to strengthen his relationship with the Supreme Leader.

The next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 is scheduled for September 17 in New York City. Iran will meet with Germany, England, and France on September 11 in Vienna.

The Iranian Navy repelled a sophisticated pirate attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden. 

 

September 3, 2014

Key takeaway: Supreme Leader’s senior foreign policy advisor dismissed potential for Iran-US cooperation in combatting ISIS. President Hassan Rouhani pledged Iran’s unwavering commitment to protect Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati adamantly rejected talks of cooperation with the US; “No type of cooperation has or will happen between America and Iran against ISIS.” Velayati echoed the Supreme Leader’s assertion that ISIS is an invention and tool of the US and its allies, underscoring the regime’s deep mistrust of the US.

Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani will attend the Assembly of Experts Summit on behalf of IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani. The absence of Soleimani seems to indicate his continued role in commanding Iran’s efforts in Iraq.

President Rouhani said Iran will not hesitate to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which serves to reinforce and legitimize the Islamic Republic as the leader of the Islamic world.

 

September 2, 2014

Key takeaway: Senior Iranian nuclear negotiators criticized the latest US imposed sanctions as “less than a positive sign,” but expressed “optimism” in reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal with the P5+1. Iran sent its first humanitarian aid shipment to Gaza, highlighting its unwavering support for Palestine.  

Spokesman for the Garmian regional police Hassan Muhammad claimed that an Iranian drone had crashed in Darbandikhan, Iraqi Kurdistan.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels to discuss the ongoing Iraqi crisis and the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1.

Khamenei’s senior military advisor IRGC Major General Yadollah Javani discussed the new phase of soft war threats facing the Islamic Republic, underscoring a shift in the regime’s threat perception, mainly the dismissal of US hard power. Head of the Basij Organization Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi called for the destruction of the US and Israel in paving the way for the rise of a new Islamic civilization, underlying Tehran’s aspiration to lead the Islamic world to a new global balance of power.

President Rouhani appointed new ambassadors, underlining his administrations concerted diplomatic efforts, aimed at bolstering Iran’s image in the international arena.

Egypt has permitted Iran to send 95 tons of “emergency and medical” aid aboard Iranian Boeing 747 to Gaza via Cairo.