Iran News Round Up August 26, 2015

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: The Supreme Leader lauded the government’s economic and political performance and demanded complete cooperation from regime officials in implementing the Resistance Economy. IRGC Major General Yayha Rahim Safavi claimed that Iran will receive the S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet to review the government’s performance and to reinforce cultural and economic priorities. Khamenei identified the economy as the most important priority and called for a coherent plan to fulfill policy requirements for the Resistance Economy. The Supreme Leader praised the Rouhani administration for overcoming economic stagnation and resolving the nuclear dispute. Khamenei, however, expressed concerns about the nuclear deal and urged regime officials to remain vigilant against plots hatched by the West to infiltrate and influence the Iranian nation.

Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Major General Safavi stated that Russia will deliver the S-300 and S-400 missile systems; however, he did not provide any further details on the arrangement with Moscow.

The Critical Threats Project Iran team incorrectly identified the Supreme Space Council as “the same as the Space Agency, the National Space Center, and the Space Research Institute of Iran” in the August 25 Iran News Round Up. The corrected version of the quote states, “The Supreme Space Council was dismissed for a while; the Space Agency, the National Space Center, and the Space Research Institute of Iran are already working on developing a ten year plan in the field of space…”

The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages on www.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?"

Official Statements

  • The Supreme Leader calls for vigilance against foreign influence. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet members on August 26 in Tehran. The Supreme Leader thanked Rouhani’s cabinet for their efforts to reduce inflation, stabilize the economy, and conclude the nuclear negotiations; he specifically identified the latter as the administration’s greatest accomplishment. Khamenei urged Iranian officials to remain vigilant against enemy plots to infiltrate and influence the nation. He stressed that the U.S. and Israel have a long history of enmity toward Iran; he said that the hostility will not subside, adding that “this fact should have a permanent imprint on the minds of the authorities; the methods could be new, however, the nature is the same.” Khamenei underlined the importance of maintaining national unity and implored regime officials to abstain from creating internal divisions. The Supreme Leader also identified the economy as the most important priority for the government and stated: 
    • “The Resistance Economy is a product of collective wisdom, whose implementation requires a practicable and coherent plan; the government should exploit the capability and knowledge of economists to realize the policy objectives of the Resistance Economy.”
    • “Some preliminary work has been done; some are not related to the Resistance Economy… After the design of the operational program, the second step in the realization of the Resistance Economy is the formation of a strong command headquarters to monitor activities and take action to solve problems… and report to the people.”
    • Khamenei demanded that the Judiciary and Parliament cooperate and facilitate “the Resistance Economy policies…” 
    • “We are not happy with double-digit inflation; annual inflation must fall below 10 percent… The economic growth rate of 3 percent indicates a small decrease in inflation; if the corruption is not seriously fought, even this current incipient growth will be in jeopardy, with inflation coming up in the scale.” “International trade is very important, but Iran must not turn into a market for foreign goods.” (Khamenei.ir) http://farsi.khamenei.ir/news-content?id=30581
       
  • Safavi: “Russia is delivering the S-300 and S-400 missile system to Iran.” IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi discussed Iran’s missile and defense industries, American foreign policy in the Middle East, and Saudi Arabian involvement in Yemen during a conference at Imam Hossein University. 
    • On missiles: The Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader claimed, “Russia is delivering the S-300 and S-400 missile system to Iran.” He added, “Today we are self-sufficient in the defense industry and we can build missiles with a range of more than 2,000 kilometers. At the same time, we have a great ability for manufacturing most military equipment.”
    • On the U.S.: Safavi said the U.S. has “a 30-year plan” in the Middle East. He added, “Really, it is unclear what is going on in their minds.
    • “America is waging a proxy war through Saudi Arabia to the benefit of Israel and is striving to combat the Islamic Awakening in the region… By using its oil money, Saudi Arabia buys Western weapons and pours them down on the heads of the oppressed people of Yemen.”
    • On Iranian governance: “Iran’s Islamic Revolution has a sphere of influence, and it has defined a new model of religious democracy for political systems in the region.”
    • “The previous government did not act with a 20-year vision. We hope the current government will act [with such a vision].” (YJC) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5303191/%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%87-%D9%85%...
       
  • Senior Artesh commander: “No country has the right” to govern Iran’s military affairs.Brig. Gen. 2C Ali Jahanshahi highlighted Iran’s military capabilities and claimed that the regime is self-sufficient “in building different types of military equipment, and enjoys the capability of producing certain weapons whose technology has not yet been developed or given to all countries…” The Artesh Northeastern Operational Base Commander reiterated the Supreme Leader’s redline on military site inspections and stated that Iran has not signed an agreement with any country concerning inspections of military facilities. Jahanshahi stressed that Iran does not need to ask for permission to supply or produce its military needs and equipment and warned: “If any country or anyone wants to intrude in this regard, it will certainly face our crushing response." (Fars News Agency) http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13940604000457
     
  • Afkham: Iran demands proper treatment for Iranians imprisoned in America. Marzieh Afkham emphasized that Iran “closely follows” the situation of approximately 19 Iranian individuals jailed in America for sanctions evasion and has “always demanded the defense of the rights of these Iranians,” whom she claims have been imprisoned without conviction for a lengthy period of time. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman also stated that Iran is “ready for conversation with countries in the region,” and that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will soon begin a new round of travel throughout the region to promote deeper cooperation. (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=92072
     
  • Saeedi: We must struggle to overcome the enemy’s propaganda. Ali Saeedi emphasized the need for a comprehensive action plan for impending “software storms” throughout Muslim countries. Discussing the prevalence of “soft war” over “hard war,” The Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC warned of “psychological onslaughts” in enemy propaganda and stated, “The development, spread, and acquisition of technology and software systems have a very important influence in different areas of human life today.” (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/51843
     
  • Salami: Iran is building the model of Islamic civilization. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami stated, “We are creating a model for a new civilization…which embodies a system raised from the core values, Islamic rulings, and teachings of the family of Prophet Muhammad.” The IRGC Deputy Commander added, “Today when we look at the Islamic world, in most of the countries, including Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain, Muslims are stuck in deep and endless conflicts; this is not acceptable to us…” (Basij News) http://basijnews.ir/fa/news/8560578/%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A...

 

Military and Security

  • Fadavi: IRGC to hold two large-scale military exercises. IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi announced that the IRGC will hold “two specialized” exercises before the end of current Iranian year (March 19, 2016). The IRGC Navy Commander added that “one of the drills might be coordinated with the Artesh.” Fadavi discussed ongoing plans to expand the IRGC’s fleet of speedboats. Fadavi also discussed the vulnerabilities and threats facing the U.S. Navy. He stated: “The Americans have three threats at sea: first, IRGC speedboats, second, mines, and third, IRGC missiles...” (Sepah News) http://sepahnews.com/shownews.Aspx?ID=f4ae33e0-5371-464f-8dde-19742e650317
    • Fadavi: America would be sent back to the Stone Age if the Persian Gulf’s oil and gas did not exist. During a speech at Imam Hossein University, Fadavi stated, “The Americans have no other tools for controlling the world and preventing control over their own actions except for the oil and gas in the Persian Gulf. Therefore, if this energy source did not exist, America and the other world powers would be sent back to the Stone Age.” He also stated, “During Eid this year, we announced to our forces in the Persian Gulf that every American vessel must announce their location in Persian to access the Persian Gulf. Now a Persian-speaking person exists in all American ships situated in the Persian Gulf for this reason. We speak Persian with them, and the Americans respond in Persian as well.” (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/51808
       
  • Sayyari: Iran can provide security in the region without help from foreign countries. Artesh Navy Rear Admiral Habibbolah Sayyari asserted that “the presence of any foreign country is unnecessary for providing regional security,” and that “the cooperation of regional countries with one another is sufficient.” Sayyari added that Iran intends to expand naval cooperation with India to ensure security in the North Indian Ocean. (ISNA) http://isna.ir/fa/news/94060402933/%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C...

 

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Shariatmadari: We cannot reject or accept select portions of the nuclear deal. Hossein Shariatmadari, the Managing Editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan, wrote, “The JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is a bilateral treaty, and no side can declare that it is ignoring one or two sections of a bilateral treaty according to international law...the sides must accept the whole treaty without exception or reject the entire treaty.” Shariatmadari claimed, therefore, that “one cannot separate the possibly positive points from the negative points” in the JCPOA. (Kayhan) http://kayhan.ir/fa/news/53610
     
  • Boroujerdi: The conclusion of the JCPOA review is not yet clear. Alaeddin Boroujerdi discussed the ongoing legal proceedings surrounding the JCPOA and stated, “In the end, what will happen in this route [of reviewing the JCPOA] is still unclear.” The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman and member of the special commission to review the JCPOA announced that the special commission held its first session to scrutinize the JCPOA’s text on August 25. He added that the nuclear agreement has also been placed in the authority of the Supreme National Security Council and that they “are in the process of reviewing it.” (Mashregh News) http://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/459130/%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AC%D8%B1...

 

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Sattari meets with the Russian president. Sorena Sattari met with Russian President Vladimir Putin as they toured air defense exhibits at the 2015 Maks Air Show in Moscow. The Vice President for Science and Technology Affairs also met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Affairs Dmitry Rogozin and Russian Industry Minister Denis Manturov. Sattari and Rogozin will lead the first meeting of the “Iran-Russia Joint Commission for Technology Cooperation” on August 26. (Mehr News) (E) http://en.mehrnews.com/news/109545/VP-Sattari-meets-with-Russian-Pres-Putin
     
  • Russian and Iranian companies sign MOU to build satellite systems. Two Russian space companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bonyan Danesh Shargh to “create Iran’s own satellite observation system.” Russian company NPK BARL will “be in charge of building the system’s ground infrastructure,” while Russian Company VNIIEM will be responsible for the “building and launching [of] the satellites.” VNIIEM Corporation CEO Leonid Makridenko stated, “The launch on a Russian Soyuz carrier rocket is tentatively scheduled for 2018.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/840361
     
  • Salehi discusses plans for new nuclear power plant with Chinese counterpart. Ali Akbar Salehi met with senior Chinese officials including China Atomic Energy Authority Chairman Xu Dazhe on August 26. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head said they discussed potential cooperation regarding “the construction of small new power plant.” Salehi is expected to sign a MoU with his Chinese counterpart. (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81735799/
     
  • Russia asks for import of Iranian drone technology. Manouchehr Manteqi stated on the sidelines of the 2015 Maks Air Show, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as an advanced country in the field of [building] drones." The Iranian Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) Managing Director acknowledged Russia's plans of transferring Iran's drone technology "to their country," but Manteqi would not "reveal any further details." (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940604000921

 

Economy

  • Rouhani: “We must build the economy in such a way so that it cannot be sanctioned.”President Hassan Rouhani stressed the need to develop the Resistance Economy during a meeting with investors in Hamadan province.  Rouhani stated, “Sanctions told us that we must the economy of the country in such a way so that sanctions are not able to have any influence on it…” Rouhani added, “Currently, we are seeking a way to arrive at a ‘sanction-resistant’ economy with the government’s economic team.” Rouhani also emphasized that accelerating economic growth requires “real privatization.” (Tasnim News Agency) http://www.tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/839910