Iran News Round Up - December 2, 2016

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analysts Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton. 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: Senior officials condemned the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) as a “clear violation” of the nuclear deal.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Head Ali Akbar Salehi claimed that the ISA’s ten-year extension constitutes a “clear violation” of the terms of the nuclear deal. He warned that Iran is “well-prepared” to respond to the renewal, although he did not provide further details. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani, senior diplomats, and Friday prayer leaders also condemned the ISA’s renewal. An Iranian lawmaker, meanwhile, announced that Parliament will prepare a bill that would obligate the Rouhani administration to respond to the extension. The ISA’s extension does not constitute a violation of the nuclear deal, however, because it renews the authority to impose existing sanctions rather than creating new ones. White House spokesman Eric Schultz announced that President Barack Obama will sign the renewal into law and noted that “it won't interfere with the Iran deal.”

Iranian news outlets reported that an Iranian combatant was killed in the city of Aleppo. Pro-regime forces have recaptured almost a third of the opposition’s urban-held areas in the city since November 24. 

AEI Must-Reads

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Senior officials call ISA renewal a violation of nuclear deal. Senior officials including Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Head Ali Akbar Salehi, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani, and deputy foreign minister and former nuclear negotiator Majid Takht Ravanchi criticized the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act “as a violation” of the nuclear deal, according to Fars News Agency. Salehi stated, “We have done the necessary forecasting [to prepare for the ISA’s implementation], but we do not want to announce what we will do now.”
    • Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi called the ISA “contrary to the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] and to America’s commitments under international law, based on noninterference in the domestic and international relations of other countries.” (Fars News Agency) (Fars News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)
       
  • Parliament to vote on responses to ISA renewal. Parliament is considering several different measures in response to the ISA’s renewal, according to Akbar Ranjbarzadeh, a member of Parliament’s presiding board. Tasnim News Agency quoted Ranjbarzadeh stating that one bill under consideration in the Iranian Parliament would “obligate the [Rouhani] administration to complain about America’s repeated violations of the JCPOA to international authorities.” Parliament will review the bill on December 4. Ranjbarzadeh claimed that the ISA “is a clear violation” of the JCPOA and “does serious damage to our country’s interests, so representatives must oppose it [through their actions] in Parliament.” Separately, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) cited Ranjbarzadeh claiming that a number of parliamentarians are preparing a bill that would require the Iranian government to resume “peaceful” nuclear activities and end Iran’s implementation of the nuclear deal in response to the ISA, although he did not not specify how many parliamentarians support the bill. Mohammad Reza Tabesh, a member of the reformist-moderate Hope parliamentary faction, also stated that he expects Parliament to unanimously “ban [the] purchase of U.S.-made consumer goods.” (Fars News Agency(E) (ISNA) (Tasnim News Agency)
     
  • Movahedi Kermani: Iranian officials must “be awake and not trust the West.” Friday prayer leaders also addressed the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act in their Friday sermons. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani stated, “Some say that these are not new sanctions, but the extension of past sanctions. We call it all that is evil, failure, villainy, and the collapse of humanity and honor. Our people are awake, but our officials must also be awake and not trust the West.” Movahedi Kermani also stated, “If you are looking to rip up the nuclear deal, we will abide by the Supreme Leader’s direction before we burn the deal.”
    • Bushehr Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Gholam Ali Safaei Bushehri stated that ISA’s renewal “proves America’s failures, treason, treachery, criminality, and evil to the world.” Bushehri stressed that “the only way forward” is to “rely” on Iran’s domestic resources and capacities. He stated, “The Americans are even now initiating new betrayals. We must stand up and put the implementation of the Resistance Economy on the agenda.” (Tasnim News Agency) (Asr Iran)
       
  • Iran calls on Kenya to release detained Iranian nationals. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi called on Kenya to release two Iranian nationals charged with facilitating terrorism after Kenyan officials found them taking footage of the Israeli Embassy in Nairobi. Ghassemi stated that the individuals were lawyers who had traveled to Kenya to provide Iranian nationals imprisoned in that country with legal counsel. (Tasnim News Agency(E)

Military & Security

  • Artesh Navy Commander: We must increase our presence along the Makran coast. Artesh Navy Commander RADM Habibollah Sayyari stressed that the Iranian military must develop its military facilities along Iran’s southeastern coast. He stated, “We must divide the Makran coast into multiple regions, and each region must have the necessary infrastructure, including docks, airports, and housing.” Sayyari recently announced that the Artesh Navy will establish two new administrative zones for the Artesh Navy and three bases along the Makran coast in southeastern Iran. Sayyari’s comments reflect the regime’s increasing emphasis on growing its ability to project naval power outside of the Persian Gulf. (Tasnim News Agency)

Casualties in Iraq & Syria

  • Iranian killed near Aleppo. Hossein Mehrabi was killed near the city of Aleppo on December 1. No unit identification was reported, but he was from Razavi Khorasan province. (ABNA)

Economy

  • Iran negotiating plane leasing contracts with European firms. Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, stated that the organization is in talks to lease aircraft from with German, Italian, Irish, and French companies. (Press TV) (E)