Iran News Round Up

President Rouhani states centrifuges will continue to spin; Parliament Speaker says extending nuclear negotiations is "wise"; Foreign Ministry calls for closer Tehran-Ankara cooperation on Syria; Supreme Leader's senior advisor reiterates Iran's pledge to support Palestine; Central Bank receives $2.8 billion in frozen assets
IRGC Commander says US "surrender" to regime's will is apparent; Senior official criticizes President Obama on sanctions timeline; Quds Force Commander reportedly helps lead major operation in Iraq; President Rouhani speaks with Russian counterpart; Nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 extended until July 1, 2015
IRGC Deputy Commander echoes the Supreme Leader's assertion that the US created ISIL; Deputy Foreign Minister highlights regime's regional influence; Foreign Minister Zarif, EU Foreign Policy Chief Ashton, and Secretary of State Kerry hold trilateral talks in Vienna
President Rouhani calls on P5+1 to avoid making "excessive demands"; Parliament Speaker says prolonged negotiations work against the US; Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Head says Russia's pledge to construct water reactors strengthens Tehran's negotiations position in Vienna; Senior IRGC commander claims US provides ISIL with intelligence; Secretary Kerry scheduled to attend current round of nuclear talks
Zarif said the November 24 deadline will be a "victory for Iran" regardless of a final deal with the P5+1, while Ayatollah Amoli Sadegh Larijani declared that the nation stands behind the nuclear negotiations team. Iran-backed AAH warns against American forces entering Iraq. Foreign Minister Zarif said Iran would emerge victorious whether or not a final nuclear deal is secured in Vienna. IRGC Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari also said that the US seeks to negotiate with Iran in order to solve its own regional problems. Their remarks reflects the regime's conceptualization of the negotiations as successful recognition of its regional influence and conventional military power. Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) Representative to Iran Hojjat al-Eslam Jabar Rajabi said that "We [AAH] told the Iraqi parliament that American ground forces cannot enter Iraq except with [its] permission, of course," and further that AAH is coordinating with the Iraqi Parliament against ISIL. This represents AAH's attempt to institutionalize refusal of further American military aid in Iraq.
Allegations surface of Chinese facilitation of illicit IRGC Qods Force transactions amid growing relations between Tehran and Beijing; Senior official says sanctions have not stopped Iran's nuclear program
Iraqi Shi'a militia Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) reiterates its allegiance to the Supreme Leader; Oil Ministry signs memorandum of cooperation with Russian natural gas company AAH's emphasis on its commitment to the doctrine of velayat-e faqih, which supports the Supreme Leader's all-encompassing temporal authority, and on the historical ties between AAH's predecessors and first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, show the militia's increased interest in developing its political and ideological ties to Iran. AAH Representative to Iran Hojjat al-Eslam Jabar Rajabi also stated that "no distinction has been made between AAH, Kata'ib Hezbollah, Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah, and other groups [by Iran]," echoing Iran's self-projection as the regional leader of resistance. IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi announced that Iran has been training Iraqi "Basijis," or paramilitary volunteers, and that there is no need for a direct Iranian military presence in Iraq. This reaffirms Iran's ongoing role in training "popular resistance" forces similar to its own Basij force. The Oil Ministry's signing of a recent joint memorandum of cooperation with Russian Gazprom company underscore recent efforts between Tehran and Moscow to strengthen economic ties in order to hedge against Western sanctions.
Mohsen Rezaei, former IRGC commander and presidential candidate, said that Iran's missile capabilities pushed the West to the negotiating table. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Chairman of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said President Obama's letters to Supreme Leader Khamenei show that Washington has no choice but to engage with Tehran. Rezaei ascribed Iran's leverage in nuclear talks to its conventional military power (its missile forces). These remarks may be part of the regime's intention to claim that even failed negotiations were a victory for Iran and recognition of Iran's military power.
Foreign ministry reiterated regime's full-fledged support for the governments of Baghdad and Damascus, while Iraqi vice president urged support for Syria's Bashar al Assad during his visit to Iran. Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian highlighted Iran's efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis and to strengthen the political institutions of Iraq, as well as neighboring countries threatened by ISIL. Abdollahian's statements underscored the regime's opposition to the US-led coalition and its strategy to combat terrorism. Iraqi Vice President Nouri al Maliki, meanwhile, underlined the importance of propping up Assad's regime in Damascus in order to bolster regional security. Maliki's remarks follow recent talks with the Supreme Leader and senior Iranian officials, suggesting Khamenei may have connived to enhance Maliki's political stature in Iraq to ensure the Islamic Republic a political leverage in Baghdad and a mouthpiece to echo its policies on Iraq and Syria. Head of the Iran Bar Association Ali Najafi Tavani called for legal reforms to establish an independent advocacy institution that will project confidence in foreign investors, who Tavani said will be flocking to Iran within months. Head of Iraqi Kurdistan Import and Export Union, Sheikh Mustafa Abdul-Rahman, moreover, said that Baghdad, and Kurdistan's regional government plan to increase its annual trade volume with Tehran to $25-30 billion.
Supreme National Security Council Secretary accuses US-led coalition of resupplying ISIL with ammunition in Diyala province; Head of IRGC Public Relations criticizes government's "cultural practice"; President urges P5+1 members to not let domestic issues get in the way of nuclear negotiations; Iraqi Vice President meets with senior Shi'a clerics