A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Marie Donovan, Warren Marshall, and Dianna Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Abdollahian reiterated the Islamic Republic’s rhetorical stance on non-intervention, while highlighting Iran’s regional influence and effective soft power. Iran and Pakistan signed five agreements on technical and trade cooperation.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian highlighted Iran’s regional influence in order to reinforce Iran’s position during its negotiations with the P5+1. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, however deliberately differentiated between influence and intervention, citing recent events in Yemen as an example of Tehran’s effective strategy predicated on outreach. Abdollahian neither confirmed nor denied the presence of Iranian military personnel in Iraq and Syria, adding that such efforts would be limited to an advisory role, only at the behest of Baghdad and Damascus. Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari, meanwhile, praised Iran for its support in the fight against ISIL and criticized US for its slow and ineffective response.
Following Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani’s official visit to Pakistan, Tehran and Islamabad signed five bilateral agreements to strengthen cooperation in various sectors, underscoring a concerted effort by the neighboring countries to strengthen diplomatic relations despite Iran’s implicit threats to take action against terrorists crossing into Pakistan’s side of the border.
- Rouhani: Falling oil price part of conspiracy against region and Muslim world. President Hassan Rouhani stated that the drop in oil prices is not just an economic issue, but part of a conspiracy against the people in the region and Muslims. Rouhani mentioned that this unprecedented drop in oil prices provides an opportunity to decrease the country’s dependence on oil revenue. (Fars News Agency)
- Larijani: The Islamic Awakening will not be stopped with artillery and tanks. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani discussed the changing global balance of power, arguing that the shift from a unipolar to a multipolar world post-Cold War rocked the region. Larijani also said the Islamic Awakening would not be stopped with tanks, artillery, and military bases and claimed Iran’s lack of security problems was due to its status as the only stable democracy in the region. (Fars News Agency)
- Zarif: “It is time for the West to gain the trust of Iran.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke on Iran’s role in combating extremism and terrorism in the region and said, “[Iran has] always been seeking peace in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and we have no doubt in combating extremism and we are dedicated in our efforts.” (Mehr News)
- Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Iran’s regional role and how it is viewed. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs neither confirmed, nor denied IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Soleimani’s presence in Iraq: “Whether or not our military advisors are in Iraq and Syria, at the request of the governments of Syria and Iraq, they [military advisors] are providing consultation and advice in the fight against terrorism.” Abdollahian highlighted Iran’s regional influence and said some mistake influence for interference, when in fact there are no characteristics of intervention. Abdollahian added that, Yemen is an example of our influence and said that Iran worked to ensure the “convergence and national unity” amongst different political parties because “sustainable security in Yemen directly affects sustainable security in the Persian Gulf, in Iran, and in Iraq.” (IRNA)
Military and Security
- Salami: “We have missiles that cause the Zionists to tremble.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami stated that Iran’s influence is rising and that there will be victories in Iraq, Syria, and Palestine. The IRGC Deputy Commander stated that Iran has constructed missiles that make “the Zionists” tremble from fear and that right now the “Zionist regime” is stuck between Lebanese Hezbollah forces and Palestine, and life has become a nightmare for it. (Fars News Agency)
- Parliament approves at least 2% of budget for defense. In a 98-34 vote, Parliament approved a bill allocating at least 2% of the national budget for defense. It also approved an amendment obligating the government to procure radar systems and navigation aids for air defense bases. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Naval drills between Iran, China, and Russia. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said “it is not unlikely that we will hold joint exercises with these two countries.” The Artesh Navy Commander highlighted recent port calls between the three countries and said that Iran’s naval forces are a strategic power that can work with other countries. (Mashregh News)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Iraqi FM: Iran came the day ISIL attacked, US coalition too slow. On the sidelines of a meeting with his Iranian and Syrian counterparts, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jafari said, “Iran has had a good presence and influence [in Iraq], and through spiritual, media-related, financial, and some consultative advice to our young people, the advance and spread of ISIL to other cities besides Mosul was [stopped]. America, through the international coalition, acted late. But Iran…rushed to Iraq’s assistance if not hours after the first attack, the same day.” Jafari also said that the US forces would not be provided judicial immunity on the basis of the air and logistical support they are currently providing in the fight against ISIL. (YJC) (Mehr News)
- Iran and Pakistan sign five bilateral agreements. The agreements are based on the establishment of a Joint Investment Committee, cooperation between Pakistan’s Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority and Iran’s Small Industries, and formation of a sister port relationship between Karachi in southern Pakistan and Chabahar in southwestern Iran as well as cooperation in the field of investment, economic and technical assistance. (Mehr News) (Dawn)
- Hamas praises Iran for its support. Head of the Hamas delegation in Tehran, Mohammad Nasr said, “The Islamic resistance in Gaza defeated the Zionists because of the Islamic Republic’s support.” (IRIB)
- Golpayegani expresses hope for stronger Iran-Egypt relations. Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani, former Guardian Council Chairman, welcomed closer Tehran-Cairo ties and called on the government to take quicker action to improve relations, including on the issue of pilgrims traveling between the two countries. (Fars News Agency)
- Araghchi: The P5+1 changed its demands. Abbas Araghchi briefed Parliament on the ongoing nuclear negotiations and said that both sides have agreed to reach a deal in the next four months and hammer out the details in the final three months. The Legal and International Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister added that the P5+1 altered some demands, but are still faced with constant pressure from the Israelis, who oppose any deal. (ISNA)
- Iran reiterates call for nuclear-free Middle East. Reza Najafi addressed the International Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, held in Vienna, Austria. The Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors said that Iran strongly supports a region free of nuclear weapons and that Israel is the main obstacle to these efforts. (ISNA)
- Central Bank of Iran to implement bilateral monetary pacts. The Basij University Economic Studies Center at Iran University of Science and Technology announced that the Central Bank of Iran will execute bilateral monetary agreements with several countries in order to combat sanctions and strengthen the nuclear negotiating team over the next seven months. (Tasnim News Agency)
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