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: The Supreme Leader’s senior foreign policy advisor reiterated Khamenei’s redline on Iran’s missile program, while highlighting the regime’s growing influence in the Middle East. Iran and the US hold bilateral talks in Geneva, ahead of Wednesday’s P5+1 negotiations.
Ali Akbar Velayati echoed the regime’s position with regards to its conventional military capabilities and said “Iran’s missiles are not negotiable,” underscoring the Supreme Leader’s intent to keep nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 compartmentalized. The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader also attributed Iran’s growing regional influence in Yemen to its soft power capabilities and strategic strength, highlighting the regime’s recent public acknowledgement on its involvement there. Velayati added that Tehran does not hesitate to make strategic decisions, suggesting an implicit reference to Iraq and Syria.
Ali Akbar Salehi sought to reaffirm Tehran’s commitment to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with the P5+1, by announcing that uranium hexafluoride gas will not be injected into the new IR8 centrifuges as a sign of “goodwill.” The of Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, moreover, assured the West that approximately 9,000 of Iran’s 20,000 centrifuges are currently operational, with no immediate plans to launch the remaining centrifuges. Salehi’s statement underlines the regime’s implicit intent to gain more concessions from the West by offering temporary limitations on non-essential elements in its nuclear program.
Abbas Araghchi, International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister, and Majid Takht Ravanchi, the Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs, held direct talks with US Under-Secretary Wendy Sherman in Geneva. Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 are set to resume this Wednesday.
- Velayati: Iran’s missiles are not negotiable. Ali Akbar Velayati stated that it was the Americans who wanted to extend the nuclear negotiations and said, “This indicates… America’s president does not have the authority to make decisions. The weakness of America’s sovereignty and authority makes for unpredictable action…” The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader added that Iran’s missile program is “not up for any type of negotiation.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Iran has major influence in Lebanon and Yemen. Velayati discussed Iran’s regional influence and said “our strength in the region was unthinkable for anyone. This is a strategic strength and Iran has major influence from Lebanon to Yemen.” The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader pointed to recent developments in the Middle East and said that Tehran has shown that it can and will take immediate necessary actions in the region when needed. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Rouhani: “Government trying to end increasingly cruel and oppressive sanctions.”President Hassan Rouhani stated that the Central Bank of Iran should gradually increase the amount of credit given in domestic and foreign markets in order to bring stability to the market. Rouhani also stated that the government is working to end the cruel and oppressive sanctions and protect the rights of the people. (Fars News Agency)
- Rezaei: Oil revenue will be much lower than predicted even if sanctions are lifted.Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei said recent falling oil prices required the faster implementation of a resistance economy, including better access to credit for small businesses and entrepreneurs and cutting of excessive regulations. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Javad Larijani: Human rights is not just a Western issue. Mohammad Javad Larijani called for an open discussion among Muslim countries to lay out a common Islamic philosophy on human rights. The Head of the Human Rights Headquarters of the Judiciary Branch said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in particular should play a greater role on this issue. (Mehr News)
- University to contribute to defense industry. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stated that the Malek-Ashtar University of Technology will increase its contributions to the defense industry. The Defense Minister explained he expects the scientific achievements of the university to advance the goals of the defense industry. (Defa Press)
- Iran and the US hold bilateral talks. Abbas Araghchi, International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister, and Majid Takht Ravanchi, the Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs, met with US Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Geneva. Iranian negotiators were scheduled for bilateral talks with the US this afternoon, ahead of the December 17 resumption of negotiations with the P5+1. (Fars News Agency)
- AEOI: We won’t inject gas into IR8 centrifuges during negotiations. Ali Akbar Salehi announced that Iran is “voluntarily” not injecting uranium hexafluoride gas into its new IR8 centrifuges while the nuclear negotiations are ongoing. The Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) noted that of Iran’s 20,000 installed centrifuges, about 9,000 are currently working, and that as long as the negotiations continue, there are no plans to “launch” the next 9,000. (Mehr News)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Ali Larijani to meet with Iraqi counterpart. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani is scheduled to meet with his Iraqi counterpart Salim al-Jabouri tomorrow in Tehran, to promote enhanced Tehran-Baghdad ties. (ISNA)
- Macedonian parliamentary delegation to travel to Tehran. The delegation’s visit is designed to further the past year’s efforts between Macedonia and Iran to improve “relations in various fields and provide the legal structures for cooperation” between them. (Mehr News)
- Syrian PM to visit Iran. Iranian First Vice President Eshaqh Jahangiri will host Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi in Tehran this week to discuss regional developments. (Mehr News)
- Iran and Afghanistan sign border cooperation agreement. Border Guards Commander Brig. Gen. Qassem Rezaei said that under the accord the countries’ border police commanders will share intelligence on smuggling, conduct joint operations, and hold annual meetings in Tehran and Kabul. (IRNA)
Military and Security
- Iranian Mig-29 fighter simulator in the works. Artesh Navy Admiral Farhad Amiri announced that the armed forces are going to construct a Mig-29 fighter jet simulator soon. (Defa Press)
- Iranian Navy will be in Atlantic Ocean “soon.” Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stated that the Artesh Navy will soon be present in the Atlantic Ocean. The Artesh Navy Commander emphasized Iran’s role in protecting sea lanes and explained that the navy’s presence in the Indian Ocean, the Sea of Aden, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean Sea demonstrates Iran’s global naval capabilities. (Tasnim News Agency)
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