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: Jafari dismissed reports of alleged tension between the IRGC and Rouhani administration over negotiations with the West, while Iran-US bilateral talks resumed in Geneva.
IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said that the enemy is conducting divisive “psychological operations” in order to create discord within the regime, adding that, the IRGC has “very good” relations with the Rouhani administration. The explicit remarks underscore a deliberate move by Jafari to quell rumors of dissonance between rhetoric and action, expressed through conservative opposition to negotiations with the West and President Rouhani’s determination to gain sanctions relief.
IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan expressed Iran’s interests in selling arms to friendly states, and announced that Iran is prepared to deliver military equipment to Lebanon, upon request. The Defense Minister, moreover, pointed to Mexico’s purported interest in purchasing Iranian manufactured drones, following last week’s joint-parliamentary talks in Mexico City. Tehran has a range of potential clients, mainly its regional proxies; the regime, nevertheless, seems to be making a concerted effort to expand its influence in Central and South America.
IRGC Brigadier General 2nd Class Yadollah Javani referred to IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani as the “Savior of Iraq,” attributing the liberation of Amerli and Mosul to his indispensable leadership. The Senior Advisor of the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC also said: “Today in Iraq and Syria, the great banner of General Soleimani has been installed… this is a great source of pride.” Javani’s remarks exemplify regime rhetoric surrounding the Quds Force Commander and reaffirm an uptick in widespread praise for Soleimani.
Ansar Allah, the political wing of Yemen’s al-Houthi movement, delivered a public address applauding the Islamic Republic for its leading role in resistance “…against the forces of global arrogance [West] led by America and Israel.” Ansar Allah, however, has not confirmed reports of Iran’s military assistance to Houthi rebels, who recently overtook Sanaa. Iranian officials have been vocal in praising the takeover as a byproduct of Iranian soft power through its Revolutionary values.
- Soleimani is “Savior of Iraq.” IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Yadollah Javani said the two factors in the successful liberation of Amerli and Mosul were “the marjas [religious authorities]’ fatwas, especially that of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani” and “according to his own words, General Soleimani who exported the culture of the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq War].” The Senior Advisor of the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC also said, “Today in Iraq and Syria, the great banner of General Soleimani has been installed, with the caption beneath it, “Savior of Iraq;” this is a great source of pride.” (ISNA)
- Divide between government and IRGC part of “enemy psychological operations.” Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari stated that enemy psychological operations are attempting to portray a divide between the government and the IRGC. The Commander of the IRGC stated that relations between President Hassan Rouhani and the IRGC are “very good” and that the president completely trusts the IRGC. (Sepah News) (Fars News Agency)
- Moghaddam: The West is trying to distract from its own inadequate efforts against terrorism by linking the Sydney hostage-taker to Iran. Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam claimed Australia had refused to extradite the Sydney hostage-taker to Iran on fraud charges in 2000/2001 because of the lack of an extradition agreement between the two countries. (Defa Press)
- Iran, Syria, and Iraq form strongest coalition against ISIL. Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi said that Iran, Syria, and Iraq make up the strongest coalition against ISIL, with their millions of people willing to defend sacred shrines. The Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader stated that the coalition against ISIL created by the US is ineffective and has already failed. (Defa Press)
- Head of General Inspectorate Organization: “The embezzlement of 12 trillion tomans was a professional job.” Naser Seraj criticized those in the media who are attempting to use the issue of corruption to impugn the Islamic governmental system, saying that the corruption had been discovered by the system itself. The Head of the General Inspectorate Organization, which oversees executive bodies, and other institutions who depend financially on the government, also said the amount of missing funds in the ongoing embezzlement case may in fact turn out to be greater than 12 trillion tomans. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Amoli Larijani: “Under which law can an American police officer be exonerated for killing a surrendered person?” Head of the Judiciary Branch Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani said the exoneration of an American police officer after the killing of a compliant African-American teenager demonstrated the moral decline of the West today. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Iran ready to sell arms to any friendly country. Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan replied to questions concerning Iran potentially selling UAVs to Mexico and stated: “Iran is ready to sell arms, including UAVs, to any friendly country.” The Defense Minister mentioned that Iran has sold arms to other countries and is ready to deliver a shipment of arms to Lebanon, but the Lebanese government has not yet made a decision to accept them. (Defa Press)
- Former IRIB head on presidential candidates’ roles in Green Revolution. Ezzatollah Zarghami, former head of Iran state media outlet Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), spoke on the roles of reformist politicians Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi in the 2009 Green Movement at a conference entitled “University, a Barrier to Sedition.” Zarghami stated, “Karoubi, unconsciously, became involved in a foreign game. Mousavi, consciously was involved in the conspiracy [of 2009]. [Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad] Khatami was captured in Mousavi’s games until the last minute.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Yemen’s Ansar Allah calls for closer ties with Iran. Mohammad Abdul-Salam praised Iran calling it a great and civilized regional power. The Spokesman for the al-Houthis political wing, Ansar Allah said: “Iran is a Muslim country that leads the Axis of Resistance against the forces of global arrogance [West] led by America and Israel.” Abdul-Salam also stressed the need for enhanced political ties between Yemen and Iran. (Fars News Agency)
- Shamkhani meets with Syrian Prime Minister. Ali Shamkhani met with Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi to discuss recent developments and bilateral cooperation. The Supreme National Security Council Secretary said the latest Israeli airstrikes in Syria were in direct violation of international law and called on the UN Security Council to condemn such aggression. Shamkhani added that, a proposed no-fly zone over Syria would be unacceptable, because it aims to weaken the Syrian regime, while strengthening terrorists. (Mehr News)
- Deputy Foreign Minister travels to Russia. Amir Hossein Abdollahian, the Arab and African Affairs Deputy Foreign Minister, is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart Michael Bogdanov in Moscow to promote regional cooperation and joint efforts to combat terrorism. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Hamas militants thankful for Iranian support. Al-Qassem Brigades Spokesman Abu Obeida praised Iran during a ceremony commemorating the 27th anniversary of Hamas’ founding. Obeida thanked the Islamic Republic for its support for Palestinian resistance, by providing “financial and military” assistance to Hamas. (ABNA)
- Araghchi: atmosphere good in nuclear talks, but still a ways to go.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 Wendy Sherman on the second day of bilateral negotiations in Geneva. Araghchi said, “In some cases solutions exist, in others there is need for more effort and discussions.” Araghchi is scheduled to meet France’s Deputy Foreign Minister later today; talks with the P5+1resume on Wednesday. (IRNA)
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