Iran news round up – December 31, 2014

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, Diana Timmerman and Warren Marshall. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online

Key takeaway: President Rouhani praised the armed forces at the closing ceremony of the Mohammad Rasoul-Allah exercises for showcasing Iran’s conventional military capabilities. Baghdad and Tehran signed a memorandum of understanding for a bilateral defense partnership, while bolstering economic relations through joint ventures.

President Hassan Rouhani pointed to the large-scale military drills to highlight Iran’s prevailing conventional capabilities in the face of international pressure and said that, low oil prices, and sanctions will not bring Iran to its knees. Rouhani’s remarks, moreover, served to echo the Supreme Leader’s call for resistance, while reinforcing the IRGC’s perception of the diplomatic leverage military power provides Tehran in its negotiations with the P5+1.

Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to bolster bilateral defense cooperation. Tehran and Baghdad will work together to form a national army in Iraq. The accord ensures a prominent role for Iran in shaping the security apparatus of Baghdad as well as significant political clout. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani, meanwhile, met with Iraqi transportation minister Bagher Jaber al-Zubeidt to discuss joint ventures on rebuilding Iraq’s damaged infrastructure.
Official statements

  • Rouhani: “No superpower can force Iran to compromise its sovereignty.” President Hassan Rouhani praised the armed forces and stated that the Mohammad Rasoul-Allah exercises show their readiness and capabilities. Rouhani said that pressure, low oil prices, and sanctions will not bring Iran to its knees and that Iran will never give up its God-given sovereignty. (IRNA)
    • Rouhani added that missiles strengthen Iran’s defense capabilities and that there is no reason for foreign forces to be present in the region. (Fars News Agency)
  • Iran criticizes US for new sanctions. Marzieh Afkham censured the US for adding nine Iranian entities to its sanctions list. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman said Washington’s actions violate the principle of good faith and the Joint Plan of Action, signed in November 2013. (IRNA)
  • Rafsanjani: “OPEC should not be influenced by the greed of oil consumers.” Expediency Council Chairman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani met with Sofiane Mimouni, Algerian Ambassador to Tehran, and stated that OPEC should not be influenced by the greed of oil consumers and warned about falling oil prices. Rafsanjani said Muslims should not allow their wealth to go to waste and allow others to make decisions. Rafsanjani also mentioned that this has happened in the past and with the help of Saudi Arabia the problem was resolved. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Martyrdom supreme gift from God. Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi wrote a letter of condolence to the family of IRGC Brig. Gen. Hamid Taghavi, who was killed in Samarra, Iraq. Alavi called martyrdom a supreme gift from God and asserted that Taghavi forfeited his life defending the sacred shrines in Iraq. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Taghavi played an important role in keeping terrorists away from Iran’s border. IRGC Brig. Gen. Iraj Masjedi praised IRGC Brig. Gen. Hamid Taghavi for his dedication and bravery in preventing takfiris from entering Iran. Masjedi, the Senior Advisor to IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani added that Taghavi helped form Kata’ib Hezbollah and organize Iraqi fighters in the fight against ISIL. (Defa Press)

Military and Security

  • Armed forces to hold electronic warfare drills. Brig. Gen. Amir Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced that plans are underway for a comprehensive electronic warfare exercise, before the end of the Iranian calendar year in March 2015. The Artesh Ground Forces Commander said “broader” systems will be introduced and utilized in the drills. (Defa Press)
  • There was no interference from trans-regional aircraft during Iran’s air defense exercises.Artesh Khatam ol-Anbia Air Base Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Farzad Esmaili pointing to the success of the bases’ performance during the Mohammad Rasoul Allah drills said, “In these exercises we achieved the objectives we aimed for.” He added: “Our radar and missiles systems in relation to the detection and destruction of small drones were successful.” (Defa Press)
  • Mohammad Rasoul Allah military exercises end with naval parade. The Artesh Navy showcased its naval power in the Gulf of Oman today with more than 100 surface ships and combat naval vessels, high-speed rocket launchers, subsurface naval vessels, a variety of airborne units, hovercrafts, and a large number of indigenous vessels. The purpose of the joint military exercises was to “strengthen the combat readiness of military units in critical situations and asymmetric warfare, and to send the message of peace and friendship of the Islamic Republic of Iran to countries in the region with stability, resistance, and security in the region.” (Defa Press)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Iran and Iraq sign MOU on defense partnership. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan and his Iraqi counterpart Khalid al-Obeidi signed the bilateral defense agreement in Tehran. The MOU will broaden defense cooperation between Baghdad and Tehran to form a national army in Iraq. (Defa Press)
  • Shamkhani: The greatest priority in Iran-Iraq relations is economic cooperation. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani met with Iraqi transportation minister Bagher Jaber al-Zubeidi to discuss collaboration on infrastructure and transportation projects, as well as reconstruction efforts to address damages from ISIL attacks. (Mehr News)
  • Iran-Russia joint Commission established to implement barter agreement. Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht pointed to the expansion of trade relations with Russia, especially the potential sale of more than 500,000 barrels of crude oil to Russia in exchange for equipment and goods, said, “The specialized committees to implement the barter agreement between Iran and Russia have been formed and we will work actively on this issue.” (Mehr News)

Nuclear Talks

  • Iran receives $490 million payment per its agreement with P5+1. The Central Bank of Iran announced that $490 million of its frozen assets have been released from South Korea and transferred to an Iranian account in Oman. (ISNA)

By AEI Critical Threat

 

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