Iran news round up – January 2, 2015

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: Brigadier General Salami reiterated Iran’s commitment to Iraq, while Tehran and Baghdad inked a memorandum of understanding for infrastructure projects.

IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami echoed the Supreme Leader’s opposition to US intervention in Iraq and the region. Salami said Tehran will continue to provide Baghdad with advisory support to ensure its security and independence. Iran and Iraq, meanwhile, agreed to construct a railway between Shalamcheh Khuzestan Province and Basra, Iraq. Iranian efforts in Iraq underscore a multifaceted approach aimed at enhancing the regime’s political and economic leverage in Iraq.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran discussed the ongoing P5+1 talks and reassured the domestic audience that the nuclear issue will be resolved, favoring Tehran’s interests. Salehi’s remarks were followed by an AP report today, claiming that Iran and the US have “tentatively agreed” to a deal in which Tehran will ship “much” of its stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia.

Official Statements

  • Foreign Ministry condemns terrorist attack in Yemen. Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham denounced Wednesday’s terrorist blast targeting Shi’as in Ibb, Yemen. (ISNA)
  • Salami: ISIL is the product of the strategy of the U.S. and certain regional countries. IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said Israel and the great powers are pursuing the fragmentation of Muslim countries such as Iraq and Syria. Salami reiterated that Iran would provide whatever training and advisory support necessary to ensure the stability of Baghdad’s central government. (Sepah News)
  • Sedition has not been eradicated. Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sadeghi, interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader, warned that “seditionists” are seeking seats in the Parliamentary elections and are gaining influence in the administration. Sadeghi added that some universities provide safe-haven for seditionists who are also trying to gain control of the Assembly of Experts. Sadeghi advised the seditionists to repent and added that the people are determined to stand against them if they do not change their ways. (Fars News Agency)
  • Terrorist attack kills 2 in Sistan va Baluchistan province. Brig. Gen. Hossein Rahimi, LEF commander, announced that two unknown terrorists on a motorcycle killed two people in the village of Sarbaz in Sistan va Baluchistan. One person killed was a Shi’a school teacher in the village and another was a Sunni member of the Basij Organization. (Fars News Agency)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Iran calls for expanded economic ties with Yemen. Iranian Ambassador to Sana’a Hossein Niknam said, “Investment opportunities, especially in the fields of energy and sea and air transportation, are likely to open new horizons for economic cooperation between the two countries.” Niknam also emphasized the need for continued dialogue with the Aden Free Zone and encouraged Iranian businesses to invest in the zone. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Arvand waterway dredging to connect Iran-Iraq railway to begin next month. Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Abbas Akhoundi, signed a memorandum with Iraq’s Minister of Transport Baqir Jabr al-Zubeidi on Wednesday to expand transport cooperation. Iran is responsible for the construction of a 700 meter suspension bridge for the 37-kilometer railway between Shalamcheh and Basra which will allow 12 thousand ton cargo ships to pass underneath. (IRNA)
  • Saudi Arabia and Russia respond to Zarif’s letter on the nuclear negotiations: A source in the Iranian Foreign Ministry stated that Saudi Arabia and Russia had formally responded to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent letter to several foreign ministries regarding Tehran’s approach to the P5+1 talks. The responses reportedly expressed appreciation for Iran’s efforts to reach a final nuclear deal. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Abdollahian: Saudi Arabia’s silence on the fall of oil prices is a strategic mistake. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian said falling oil prices would strike a blow to Middle Eastern countries unless Saudi Arabia takes action. Abdollahian added America is only interested in “managing,” not defeating, ISIL and said Bahrain’s continued detention of Shi’a Sheikh Ali Salman would have “serious consequences” for that country. (IRNA)

Military and Security

  • “Iran’s missile capabilities are proportional to its threats.” Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Reza Sabahi Fard said the armed forces are observing the enemy’s air power and that Iranian missiles are proportional to its threats. (Defa Press)

Nuclear Talks

  • Salehi: Iran will celebrate its victory in the near future. Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, discussed the nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 said, “Today we show the oppressed and poor people of the world that with strength, endurance and some patience we can reach our desired goals.” Salehi reassured the domestic audience that the nuclear issue will be resolved in Iran’s favor. (Mehr News)

By AEI Critical Threat

 

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