A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analysts Mehrdad Moarefian and Marie Donovan, with contributors Farzin Farzad and Diana Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Hossein Shariatmadari the Managing Editor of the leading conservative news outlet Kayhan explicitly criticized the Lausanne framework agreement claiming that it exposes Iran’s sensitive military sites to inspectors, while IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri reiterated the regime’s opposition to inspections of its military facilities.
Kayhan Managing Editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who is known to be a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, censured implementation of the NPT’s Additional Protocol under the P5+1 and Iran’s framework agreement. Shariatmadari stated that the extensive snap inspections of sensitive sites under the Additional Protocol would pose a “serious risk” “not only the nuclear security but also the military security of the Islamic Republic.” He also stated that Iranian officials “can still refuse to accept” the framework agreement because the framework is still a contract…which requires parliamentary approval, in accordance with Article 77 of the Constitution.” IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, moreover, echoed the Supreme Leader’s red line on inspections of military facilities. The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy stated, “Iranian officials have already negotiated within the measures of the framework, and have clearly and explicitly prohibited any visits to military and defense installations.”
Ali Akbar Salehi, meanwhile, reassured the domestic audience that the Iranian negotiating team will continue to adhere to the Supreme Leader’s prescribed guidelines for a nuclear deal. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Head stressed that Iran’s fact sheet on the framework agreement is completely accurate. Salehi added that the U.S. fact sheet includes “both correct and incorrect parts and is based on their own understanding, which is not surprising.”
- Salehi: “Supreme Leader’s speech a reminder to us and warning to the opposite side.”Referring to the Supreme Leader’s recent statement and “warning” to the opposite side of the nuclear negotiations, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head said, “It is true these words were expressed at a sensitive time, and they are a light for us and will lead us forward.” Ali Akbar Salehi thanked the Supreme Leader for his statement and added, “It was another reminder to the other party who does not think our negotiating team has the support and defense, and thinks they can be greedy and impose their excessive desires on this group [the negotiating team].” Regarding the U.S.’ fact sheet, Salehi said, it includes “both correct and incorrect parts and is based on their own understanding, which is not surprising.” Salehi stressed that Iran’s fact sheet is definitely different from the U.S.’s because it is based on the truth. (Mehr News)
- Ayatollah Khatami: final agreement clear and without interpretation. The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader stressed that the Supreme Leader had made his guidelines on the nuclear issue clear, as well as his position. Ayatollah Akbar Khatami also reiterated the Supreme Leader’s support for and confidence in the negotiating team, and noted that he neither agrees nor disagrees with the framework agreement reached in Lausanne. Khatami underlined that the U.S. is “still the great Satan.” In regards to Saudi Arabia’s “proxy war in Yemen on behalf of the Zionists,” Khatami said he expected his government and Parliament to react strongly against Riyadh. He warned that the world would prosecute the Saudi regime and officials for their war crimes in Yemen. (Fars News)
- Jazayeri: U.S. Secretary of Defense’s remarks reflect low intelligence and bias against Iran.Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri responded to the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s recent remarks on CNN regarding the Supreme Leader’s refusal to grant inspectors access to Iran’s military facilities, and said, “Iranian officials have already negotiated within the measures of the framework, and have clearly and explicitly prohibited any visits to military and defense installations.” (Sepah News)
- SWIFT reportedly in talks with Iran to end blockade. According to Iranian news agency Tabnak, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), allegedly held a series of talks with Iran’s private banks over resumption of services. In March 2012 the European Council ordered SWIFT to block financial services to Iranian banks that are under EU sanctions. The article purports that SWIFT is considering Iran’s reinstatement, in lieu of progress in the Tehran-P5+1 nuclear negotiations. (Tabnak)
- Oil Minister: OPEC oil production strategy is not viable. Bijan Zanganeh called on OPEC members to reconsider production levels. The Oil Minister stated, “It seems [OPEC’s no-cut strategy] does not work well, because prices are coming down.” Zanganeh added that OPEC needs to make way for Iranian output if Western sanctions are lifted. (YJC)
- Shariatmadari responds to framework agreement. Managing Editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan Hossein Shariatmadari authored an editorial entitled, “Under the Skin of the Lausanne Agreement,” in which he discussed several points regarding the agreement which he argued “have received less focus or were not considered as they should have been in discussions.”
- “The [terms regarding the] additional protocol which came out of the Lausanne agreement was to allow agency inspectors to inspect all of the facilities at any time and in any place without prior notice…it is obvious that the adoption of this protocol [exposes] not only the nuclear security but also the military security of the Islamic Republic to a serious risk.”
- “Some friends point to the undeniable fact that “America cannot be trusted,” and conclude that what guarantee can there be that America will fulfill its obligations in the Lausanne agreement?…on the other hand, supporters of the agreement respond that immediately after America’s trespassers ignore all of the agreements, we return to the pre-agreement; and this explanation is that although it is reasonable, many of our obligations in the Lausanne agreement – and before in our Geneva agreement – cannot be un-done after its implementation…”
- Shariatmadari highlighted that despite the voluntary nature of its acceptance, the Lausanne agreement is still “a contract [or] covenant…which requires parliamentary approval, in accordance with Article 77 of the Constitution.” According to…our country’s nuclear team, the Lausanne Agreement is a press statement and not binding! But since it includes the basic framework (read the same as the first stage of a two-stage agreement) it has the legal definition of “agreement” and “statement.” But, in both cases, the hands of our esteemed officials are still not tied, and can still refuse to accept it by citing Articles 77 and 125.” (Kayhan)
- Rouhani will not attend upcoming nuclear negotiations. Abbas Araghchi responded to reports about the possibility of President Hassan Rouhani attending the next round of nuclear talks, stating that he will not be present. The Legal and International Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister added that President Rouhani will guide the Iranian negotiators, which does not mean that he will be at the table. (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Ahl al Bayt World Assembly Supreme Council members meet with Nouri al Maliki. Senior Iranian clerics Ayatollahs Mohsen Araki, Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari, Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi, Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, Mahmoud Mohammadi Araghi, Mehdi Hadavi Tehrani, and the Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati met with Iraqi Vice President Nouri al Maliki in Baghdad on April 9. Maliki praised Iran’s role in combatting terrorism and thanked Tehran for its support to Baghdad in its fight against ISIS. (ABNA)