Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.{{authorBox.message}}

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Key takeaway: The impact of longshot presidential candidates Mostafa Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemi Taba’s decision to remain in the race is unclear.

The conservative Mirsalim denied he is withdrawing from the race despite a statement to that effect from his backers, the Islamic Coalition Party. Reformist Mostafa Hashemi Taba reportedly called on the Iranian people to vote for President Hassan Rouhani, but has not formally withdrawn his candidacy.  

The impact of their remaining on the ballot is not clear. Both Mirsalim and Hashemi Taba are long shot candidates who have polled at two to three percent during the campaign season. Even a small number of votes for either candidate could affect the outcome of a close race between the frontrunners, President Hassan Rouhani and Ebrahim Raisi. 

 

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from May 17-18.

Casualties in Iraq and Syria
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4 days ago

Two Pakistani Shia militia members buried in Qom.

 

Seyed Sajid and Seyed Naghi Shah, two Zeinabiyoun fighters, were buried in Qom Province on May 17. They were killed in an undisclosed location in Syria. (Ghatreh)

 

 

Citations & Links

1. Ghatreh
http://www.ghatreh.com/news/nn37491049/پیکرهای-مطهر-شهید-مدافع-حرم-تیپ-زینبیون-تشییع-شود

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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4 days ago

Iran will not implement part of UNESCO education agenda.

 

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi stated that Iran will not implement elements of a UN agenda called Education 2030 following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s criticism of the agenda on May 10. Khamenei criticized the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, which is led by President Hassan Rouhani, for permitting the adoption of the agenda.

 

  • Ghassemi said that Iran will not accept anything that “goes against its values” and is not compatible with the country’s education standards. Ghassemi stated that Iran has notified the UN of its “unchangeable” position. (Mehr News Agency) (E) (Press TV) (E) (Fars News Agency)
4 days ago

Iran to sanction nine American entities in response to new U.S. sanctions.

 

Iran announced that it will sanction nine American individuals and entities in response to the newest round of U.S. sanctions. The Foreign Ministry called America’s sanctions “unacceptable” and said the new sanctions on Americans were for “blatant human rights violations against Palestinians.” (Press TV) (E)

 

  • Chinese Foreign Ministry protests new U.S. sanctions on Iran and China. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying criticized the U.S. sanctions on Iranian and Chinese nationals and entities as contrary to the promotion of mutual trust. (IRNA) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
http://en.mehrnews.com/news/125435/Iran-not-to-implement-all-goals-of-UNESCO-2030-Agenda

2. Press TV
http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/17/522287/iran-unicco-qassemi-2030

3. Fars News Agency
https://t.co/HMnSfjUHNN

Citations & Links

1. Press TV
http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/18/522318/Iran-US-sanction-missile-nuclear

2. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/en/News/82535145/

Domestic Politics
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4 days ago

Senior member of Khamenei’s inspection office resigns following Rouhani endorsement.

Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri resigned from his position as the head of the Inspection Bureau of the Office of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Nateq Nouri had served as the bureau’s head for over two decades. Press TV reported that his resignation has not yet been accepted. The conservative Nateq Nouri has endorsed President Hassan Rouhani’s bid for re-election publically. Nateq Nouri lost the 1997 presidential elections to the reformist Mohammad Khatami. (Press TV) (E)

4 days ago

Reformist presidential candidate backs Rouhani, but appears to stay in race.

Mostafa Hashemi Taba reportedly called on the Iranian people to vote for President Hassan Rouhani in the elections in a post on his Telegram channel on May 17. IRNA reported that as of May 18, Hashemi Taba has not formally withdrawn from the race. Several Iranian news outlets reported that Hashemi Taba as well as Mirsalim are still candidates in the election. The Interior Ministry’s Elections Headquarters announced electoral codes for both Hashemitaba and Mirsalim, possibly indicating that their names will be on the ballot on May 19. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Press TV) (E) (IRNA) (E)

4 days ago

Conservative candidate Mirsalim denies withdrawal from presidential race.

The Islamic Coalition Party, which had endorsed conservative Mostafa Mirsalim’s presidential candidacy, issued a statement on May 17 that Mirsalim is withdrawing from the race. Mirsalim later denied that he is withdrawing from the election in a statement posted on a Telegram account. Mirsalim traveled to Mashhad with conservative frontrunner Ebrahim Raisi on May 17. (Radio Farda) (Tasnim News Agency) (BBC Persian)

Citations & Links

1. Press TV
http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/18/522379/Iran-Nateq-Nouri-Ali-Khamenei--Hassan-Rouhani-presidential-election

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/05/18/1411566/iran-presidential-candidate-pledges-cooperation-with-judiciary-against-corruption

2. Press TV
http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/18/522379/Iran-Nateq-Nouri-Ali-Khamenei--Hassan-Rouhani-presidential-election

3. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/en/News/82534529/

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/02/28/1411432/حزب-مؤتلفه-اسلامی-با-انصراف-میرسلیم-از-رقابت-انتخابات-96-موافقت-کرد

Key takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani explicitly warned against IRGC interference in the elections, underscoring heightened tensions in Iran on the last day of campaigning.

Rouhani called on the IRGC and the Basij to “stay in their own place for their own work” on election day during a speech in Mashhad on May 17. The IRGC had reportedly lobbied to station IRGC and Basij members at Tehran polling stations on election day.  Rouhani also blasted his opponent Ebrahim Raisi and the conservatives.  A mandated media blackout on the elections began on May 18.

The U.S. State Department announced the extension of sanctions relief called for under the 2015 nuclear deal on May 17. The U.S. Treasury Department also announced a new round of sanctions on one Chinese and two Iranian nationals, as well as one Iranian and three Chinese entities, for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program.


This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from May 17.

Domestic Politics
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May 18, 2017

Rouhani attacks Raisi and IRGC in campaign speech in Mashhad.

President Hassan Rouhani gave his final campaign speech in Mashhad before the elections on May 19. Rouhani directly attacked the IRGC and the Basij, and stated that they should “stay in their own place for their own work” and not interfere in the election. Rouhani added that the election was a choice between “righteousness” and “deceitfulness.” He also claimed Raisi has avoided discussing foreign policy. Rouhani also promised that “a high turnout… is the way to achieve the freedoms you want.” (Reuters) (E) (IRNA) (E) (ISNA) (Twitter)

May 18, 2017

Former IRGC Commander to Rouhani administration: “Don’t be surprised at a Raisi victory.”

Expediency Discernment Council Secretary and former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei stated, “If [conservative candidate Ebrahim] Raisi becomes president, don’t be startled, the Iranian people are full of surprises. [If Raisi wins] the government should congratulate him” in a post on his Twitter account. (Twitter)

May 18, 2017

Supreme Leader: “It is likely” some will attempt to interfere in the elections.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed the elections during a speech on May 17.

  • “It is likely that some individuals seek to violate law. However, these sectors - whether the executive, regulatory, or security sectors - are trustworthy and reliable, thank God.”
  • “The Islamic Republic has granted us freedom; although, some people are ungrateful and use the freedom they are given to deny freedom exists--this is ungrateful.”
  • “The Islamic Republic of Iran is busy preparing for [the] elections in peace and security… This peaceful and calm environment is invaluable.” (Khamenei.ir) (E)

 

May 18, 2017

Raisi criticizes Rouhani in final campaign speech.

Conservative candidate Hojjat ol Eslam Ebrahim Raisi spoke to a large crowd in his home base of Mashhad on May 17.

    • On taxes: Raisi responded to Rouhani’s commentary on Raisi and the tax-exempt status of the Astan Quds Razavi Foundation. Raisi stated,“This holy shrine is based on devotion, [and] we add value to taxes and all of the participants have been audited and the money which must be given for taxes is given tenfold [the amount] to orphans and the poor.”
    • On sanctions: “You [Rouhani] claimed to have taken away sanctions but the people must judge. We, with the help of the people, removed the sanctions.”
    • On creating jobs: Raisi also claimed that if the government “intends to execute the law,” then “one million jobs will be created.” He added that if “the minimum amount of contraband goods” arrived with every million dollars, “100,000 jobs would be created.” (Tasnim News Agency)
    • The Islamic Society of Engineers and the Committee of the Workers of Iran also announced they are endorsing Raisi’s bid in the election. (Ghatreh) (Tasnim News Agency)
May 18, 2017

Interior Ministry appears to reverse decision to announce election results all at once.

Interior Ministry Election Headquarters Chief Mohammad Hossein Moqimi stated that the Interior Ministry will announce the results of vote counting gradually. Moqimi’s statement follows Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli’s announcement that the Interior Ministry will announce the vote count to the public all at once. Guardian Council Spokesman Abbas Ali Khadkhodei had stated earlier that “the Guardian Council recommends that the result of the presidential election vote counts be made public gradually.” (Press TV) (E) (Press TV) (E)

Citations & Links

1. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/en/News/82534168/

2. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96022717971/ما-نبات-امام-رضا-ع-را-برای-شفا-می-خواستیم-نه-برای-رای-نظامی-ها

Citations & Links

Citations & Links

1. Khamenei.ir
http://english.khamenei.ir/news/4836/Iran-celebrates-security-and-peace-ahead-of-election-Ayatollah

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/02/27/1411248/رئیسی-آقای-روحانی-شما-را-نصحیت-می-کنم-منافع-ملی-را-فدای-منافع-شخصی-نکنید-چرا-عصبانی-هستید-با-کمک-مردم-تحریم-ها-را-برمی-داریم-مطلقاً-اجازه-فساد-را-نخواهیم-داد-فیلم-و-تصاویر

2. Ghatreh
http://www.ghatreh.com/news/nn37495110/بیانیه-کمیته-کارگران-ایران-حجت-الاسلام-رییسی-انتخابات-حمایت-کرد

3. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/02/25/1408808/جامعه-اسلامی-مهندسین-از-رئیسی-حمایت-کرد

Citations & Links

1. Press TV
http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/17/522173/Iran-presidential-election

2. Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/05/18/522304/Iran-election-interior-Ministry-Guardian-Council-results

Casualties in Iraq and Syria
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May 18, 2017

Iranian killed in Syria.

Alireza Ghabadi, a resident of Tehran, was reportedly killed in Hama, Syria, on May 16.  (Defa Press)

Citations & Links

1. Defa Press
http://www.defapress.ir/fa/news/239683/شهادت-تخریبچی-مدافع-حرم-علیرضا-قبادی-در-سوریه

Key takeaway: Reformist and conservative forces galvanized in support of their respective candidates ahead of the May 19 presidential elections.

Several leaders of the 2009 Green Movement announced their support for President Hassan Rouhani. Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, also expressed his support for Rouhani. Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, meanwhile, blatantly backed conservative candidate Astan Quds Razavi Foundation Head Ebrahim Raisi.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from May 13-16.

Domestic Politics
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May 17, 2017

Reformist leaders, Khomeini grandson back Rouhani.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard, and Secretary General of the National Trust Party Mehdi Karroubi stated that they will vote for President Hassan Rouhani in the elections. Mousavi, Rahnavard, and Karroubi have been under house arrest since 2011 for leading the 2009 Green Movement protests. (Reuters) (E) (Radio Farda)

  • Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, stated “We have enough space to trust Rouhani one more time” in a post on his Instagram account. (ISNA)
May 17, 2017

Khatami releases video in support of Rouhani.

Former President Mohammad Khatami released a video urging voters to re-elect President Hassan Rouhani and continue his policy of integrating Iran into the global community. Khatami is under a Judiciary-mandated media ban which prohibits media outlets from publishing his name and image. (Reuters) (E) (BBC) 

May 17, 2017

Judiciary Head signifies support for Raisi.

Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani stated that the extent of Iran’s enemies’ dissatisfaction with a presidential candidate is “a very good criterion” for determining “the most qualified candidate.” His statement is in reference to conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi, who has taken a more aggressive stance against the West than President Rouhani. Larijani also criticized candidates who have acted during their presidential campaign as if they are in opposition to Iran’s political system. His statement is aimed at Rouhani, who has increased his rhetoric in support of the Green Movement leadership and Iran’s reformist movement during his campaign. (IRNA) (E)

May 17, 2017

Political figures react to Ghalibaf’s withdrawal from presidential race.

  • Conservative candidate Hojjat ol Eslam Ebrahim Raisi issued a statement expressing his gratitude following Ghalibaf’s resignation from the presidential race. Raisi mentioned that Ghalibaf made a “revolutionary movement” and “thanked” him for unifying the Popular Front of the Islamic Revolution Forces. (Fars News Agency)
  • Expediency Council Secretary and former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei also sent a message via social media, stating “Ghalibaf’s support for Raisi strengthened the breath of unity in the Islamic Revolutionary Front.” (Mehr News Agency)
  • First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri reacted to Ghalibaf’s resignation with “No comment.” (ISNA)
  • Head of the Reformists' Supreme Council for Policymaking Mohammad-Reza Aref stated that “This was expected that Ghalibaf would step aside and at the specified time, he too moved aside.” (ISNA)
May 17, 2017

Jahangiri drops out of the presidential race.

Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri withdrew his candidacy from the presidential race on May 16. The Reformist Supreme Policymaking Council requested Jahangiri step down in favor of President Hassan Rouhani. (Fars News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)

May 17, 2017

IRGC-affiliated news outlet reports support for Raisi increases after Ghalibaf withdrawal.

Fars News Agency reported that 77.7 percent of Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ghalibaf’s supporters are expected to cast their vote for conservative candidate Hojjat ol Eslam Ebrahim Raisi following Ghalibaf’s withdrawal. The poll also claimed that Raisi stands at 47.9 percent while President Hassan Rouhani has 44.8 percent of the vote. The report was released prior to First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri’s formal withdrawal from the race. The report estimated that Rouhani would gain Jahangiri’s share of the vote (approximately two percent overall) in the event of Jahangiri’s withdrawal. (Fars News Agency)

May 17, 2017

Ghalibaf appears at Raisi’s campaign rally.

Mayor of Tehran Mohammad Ghalibaf appeared at a campaign rally with conservative candidate Hojjat ol Eslam Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran. During the rally, Ghalibaf called for unity amongst conservatives as the only way to fight a status quo that only benefits the top “4%” of the country. (Fars News Agency) (Fars News Agency)

  • During the rally, Raisi said that his administration will build a wall between the “looters and the people’s salaries.” He added that the government should increase subsidies for the poor and criticized increasing imports from China for being detrimental to domestic production. (Fars News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-election-opposition-idUSKCN18B18T

2. Radio Farda
http://www.radiofarda.com/a/o2-mirhossein-rahnevard/28491979.html

3. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96022616929/%D8%AC%D8%A7-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AF%DB%8C%DA%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AF-%DA%A9%D9%86%DB%8C%D9%85

Citations & Links

1. Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-election-khatami-idUSKCN18A0NQ

2. BBC
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-39913833

Citations & Links

1. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/en/News/82531159/

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960225001340

2. Mehr News Agency
http://www.mehrnews.com/news/3979632/%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%81-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%B1%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%B3%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AD%D9%87-%D9%88%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AC%D8%A8%D9%87%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%AA-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF

3. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96022516429/%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%AD-%D8%AC%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%86%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B9%D9%81%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%81

4. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96022516434/%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%B4-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%81-%D8%A8%D9%87-%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%81

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960226001525

2. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/02/26/1410097/%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%B4%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%DA%AF%D8%B0%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AD-%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AC%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%86%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960226000995

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960226001090

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960226001507

3. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960226000806

Military and Security
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May 17, 2017

IRGC attempts to station members at Tehran polling stations.

The head of the Interior Ministry’s Election Headquarters Ali-Reza Rahimi expressed his opposition to the call to station IRGC and Basij members at Tehran polling stations on election day. Rahimi stated, “The establishment of armed forces at polling stations and branches with the excuse of a shortage of law enforcement is not acceptable.” (ISNA)

  • Twitter users reported on May 16 that “security forces” used tear gas to attack Rouhani’s campaign office in Tehran. Rouhani’s campaign offices have reportedly been attacked several times in the last few weeks.  (Twitter) (E) (Twitter) (E)
May 17, 2017

IRGC arrests two “terrorists” suspected of murdering police officers.

IRGC Vali-ye Asr Unit (Khuzestan Province) Commander Brig. Gen. 2C Hossein Shahvarpour announced that IRGC forces arrested two “terrorists” responsible for the deaths of two Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) officers in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, on May 15. Shahvarpour did not provide any further identification regarding the affiliations of the arrested individuals. (Tasnim News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96022617036/%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%B4-%D8%B1%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%B3-%D9%87%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1

2. Twitter
https://twitter.com/SaeedKD/status/864585460420681730

3. Twitter
https://twitter.com/SaeedKD/status/862309322260443138/photo/1

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/02/26/1410082/%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%84-%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%A7-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF

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