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:  Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi ended his hunger strike.

President Hassan Rouhani dispatched Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi to negotiate the end of Karroubi’s hunger strike after Karroubi was transferred to a hospital. Mohammad Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi’s son, reported that Karroubi agreed to end his hunger strike in return for the removal of security officials from his home. The Rouhani administration also reportedly promised to attempt to secure Karroubi a public trial.
Karroubi is less likely to receive a public trial, however. The Judiciary, not the Rouhani administration, makes decisions regarding Karroubi’s detention and trial. The Judiciary has indicated that it will not press for Karroubi’s release, and also criticized the Rouhani administration for using “populist measures” to “pressure” Iran’s leadership on the matter.

Domestic Politics
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22 hours ago

Karroubi hunger strike ends after promises from government.

Reformist Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi was transferred to a hospital late on August 16 following his declaration of a hunger strike earlier that day. President Hassan Rouhani dispatched Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi to speak to Karroubi in hospital and negotiate the terms of his hunger strike. Karroubi’s son Mohammad reported that Karroubi agreed to stop his hunger strike in exchange for the removal of security officials from his home. Mohammad Karroubi also stated that the government promised to attempt to secure Karroubi a public trial. Karroubi has been under house arrest since 2011 for his part in the 2009 Green Movement. (Twitter)

  • Reformist former President Mohammad Khatami spoke with Karroubi’s family and issued a statement on Karroubi’s condition. He commented that “unfortunately the matter is out of my hands.” Khatami added that “the very least expectation of Mr. Rouhani now is that he gets involved in the matter quickly.” Khatami stated that it was “with the help of Rouhani himself” that he was able to free former Deputy Supreme Leader (and opponent of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri from house arrest in 2003. (Shabtab News)
  • Reformist-backed Omid parliamentary faction Spokesman Bahram Parsaei stated that “our main issue is the discussion of Mr. Karroubi’s health as well as the principle of [his] house arrest.” He added that the faction will “pursue this matter until its solution.” (ILNA)
  • Hassan Khomeini, a grandson of former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, referred to Karroubi as “our brother and great master” and added that he hoped “that God willing, attempts [to repeal his house arrest] will see some results.” (ILNA)
22 hours ago

Third day of ministerial confirmation enquiries.

Parliament vetted proposed Defense Minister Artesh Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami, and proposed Justice Minister Ali Reza Avaei on August 17.

  • On Hatami: Conservative Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi stated that “many of my friends in the IRGC have contacted me with regard to expressive approval of [Hatami]... as their Artesh brother.” Conservative Ahmad Amirabadi added that Hatami “has a total command and complete understanding” of matters relating to the Defense Ministry.
  • On Avaei: Parliamentarians noted Avaei’s experience in the Judiciary. Akbar Ranjbarzadeh stated that “Avaei is familiar with social issues in the judicial sphere and he has experience and expertise” in the field. (Fars News Agency)
22 hours ago

Jahromi denies interrogation charges.

Proposed Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi denied claims by the Centre for Human Rights in Iran that he had engaged in the interrogation and audio surveillance of Green Movement activists during his time at the Intelligence Ministry. Jahromi tweeted that “my job has never been interrogation or technical advice or home surveillance. I will follow up these accusations.” The Intelligence Ministry issued a statement in support of Jahromi. It accused “certain dubious movements” of publishing “false news and accusations” and attempting to “inflame” Iranian society. (ILNA) (Tasnim News Agency)

22 hours ago

Omid: Opinion of the cabinet as a whole is positive.

Reformist-backed Omid parliamentary faction member Qassem Mirzaei Nekou stated that “the majority of the faction members’ opinion on most of the cabinet ministers is positive.” He added that “it is likely that the majority of the proposed ministers will be able to gain the support of the faction’s members.” (Tasnim News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Shabtab News
https://shabtabnews.com/2017/08/17/%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B3-%D8%AA%D9%84%D9%81%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87/

2. ILNA
http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/524785-%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B6%D9%88%D8%B9-%D8%AD%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%A7-%D8%AD%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A6%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%BE%DB%8C%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF-%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%B1-%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7-%D8%B4%D9%86%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF

3. ILNA
http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/524851-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%AD%D8%B3%D9%86-%D8%AE%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%B9-%D8%AD%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D9%88%D8%AC%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B4-%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D9%86%D8%AA%DB%8C%D8%AC%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%B3%D8%AF

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960526000169

Citations & Links

1. ILNA
http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/524791-%D9%87%DB%8C%DA%86-%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%B4%D8%BA%D9%84-%D8%A8%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B2%D8%AC%D9%88%DB%8C%DB%8C-%DB%8C%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%AA%DB%8C%D8%B4-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%84-%D9%86%D8%A8%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

2. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/05/26/1494551/%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%DB%8C%D9%87-%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D9%81%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%AC%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B4%DA%A9%D9%88%DA%A9-%D9%88-%D8%B6%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A8

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/05/26/1494417/%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%B1-%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A8%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%AB%D8%B1-%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%B4%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%AB%D8%A8%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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22 hours ago

Bagheri in Erdogan meeting: Iran and Turkey opposed to Kurdistan referendum

Armed Forces General Staff chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri restated his opposition to Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two parties discussed education cooperation, border control, and combating smuggling and “terrorism” on their borders. Bagheri stressed that “from both countries’ perspective… [the referendum] will spark the foundations for tension and conflict within Iraq, the implications of which will affect neighboring countries.” (Fars News Agency)

  • IRGC Cultural and Social Deputy and former Basij Organization Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi referred to the referendum as “a new plot by Iran’s enemies.” Naqdi indicated that the U.S. efforts to use the referendum to promote further instability would fail. (ISNA)

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960526000145

2. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96052616402/%D8%AF%D8%B4%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B7%D8%A6%D9%87-%D8%AC%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%84-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%B7%D8%B1%D8%AD-%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%B2%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF

Casualties in Iraq and Syria
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22 hours ago

Fatemiyoun fighter to be buried in Esfahan.

The body of Fatemiyoun Brigade member Mohammad Qassemzadeh arrived in Najafabad, Esfahan Province, prior to his burial on August 20. Qassemzadeh was reportedly killed in Syria. (Mehr News Agency)

  • Two Fatemiyoun Brigade members were buried in Tehran on August 16. (Defa Press)

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
http://www.mehrnews.com/news/4061635/%D9%BE%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85-%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%B4%D9%87%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B9-%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%85-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%86%D8%AC%D9%81-%D8%A2%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%B4%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B9-%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF

2. Defa Press
http://defapress.ir/fa/news/96519/%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D8%B4%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B9-%D9%BE%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B7%D9%87%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%88-%D8%B4%D9%87%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B9-%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%85-%D9%84%D8%B4%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86

Economy
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22 hours ago

EAEU and Iran to sign free trade zone agreement.

Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Chairman Tigran Sargsyan stated that Iran and the EAEU will sign a temporary free trade zone agreement in October 2017. The EAEU is an international economic union that includes: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. (Mehr News Agency) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
http://en.mehrnews.com/news/127102/EAEU-to-sign-free-trade-deal-with-Iran-this-year

Key takeaway: Reformist Green Movement Leader Mehdi Karroubi began a hunger strike on August 16.

Karroubi was recently discharged from the hospital after suffering a heart attack on July 21. Karroubi also requested the removal of security officials from his home as well as a public court date for his trial. Karroubi and fellow Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard have been under house arrest since 2011 for their participation in the 2009 Green Movement. Members of the reformist-backed Omid parliamentary faction issued a response asking Karroubi to halt his hunger strike.

Karroubi’s hunger strike may raise the stakes on the already high-profile issue of the release of the Green Movement leadership. The release of the Green Movement leadership is part of many reformists’ efforts for “national reconciliation” within Iran in light of the uncertainties facing Iran under the Trump presidency. Conservatives, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have dismissed reformists’ push for “national reconciliation” repeatedly.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from August 15-16.

Domestic Politics
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1 day ago

Karroubi begins hunger strike.

Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi announced via Twitter that he had begun a hunger strike on August 16. Karroubi’s announcement accompanied requests for the removal of security officials from his home as well as a public court date for his trial. (Twitter)

  • Members of the reformist-backed Omid parliamentary faction issued a statement requesting that Karroubi stop his hunger strike. Omid deputy-head Mohammad Reza Tabesh stated that after consultation with Omid faction head Mohammad Reza Aref and Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari the faction wanted to highlight “the level of its concern” regarding Karroubi’s health. Tabesh added that “we transferred the matter to the Intelligence Minister immediately, requesting that [he] follow it up seriously.” (ISNA)
1 day ago

Second day of ministerial confirmation enquiries.

Parliament vetted proposed Intelligence Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi, proposed Economic Affairs Minister Massoud Karbasian, and proposed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

  • On Zarif: Representatives criticized Mohammad Javad Zarif for a “weakness in economic diplomacy.” Parliamentarian Mohammad Javad Abtahi complained that Zarif had been too passive in responding to U.S. sanctions and asked, “What else does America need to do for the Foreign Minister and President to accept that the nuclear deal has been violated?” Zarif nevertheless gained vocal support within Parliament. Parliamentarian Bahram Parsaei stressed that “Zarif is the easiest to defend” among Rouhani’s proposed ministers.
  • On Alavi and Karbasian: Conservatives were quick to praise the conservative Alavi. National Security and Foreign Policy Commission head Alaeddin Boroujerdi praised Alavi’s “quick and definite decision-making [capabilities].” Parliamentarian Abdol Hamid Khadri criticized Karbasian for devoting very little of his agenda to the “empowerment of the public sector.” (Fars News Agency)
1 day ago

Molaverdi, Ebtekar sworn in.

Newly-appointed Special Advisor to the President Shahindokht Molaverdi and new Vice President for Women’s and Family Affairs Massoumeh Ebtekar continued the criticism of the lack of gender diversity in President Hassan Rouhani’s second-term cabinet. Molaverdi stated that “the capabilities of women should be recognized officially within the framework of the law.” Ebtekar promised to “resurrect” the national interests of women and families during her term.  (ISNA) (ISNA)

Citations & Links

1. Twitter
https://twitter.com/KaroubiMT/status/897806295016886272

2. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96052516143/%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%88-%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%BE%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%BA%D8%B0%D8%A7%DB%8C

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960525000257

Citations & Links

1. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96052516169

2. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96052516178

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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1 day ago

Bagheri meets with Turkish Defense Minister.

Armed Forces General Staff chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri met with Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli in Ankara on August 16. Bagheri’s meeting with Canikli follows discussions with Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar on August 15 as part of a three-day trip to Ankara. (Fars News Agency)

  • Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour met with his Turkish counterpart Umit Yalcin on August 16. The two parties discussed trade, regional developments, and the Astana peace talks. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
1 day ago

Khamenei comments on Charlottesville demonstration.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized U.S. policy in reference to the Charlottesville demonstrations. Khamenei stated via Twitter that the U.S. and officials “better manage their country, [and] tackle white supremacy rather than meddle in [other] nations’ affairs.” (Twitter)

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960525000973

2. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/08/16/1493164/iranian-turkish-deputy-fms-discuss-closer-ties

Citations & Links

1. Twitter
https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/897810749309026305

Military and Security
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1 day ago

IRGC denies independent operations in Syria.

IRGC Public Relations Deputy Brig. Gen. Ramazan Sharif responded to claims by Lebanese news outlet al Mayadeen that the IRGC had undertaken operations in Syria to avenge the death of IRGC member Mohsen Hojaji. ISIS captured Hojaji on the Syria-Iraq border on August 7 and executed him on August 9. Sharif stated that the IRGC “has not undertaken independent ground operations in Syria.” Sharif stressed that the IRGC is “more determined than ever” to continue to deliver “advisory services” to Syria following Hojaji’s death. (Radio Farda)

1 day ago

Hatami: Encouraging exports of Iranian arms on the agenda.

Proposed Defense Minister Artesh Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami presented his policy agenda to members of Parliaments’ Industry and Mines Commission on August 16. Hatami stated that “the development and strengthening of defense equipment exports” is one of his highest priorities for his term as Defense Minister. Hatami added that he will also focus on “the expansion of missile capabilities… repair and construction of aircraft and [naval] vessels… and radar equipment.” (Tasnim News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Radio Farda
https://www.radiofarda.com/a/iran-military-operation-syria/28679561.html

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/05/25/1493753/%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%B5%D9%88%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B9%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B9-%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%AA

Casualties in Iraq and Syria
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1 day ago

Five Fatemiyoun fighters buried in Qom.

Fatemiyoun Brigade members Mohammad Allah Asadi, Nematollah Mohammadi, Aref Rezaei, Khodabakhshi Rezaei, and Mohammad Esmail Mohammadi were buried in Qom on August 16. All five were reportedly killed in Syria. (ABNA)

Citations & Links

1. ABNA
http://fa.abna24.com/news/%d8%b9%da%a9%d8%b3-%d9%88-%da%af%d8%b2%d8%a7%d8%b1%d8%b4-%d8%aa%d8%b5%d9%88%d9%8a%d8%b1%d9%8a/%d8%aa%d8%b4%db%8c%db%8c%d8%b9-%d9%be%db%8c%da%a9%d8%b1-%db%b5-%d8%b4%d9%87%db%8c%d8%af-%d9%85%d8%af%d8%a7%d9%81%d8%b9-%d8%ad%d8%b1%d9%85-%d8%a7%d8%b2-%d9%84%d8%b4%da%a9%d8%b1-%d9%81%d8%a7%d8%b7%d9%85%db%8c%d9%88%d9%86-%d8%af%d8%b1-%d9%82%d9%85_724223.html

Economy
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1 day ago

Iranian oil deal with Russia, Turkey, worth $7bn.

Turkish oil company Unit International stated that the terms of a recently-signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russia's state-owned Zarubezhneft and Iran’s Ghadir Investment Holdings are worth $7bn. The field to be drilled under the terms of the deal reportedly holds 10bn barrels of reserves. Unit International did not name the specific field it described. (Press TV) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Press TV
http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/16/531912/Iran-Turkey-Russia-drilling-deal-sanctions

Key takeaway: The death of a senior IRGC adviser in Syria marks an uptick in recent Iranian casualties in the Syrian conflict.
IRGC Brigadier General Second Class Mostafa Khosh Mohammadi, a retired member of the IRGC 45th Javad ol Aemeh Brigade, was killed in Syria. Several IRGC members have been killed in the last few weeks, including IRGC Quds Force Colonel Mortaza Hosseinpour near Palmyra, Homs Governorate. The IRGC endured high casualty rates at earlier points in the Syrian conflict - including more than 50 IRGC members killed in the first half of February 2016 - but has experienced much lower casualty rates generally since August 2016 (approximately eight deaths per month or less, with some exception). The spike in IRGC casualties in the last week does not necessarily indicate an increased presence of IRGC forces in Syria, but does reflect the extent of Iran’s ongoing investment to the Syrian conflict.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from August 14-15.

Casualties in Iraq and Syria
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2 days ago

IRGC officer killed in Syria.

Iranian sources reported the death of IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Mostafa Khosh Mohammadi of the IRGC 45th Javad ol Aemeh Brigade, which is based in Golestan Province.  ISNA reported that Khosh Mohammadi reportedly emerged from a two-year retirement to serve as a demolitions and engineering expert in Syria. Sources provided conflicting reports of the cause of his death. ISNA reported that U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed Khosh Mohammadi in the vicinity of the Syria-Iraq border. Tabnak cited Chalous Basij commander IRGC Col. Ja’bar Asghari, who claimed that ISIS killed Khosh Mohammadi while he was conducting a “demolition operation” in Syria. (Tabnak) (YJC) (ISNA)

Citations & Links

1. Tabnak
http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/721689

2. YJC
http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/6206082/%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%B7%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%86-%DA%AF%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B9%D8%B7%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D9%87%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B9%DB%8C-%D8%AF%DB%8C%DA%AF%D8%B1

3. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96052213071/%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B7%D9%81%DB%8C-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%B4-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%AF%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B9-%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%85-%D9%BE%DB%8C%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%AA

Domestic Politics
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2 days ago

Questioning of cabinet begins in Parliament.

Parliament began the first day of vetting for proposed ministers in President Hassan Rouhani’s second-term cabinet began on August 15.

  • On the proposed cabinet overall: In the general discussion reformist-backed Omid parliamentary faction head Mohammad Reza Aref and Moderation and Development Party member Zahra Saei restated complaints of a lack of “employment of women” in the makeup of the second cabinet. Principlist Tabriz Representative Mohammad Hossein Farhangi criticized the fact that “there is no basic difference” between Rouhani’s proposed cabinet and that of his first term.
  • On proposed Education Minister Bathaei: Conservative Qom Representative Mojtaba Zonnour criticized proposed Education Minister Mohammad Bathaei’s plan for “a lack of religious teachings” in his education program. Other members lauded Bathaei’s long-term experience in the Education Ministry.
  • On proposed ICT Minister Jahromi: Some representatives urged their colleagues to forgive proposed Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Javad Azari Jahromi his lack of experience as a result of his age. Jahromi, 36, is the proposed cabinet’s youngest minister. Mohammad Ali Pourmokhtar highlighted concerns of Jahromi’s connection to the Intelligence Ministry and highlighted that Jahromi “should not turn ICT into a second Intelligence Ministry.” (Fars News Agency)
2 days ago

Human rights organization: Jahromi interrogated political prisoners.

The Centre for Human Rights in Iran published a report regarding the professional background of proposed Communications and Information Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azadi Jahromi on August 13. The report accuses Jahromi of “interrogating former political prisoners” including “at least five” of whom were connected to Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Moussavi’s electoral campaign in 2009. Jahromi reportedly held responsibility for audio surveillance at the Intelligence Ministry between 2009 and 2013. The report accuses him of “illegal” surveillance that was led to the imprisonment of Green Movement supporters. (Radio Farda)

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960524000144

Citations & Links

1. Radio Farda
https://www.radiofarda.com/a/having-azari-az-minister-of-communication-humanrights/28677536.html

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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2 days ago

Rouhani: JCPOA is not Iran’s only choice.

President Hassan Rouhani remarked on U.S.-Iran relations and the future of the nuclear deal in a speech to Parliament on August 15. Rouhani stated that “America has shown the world and even its own allies that it is neither a good partner nor a trustworthy negotiator.” Rouhani stressed that “those who attempt to continually return to the language of threats hold themselves prisoner.” (Mehr News Agency)

  • Rouhani, Putin hold telephone conversation. President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin discussed regional issues in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen as well as recent U.S. comments on the nuclear deal during a telephone call on August 14. (Mehr News Agency) (E)
2 days ago

Foreign Ministry welcomes talks between Erbil and Baghdad.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi welcomed the news of direct talks between Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al Abadi and a delegation from Iraqi Kurdistan ahead of the September 25 referendum on that region’s independence. Ghassemi stated that such talks put Iraq on “the road to lasting stability and security.” (Mehr News Agency)

  • Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi met with new head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Humam Hamoudi in Baghdad. Hamoudi’s appointment follows the split of former-leader Ammar al Hakim from the party in July 2017. Masjedi stated that “the selection of Sheikh Hamoudi as head of the Islamic Supreme Council was a clear choice, which has raised the spirits of jihadis.” (ISNA)
2 days ago

Bagheri meets with Erdogan, military officials in trip to Ankara.

Armed Forces General Staff chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri travelled to Ankara on August 15 to meet with top Turkish political and military officials. Bagheri and IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour met with Turkish General Staff Chief Hulusi Akar and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss “security issues, border security, and the fight against terrorism.” (BBC Persian)

2 days ago

Iran freezes BBC journalists’ assets.

BBC news sources reported that Iran’s Judiciary has frozen the assets and banned the activity of over 150 BBC Persian journalists without explanation. The list of those targeted includes past and current employees of the network. BBC Persian Service head Ali Azimi stated that the Judiciary “has not contacted” any of those listed and added that a member of BBC’s reporting team had become aware of the ban when they were denied a request for documents on an Iranian government system. (BBC Persian)

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
http://www.mehrnews.com/news/4059389/%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AA%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7-%DA%AF%D8%B2%DB%8C%D9%86%D9%87-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A8-%D9%86%D9%82%D8%B6-%D8%B9%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%87%D8%A7-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AE-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%87%DB%8C%D9%85-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF

2. Mehr News Agency
http://en.mehrnews.com/news/127082/Rouhani-Putin-discuss-energy-region-on-phone

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
http://www.mehrnews.com/news/4059319/%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%DA%AF%D9%81%D8%AA%DA%AF%D9%88%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AE%D9%84%DB%8C-%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%BA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D9%88-%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A8%DB%8C%D9%84

2. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96052414855/%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D9%81%DB%8C%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%BA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B1%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B3-%D8%AC%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82

Citations & Links

1. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-40934083

Citations & Links

1. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-40941329

Military and Security
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2 days ago

IRGC after flyby: Drone activities will continue.

The IRGC responded to the U.S. Navy’s earlier reports that an Iranian drone had come within 1,000 feet of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf on August 12 and briefly held a position above it. U.S. Navy sources referred to the activity as “unprofessional.” The IRGC stressed that “IRGC drone patrols will continue in the Persian Gulf… irrespective of the psychological manipulation of alien powers.” (Radio Farda)

2 days ago

Sayyari: Electronic warfare exercise to take place this week.

Artesh Navy Commander RADM Habibollah Sayyari stated that the Artesh Navy will undertake an exercise in electronic warfare in the Makran region in southeast Iran this week. Sayyari commented that the drills will also include missile tests, intelligence operations, submarine deployment, and search and rescue operations. He added that the Artesh Navy will perform 25 exercises by the end of March 2018. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Radio Farda
https://www.radiofarda.com/a/irc-reaction-us-naval-force/28676493.html

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/08/15/1492689/iranian-navy-to-stage-electronic-warfare-exercises-in-coming-days

Economy
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2 days ago

Deputy Oil Minister: Ukraine can facilitate Iranian petrochemical exports to Europe.

National Petrochemical Company head and Deputy Oil Minister Marzieh Shahdaei met with Ukrainian ambassador to Tehran Sergei Buldiliak on August 14. Shahdaei stated after the talks that the “formation of an export hub for Iran’s petrochemical products to Europe in Ukraine” was one of the major topics at the meeting. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/08/15/1492789/ukraine-can-facilitate-exports-of-iran-s-petchem-products-to-europe-deputy-oil-minister

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