Iran News Round Up
The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analysts Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton with contributors Ken Hawrey and Alice Naghshineh. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: Deputy Artesh Commander Abdul Rahim Mousavi implied that the Artesh has regular as well as special operations forces in Syria.
Brigadier General Mousavi stated, “Do not be mistaken. It is not just the [65th] NOHED Brigade and special operations forces that are serving as advisors in Syria. A number of personnel from this brigade along with volunteers from other Artesh brigades are serving as advisors in Syria.” Mousavi added that the Artesh and the IRGC “will be alongside each other whenever it is necessary.”
A revolutionary court sentenced four journalists to five to ten years in prison for “propaganda against the [political] system” and “acting against national security.” The four were arrested in November 2015, when the IRGC conducted a wave of arrests of individuals it claimed were part of an “an infiltration network cooperating with hostile Western governments.” Their arrests in November sparked a public disagreement between the IRGC, which had announced the arrests, and President Hassan Rouhani himself, who indirectly criticized the arrests as “aggrandized” and “an excuse.”
- Matthew McInnis discusses prospects for the Persian Gulf’s regional powers to collectively manage regional security issues, including proposals for an OSCE-style collective security organization, in his latest blog, “Can Saudi Arabia really ‘share the neighborhood’ with Iran?”
- The Iranian Foreign Ministry identified key challenges for the nuclear deal, including Iran’s financial system and U.S. “sabotage,” in its first official report evaluating the deal’s implementation. The Critical Threats Project translated an excerpt from the report here.
Military and Security
- Deputy Artesh Commander: We don’t just have special operations forces in Syria. Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahim Mousavi called the Artesh “the complement of the IRGC” during an interview with Defa Press and added that the Artesh and the IRGC “will be alongside each other whenever it is necessary.” The Deputy Artesh Commander also stated, “Do not be mistaken. It is not just the [65th] NOHED Brigade and special operations forces that are serving as advisors in Syria. A number of personnel from this brigade along with volunteers from other Artesh brigades are serving as advisors in Syria.” (Defa Press)
- Four journalists sentenced to jail for acting “against national security.” A revolutionary court sentenced four journalists to five to ten years in prison for “propaganda against the [political] system” and “acting against national security,” according to Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, the lawyer for three of the journalists. Afarin Chitsaz, Ehsan Safarzaei, Davoud Asadi, Ehsan Mazandarani, and Isa Saharkhiz were first arrested in November 2015, when the IRGC conducted a wave of arrests of individuals in “an infiltration network cooperating with hostile Western governments.” The sentence for Saharkhiz, who was the head of the Ministry of Culture and Education’s press department in former reformist president Mohammad Khatami’s administration, has not yet been announced. (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Velayati: Assad should finish out his presidential term. Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati stated, “We support the legitimate government of Syria. Bashar al Assad was elected as Syria’s president two years ago; the seven-year period of his presidency must be completely finished…” Velayati also decried the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing the victims of terrorist attacks blamed on Iran to collect almost $2 billion in Iranian frozen assets, stating, “Without a doubt, America’s action in confiscating Iran’s property is international piracy.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Abdollahian meets with Chinese Special Envoy to Syria. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with Chinese Special Envoy for Syria Xie Xiaoyan to discuss sending humanitarian aid to Syria and finding a solution to the current civil war. Xie, the former Chinese ambassador to Iran, was appointed Chinese Special Envoy for Syria last month. (Fars News Agency) (YJC)
Business delegation visits Chabahar. A Chinese engineering company reportedly sent a delegation to visit the Iranian port of Chabahar. A member of the Presiding Board of the Chabahar Free Trade Zone, Abdol Rahim Kordi, stated that the economic delegation arrived in Chabahar on April 26 as part of a three-day visit. The Chabahar Free Trade Zone is strategically significant because it provides India with a trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia that bypasses Pakistan. (IRNA)
Defense minister heads to Moscow. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan departed Iran for Moscow on April 26 to attend the 2016 Moscow Conference on International Security and to discuss military cooperation with Russia. (Press TV) (E)
Minister appointed head of committee to investigate Supreme Court ruling on Iranian asset seizure. Economic and Finance Minister Ali Tayyeb Nia was appointed head of a committee to review the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that the families of terrorist attack victims can collect $2 billion in Iranian frozen assets. The committee will present a report on the assets during a meeting of President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet on May 1. The committee also includes Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Intelligence Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi, Justice Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, and Central Bank of Iran Chief Valiollah Seif. (ISNA)
- The Foreign Ministry also summoned Switzerland’s ambassador to Iran, who handles American interests, in protest of the Supreme Court ruling. The Foreign Ministry’s Director-General for the Americas Mohammad Keshavarz Zadeh called the U.S.’s actions “an explicit violation of bilateral contractual obligations, including the 1955 treaty [Iran-United States Treaty of Amity Economic Relations and Consular Rights], as well as America’s international legal obligations and the immunity and inviolability of property and assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” (Fars News Agency)