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 Shayan Enferadi and Ali Javaheri. 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: The Interior Ministry announced finalized registration and campaigning dates for the 2017 presidential elections.
The registration period will be held from April 11 to April 15, 2017, according to the Interior Ministry. Candidates must then undergo an extensive vetting process. Those who are approved to run will have one week to campaign from April 28 to May 17. Election day itself will be held on May 19, a month earlier than usual to avoid overlapping with the fasting month of Ramadan.
Iranian news outlets reported that one Iranian police officer was killed and two others wounded after an unidentified attacker threw an explosive device at a police patrol vehicle in Marivan, Kurdistan province, near the Iran-Iraq border. Kurdish news outlets, meanwhile, reported that the Iranian military began shelling the border region in Iraqi Kurdistan on August 11. Iranian forces also reportedly shelled Iraqi Kurdistan in late June after an uptick in clashes between Iranian military forces and Kurdish militants along the Iran-Iraq border.
- Caitlin Shayda Pendleton analyzes and translates a recent interview with the newly elected spokesman of the Guardian Council in “Is this proposal the future of Iranian elections?”
- Interior Ministry sets presidential election registration and campaigning dates. The Interior Ministry announced that the registration period for the presidential elections will last from April 11 to April 15, 2017. Candidates who pass the Guardian Council’s vetting process will be allowed to campaign only from April 28 to May 17. Election day will be held on May 19.
Reformist newspaper: Rouhani’s call to investigate Ahmadinejad was a “response” to Ahmadinejad’s letter to Obama. Reformist newspaper Shargh discussed the motives behind President Hassan Rouhani’s recent call for the Judiciary and other government bodies to “investigate” former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for failing to retrieve Iranian assets in the U.S. during his presidency. The Shargh editorial called Rouhani’s comments an “indirect response” to the letter Ahmadinejad wrote to President Barack Obama on August 8. Ahmadinejad had criticized Obama in the letter for failing to fulfill promises to “mend ties” with Iran and called upon Obama to release nearly $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets. Rouhani and Ahmadinejad have previously blamed one another for contributing to America’s seizure of Iranian assets. Ahmadinejad’s increasingly public political activity has prompted media outlets to speculate that he is considering running for a third presidential term in the upcoming 2017 presidential elections. (Shargh)
Independent faction grows to nearly 100 parliamentarians. Independent Faction Spokesperson Mehrdad Bauj Lahouti stated that Parliament’s Independent faction currently holds around 100 of the 290 seats in Parliament. He also noted that he had proposed creating a "supreme council of factions” to reformist Hope faction head Mohammad Reza Aref and conservative Velayat faction head Ali Larijani. His proposed council would have representatives from the Independent, Hope, and Velayat factions, and would assist in developing a common understanding between the factions in advancing legislation. (Tasnim News Agency)
Rafsanjani criticizes Saudi embassy attackers. Expediency Discernment Council Chairman Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani criticized the “so-called revolutionaries” who set fire to the Saudi embassy in January 2016. Rafsanjani decried the attack as being provocative, illogical, and inconsistent with revolutionary ideals. He also warned that such actions could introduce “Daesh-like” thoughts. Rafsanjani also claimed that the attack gave an excuse for the Saudi government to intervene in Iranian affairs and prohibit Iranians from participating in the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. An Iranian court completed a controversial trial for 19 suspects accused of being involved in the attack on June 19. (ILNA)
Tehran Friday Prayer Leader implicitly criticizes Rafsanjani. Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Kazem Sedighi stressed the importance of developing Iran’s military capabilities during a speech in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province. He criticized “allowing the inspection of all state secrets,” presumably in a reference to the nuclear deal. He also criticized individuals who “have said that they do not want missiles,” likely in a reference to acontroversial tweet from an account bearing Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s name in March that read, “The world of tomorrow is a world of negotiations, not missiles.” (Rasa News)
- Velayati urges unity among political groups. Ali Akbar Velayati stressed the importance of harmony between political factions in the lead up to the presidential elections next spring. The Supreme Leader’s senior foreign policy advisor added that political unity would be the biggest guarantor of progress in Iran. Velayati’s comments come as hardliners have sharpened their rhetoric against President Rouhani, with one Friday Prayer Leader calling Rouhani “Mr. Gullible” for expecting that Iran would find “honor” through the nuclear deal. (IRNA)
Military & Security
- Three Iranian police officers injured in attack. The deputy police commander of Kurdistan province announced that three police officers were injured during an attack on a patrol vehicle in Marivan, Kurdistan province on August 9. The attacker reportedly threw an explosive device at the patrol vehicle while driving by on a motorcycle. One of the injured police officers later died in the hospital. The commander added that police forces have dispatched two teams to investigate. (Fars News Agency)
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Zarif to meet with Erdo?an. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an in Ankara on August 12 to discuss bilateral relations and regional and international issues, according to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Zarif will also meet with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu during his visit. This is reportedly the first visit of a major Iranian official to Turkey since last month’s attempted coup. (Mehr News Agency)
- Foreign Ministry to “confront” European embassies in Tehran. An anonymous “informed official” at the Foreign Ministry claimed that ministry will investigate the “bad behavior” of some European countries’ consuls in Tehran. The official noted the “serious” nature of the Foreign Ministry’s conversations with those European countries on issues such as “the elongation of the visa issuance process” and “high costs.” The official warned Iranians to stay away from embassies that “treat clients derogatorily.” (ISNA)
- Afghanistan and Iran Economic Commission conference ends. Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Ahmad Hakimi and Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli discussed export policies, the development of the Chabahar port, and the completion of the Khaf-Herat railway during the two-day conference in Tehran. The Khaf-Herat railway would link western Afghanistan with Iran’s Razavi Khorasan province. (IRNA)
- Larijani: Parliament does not need to review the IPC. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani responded to requests from hardliner parliamentarians for a parliamentary review of Iran’snewly revised oil and gas contract, the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC). Larijani stated, “According to the Guardian Council’s interpretation, oil contracts with foreign companies do not need to be reviewed by Parliament.” Hardliners have continued to criticize the IPC despite its recent revisions and have sought to delay its implementation. (Aftab News)