Iran News Round Up
The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.
Key takeaway: Reformist Mohammad Ali Najafi’s election as Tehran Mayor advances the reformist-moderate bloc’s substantial political gains achieved over the last year.
The reformist-moderate bloc won every Tehran parliamentary seat in the 2016 elections. Reformists now hold the most sway in Parliament since 2004, although neither they nor the hardliners hold a majority in the body overall. Reformists also won a heavy majority in the Tehran City Council elections in May 2017. The Tehran City Council elects the city’s mayor, so it is not a surprise that a reformist was selected.
Najafi’s political stance departs significantly from that of previous mayors. Najafi is a reformist politician who has previously served under Mir Hossein Mousavi and former Presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami. Hardliners have served as mayor since the election of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2003. Former conservative presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf has held the position for twelve years. Najafi’s appointment may strengthen reformists’ hand ahead of the Parliament’s cabinet confirmations next week.
This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from August 9-10.
Reformist candidate Mohammad Ali Najafi elected Tehran Mayor.
Reformist-backed candidate Mohammad Ali Najafi was elected mayor of Tehran on August 10. Najafi studied at MIT and has previously served as Education Minister under former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and as an advisor to former reformist President Mohammad Khatami. President Hassan Rouhani appointed Najafi as Education Minister in his proposed first term cabinet but Parliament rejected Najafi’s appointment. Najafi replaces former presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. (Fars News Agency)
MPs petition for presence of Ansari, Salehi Amiri in government.
Parliamentarians have begun gathering signatures for a petition supporting the inclusion of former Vice President for Legal Affairs Majid Ansari and former Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Reza Salehi Amiri in Rouhani’s second-term cabinet. A separate petition has reportedly also been started for the inclusion of former Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia. (ISNA)
- Omid denies attempts to influence cabinet ministers. The Reformist-backed Omid parliamentary faction denied rumors of its interference in the selection of Rouhani’s second-term cabinet on August 10. Omid released a statement referring to accusations of “requests [for nominees] to turn down” positions in the cabinet as “unfortunate.” Ali Khaki Sadigh turned down Rouhani’s offer of the position of Science Minister. (ISNA)
- Omid member Hojjat ol Eslam Ahmad Mazani stated that the faction supports “the proposed cabinet in general terms” but added that a salient issue was the presence of those “who worked hard in every sense for the success of the President and the government,” including women and clerics. (ILNA)
Karroubi returned to house arrest after hospital release.
Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi was released from the hospital and returned to house arrest after suffering a heart attack on July 24. Karroubi, along with 2009 Green Movement Leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, has been under house arrest since 2011. (Radio Farda)
Citations & Links
Citations & Links
Citations & Links
AEOI chief: If U.S. leaves nuclear deal, EU won’t follow.
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi highlighted the differences between U.S. and EU policy on the nuclear deal with Iran during an interview with Tasnim News Agency on August 10. Salehi stressed that “it doesn’t seem as though European countries wish to destroy the nuclear deal” and added that “if the Americans… cast the deal aside, it is highly likely Europe won’t follow suit.” He commented that if the nuclear deal’s European signatories do not join the U.S. in withdrawing from the deal “we will reach the seven minus one model… and America will remain alone” as opposed to the P5+1 who negotiated the nuclear deal. Salehi also addressed Iran’s uranium enrichment capabilities and stated, “Whenever we want we can start enrichment to 20%.” President Hassan Rouhani reconfirmed Salehi’s position as AEIO chief for a second term on August 10. (Tasnim News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency) (Twitter)
Khamenei: Fall of Aleppo scuppered U.S., Saudi calculations.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remarked on U.S. foreign policy during a visit with families of Iranian soldiers killed in action in Mashhad. Khamenei stated that “the fall of Aleppo was so important that it turned U.S. and Saudi Arabia’s calculations… in Syria and the region by 180 degrees.” (Mashregh News Agency)
Iran’s ambassador to Iraq: We should take economic relations with Iraq seriously.
Iranian ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi stressed the importance of economic relations with Iraq at the monthly meeting of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce. He stated that “mutual connections on the political, security, and strategic levels, and economic matters can be a big help to both countries.” Masjedi stated that he hoped for cooperation in “trade, commerce, technical services, engineering, power stations, refineries [and] hotel construction.” (Farda News)