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: Iran and Russia reportedly signed an agreement allowing Russia to use an Iranian air base to conduct airstrikes in Syria.

Iranian news agencies circulated statements from the Russian Defense Ministry that Iran and Russia signed an agreement permitting Russia to use Shahid Nojeh Air Base in the northwestern province of Hamedan. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that its long-range bombers deployed from Hamedan and struck facilities belonging to “the Islamic State and Jabhat al Nusra,” the latter now known as Jabhat Fatah al Sham, in Syria on August 16. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani “indirectly confirmed” Russia’s use of the Hamedan air base in a statement on August 16, according to Fars News Agency. Shamkhani called Tehran-Moscow cooperation “strategic” and added that the two countries “have an exchange of capacities and facilities.” The agreement to use Shahid Nojeh Air Base underscores Iran’s commitment to keep Syrian President Bashar al Assad in power. The Critical Threats Project previously reported on Russia’s apparent use of the base to station its aircraft in late November and potentially early December of 2015.

Tehran’s prosecutor general announced the arrest of an Iranian dual national “last week” but did not provide the individual’s name or second nationality. Iran has detained several dual nationals, usually on security-related charges, since the nuclear agreement last year. Most recently the IRGC detained British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as she attempted to leave Iran with her infant daughter in April 2016. The IRGC later accused her of “plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic.” Iran is reportedly detaining three Iranian-Americans, Robin Shahini and Siamak and Baquer Namazi, as well.

AEI Must-Reads


Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Russia launches Syria airstrikes from Iranian base. Iranian news outlets circulated statements from the Russian Defense Ministry “confirming” that the two countries signed an agreement permitting Russia to use Shahid Nojeh Air Base in the northwestern province of Hamedan. Russia claimed that it stationed Tu-22M3 “Backfire” bombers and Su-34 “Fullback” strike fighters at the air base before targeting “ISIL and Jabhat al Nusra” facilities in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Deir ez Zour, and Idlib on August 16. The use of the Hamedan air base reportedly reduces Russian aircrafts’ flight time to their targets in Syria “by 60 percent.” Russia appeared to briefly station an Su-34 and an ll-76 “Candid” transport aircraft at Shahid Nojeh Air Base in November 2015. (Mehr News Agency) (E) (Fars News Agency)
    • Fars News Agency reported that Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani “indirectly confirmed” Russia’s use of the Hamedan air base after a journalist asked him about the Russian media reports. Shamkhani stated, “Cooperation between Tehran and Moscow to fight terrorism in Syria is strategic, and we have an exchange of capacities and facilities in this regard… Conditions have grown difficult for the terrorists due to the constructive and extensive cooperation among Iran, Russia, Syria, and the Resistance Front. This trend will continue with new and massive operations until their full annihilation.” Iran refers to its network of allies and proxies in the region who “resist” the U.S. and its partners as the “Resistance Front.” (Fars News Agency) (E) (Mehr News Agency)
  • Dual national arrested for ties to “British intelligence services.” Tehran Prosecutor-General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announced the arrest of a dual citizen sometime “last week” for his or her connections to British intelligence services. Dolatabadi did not specify the dual national’s name or second citizenship. (Fars News Agency)

Military & Security

  • Four ISIS-linked militants killed, six arrested in separate clashes in Kermanshah province. Kermanshah Province Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Manouchehr Amanollahi stated that Kermanshah province’s LEF Special Operations Forces and LEF Counter-Terror Special Forces, in cooperation with Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) forces, killed three members of an ISIS-linked “terrorist cell” during clashes on August 16 in the city of Kermanshah, which is the capital of Kermanshah province. Amanollahi stated that security forces seized an explosive vest and other materials. He noted that “terrorist elements had crossed into Iran” to carry out terrorist activity. Kermanshah Governor Asadollah Razani stated that the terrorist organization “had been tasked with staging suicide strikes” across Iran, “including its central cities.”
    • Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Hossein Zolfaghari stated that MOIS, LEF, and military forces killed a senior member of a terrorist organization in Iraq and arrested several others during clashes that began in the evening of August 15 in another part of Kermanshah province. MOIS Head Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi stated that the group was “one of the imported cores of the terrorist group ISIS.” He identified the senior member killed as “one of the regional commanders” of the “imported core” group. Razani stated that the militant killed was “an effective ISIS member” and that his group was “the second part of the same team” that clashed with security forces in the city of Kermanshah on August 16. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Press TV) (E) (Mehr News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency) (IRNA)
  • Shamkhani urges quick implementation of border security deal with Iraq. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, praised Iranian and Iraqi cooperation in “confronting takfiri terrorism.” Iran has seen in an uptick in clashes between Kurds and Iranian military forces in the western part of the country this summer. Shamkhani stressed the need to expedite the execution of a border security deal between the two nations, arguing that it would allow for economic prosperity as a result of more secure cross-border trade. He also claimed that the “ceasefire” in Syria only benefitted “terrorist groups” and that “sworn enemies of Islamic countries” had inflamed sectarian differences as part of a “global movement against the Islamic Republic.” (Tasnim News Agency)


  • IPC to undergo additional revisions. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced on August 16 that the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) requires more revisions, several weeks after President Hassan Rouhani’s Cabinet approved other revisions. Conservatives have criticized the revised IPC, which will determine how international firms invest in Iran’s energy sector, for being too favorable to foreigners. Zanganeh made the announcement after a meeting with Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani but added that Parliament will not need to approve the IPC. (Tasnim News Agency)
Arrow down red
Sep '16
Aug '16
Jul '16