Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

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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August 17, 2017

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)
August 17, 2017

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)
August 17, 2017

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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August 17, 2017

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)
August 17, 2017

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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August 17, 2017

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)

August 17, 2017

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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August 17, 2017

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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August 17, 2017

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

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