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: Parliament will review Iran’s oil and gas contract model following a wave of domestic criticism of the proposed contract’s terms.
Principlist parliamentarian Behrouz Nemati announced that Parliament will review the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) in order to “remove” the contract’s “existing gaps.” Hardliners have criticized the IPC for granting foreign companies too much control over Iran’s oil reserves and failing to sufficiently guarantee the transfer of technology to Iranian companies. Despite such criticism, officials in the Rouhani administration have insisted that the IPC does not require parliamentary review, which would threaten to delay its implementation further. The IPC is designed to provide more incentives for international firms to invest in Iran’s energy sector compared to the terms of the previous “buyback” model. The IPC allows contracts to last up to 25 years, for example, and gives foreign partner companies more control over the development of oil fields. The Iranian government hopes that the sweetened terms of the IPC will attract nearly $50 billion of annual investment into Iran’s energy sector. Nemati specified that Parliament will review the IPC in a closed session on August 21, the same day a group of parliamentarians have called for a closed session to review Russia’s use of an Iranian air base for its airstrikes in Syria.
- Christopher Harmer explains why international attention must turn to Moscow’s delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran in “The Strategic Impact of the S-300 in Iran.”
Parliament to review IPC. Principlist parliamentarian Behrouz Nemati told reporters that Parliament is scheduled to review the revised Iranian Petroleum Contract (IPC) in a closed session on August 21. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh and other top oil officials are scheduled to attend the session. Nemati claimed that the session is intended to provide “expert review” in order to “remove” the contract’s “existing gaps.” (Mehr News Agency)
- IRGC establishes financial cooperatives in border provinces. The IRGC has reportedly signed an agreement with the government to establish “financial cooperatives” in seven border provinces that will offer low-interest loans for rural residents. During a recent visit to the Iran-Iraq border, IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari praised the IRGC’s economic development programs in Iran’s border provinces, which he claimed had “good results” in ensuring border stability. (Mehr News Agency)
Deputy parliament speaker: Iran can have relations with America without abandoning the Revolution. Ali Motahari, a moderate-conservative deputy parliament speaker, discussed President Barack Obama and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in remarks on August 19. Motahari stated that Iran “must take advantage of the JCPOA and Obama as president. It is not clear when this opportunity will present itself again.” Motahari dismissed both the “taboo” of discussing improved U.S.-Iran relations and the notion that resumed diplomatic relations would prompt the “destruction of the Revolution.” He stated, “One can have relations with America and still adhere to the values and principles of the Islamic Revolution. If we had relations with America, many of our banking problems would have been solved.” Motahari has a reputation for making controversial comments. (Fars News Agency)
- Tehran Friday Prayer Leader: Politicians must focus on improving the livelihood of the people. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned politicians not to allow the upcoming presidential elections to “politicize everything” during his sermon. Khatami also defended the 1988 execution of around 5,000 political prisoners, more than a week after the office of the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri released an audio recording of Montazeri condemning the execution. (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Turkish foreign minister makes unannounced visit to Iran to discuss Syrian conflict. Both Turkish and Iranian media reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu visited Tehran on an unannounced, single-day trip on August 18 to discuss “various issues,” particularly the Syrian Civil War, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Çavu?o?lu and Zarif agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation during a joint press conference in Ankara on August 12. (Fars News Agency) (ILNA)
- Iran to raise issue of U.S. “disloyalty” to nuclear deal in joint commission. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that Iran will discuss “Washington’s lack of commitment to a lasting deal” during an upcoming meeting of the joint commission in Vienna. The commission was formed after the nuclear deal to monitor its implementation and consists of the P5+1 and Iran. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
Military & Security
- New deputy coordinator of Khatam ol Anbiya Central Headquarters appointed. IRGC Brig. Gen. First Class Ali Shadmani was appointed as the new deputy coordinator of Khatam ol Anbiya Central Headquarters. Khatam ol Anbiya is the military headquarters reportedly tasked with coordinating operations between the IRGC and Artesh. It was recently resurrectedfollowing a shake-up in Iran’s military leadership. (Fars News Agency)