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: Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan apologized for criticizing some parliamentarians’ request to review Russia’s use of an Iranian base to launch airstrikes in Syria. 

IRGC Brigadier General Dehghan stated over the weekend that Parliament has “nothing to do” with Russia’s use of Shahid Nojeh Air Base. Twenty parliamentarians had called for a closed session of Parliament to review the issue on August 17. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani criticized Dehghan’s remarks and said he should “speak appropriately to Parliament” and “observe the ethics of governance.” Dehghan apologized to Larijani in an open letter on August 23. He wrote that he regretted the “misunderstanding” of his earlier remarks and stated, “Nothing I said in any way weakens the honor or position of Parliament or representatives.” Dehghan has also made controversial remarks regarding the base before. He recently accused Russia of “grandstanding and incivility” by rushing the announcement that it had begun airstrikes from the base.

Intelligence and security forces arrested a member of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team on charges of selling Iran’s “economic information” to a foreign country, according to Iranian website Nasim Online. Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, a banking expert, reportedly has dual citizenship with Iran and Britain. Tehran’s prosecutor general had announced the arrest of an unnamed Iranian dual national for ties to “British intelligence services” on August 16. Nasim Online based its report on information retrieved from a Telegram channel, and no Iranian official has confirmed Esfahani’s arrest, however.

AEI Must-Reads

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Defense minister apologizes for parliament criticism. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani criticized Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan for stating that Parliament has “nothing to do” with Russia’s use of Shahid Nojeh Air Base after 20 parliamentarians called for a closed session of Parliament to review the issue. Larijani stated, “The defense minister must be reminded to speak appropriately to Parliament and should have observed the ethics of governance on this issue.” Dehghan released an open letter to Larijani on August 23 apologizing for the “misunderstanding” of his earlier remarks. Dehghan wrote, “Nothing I said in any way weakens the honor or position of Parliament or representatives.” (ICANA) (Mehr News Agency)
    • Larijani also responded to criticism from Mahmoud Sadeghi, a reformist politician who was among the 20 parliamentarians who called for the closed session to review Russia’s military presence in Iran. Sadeghi stated in Parliament on August 23 that Iranians “must not give our military bases to world powers” and added, “Although the flights from this world power have stopped from our base, we still request a closed session.” Larijani responded that Iran “has not stopped allowing Russian warplanes to fly into Syria” from the base, according to Tasnim News Agency. Larijani also added, “Iran and Russia are unified in the fight against terrorism, and this unity benefits Muslims in the region… At the same time, I emphasize that no base has been given to anyone.” Larijani noted that Russia’s use of the base would not have required parliamentary approval because it “was temporary and only for refuelling.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Mehr News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Shamkhani: Russia left Shahid Nojeh Air Base after completing “first phase of their mission.” Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani announced that Russian aircraft left Shahid Nojeh Air Base “after ending the first phase of their mission successfully.” He also specified that Russia left the base on Thursday, August 18, not Monday, August 22. The Russian Defense Ministry stated on August 22 that their aircraft left the base, the same day that the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced the end of Russian airstrikes from the base “for now.” Russian air strikes from the base reportedly ended on August 18. Shamkhani also defended Russia’s use of the base. He stated that Iran “is using Russia's capabilities in air operations alongside ground operations with planners and military advisors from Iran. It is a sign of might and not dependence.” According to Fars News Agency, Shamkhani claimed that Iranian military advisors had “demanded Russian air force backup to render logistical support for ground operations in Aleppo.” The SNSC reportedly authorizedRussia’s use of Shahid Nojeh Air Base. (Fars News Agency(E) (Fars News Agency)
  • Dual national member of Iranian negotiating team reportedly arrested. Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, a banking expert on the Iranian nuclear negotiating team, was arrested for selling Iran’s “economic information” to a foreign country, according to Nasim Online. He is reportedly a British-Iranian citizen. Nasim Online based its report on information from a channel on the popular messaging application Telegram. No Iranian official has confirmed Esfahani’s arrest. (Nasim Online)
  • Zarif visits Cuba, signs cooperation agreement. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Cuban Foreign Minister Rodrigo Parilla and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz in Havana on August 22 to discuss the broadening of bilateral economic relations. Iran and Cuba signed a memorandum of understanding to increase economic and trade cooperation during the meeting. Zarif is leading a 120-member delegation on a week-long tour to promote political and economic relations with Latin American countries. (Fars News Agency(E) (Mehr News Agency)
  • Deputy foreign minister visits Turkey. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari arrived in Ankara on August 23 to discuss developments in Syria with Turkish officials. Ansari’s visit follows recent visits by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu at the two countries’ capitals to discuss bilateral cooperation in Syria. (IRNA)

Domestic Politics

  • Education minister’s impeachment hearings begin. Education Minister Ali Asghar Fani defended his tenure in the first round of impeachment hearings organized by the Education Commission and other parliamentarians. This is the second time Fani has been impeached for “failing to attract the administration’s attention to the importance of education and training.” Impeachments proceedings will resume following the summer recess. If Fani is removed from office, the president is obliged to submit a replacement, subject to parliamentary approval, within three months. (Tasnim News Agency
Arrow down red
Sep '16
Aug '16
Jul '16