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: Parliamentarians pushed for more change to the Rouhani administration as widespread economic-focused protests erupt throughout Iran.

Parliament acquired the necessary number of votes to initiate the questioning of President Hassan Rouhani over economic issues following a record-low devaluation of the Iranian rial on July 29 and widespread protests throughout several major Iranian cities since July 31. The rial may experience another significant drop in value in coming days as the U.S. reimposes its first-round of sanctions lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on August 7. The further devaluation of the Iranian rial and regime officials’ inability to institute long-lasting economic reforms may spark the emergence of widespread anti-regime protests and calls for regime change rather than changes to the existing political and economic leadership.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from July 27 - August 5.

Domestic Politics
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August 06, 2018

Economic pressures prompt protests in several cities

Thousands of individuals have taken to the streets in several cities throughout Iran including Tehran (Tehran Province), Esfahan (Esfahan Province), Qom (Qom Province), Shahin Shahr (Esfahan Province), Shiraz (Fars Province), Mashhad (Khorasan Razavi Province), Ahvaz (Khuzestan Province), Kazeroun (Fars Province), and Karaj (Alborz Province) since July 31 to protest economic issues such as the rapid devaluation of the Iranian rial, unemployment, and expensive goods. The protests follow the Iranian rial’s record-devaluation of 111,500 rials to 1 U.S. dollar on July 29. Social media reports claim that the internet has been slowed down in Qom, Shiraz, Karaj, and Kazeroun. Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) dispersed protesters with tear gas and water cannons, and in at least one instance used live fire against protesters. Iranian media reported that a gun fired from within a group of protesters in Karaj killed one individual. Tasnim News Agency reported that IRGC Imam Reza (Khorasan Razavi Province) Unit Commander Brig. Gen. 2C Yaghoubi Ali Nazari met with protesters in Mashhad to discuss their economic grievances in an attempt to show empathy with protesters. (Radio Farda) (BBC Persian) (BBC Persian) (BBC Persian) (BBC Persian) (Instagram)(Instagram) (Instagram) (Instagram) (Instagram) (Instagram) (Instagram) (Instagram) (Tasnim News Agency) (Radio Farda) (E) (VoA Farsi) (Tasnim News Agency)

August 06, 2018

Parliament pushes to question Rouhani during plenary session

Eighty parliamentarians signed a plan on August 2 to summon President Hassan Rouhani for questioning during plenary session. The parliamentarians seek to question Rouhani on five issues related to Iran’s economy including the government’s failure to control Iran’s currency exchange market and ongoing banking sanctions. Rouhani confirmed that he will attend the questioning in a letter to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. Rouhani stated that Parliament’s summons was not executed within the framework of the Constitution and did not come at the right time. Rouhani added that he will attend the questioning despite this in order to “prevent any kind of dispute between the executive branch and Parliament.” Rouhani will have one month to appear before Parliament to offer responses to Parliament’s questions. (Donya-e Eqtesad) (President.ir)

August 06, 2018

Rouhani accepts Nobakht’s resignation as government spokesperson

Planning and Budget Organization head Mohammad Bagher Nobakht announced that President Hassan Rouhani accepted his resignation as government spokesperson on July 31. Nobakht will continue to serve as Planning and Budget Organization head. Nobakht stated that he cannot concurrently occupy both the position of Planning and Budget Organization head and government spokesperson because of “enemy pressures” and because “new conditions for [Iran’s] management requires double work from all managers.” Rouhani previously rejected Nobakht’s resignation on July 25. Nobakht’s resignation as government spokesperson follows former-Central Bank of Iran (CBI) head Valiollah Seif’s resignation on July 25. (Twitter) (Twitter)

August 06, 2018

SNSC reportedly lifts house arrest on Green Movement leaders

Hossein Karroubi claimed that the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) approved a resolution to lift the house arrest sentences for 2009 Green Movement leaders Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Zahra Rahnavard on July 28. Karroubi also stated that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will review the resolution within the next ten days for final approval. Tehran Parliamentarian Gholam Reza Heydari noted on July 29 that Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani had not confirmed the alleged SNSC decision. Hossein Karroubi is Mehdi Karroubi’s son and has previously made public announcements regarding his father’s legal and health status. (Ensaf News) (ILNA) (Radio Farda)

Citations & Links

1. Radio Farda
https://www.radiofarda.com/a/f4_karaj_protest_slogan_khamenei_currency_gold/29405594.html

2. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-45033552

3. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-45026078

4. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-45024301

5. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-45018209

6. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl8iVNvAtdz/?taken-by=amadnews.official

7. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl5GRqcl46P/?taken-by=amadnews.official

8. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl5cZXllA3r/?hl=en&taken-by=voafarsi

9. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl8AZz_nZSI/?hl=en&taken-by=voafarsi

10. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl8YxhbAUP3/?taken-by=amadnews.official

11. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl8LvHdh56x/?hl=en&taken-by=voafarsi

12. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/BmIbahxj83b/?hl=en&taken-by=radiofarda

13. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/BmIY0tagM8g/?hl=en&taken-by=radiofarda

14. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1397/05/11/1792507/%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8-%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%DA%A9%D9%87-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%B6%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%DA%AF%D9%88%D8%B4-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D9%81%DB%8C%D9%84%D9%85

15. Radio Farda
https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-protests-shahinshahr-isfahan/29413787.html

16. VoA Farsi
https://ir.voanews.com/a/iran-protest/4513905.html

17. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1397/05/14/1794672/%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AC-%D8%AC%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-26-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%BA%D8%AA%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%AE%DB%8C%D8%B1-%DA%AF%D9%88%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%B4%D8%AA-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D8%AA%D9%87-%D8%B4%D8%AF

Citations & Links

1. Donya-e Eqtesad
https://donya-e-eqtesad.com/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%B1-64/3421729-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%B1%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%B3-%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1

2. President.ir
http://president.ir/fa/105524

Citations & Links

1. Twitter
https://twitter.com/MB_Nobakht/status/1024343542649434112

2. Twitter
https://twitter.com/MB_Nobakht/status/1024343553915346944

Citations & Links

1. Ensaf News
http://www.ensafnews.com/125811/%d8%ae%d8%a8%d8%b1-%d8%ad%d8%b3%db%8c%d9%86-%da%a9%d8%b1%d9%88%d8%a8%db%8c-%d8%b1%d9%81%d8%b9-%d8%ad%d8%b5%d8%b1-%d8%af%d8%b1-%d8%b4%d9%88%d8%b1%d8%a7%db%8c%d8%b9%d8%a7%d9%84%db%8c-%d8%a7%d9%85%d9%86/

2. ILNA
https://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/649685-%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%85%D9%84%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%B9-%D8%AD%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%86%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D9%82%D8%AD%D8%B7-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA-%DA%A9%D9%87-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%A8%DB%8C%D9%86%D9%87-%D8%B4%D9%88%D9%86%D8%AF

3. Radio Farda
https://www.radiofarda.com/a/Majlis-speaker-denies-the-news-of-lifting-house-arrest-for-Karroubi-Mousavi/29396660.html

Military and Security
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August 06, 2018

IRGC conducts military naval exercise near Strait of Hormuz

IRGC spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ramazan Sharif confirmed on August 5 that the IRGC Navy and the IRGC Aerospace Force conducted a military naval exercise in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz. Sharif stated that the purpose of the exercise was to enhance defensive preparedness and counter “enemy threats.” Shari added that the IRGC conducted the exercise “within the framework of the IRGC’s annual [military] exercises calendar program.” Unidentified U.S. officials stated that the exercise began on August 2 and included over 100 boats and ships, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The U.S. officials assessed that the IRGC intended to demonstrate its ability to close the Strait of Hormuz through the exercise. (Tasnim News Agency) (Wall Street Journal) (E)

August 06, 2018

Jafari calls on Rouhani to address economic issues and currency exchange rates

IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari wrote an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani on July 31 wherein Jafari called on Rouhani to address economic issues and currency exchange rates. Jafari questioned why Rouhani does not combat economic inadequacies with the same “wrath and anger” that Rouhani used during the 2017 presidential elections. (Tasnim News Agency)

August 06, 2018

Artesh plans to establish division-level command near Afghanistan border

Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Kiomars Heydari announced that the Artesh Ground Forces will “soon” establish a division-level command headquarters in Birjand, South Khorasan Province as part of the Artesh Ground Forces’ new logistics plan. Heydari also announced that the Artesh Ground Forces will deploy a new brigade to Nehbandan County, South Khorasan Province in order to support the “mechanization” of border security efforts near the Iran-Afghanistan border. Heydari’s announcement follows an increase in border clashes in southeastern Iran near the Iranian border with Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent months. (IRNA) (Fars News Agency)

 

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1397/05/14/1794458/%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B1%DA%AF%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D8%B2%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B4-%D8%AF%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AE%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AC-%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B3-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%A3%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%AF-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF

2. Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-starts-naval-exercise-near-vital-strait-u-s-says-1533251063

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1397/05/09/1790140/%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%DA%A9%D9%84-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A2%D9%82%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%82%D9%87%D8%B1-%D9%88-%D8%BA%D8%B6%D8%A8-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%B9%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%87-%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B3%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%87-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1-%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AF

Citations & Links

1. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82986987/

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/13970509000511

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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August 06, 2018

Jafari rejects possibility of meeting between Rouhani and Trump

IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari rejected the possibility of President Hassan Rouhani meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on July 31. Jafari argued that “Iran is not North Korea,” a reference to Trump’s June 12 summit with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Jafari added that Iran will not hold talks with “even the next U.S. leaders.” Jafari’s statement was in response to Trump expressing his willingness to meet with Rouhani on July 30. First Parliamentary Deputy Speaker Ali Motahhari also rejected the possibility of holding talks with the U.S. but criticized Jafari’s comments. Motahhari noted that “decision-making regarding negotiations . . . with the U.S. is [not the responsibility] of military institutions.” (Defa Press) (ISNA)

August 06, 2018

Ansari participates in tenth round of Astana talks in Sochi

Foreign Ministry Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari traveled to Sochi, Russia for the tenth round of Astana peace talks from July 30 - 31. The talks addressed the formation of a Syrian constitutional committee, de-escalation zones, and humanitarian issues. Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Sedat Onal, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jafari, and UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura participated in the talks. De Mistura announced that he will hold formal consultations with Iran, Russia, and Turkey in early September 2018 in order to finalize the constitutional committee. (IRNA) (IRNA) (IRNA) (IRNA) (UN.org) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Defa Press
http://defapress.ir/fa/news/302194/%D8%A2%D9%82%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%BE-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%B4%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D9%85%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A6%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%87-%D9%85%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B4%DB%8C%D8%B7%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B2%D8%B1%DA%AF-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D9%86%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D8%AF%D9%87%D9%86%D8%AF

2. ISNA
https://www.isna.ir/news/97051206253/%D9%85%D8%B7%D9%87%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B6%D9%88%D8%B9-%D9%85%D8%B0%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%B9-%D8%AA%D8%B5%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%85-%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AA

Citations & Links

1. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82985935

2. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82986401

3. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82986413

4. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82986434

5. UN.org
https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/note-correspondents/2018-07-31/note-correspondents-statement-behalf-united-nations

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