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: The Iranian regime likely intended the sentencing of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-era Vice President Hamid Baghaei as a warning to Ahmadinejad amidst increased tensions between him and Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani.

The long-standing Ahmadinejad protégé, who registered for and was rejected from running in the May 2017 presidential elections, was previously arrested in 2015 and imprisoned for over six months, possibly on corruption charges. Baghaei was arrested again in July 2017 and later released.

The regime likely intended Baghaei’s sentencing as a warning to Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad has challenged Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s authority repeatedly since his fall-out with the Supreme Leader at the end of his presidency, including disobeying Khamenei’s direct order not to run in the May presidential elections. Tensions between Ahmadinejad and Judiciary Head Sadegh Amoli Larijani have sharpened in recent weeks. Ahmadinejad called for his resignation following Larijani’s accusations that the former president has been “fomenting [unrest].” Analysts have suggested that Ahmadinejad may be attempting to damage Larijani’s chances at being considered a serious successor to Supreme Leader Khamenei.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from December 18-19.

AEI Must Reads
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December 20, 2017

Trump shouldn’t trust Putin on Syria - or anything else.

Fred Kagan pushes back on the argument that Russia could assist the U.S. and its allies in containing Iranian involvement in Syria in “Trump shouldn’t trust Putin on Syria - or anything else.”

Citations & Links

Domestic Politics
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December 20, 2017

Tehran court issues ruling on Ahmadinejad-era VP case.

Tehran Provincial Attorney General Gholam Hossein Esmaeili issued a ruling regarding the case of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-era Vice President for Executive Affairs Hamid Baghaei. The judgement is not final; Baghaei will have 20 days to appeal the ruling. Esmaili has stated that Baghaei was facing assorted sentences on separate charges. Baghaei claimed he has been sentenced to 63 years in prison. (BBC Persian) (Alef)

  • Ahmadinejad calls for Sadegh Larijani’s resignation. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Judiciary head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani called “oppressive and illegitimate” and demanded his resignation. Larijani has accused Ahmadinejad of “fomenting [unrest] and deviance.” Ahmadinejad responded to Larijani’s accusation on December 17 and challenged Larijani to furnish proof of the “allegations” within 48 hours. (BBC Persian)

 

December 20, 2017

Shamkhani suggests improvement in conditions for imprisoned Green Movement leaders.

Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani said that Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Zahra Rahnavard’s house arrest situation will “gradually [improve].” Shamkhani did not specify when or what will be done to in order to improve their situations. Regime officials arrested Karroubi, Mousavi, and Rahnavard following mass protests in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential elections. (Hamshahri)

Citations & Links

1. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/live/42409754?ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=twitter&ns_campaign=bbc_live&ns_linkname=5a3927d5e4b0e9a433c1ea13%26%D8%B1%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%B3%20%DA%A9%D9%84%20%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF%DA%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B1%DB%8C%20%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%3A%20%D8%AD%DA%A9%D9%85%20%D8%AD%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF%20%D8%A8%D9%82%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C%20%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%B1%20%D8%B4%D8%AF%26&ns_fee=0#post_5a3927d5e4b0e9a433c1ea13

2. Alef
http://www.alef.ir/news/3960928333.html

3. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-42414441

Citations & Links

1. Hamshahri
http://www.hamshahrionline.ir/details/393082/Iran/politics

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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December 20, 2017

Safavi: We should be worried about 2018 Iraqi parliamentary elections.

Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi expressed concern about the upcoming 2018 Iraqi parliamentary elections in Iraq during a Narrators of the Sacred Defense conference. Safavi indicated that “problems will arise for Iran if changes occur to the composition of [Iraq’s] Parliament and Shia government.” (ISNA)

Citations & Links

1. ISNA
https://www.isna.ir/news/96092815626/%D8%AF%DB%8C%D9%BE%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%87%D9%85%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%82%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%AA-%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA-%DB%B2%DB%B0%DB%B1%DB%B8-%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82

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