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 Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributors John Lesnewich and Mehrdad Moarefian. 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.
- After the publication of President Rouhani’s 100 day report, in which he blamed most of the nation's current problems on the Ahmadinejad administration, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited President Rouhani to a televised debate. Senior Advisor to the President Akbar Torkan responded, “Hassan Rouhani and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are not at a level to want to debate with each other, but in any case, we welcome answers by the Head of the Tenth Administration…. But the condition of the debate is for the Head of the Tenth Administration to be honest.”
- Senior Advisor to the President Mohammad Reza Sadegh also responded:
- “Unfortunately, the people faced the truth of the difficulties and conditions which were waiting for the government of prudence and hope [Rouhani administration], and the executive management of the previous eight years must answer to them either in court or in public opinion.”
- Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi denied the announcement by his deputy yesterday that the IRGC has stepped aside from the Tehran-North highway construction and stated that no decision has yet been made.
- Secretary General of the hardline conservative Steadfastness Front MP Hojjat al-Eslam Morteza Agha Tehrani stated, “I very much oppose seditionists [2009 post-election protestors] because they undermined the system’s principles… As a citizen, I request the Judiciary Branch to not permit such measures to any individual.”
- Allegations of fraud and corruption in the Social Security Organization (SSO) continue to surface from the Investigation and Probing Panel. Panel member Ali Reza Mahjoub published an agreement between then-Managing Director of the SSO Said Mortazavi with Gheshm Sorinet Expansion Holding Company Managing Director Babak Zanjani, in which the two organizations agreed upon a €4 billion auctioning of companies belonging to the SSO to Geshm Sorinet. Details of additional corrupt deals are expected to follow, as Mahjoub stated that the SSO file contains 80 thousand pages.
- Mohammad Hassan Entezari was appointed Secretary of the Supreme National Cyberspace Council (SNCC) and head of the Iranian National Cyberspace Center by President and SNCC Chairman Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani’s letter called on Entezari to “use the capabilities of research centers and universities of the country to achieve the intents of the Supreme Leader in this important [issue].”
- A recent poll asking about President Rouhani’s performance over his first 100 days in office indicated that over 85% of respondents across Iran believed that Rouhani will have a positive effect on the country and that they have hope he will solve its problems.
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
International Affairs Advisor to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani Hossein Sheikh al-Eslam claimed in an interview that the Syrian issue played a role in the Geneva negotiations:
- “Another factor was the case of Syria. It was a need for the Americans, and we used that need. They have been in Syria illegally for two years in order to impose their own desires on the Syrian nation, but we have not allowed this imposition to take place. Now, the Syrian issue has an effect on the future structure of the international system, and this subject has provided us a special position. It is correct that Americans threatened Syria with a military attack, but this threat was not from a position of power. This threat was from a position of diplomatic weakness because it occurred at odds with the United Nations charter.”
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham announced that “Iran is prepared to help solve the Syrian crisis. For a country [Iran] who is prepared to [solve the crisis], it is odd that preconditions have been defined. Iran’s presence at the Geneva 2 meeting will be without preconditions.” She also said that the news of Obama’s visit to Iran “is a fabrication and there is no need to announce it,” although the country is looking into establishing a direct flight from Tehran to Washington.
- Non-Resident Charge d’Affaires to England Mohammad Hassan Habibollah Zadeh announced that his English counterpart Ajay Sharma will be making his first visit to Tehran tomorrow. Sharma will be the first English diplomat to visit Iran since its embassy was attacked in 2011. Habibollah Zadeh said the decision to reestablish some form of diplomacy came after “the 11th presidential elections when the English sent a congratulatory note and the Foreign Minister of [England] requested a meeting with his Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.”
- Lebanese Hezbollah member Mohammad Amir Heydar was reportedly killed in Syria “during military operations in defense of the Islamic ummah and in combat with takfiri terrorists.” His burial will be held today in the Aita al-Sha’b area of Lebanon.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be traveling to the UAE on Thursday, December 5 to meet Emirati officials in order to continue conversations about the region. This trip is an extension of Zarif’s regional tour and follows up on Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed al-Nahyan's visit to Iran last Thursday, November 28.
- Zarif also said, “God-willing, I will soon travel to Saudi Arabia. The only problem is determining a time for the trip by both sides.”
- Zarif said these trips are necessary because of the “need for regional countries to [work together to] overcome the sectarianism, extremism, and violence in the region, particularly in Syria,” which he called “embarrassing for both Shi’a and Sunnis.”
- However, in separate remarks, Zarif implicitly criticized Saudi Arabia and stated, “Those who are afraid of negotiations are the ones who consider America and the Zionist regime as superpowers and think that [one] cannot persevere against America…. Those who think that they can advance their interests with a Cold War outlook will certainly not get anywhere.”
- [E] Iranian media reported that Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani will lead a parliamentary delegation to Oman on Wednesday, December 4. Larijani was invited by his Omani counterpart, Sheikh Khalid bin Hilal al-Mawali.”
Military and Security
- Armed individuals attacked Iranian border guards last night in Saravan in the Sistan va Baluchestan province, killing one soldier and wounding four. Jaish al-Adl again claimed responsibility for the attack. Two of the injuries were caused by an RPG fired at the regiment. A security official claimed that, due to the terrain and darkness, the guards were unable to engage their attackers. Saravan was the site for Jaish al-Adl’s recent attack, in which 17 Iranian border guards were killed.
- The burial of two Basijis from the IRGC 3rd Hamzeh Seyyed al Shohada Division was held today in Orumiyeh, Western Azerbaijan province, with many local officials in attendance. The two were reportedly killed by an avalanche while conducting a mission in the Ziveh region of southern Orumiyeh. Local media report that the avalanche left three wounded, three dead, and seven still missing, though search efforts are underway.
- Chief Justice of Sistan va Baluchestan Hojjat al-Eslam Ibrahim Hamidi announced that “Up to now, ten agents of the events connected to [the assassination of] Zabol’s attorney general have been arrested. [see Nov. 6 INR] Among the arrested are two women.” The justice went on to say that the immediate investigation led them to a man with a direct connection to the assassination, which led them to “other individuals with direct and indirect roles.” Despite the ten arrests, Hamidi said police are still pursuing a few remaining suspects.
- IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami spoke to the capabilities of the IRGC and its navy, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz: “Thanks to the efforts that have taken place in different areas of defense and security, the IRGC, especially its navy, today has created the capacities, capabilities, and a level of confidence in its preparedness to undertake the most complex, difficult, and risky combat and defense missions.”
- “The wife of martyred shrine defender” Mohammad Hossein Moradi gave an interview to a religious website, stating, “[I] know how much you deserved martyrdom when I only lived with you for eight years. I miss your laughs, jokes, kindness, etc. My heart misses your being.” Moradi was killed in Syria and buried in Iran on November 22, 2013.
- The popular tech website Narenji announced that eight of its writers and technical members have been arrested by the IRGC and that they have no information about what has happened to them. The site’s activity was also suspended. Last year Narenji was named the best Persian Web Blog. Recently, however, IRGC intelligence has been arresting social activists and identifying such websites and the judiciary has also been increasing pressure on the press.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javid Zarif discussed the gains of Iran during the negotiations and promised not to lie to his people as he accuses other leaders of doing:
- “We have drawn a table of what things we gave in the negotiations and what things we received in the negotiations. What we received is not charity. I presented these demands at the negotiations table… . I want all of you in earnestness and unity to make the effort so that we can achieve our national interests.”
- “Why do our friends allow Israeli media to talk about the future of negotiations. Netanyahu has pulled the wool over the eyes of the world with great oppression for decades. However, now he is forlorn and does not know what to do, so he continues to tell lies in order to be able to break our consensus. However, we say that this consensus will remain.”
- “We put the negotiations document at the disposal of the Western negotiations team, though we are comforted to know that in current conditions we are able to talk with the greatest bullies of the world. I promise, with the grace of God, to achieve the country’s national interest. God-willing, until the end of this work, I will never lie to the people.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Spokesman Hossein Naghavi Hosseini announced that commission members will visit the Arak heavy water reactor nuclear site two weeks from now. Hosseini also added that the commission approved a resolution agreement of cooperation between the Islamic Republic and Burundi and a similar agreement with China.
- The administration will present the 2013-2014 budget resolution to the Parliament on December 15 instead of the originally planned date of December 4.
Photo of the Day
- ISNA photo essay: Disabled children visit a rehabilitation center in Tehran’s Milad Tower.