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 Mehrdad Moarefian, Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Key takeaway: Iranian officials underscored the ongoing threat of sedition while commemorating the anniversary of the December 30, 2009 pro-government protests.

Senior Iranian officials warned audiences of both future and ongoing sedition during remarks commemorating the December 30, 2009 pro-government protests. The December 30 protests were organized against the Green Movement, which alleged election fraud in the presidential elections that year and sought government reforms.

Armed Forces General Staff Deputy IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri called the opinion that the sedition in Iran has ended “naïve” and called for Iranians to be “vigilant now more than ever.” Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda claimed that the enemy “is making plans for the elections,” which he warned could herald another “sedition.” The uptick in anti-seditionist rhetoric from senior officials likely indicates that the vetting process for candidates in elections for Parliament and the Assembly of Experts will disproportionately affect reformist candidates.

Several IRGC Navy vessels conducted a live-fire exercise near the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman and other warships in the Strait of Hormuz on December 26. The U.S. Central Command spokesman called the IRGC’s actions “highly provocative.”

Matthew McInnis critiques the argument that the U.S. should hasten sanctions relief in order to empower moderate Iranian leaders or avoid raising the ire of hardliners in his latest blog post, “The U.S. can’t play Iranian domestic politics.


Domestic Politics

  • Officials warn of sedition during speeches commemorating anti-Green Movement protests. Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati lauded theDecember 30, 2009 pro-government protests as a demonstration of Iranians’ “preparedness to oppose the enemy’s sedition” as well as their “steadfastness in defense of the guardianship of the jurist,” referring to the position of the Supreme Leader. The December 30 protests in 2009 were organized against the Green Movement, which alleged election fraud in the presidential elections that year and sought government reforms. Officials frequently refer to the Green Movement protests as “the sedition.”
    • Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Kazem Sedighi also praised the protests but warned that Iran’s enemies are still seeking to damage the Iranian political order by spreading “their influence among the people.”
    • IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri called the opinion that the 2009 sedition has ended “naïve” and asserted that Iranians must be “vigilant and alert now more than ever.” The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy stated that “the enemy” seeks to disguise and reintroduce seditionists to Iran.
    • Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda warned that the upcoming elections could herald another “sedition” during a ceremony commemorating the 2009 pro-government protests. The Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member claimed that the enemy “is making plans for the elections” and stated:
      • “The 1388 sedition [the 2009 Green movement protests] was six years ago…but this wave has left. We must now talk about the 1394 [2015-2016] sedition, which is riskier and more dangerous than the 1388 sedition. The enemy wants to use its experience with the 1388 sedition to create a point of influence in the country.” Alam ol Hoda’s remarks follow warnings from other notable Principlists that the “great sedition” is “still ahead.” (Raja News) (Mehr News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency) (Fars News Agency)


  • Assembly of Experts candidates will take a written test on January 5. Nejatollah Ebrahimian stated that the written examination for candidates in elections to the Assembly of Experts will be held on January 5, 2016 as part of the vetting process. Current members of the Assembly of Experts do not need to take the exam. The Guardian Council Spokesman stated that further details of the exam, which are designed to assess candidates’ qualifications in Islamic jurisprudence, will be announced at a later date. (Fars News Agency) (Entekhab)


  • IRGC Cultural Deputy: The Reformists will have another chance in these elections. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Nejat noted that the Reformists want to “return” to the “electoral field” in this election cycle. The IRGC Cultural Deputy added, “We have information that the ‘sedition supporters’ are waiting for an opportunity to create another sedition. As soon as they see weakness in the Iranian political system, they will become active.” He also urged the Interior Ministry to disqualify “infiltrators” during the initial review of parliamentary candidate qualifications, stating:
    • The Interior Ministry must show how much it will adhere to the Constitution. Some of these individuals [running for office] have participated in sedition, created insecurity in the country, and show that they do not accept the Constitution.”
    • “If the Executive Committees [local panels established by the Interior Ministry to vet candidates] do not consider these issues in their review, it is clear that [the Interior Ministry] does not adhere to the Constitution.”
    • “If the Interior Ministry does not act according to its legal duty, the Guardian Council must act. We cannot let Parliament be occupied by infiltrators along with counter- revolutionaries.” (Fars News Agency)


  • Haddad Adel discusses formation of the Principlist Coalition. Gholam Ali Haddad Adel discussed the December 30 anniversary of the 2009 pro-government protests, the formation of the Principlist Coalition, the successes and weakness of the Principlist faction, and the forthcoming elections during his first press conference as Principlist Coalition Spokesman on December 30.
    • On the pro-government protests: The Principlist Coalition Council spokesman and the head of the Principlist Faction also praised the December 30 anniversary of the 2009 pro-government protests as a time the people defended their “values and beliefs,” and said that the protests’ “general message…was to say ‘no’ to sedition.” He stated, “we see the Principlist Coalition as a political movement in defense of the values of the people on December 30.”
    • On the formation of the Principlist Coalition: Haddad Adel discussed the three-person meetings several “months ago” between Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, Ayatollah Ali Mohavedi-Kermani, and Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, which served as the foundation for the formation of the Principlist Coalition. He noted that “naturally, the Principlist organizations have different tastes, but one of the tasks of the Principlist Coalition Council is to set up a mechanism which would be involved in all of the elections.” He continued, “Our effort is to form a strong and popular Parliament which can help the government…”
    • Haddad Adel stressed the importance of “inclusion and universality” in the Principlist Coalition “despite differences in taste.” He stated that after 12 years’ worth of “successes and failures,” the Principlists have realized that “differences in taste [cannot] dominate.”
    • He expressed confidence that Iran will demonstrate “the power of religious democracy” and “display its unity” in the forthcoming parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections. (Mehr News Agency)


  • Rouhani unveils solutions for air pollution. President Hassan Rouhani discussed “short-term” solutions to Iran’s high pollution levels in a cabinet meeting on December 30. The initiatives include lowering households’ energy consumption, regulating the construction of high-rise buildings in certain areas, and expanding public transportation systems. Rouhani emphasized that while only long-term solutions can fix pollution, his administration will pursue initiatives “so that the people feel that the state of affairs is moving towards improvement and resolution.” Rouhani’s announcement follows recent vocal criticisms from Principlist parliamentarians on his administration’s management of pollution levels. (



  • Turkish brokerage and advisory firm eyes Iranian expansion. Iranian news outlets have reported that Unlu, a prominent Turkish brokerage and advisory firm, is in talks with an Iranian brokerage to create a joint venture. The name of the Iranian firm was not provided. (Press TV)  
  • Iranian imports and non-oil exports drop. The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) reported that during the past nine months Iranian imports have fallen to $30.167 billion, a decrease of 22 percent compared to the previous time last year. IRICA reported that Iran’s non-oil exports have declined to $32.031 billion, an 11 percent decrease compared to the previous time last year. (IRNA)
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