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. 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: Senior clerics defended the Judiciary following multiple controversies over the limits of judicial authority.

Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Abbas Kaabi claimed that recent criticisms of the Judiciary are the “cost” that the institution is bearing for its investigation into “sedition” and the “astronomical” salary scandal. The Judiciary launched an investigation after a hardline newspaper leaked information in early June 2016 revealing that senior government employees had received “astronomical salaries” and other benefits far above the mandated cap. Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri and Judiciary Deputy Hojjat ol Eslam Hamid Shahriari have similarly come to the Judiciary’s defense. 

The Judiciary has been at the center of a number of controversies recently. Parliamentarians censured the Judiciary after reformist parliamentarian Mahmoud Sadeghi was nearly arrested last month. Sadeghi had questioned Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani’s use of public funds in private bank accounts. In addition, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and President Hassan Rouhani were among the officials who publicly criticized the Mashhad city prosecutor for cancelling a talk by moderate-conservative Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari. Khatami alluded to the ongoing tension between Ali Larijani and his brother Sadegh Amoli Larijani when he warned the heads of the three branches of Iran’s government to “resolve their differences privately.” The Larijani brothers rarely publicly criticize one another.

AEI Must-Reads

Domestic Politics

  • Tehran Friday prayer leader: Some are seeking to damage the Judiciary. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami accused critics of the Judiciary of seeking to “destroy” the Judiciary’s authority during his Friday prayer sermon. Khatami claimed that the recent criticisms of the Judiciary are “the cost” the Judiciary is now bearing for its investigation into “sedition” and the “astronomical” salary scandal. Khatami also urged the heads of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government to “resolve their differences privately” and not allow the “political system to be weakened because of the [presidential] elections.” (Khabar Online) (Asr Iran)
    • Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Abbas Kaabi praised the Judiciary for “standing up decisively… in the fight against economic corruption, especially in the face of great economic corruptors, despite pressure.” Kaabi also referred to the attacks against the Judiciary as the “cost” of its investigation into the salary scandal. (Fars News Agency)

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Friday prayer leaders condemn Iran Sanctions Act. Friday prayer leaders in major cities criticized the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in their sermons for the second week in a row on December 9.
    • Interim Qazvin Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Ali Ghabel stated that the U.S. Senate’s unanimous vote to renew the ISA is “a symbol of America’s untrustworthiness and villainy… Those who still have faith in the implementation of the JCPOA to solve the country’s problems after this event are stuck in error and will regret it.”
    • Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari called the ISA “a lesson for government officials and the Iranian people” and stated, “The Iranian nation’s smallest expectation for the government in the face of America’s untrustworthiness and hubris is that they do not stop at a written complaint to the UN but instead respond decisively, strongly, and cleverly.” Mojtahed Shabestari also urged government officials to recognize the ISA as a “violation” of the nuclear deal, as many senior Iranian officials have falsely claimed it to be.
    • Qom Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Saeedi appeared to criticize President Hassan Rouhani’s recent claim that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was aware of “every step” of the nuclear negotiations. Saeedi stated, “It is said that the details of the negotiations were all under the watch of the Supreme Leader. That is imprecise.” Saeedi also claimed that the ISA demonstrates that “America has not changed its behavior towards Iran.” (Tasnim News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency) (Mehr News Agency)
  • Chairman of national security parliamentary committee threatens to downgrade Iran-Britain relations. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the conservative chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May’s promise to help GCC states “push back” against Iran’s “aggressive regional actions.” Boroujerdi claimed that May’s statement proves that Britain is pursuing a “divisive” policy in the Middle East. He said that May’s remarks “are not proportional to the diplomatic relations we have at the level of ambassadors. If the English want to continue these policies against Iran, then [the Iranian] Parliament will once again downgrade relations.” Parliament reacted to the imposition of new sanctions in 2011 by voting to downgrade Iran’s relations with the UK. Iranian students attacked the British Embassy compound a day later, prompting the UK to close its embassy in Tehran and the Iranian embassy in London. Iran and Britain reopened embassies in 2015. (ABNA)

Military & Security

  • IRGC commander: Aleppo will be “completely liberated” in the next few days. IRGC Hamzeh Seyyed ol Shohada Operational Base Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Taghi Osanloo stated, “God willing, Aleppo will most likely be completely liberated in the next few days.” Osanloo also blamed the U.S. for unrest inside Iran, claiming, “There was a time when counter-revolutionary groups were marginalized and did not carry out military activity [against Iran]. In the past two years, however, the Americans and the Saudis have incited them, and [the counter-revolutionary groups] began to act.” The Hamzeh Seyyed ol Shohada Operational Base is the IRGC Ground Forces’ operational headquarters in northwestern Iran and has assisted with the deployment of troops to the Syrian fight. For more on Iran’s military operations in Iranian Kurdistan, see “Iran's Kurdish Insurgency.” (Tasnim News Agency)
    • Separately, Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Hossein Zolfaghari stated that Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) forces killed three ISIS members on December 6 as they attempted to enter Iran via the Iran-Iraq border. (Fars News Agency)
  • Artesh Ground Forces to hold drills in southeastern Iran. Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Kiomars Heidari announced that the Artesh Ground Forces will begin a three-day exercise in southeastern Iran on December 11. (Fars News Agency) (E)  
Arrow down red
Jan '17
Dec '16
Nov '16