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 with contributors Ken Hawrey and Alice Naghshineh. 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: The campaign period for the February 26 parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections ended today. Over a thousand candidates withdrew from the parliamentary elections.

The Interior Ministry reported that 4,844 candidates remain in the parliamentary elections. The majority of the withdrawals are likely to have been candidates who were not endorsed by official candidate lists, although the withdrawals’ effect on the election results is unclear.

Principlist Coalition Council Spokesman Gholam Ali Haddad Adel warned that Reformists could gain seats if Principlists are not “vigilant” in the elections, while IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani praised parliamentary candidate and current Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani as “one of the most effective individuals regarding regional developments.” The Quds Force Commander added that Larijani “has always been a supporter of the Quds Force.”

Baquer Namazi, an American citizen and the father of detained Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, was reportedly arrested in Iran on February 24. No major Iranian figures appear to have reacted to Baquer Namazi’s arrest publically.

Iranian media reported the deaths of two additional Iranians in Syria. IRGC Col. Hamza Kazemi was a member of the IRGC Nabi Akram unit of Kermanshah province. Mehdi Ghasemi was a Basij Organization member from Alborz province.

Matthew McInnis discusses Iranian perspectives on the possible deployment of Saudi Arabian and Emirati special operations forces to Syria in his latest blog post, “Iran isn’t sweating Saudi intervention in Syria.”

Domestic Politics

  • 4,844 candidates to compete in parliamentary elections tomorrow. Head of the Interior Ministry’s Election Committee Mohammad Hossein Moghimi stated that polling begins at 8 AM Iranian time on February 26. Candidates are prohibited from campaigning the day before the elections. Fars News Agency reported that while the Guardian Council approved approximately 6,300 candidates to run in the elections, only 4,844 candidates are competing in tomorrow’s elections “due to withdrawals.” Most candidate withdrawals were likely by candidates who had not been included in factions’ endorsed candidate lists. Moghimi stated that if a runoff round of elections is required, it will take place “within a month.”
    • Head of Tehran’s Election Committee Shahabaldin Chavoushi noted that counting votes in the Tehran elections “may take two to three days,” although election results for other parliamentary districts are expected before then. ” (Fars News Agency) (Mehr News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Soleimani praises Ali Larijani as a loyal “supporter of the Quds Force.” IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani praised Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, who is a candidate in the current parliamentary elections and a former IRGC member, during a meeting with families of Iranians killed in Syria and Iraq. Soleimani said that Larijani “was and is one of the most effective individuals regarding regional developments… He has always been a supporter of the Quds Force, and I have always benefited from his practical and intellectual support. I wish him further success.” Hardliners have criticized Larijani for facilitating the quick approval of the nuclear deal in Parliament. (Khabar Online)
  • Haddad Adel: I’m worried about a Reformist victory in Parliamentary elections. Principlist Coalition Spokesman Gholam Ali Haddad Adel stressed the importance of “vigilance in the forthcoming elections,” stating, “If we neglect this area, another 6th Parliament will be born.” Reformists scored a major victory in the elections for Iran’s 6th Parliament [2000-2004]. Haddad Adel also said that “to avoid a repeat of” the 2009 Green Movement, the people must participate in the elections and “trust” those who protect the values of the December 30, 2009 pro-government rallies.
    • Haddad Adel stressed that the Principlist Coalition is “trying to follow the intentions of the Supreme Leader and provide the necessary conditions for the realization of the Resistance Economy,” and called the “fight against corruption” a “priority target” for the Principlists. (Mehr News Agency)
  • Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) announces election survey results. According to the results, 79.6 percent of respondents claimed to have concerns on the economy and livelihood. In Tehran, Iranians want to see electoral candidates present more serious economic programs. The survey also indicated that Principlists are “front-runners” throughout the country, but not including Tehran. The IRIB survey revealed the primary sources of news on the elections for respondents: 67.8 percent used national media, 30.6 percent friends and acquaintances, 10.1 percent mobile phones, 7.5 percent newspapers, 6.5 percent the internet, 4.4 percent satellite channels, 3.6 percent text messaging, and 2.8 percent social media. The survey indicated a turnout rate of more than 60 percent. (Alef)

Casualties in Iraq and Syria

  • Two Iranians killed in Syria.
    • IRGC Col. Hamza Kazemi was reportedly killed “in Aleppo.” He was a member of the IRGC Nabi Akram unit, which is based in Kermanshah province.
    • Mehdi Ghasemi was a Basij Organization member of Savojbolagh, Alborz province. (Fars News Agency) (ABNA)
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