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: Voting for the Parliament and Assembly of Experts elections occurred without any reported major security incidents or polling-related issues.
Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Hossein Ashtari and Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaghari stated that there have been no security concerns in the elections thus far. Guardian Council member Siamak Rahpeyk also stated that electoral violations such as vote-buying have not been “widespread” thus far. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli recently told reporters that the Interior Ministry will “try to announce election results before noon Saturday.” For analyses of the latest electoral developments, please see the Critical Threats Project’s “Iran Elections Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
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.”
Parliamentary and Assembly of Experts Elections
Iranians head to parliamentary and Assembly of Experts polls.
- Interior Minister Spokesman Hossein Ali Amiri announced that the deadline to vote in the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections was extended to 11:45 p.m. Iranian time in Tehran due to high voter turnout. Amiri stated that provincial governors, “especially of larger provinces such as Tehran,” had requested the extension. (Fars News Agency) (ISNA)
- Conservative news outlet Mashregh News published an article detailing the “electoral violations” perpetrated by the Rouhani administration. Among the violations was a mass text message from President Hassan Rouhani urging Iranians to vote. Electoral laws require that the administration remain “neutral” during the elections, but hardliners have claimed that the administration routinely violates this law. (Mashregh News)
- Guardian Council member Siamak Rahpeyk responded to a question at a press conference regarding “problems” during the elections. He stated that there have been “some problems,” including a lack of equipment and reports of “the buying and selling of votes,” but he also claimed that “violations were not widespread.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Candidates discuss elections. Several electoral candidates made statements to reporters today after casting their votes.
- Prominent Reformist Mohammad Reza Aref noted that “it appears the elections today will be like the 2013 presidential elections.” President Hassan Rouhani won the 2013 elections with Reformist support.
- Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ali Akbar Rafsanjani urged Iranians to vote, stating, “If the people do not vote, they will not be fulfilling their rights and duties.”
- Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani mentioned the alleged interference by foreign media stations in the elections, stating that “Iranians do not pay attention to warnings made by foreigners.” These comments are in response to BBC Farsi and RFE/RL articles covering the elections, including one BBC article in particular, titled “Could Yazdi, Jannati, and Mesbah be removed from the Assembly of Experts?”
- Principlist Coalition Council Spokesman Gholam Ali Haddad Adel described high voter turnout as “showing the glory and strength of the Iranian nation to the world.”
- Ali Motahari, an outspoken conservative parliamentarian, stated that “the next Parliament will certainly be more moderate.”
- Assembly of Experts Chairman and Guardian Council member Mohammad Yazdi defended the Guardian Council’s extensive vetting procedures, stating that many of the disqualified candidates only registered “out of self-interest.” (Alef) (Alef)
Principlist parliamentary candidate: Reformists have been illegally campaigning. Principlist Parliamentary candidate Lotfollah Forouzandeh claimed that Reformist candidates have been seen distributing promotional material at polling stations. Forouzandeh, who served as a vice president under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, expressed hope that the authorities will “seriously deal with” elections-related offenses, “particularly those” committed by Reformists. Candidates are forbidden from campaigning the day before or of the elections. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Supreme Leader: Iran’s “national honor and independence” depends on participation in the elections. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that participating in the elections “is a big and important act… after voting opened on February 26. Khamenei stressed that “the outcome of participation in the elections is national honor and independence; we have enemies who have a covetous eye [on our nation], and [therefore,] elections must be such they would disappoint and dishearten the enemy.” (Leader.ir) (E)
- Rouhani: The administration is “the safekeeper of the people’s votes.” President Hassan Rouhani stated that “the administration considers itself the safekeeper of the people’s votes.” He continued, “The administration sees the people’s vote as a [sign of] trust; it will do all it can to guard this trust.” (President.ir) (E) (President.ir)
Military and Security
Communications Minister: We resisted efforts to have social networks filtered. Mohammad Vaezi stated that “some institutions pressed to have social networks filtered,” but added that “we resisted.” The Minister of Communications and Information Technology added that any problems accessing networks such as Telegram “are unrelated to us.” He did not name the institutions that advocated filtering social networks. (Khabar Online)
LEF Commander: Election process has been completely secure. Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Hossein Ashtari stated, “The reports we have received until now from across the country indicate that the elections have proceeded with complete security. All of the [security] organizations, particularly the LEF, have carried out their duties properly.” He added, “According to the law, we will prevent any individual from announcing the results early.” (ISNA)
- Deputy Interior Minister: There have been no security-related issues with the elections. Hossein Zolfaghari claimed that, “there has been no security issue in the election process so far.” He added, “All of the security forces in border and non-border areas are completely ready” and helicopters “have been deployed with the help of the Armed Forces General Staff.” He also mentioned cooperation between security organizations, stating, “God willing, with the good cooperation between the Basij Organization, the IRGC, and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), we will not face any issues in continuing our work.” (Fars News Agency)