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 contributor Ken Hawrey. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Prominent Reformist politician Mohammad Reza Aref expressed disappointment that the Guardian Council failed to reverse the disqualifications of senior Reformists for the parliamentary elections.
Mohammad Reza Aref, the former First Vice President under President Mohammad Khatami, criticized the Guardian Council’s latest round of vetting. He stated, “Our negotiations were successful to an extent [in allowing some Reformists to be approved]. We expected prominent Reformists to also be confirmed, and this did not happen, however.” Aref’s remarks help clarify that many of the Reformist camp’s senior candidates failed to pass the Guardian Council’s vetting process, since an official list of disqualified candidates still has not been published. Former President Mohammad Khatami, meanwhile, acknowledged that “many prominent Reformists have been barred from running,” but added that the Guardian Council has approved many “Reformists and Principlists” who can form an “independent” and “healthy” Parliament.
Iranian news outlets reported the deaths of eight additional Iranians in Syria, including five IRGC members. Over 43 Iranian fighters have been killed in Syria in the past ten days. Many were reportedly killed during operations to break the opposition’s siege of the towns of Nubl and al Zahra located north of Aleppo City.
Matthew McInnis explains Iran’s perspective on the stalled Geneva negotiations, its recent strategies in the Syrian conflict, and its broader goals for a final settlement in his latest blog post, “Syrian peace talks still a sideshow for Iran.”
Aref: The Guardian Council failed to reverse the disqualifications of prominent Reformists. Mohammad Reza Aref, the former First Vice President under Reformist President Mohammad Khatami, criticized the Guardian Council’s latest round of vetting. He noted, “Our negotiations were successful to an extent [in allowing some Reformists to be approved]. However, we expected prominent Reformists to also be confirmed, and this did not happen.” (ILNA)
Khatami: Everyone must vote. Former president Mohammad Khatami wrote an open letter calling for full participation in the elections. He noted that a “glimmer of hope remains” that a number of Reformist-inclined candidates have been confirmed to run in the elections, despite the “complaints” from election officials. He called for his audience “not to be discouraged by the elections” and stated that the elections will be a “tool for bringing people together and a way to bypass the securitized and pessimistic atmosphere.” Khatami added that even though “many prominent Reformists have been barred from running,” there are many “Reformists and Principlists” that can form an “independent” and “healthy” Parliament. (Kaleme)
Principlist Coalition spokesman: Don’t feel sorry for the Reformists. Gholam Ali Haddad Adel discussed the February 26 parliamentary elections during a press conference on February 9. When asked whether the elections will be competitive with the current number of Reformist candidates, the Principlist Coalition Council spokesman stated, “The Reformists have said themselves that they have enough candidates to create a list [of endorsed candidates]… Don’t feel sorry for them.” (ISNA)
Interior Ministry: 51% of candidates have been approved to run in the elections. Interior Ministry Spokesman Hossein Ali Amiri announced during a press conference that the Guardian Council has approved nearly 51 percent of candidates to run in the parliamentary elections. The Interior Ministry Spokesman praised the fact that the Guardian Council has “considered” the Interior Ministry’s “consultations and follow-ups” on the electoral issue.
- Amiri called the Assembly of Expert elections “competitive” even though the Guardian Council only confirmed 166 individuals out of 801. He noted, however, that “in some electoral districts, there is one seat and only person was confirmed.” For more information on the unopposed candidates in the Assembly of Expert elections, please see the Critical Threats Project’s “Unopposed Candidates in the Assembly of Experts Election.” (IRNA)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
Seven IRGC and Basij members buried in Fars province.
- Mohammad Kazem Toufighi, Mohammad Masrour, and Fakhraddin Taghvi were identified as Basij Organization members.
- Ali Joukar, Sajjad Dahghan, Hedayat Allah Ghami, and Eskar Zamani were identified as members of the IRGC 2nd Imam Sajjad Brigade, which is based in Fars province. (ABNA)
IRGC 71st Rouh Allah Brigade member buried in Markazi province.
- IRGC Col. Saeed Moslemi was identified as a member of the IRGC 71st Rouh-Allah Brigade. (Basij News)
Military and Security
- Jazayeri: Saudi Arabia is not able to send troops to Syria. IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri reacted to recent statements from Saudi Arabia expressing preparedness to send ground troops into Syria. The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy stated that Saudi Arabia “does not have the necessary capabilities to have [an expanded] presence in Syria… Saudi Arabia lacks such facilities because it has used up all of its own [existing] capabilities in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.” (ISNA)