Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

Key takeaway:  Reformists seek to gain political traction after the recent protests demonstrated a significant amount of popular disenchantment with politicians across Iran’s political spectrum.

Sixteen reformist political figures issued a statement emphasizing that focusing on the question of external interference in the protests will lead to neglecting the protests' “root causes.” The reformists’ statement is likely in response to the initial reactions of conservatives and hardliners to the protests. Conservatives and hardliners have acknowledged the protesters’ economic grievances, but have also stressed that foreign actors helped instigate the protests.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from January 5-8.

AEI Must Reads
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January 10, 2018

Iranian protests give America chance to advance freedom.

Frederick Kagan argues that the United States and its partners must take action in order to weaken Iran’s position in the region in the wake of the protests in, “Iranian protests give America chance to advance freedom.”

January 10, 2018

Don’t Be Fooled: the Iran protests won’t overthrow the regime.

Frederick Kagan and Marie Donovan write that the regime’s preparations for anti-regime protests and the absence of a centralized leadership of unarmed protesters did not threaten the regime’s survival in, “Don’t Be Fooled: the Iran protests won’t overthrow the regime.”

Citations & Links

Citations & Links

Domestic Political Reactions to the Protests
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January 10, 2018

Reformists to hardliners: Focus on protests’ root causes, not external interference.

Sixteen reformist political figures issued a joint statement on January 7 emphasizing that focus on external interference in the recent wave of anti-regime protests “leads to negligence toward the [protests’] root causes.” The signatories acknowledged general U.S. interference in Iranian domestic affairs, but argued that interference from abroad is not possible “without the existence of internal conditions.” Most of the statement’s signatories included former reformist government officials and parliamentarians, including former reformist President Mohammad Khatami’s brother Mohammad Reza Khatami.

  • Reformist parliamentarian Mahmoud Sadeghi also tweeted on January 7 that no foreign powers played a role in the protests, according to unidentified Iranian intelligence officials. (Shargh Daily) (Radio Farda) (E) (Al Monitor) (E) (Twitter)
January 10, 2018

Khamenei accuses U.S. of working with Israel, a “Persian Gulf country,” and MEK to instigate protests.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. of working with Israel, an unidentified “wealthy Persian Gulf country,” and the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to provoke the recent wave of anti-regime protests in Iran. Khamenei stated that a “wealthy Persian Gulf country” financed the operation. Khamenei also accused the U.S. of operating two “command posts” to organize the effort. Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri also previously accused the U.S. of working with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the MEK. Montazeri also described alleged U.S. “operations rooms” in Erbil, Iraq, and Herat, Afghanistan, used to facilitate the protests. Khamenei also emphasized the importance of reducing Iran’s unemployment in another part of his speech. (Fars News Agency) (Twitter) (E)

January 10, 2018

Rouhani: Economic grievances were not the sole motivation for anti-regime protests.

President Hassan Rouhani stated on January 8 that economic grievances were not the only cause of the recent wave of anti-regime protests. Rouhani attributed the protests to cultural, social, and security issues as well. Rouhani emphasized that there is a divide between the values of Iran’s older and younger generations. Rouhani argued that the older generations cannot impose their lifestyle and values onto the youth. Rouhani also noted that the public’s access to social media should not be restricted permanently “because [the government] cannot be indifferent” to the public’s life and business. Rouhani separately gave remarks on January 8, emphasizing the need to boost Iran’s economic production and exports to the global market, while decreasing unemployment. (ISNA) (IRNA) (Ghatreh) (New York Times) (E)

January 10, 2018

PM: Alavi said that “domestic political current” started Mashhad protests.

Reformist-leaning Omid faction parliamentarian Jalal Mirzaei told Iran Online News that Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said that a “domestic political current” started the Mashhad on protests on December 28. Mirzaei noted that Alavi said that “based on Intelligence service’s assessments, it became clear that a domestic political current started the unrest in Mashhad which very quickly… became uncontrollable.” Mirzaei said that Alavi stated that the protests cannot “only be attributed to foreign guidance” and that many reasons and causes exist. Mirzaei later denied the Iran Online News report and accused the news site of “spreading gossip” in an attempt “to create disagreements in the country and to disturb public mentality.” Interior Minister Abdol Reza Rahmani Fazli, Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari, and Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) head Abdolali Ali Asgari accompanied Alavi during a briefing to parliamentarians about the recent protests on January 6. News outlets have circulated rumors that hardline Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ahmad Alam ol Hoda instigated the protests in Mashhad. (ION) (Fars News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Shargh Daily
http://www.sharghdaily.ir/News/149832/%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%87%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B6%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7

2. Radio Farda
https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iranian-reformists-reject-claim-foreign-interference/28959461.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

3. Al Monitor
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/01/iran-reformist-statement-protest-backlash-violence.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

4. Twitter
https://twitter.com/mah_sadeghi/status/950092749306585088

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13961019000664

2. Twitter
https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/950690758301974528

Citations & Links

1. ISNA
https://www.isna.ir/news/96101809337/%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AD%D9%82-%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%AF%D9%88%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%A7-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%A8%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%86-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF

2. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82788453

3. Ghatreh
http://www.ghatreh.com/news/nn40904810/%D8%B6%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B2%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D9%88%D8%AF%D8%AC%D9%87-%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%B2%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%AA%D8%BA%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AF

4. New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/world/middleeast/iran-rouhani-protests.html?_r=1

Citations & Links

1. ION
http://www.ion.ir/News/312803.html

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/13961018001851

3. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/10/17/1621385/%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%87-%D8%BA%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%BA%D8%AA%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%AE%DB%8C%D8%B1

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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January 10, 2018

Khoshrou: Iran has “strong evidence” of foreign interference in anti-regime protests.

Iranian Ambassador to the UN Gholamali Khoshrou stated that Iran has “strong evidence” that external powers directed the recent wave of anti-regime protests in Iran. Khoshrou stated that individuals in the U.S. and Europe instigated the protests and encouraged violence. Khoshrou made the claims during an emergency session of the UN Security Council (UNSC). U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called for the meeting to address the protests in Iran on January 2. (Iran Khabar) (CNN) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Iran Khabar
http://www.irankhabar.ir/fa/doc/news/103810/%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%84%D9%84-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%B7-%D9%87%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AD%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%85%D9%87-%D9%81%D8%B9%D9%84%DB%8C-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%A1%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%AF

2. CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/02/politics/nikki-haley-iran-united-nations-north-korea/index.html

Military and Security Reactions to the Protests
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January 10, 2018

Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry announces indigenous alternative to Telegram.

Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry Digital Media Center head Morteza Mousavian announced on January 8 that the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry will unveil an Iranian social networking application similar to the messaging application Telegram “in the coming days.” Mousavian emphasized the Iranian-made social network’s similarities to Telegram in terms of quality and usage. (Fars News Agency)

January 10, 2018

Mashhad city council votes to create protest spaces.

The Mashhad City Council unanimously approved a proposal requiring the city government to create “suitable spaces” for public protests within the next two months. Cultural and Social Committee Chairman Ehsan Usouli said that the proposal’s purpose is to implement Iranian citizens’ constitutional right to protest. Mashhad was the first city to witness demonstrations during the recent wave of protests across the country. (ILNA) (Shora.Mashhad.ir)

January 10, 2018

Judiciary official vows severe punishment for protest leaders.

Judiciary Deputy Head Hamid Shahriari announced that the authorities have identified and arrested all of the “instigators” of the recent protests. Shahriari added that “the most severe punishment will be imposed on [the instigators.]” He did not divulge the number or identity of the detainees. Senior officials declared on January 3 that security forces had defeated the protests and that the number of protestors numbered no more than 15,000 people. (Mehr News Agency) (E) (ILNA) (BBC) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13961018001069

Citations & Links

1. ILNA
http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%AE%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B1%D8%B6%D9%88%DB%8C-92/579765-%D8%AA%D8%B9%DB%8C%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%85%DA%A9%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A2%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87

2. Shora.Mashhad.ir
https://shora.mashhad.ir/news/5270166-%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%85%DA%A9%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85%DB%8C-%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%B1-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%AF-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%AA.html

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
https://en.mehrnews.com/news/131034/All-riots-leaders-identified-arrested-judiciary-official

2. ILNA
http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/579625-%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%82%D9%87-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A2%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%A8-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%AE%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%BA%D8%AA%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%AD%DA%A9%D9%88%D9%85-%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D9%88%D9%86%D8%AF

3. BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42556729

Nuclear Deal Developments
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January 10, 2018

Iranian officials warn against possible U.S. reimposition of sanctions.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) head Ali Akbar Salehi warned International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Yukiya Amano during a phone call that Iran may reconsider its relationship with the IAEA if the U.S. does not remain committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Strategic Council on Foreign Relations head Kamal Kharrazi, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, and Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Ghassemi each separately warned that a U.S. decision to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran may constitute a U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA. President Donald Trump is expected to decide on January 12 whether to continue to waive U.S. nuclear sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal. (IRNA) (ILNA) (IRIB News) (Raja News)

Citations & Links

1. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82789643

2. ILNA
http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/579854-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%85-%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%B9%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%82-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%85-%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%B9%D9%86%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AE%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AC-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%AE%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%B5%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AD-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%84-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

3. IRIB News
http://www.iribnews.ir/fa/news/1982320/%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%BA%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B7%D9%82%DB%8C-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AE-%D8%B3%D9%86%DA%AF%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AC%D9%87-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%AF-%D8%B4%D8%AF

4. Raja News
http://www.rajanews.com/news/282165/%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82%DA%86%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D9%86%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%AA%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D9%85%D9%85%DA%A9%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A2%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AC-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF

TIMELINE
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