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 Shayan Enferadi. 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: Kurdish separatists reportedly claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt on an Iranian parliamentarian in the western province of Kermanshah.
Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, was injured in the assassination attempt on July 10. Radio Farda reported that the “East Kurdistan Freedom Falcons” claimed responsibility for the attack. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, which split from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey, has claimed responsibility for bombings in Ankara that killed 28 people in February and 37 people in March 2016. The IRGC and Kurdish groups have clashed repeatedly over the past month in Iran’s northwestern provinces, which have large Kurdish populations.
Iranian officials criticized a rally held by the political affiliate of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Paris on July 9. Americans including former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich also attended the rally. Reformist newspaper Shargh wrote that the MEK, which allied with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, “formally placed itself alongside the army of the violators of the homeland... By cooperating with the enemy fighting against Iran at our western and southern borders, they were ingrained in the minds of the Iranian people.”
- Marie Donovan discusses how the Supreme Leader’s appointment of IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri as head of the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) may signal Khamenei’s intention to give the AFGS a more significant role in coordinating the armed forces’ increasing joint activities abroad in “Supreme Leader signals possible enhanced role for Armed Forces General Staff.”
Parliamentarian injured in assassination attempt in Kurdish region. Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Commission, was injured in an assassination attempt while travelling in the western province of Kermanshah on July 10. Falahatpisheh’s driver and a county official died during the attack. Interior Ministry Spokesman Hossein Ali Amiri stated that an investigation is ongoing and noted that the “motives and nature” of the assassination attempt are still “unclear.” A parliamentarian representing Kermanshah noted that the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) operates in the area. Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei also accused Saudi Arabia on July 11 of meeting with Kurdish separatist groups before “a number of assassinations” were carried out in Kurdish provinces, according to Fars News Agency. (Fars News Agency) (Ghatreh) (Fars News Agency) (E)
- Judiciary announces indictments for three dual nationals. Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announced indictments for Iranian-Canadian professor Homa Hoodfar, Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and Nizar Zakka, a U.S. permanent resident from Lebanon. He did not provide details on their charges, but the IRGC accused Zaghari-Ratcliffe in June of plotting the “soft overthrow” of the Islamic Republic. Dolatabadi also announced indictments for seven other, unnamed individuals connected to the 2009 Green Movement protests. He did not appear to discuss Baquer Namazi, Siamak Namazi’s father, who was arrested in February and is also a U.S. citizen. (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Officials criticize regime opposition rally in Paris. IRGC Public Affairs Head Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif condemned a rally by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political affiliate of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) opposition group, on July 9 in Paris. Sharif called Prince Turki al Faisal’s participation in the rally evidence of Saudi Arabia’s “longstanding ties” with the MEK, which the U.S. listed as a terrorist group until 2012, and one indicator of Saudi Arabia’s “support for terrorism in the region and beyond.” Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei stated that Tehran has documents proving Saudi ties with the MEK and accused Saudi Arabia of directing the MEK to carry out assassinations of Iranian officials. Reformist newspaper Shargh also commented on the rally, writing that the MEK, which allied with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, “formally placed itself alongside the army of the violators of the homeland. From this point onwards, they were at the complete service of Iraq’s intelligence apparatus. By cooperating with the enemy fighting against Iran at our western and southern borders, they were ingrained in the minds of the Iranian people.” (Defa Press) (Fars News Agency) (E) (Shargh Daily)
Foreign Ministry spokesperson rejects NATO statement on Iran’s missile program.Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Ghassemi denounced NATO’s recent statement that it is “seriously concerned” about Iran’s ballistic missile program. Ghassemi said the statement repeated “unfounded claims” and added that Iran’s “missile capabilities are within the framework of legitimate defense programs and are by no means designed to carry nuclear warheads.” UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear agreement,calls upon Iran to refrain from activity related to ballistic missiles that are “designed to be capable of delivering” a nuclear warhead. (IRNA) (IRNA) (E)
- Influential lawmaker: The U.S. House of Representatives is threatening to violate the nuclear deal. Conservative parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi claimed that legislation recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives -- presumably including theamendment to block the Boeing sale to Iran Air -- violate the terms of the nuclear deal. The chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission threatened that the Iranian Parliament will respond “in due time.”
Military and Security
IRGC rejects advisor’s statement critical of Hamas. The IRGC Public Relations Department issued a statement distancing the IRGC from Brig. Gen. Khosro Orouj, a senior advisor to IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari who accused Hamas of disappointing Iran by negotiating with Israel. The IRGC Public Relations statement commended Hamas’s efforts in fighting Israel and called Orouj’s statements “unofficial and personal.” (IRNA) (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Mehr News Agency)
- Shamkhani vows continuation of “advisory support” for Iraqi and Syrian governments.Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani, described in Iranian media as leading the coordination of Iranian military activities with Syria and Russia, said that Iran will continue to provide advisory support to the governments of Iraq and Syria during a meeting with Ammar Hakim, the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI). (IRNA)