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 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: IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari blamed regional countries for fomenting unrest in Iran while security forces arrested forty alleged terrorists in the eastern part of the country.
Jafari claimed that Iran’s enemies “are doing their best to spread insecurity in Iran.” He also noted that “some regional countries and Saudi Arabia” are now among Iran’s “apparent enemies.” His comments coincide with an uptick in security-related incidents in Iran’s more volatile provinces. The IRGC and the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), meanwhile, announced the arrest of forty alleged terrorists and the discovery of a forty-meter tunnel over the past two days. An LEF statement released earlier in the day claimed that ten individuals were arrested in connection to a tunnel discovered near a security facility in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan. An IRGC official in the northwestern province of West Azerbaijan also announced that the IRGC “crippled” a four-member “terrorist team” and added that all four were Turkish residents.
The Assembly of Experts, a clerical group that will formally elect the next supreme leader, appointed members of its special commissions during a closed session on July 21. Assembly Chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati will also chair the Constitutional Article 111 Commission, which covers circumstances in which the Assembly can theoretically remove a sitting supreme leader from office. Jannati is a hardline cleric.
Iranian authorities reportedly detained a San Diego man on July 11. Robin Shahini was arrested for a “crime against the state,” according to his girlfriend. Iran is currently detaining several American citizens, including businessman Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi. Iranian officials have “neither confirmed nor denied” Shahini’s detainment, according to the Iranian state-owned Fars News Agency.
- Matthew McInnis analyzes Iran’s offensive cyber strategy in "How much should we fear Iranian cyber proxies?"
- Paul Bucala and Ken Hawrey document Iran’s aerial resupply network to Syria as part of Tehran’s expanding ground campaign to support Assad in “Iran’s Airbridge to Syria.”
- Michael Rubin discusses recent warming in Iran-Russia ties in the context of the historical popular enmity between the two states in “Iran-Russia Relations.”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Jafari: Saudi Arabia and others have become Iran’s “apparent enemies.” IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari stated, “The enemies of the Islamic Revolution and Islamic Iran are doing their best to spread insecurity in Iran. Some regional countries and Saudi Arabia have been added to the [list of our] apparent enemies.” He continued, “The high readiness of the military has defeated all the plots of the enemy in the country… Ensuring security, which is the IRGC’s main task in the Persian Gulf and the maritime realm and the southern part of Islamic homeland, is now more important than ever.” (Khabar Farsi) (Tasnim News Agency)
- San Diego resident detained in Iran. Iranian authorities reportedly detained a San Diego resident named Robin Shahini on July 11. Shahini’s girlfriend told CBS News that he was arrested due to a “crime against the state.” Fars News Agency noted that Iranian officials “have neither confirmed nor denied” Shahini’s detention. (Fars News Agency)
Military and Security
Forty terrorists arrested in eastern Iran. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced the arrest of forty “terrorists” at an unspecified location in the “eastern part of the country.” Fazli noted that the IRGC and Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) also discovered a forty-meter tunnel in the area linked to the “terrorists.” An LEF statement released earlier in the day claimed that ten individuals were arrested in connection to a tunnel discovered near a security facility in Sistan and Baluchistan province, which borders Pakistan in southeastern Iran. (Mehr News Agency) (E) (Aftab News) (Mehr News Agency)
IRGC forces destroy four-member “counter-revolutionary” group in northwest Iran. IRGC Salmas County Unit Commander Col. Ali Reza Madani stated that the IRGC “crippled” a four-member “team of counter-revolutionary thugs” in Salmas county, West Azerbaijan province, on July 21. Madani stated that they killed one member of the team during the operation and added that all four individuals in the “terrorist team” were residents of Turkey. (ISNA) (Entekhab)
- Cyber security center launched in Esfahan. Asghar Zare’an announced that the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has launched a cyber security operation center in the city of Esfahan on July 20. The AEOI deputy head stated that the purpose of the center is to address new cyber security threats and enhance the safety and security levels of the nearby nuclear site. He added that similar operation centers will be launched at the Arak, Natanz, and Bushehr nuclear sites. (IRNA) (E)
- Assembly of Experts elects commission heads. The Assembly of Experts, a clerical group that will formally elect the next supreme leader, appointed heads and members of its special commissions during a closed session on July 21. Hardline Assembly Chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati will also chair the Constitutional Article 111 Commission, which covers circumstances in which the Assembly can theoretically remove a sitting supreme leader from office. Ayatollah Mohammad Momen was elected chairman of the Constitutional Articles 107 and 109 Commission, which compiles lists of potential successors to the supreme leader. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Parliament and Resistance Economy Headquarters find weaknesses in oil contracts. The Resistance Economy Command Headquarters and Parliament’s Energy Commission reviewed oil contracts with foreign customers and found several “weak points,” according to Reza Padidar, a member of the Oil Contracts Policymaking Council. Padidar added that new contracts “with attention to the spirit of the Resistance Economy” can improve Iran’s development. The review process should be completed by the end of the month, according to a plan by the Oil Ministry. (Tasnim News Agency)