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 Shayan Enferadi and Daniel Schnur. 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: Former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei blamed Saudi Arabia for the recent uptick of violence in northwestern and southeastern Iran.

Rezaei identified Saudi Arabia’s activity in fomenting unrest along Iran’s borders with Iraq and Pakistan as part of a new strategy against Iran. Rezaei’s comments come as senior Iranian officials have sharpened their rhetoric against Saudi Arabia. IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari recently blamed “some regional countries” for the increasing number of clashes between Iranian security forces and “terrorists” in Iran’s border provinces.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif requested that the Nigerian government free the leader of a Shia Nigerian opposition group while meeting with Nigerian officials during his ongoing diplomatic tour of West African countries. The Nigerian military arrested Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky after an outbreak of violence between civilians and the military in December 2015. Iranian officials had issued statements denouncing the violence and supporting Zakzaky after his arrest.  

AEI Must-Reads

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Rezaei: Saudi Arabia is targeting Iran through involvement in Pakistan and northern Iraq.Former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei identified Saudi Arabia’s activity “in Pakistan and adjacent to Sistan and Baluchistan [province in Iran] and northern Iraq” as a “new move” against Iran in the wake of the failure of its other regional activities. In response to a question regarding the possibility “of a Saudi war against Iran,” the Expediency Discernment Council secretary stated that “Saudi Arabia’s hope is that if it does something, America will be right behind it. We have discovered this formula. We do things so that the U.S. leaves Saudi Arabia alone and hopeless. Then we will create a calamity for Saudi Arabia that it will remember for an eternity.” (Fars News Agency(E) (Ana
  • Zarif asks Nigerian authorities to release imprisoned cleric. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Nigerian officials during his six-day trip to West Africa. Zarif requested that the Nigerian government free Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, who was detained by the Nigerian military after an outbreak of violence between Nigeria’s Shia population and the Nigerian military in December 2015. The Islamic Movement of Nigeria is a Nigerian Shia opposition group that has alleged ties to the Iranian regime. (ISNA)
  • Foreign Ministry condemns violence against civilians in Yemen. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi denounced violence in the town of al Sarari in Taiz governorate by forces aligned with Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi as “a clear example of genocide.” Popular resistance forces captured al Sarari on July 26. (ILNA)
    • Ghassemi also denounced the Arab League’s recent statement blaming Iran for “interfering” in the “domestic affairs of Arab states.” Ghassemi pointed to the failure of many Arab leaders to attend the Arab League’s most recent summit in Mauritania, claiming that it “is an indicator of the Saudi regime’s failed attempts to build a consensus” among Arab states. (Defa Press)
  • Shamkhani issues joint statement with Pakistani National Security Advisor on border security.  Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani and Pakistani National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua issued a statement calling for the creation of a joint commission to manage security along the Iran-Pakistan border, which has witnessed an uptick in violence in recent months. Janjua also met with IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the recently appointed head of the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS), in Tehran. (Defa Press)
  • ICT minister calls for increased telecom and cyber ties with Russia. Minister of Information Technology and Communications Mahmoud Vaezi and Russian Minister of Communication and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov called for increased bilateral ties in telecommunications and cyberspace technology during a meeting in Moscow. Vaezi reportedly discussed resuming operations in Iran for the Russian search engine Yandex with his Russian counterpart. The meeting occurred during Vaezi’s three-day trip to meet with Russian officials, including the minister of industry and trade, the minister of energy, and the trade minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission. (Press TV) (E) (Sputnik(E)

Military and Security

  • Artesh Ground Forces Commander responds to criticism of the Artesh. Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan criticized a recent comment regarding the Artesh made by Hassan Abbasi, a provocative lecturer with ties to the IRGC, as “injudicious.” Abbasi claimed that the Artesh “just sits quietly in their barracks” and would “not make a sound” if the U.S. committed an affront to Iran, according to a clip of Abbasi’s speech published on social media sites. Pourdastan claimed that Abbasi spoke “without knowledge of the duties of the organizations and forces… He must apologize to the Artesh and the Iranian people. Otherwise, this issue will be pursued more seriously, and we would expect a response from the judicial authorities.” Pourdastan also praised the Artesh’s role in defending Iran’s borders, stating, “the Artesh Ground Forces have based their forces in various layers around the border.” (Tasnim News Agency) (Asr Iran)

Domestic Politics

  • Student groups criticize “security atmosphere” in statement to Rouhani. Ninety-two student groups issued a letter to President Hassan Rouhani denouncing the “atmosphere of intimidation and threat” in Iranian universities. It read, “Leading into this year’s presidential elections the atmosphere of Iran’s universities is extremely worrying… Unfortunately, it appears that the university and the student have become neglected issues in the decision-making of the president and his administration.” Rouhani has repeatedly stressed the importance of protecting free-speech and looser security restrictions on university campuses. Hardliners, however, routinely claim that universities are sources of anti-regime sedition. (Fars News Agency)


  • CBI announces decreasing inflation rate. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced an average inflation rate of 9.2 percent during the Persian month of Tir (June 21-July 21), a 0.5 percent decrease compared to the previous month. Improving Iran’s economic metrics will be a crucial indicator of President Hassan Rouhani’s chances at reelection, as his own opponents have noted. (Donya-e Eqtesad)
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