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: President Hassan Rouhani promised to pursue salary reform “to the end” and announced a plan to “reorganize” the country’s banking system in the wake of leaks that government employees have received excessive benefits and salaries.

President Rouhani, whose administration has been criticized for the exorbitant benefits, noted that details on the plan to “reorganize the banking system” will be revealed soon. Rouhani has taken several steps to address the controversy over the benefits, including ordering First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri to conduct an investigation and ousting the heads of four public banks. National Development Fund (NDF) Head Safdar Hosseini, whose salary was leaked in mid-June, and four NDF executive board members also resigned from their positions on July 2. 

IRGC Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the new head of the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS), appointed several new senior AFGS members on July 5. The new appointments include Artesh Brigadier General Abdolrahim Mousavi’s selection as AFGS deputy chief. Mousavi replaces IRGC Major General Gholam Ali Rashid, who was in turn appointed commander of the IRGC-Artesh Khatam ol Anbia Central Base, an operational command center under the AFGS.

Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Alexander Fominannounced that Russia’s second shipment of S-300 surface-to-air-missiles will be delivered to Iran “soon.” Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin confirmed in mid-May that Iran had received a single battalion of S-300 batteries from Russia.

AEI Must-Reads

  • 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.”

Domestic Politics

  • Rouhani vows to address salary scandal. President Hassan Rouhani praised the media’s coverage of leaks revealing that certain government employees have been receiving exorbitant benefits and salaries during remarks on July 3. Rouhani, who was elected on a platform of economic reform, stated that the government will unveil a plan within the next several days to better “organize” the country’s banking system. He added that regulations approved in the Iranian year 1390 (2011-2012), which fell under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s last term in office, permit a manager to receive up to $290,000 a month. Rouhani noted that these regulations “must be reformed” and promised that his administration will pursue salary reform “to the end.” National Development Fund (NDF) Head Safdar Hosseini, whose salary was leaked in mid-June, and four NDF executive board members also resigned over the scandal on July 2. ( ( (E) (Ghatreh)
  • Presidential election may be held early. The Guardian Council will review a proposal to hold next summer’s 2017 presidential elections a month earlier than usual in order to avoid overlapping with the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, according to Guardian Council member Siamak Rahpeyk. He noted that the Interior Ministry has suggested May 19 or May 26 as potential dates for the election. (ISNA) (YJC)
  • MOIS head denies sending threatening message to journalists. Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi denied that MOIS was behind a threatening text message sent to 700 journalists and activists on July 1. The message warnedrecipients to end communications with “hostile foreign elements.” Alavi stated that it is “unlikely” that a security official sent the “amateurish and unprofessional” message. (IRNA)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Khamenei refuses U.S.-Iran cooperation in Syria. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed Iranian involvement in the Syrian Civil War and Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential elections during a meeting with university students on July 2. Khamenei’s website noted that he “referenced Americans’ claims about willingness for dialogue and cooperation with Iran regarding regional issues including Syria” and stated, “We want no such cooperation because their primary goal is severing Iran’s presence in the region.”
    • Khamenei noted that he is still “sensitive” about about the 2009 presidential election protests, which officials often call “the sedition,” in response to a student’s question on how the government handles dissent. Khamenei stated, “My stance on the 2009 sedition is completely clear. I am still sensitive about it. My criteria is not to support those individuals who led the sedition or misused it, or those who still have not renounced [their positions].” Leaders of the 2009 protests remain under house arrest. ( (Kalame)
  • Foreign Ministry condemns attacks in Saudi Arabia. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi condemned the recent string of suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia and stated, “As it has repeatedly stated before, the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns terrorism in any form and in any part of the world.” (Fars News Agency)

Military and Security

  • Bagheri reshuffles AFGS positions. Newly-appointed Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri appointed several new senior AFGS members on July 5.
    • Bagheri appointed Artesh Brig. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi as AFGS deputy chief. Mousavi has previously served as the deputy commander of the Artesh, Iran’s conventional military. Mousavi replaces IRGC Maj. Gen. Gholam Ali Rashid, who had held the position since 1999. Rashid was appointed as commander of the IRGC-Artesh Khatam ol Anbia Central Base. 
    • Bagheri selected IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Abdollahi as AFGS coordination deputy. Abdollahi has previously served as deputy interior minister for security affairs. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Mehr News Agency) (Mehr News Agency
  • Alleged terrorists confess involvement in Tehran bomb plot. Fars News Agency released a video in which alleged ISIS terrorists confessed to receiving €600,000 to plant bombs across Tehran. According to police, the individuals were arrested two weeks ago in connection with an ISIS plot. The video claims to show hidden camera footage of the men purchasing the materials for explosives. (Fars News Agency) (Khabar Online) (IRNA(E) 
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