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: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for additional repercussions against government officials who have profited from excessive benefits and salaries.

Senior officials at public banks and the country’s National Development Fund have already resigned over the scandal, which broke after media outlets leaked payslips revealing that some government employees have been receiving benefits and salaries far above the mandated cap. Khamenei, who spoke after Eid al Fitr prayers in Tehran, warned that failure to address the controversy adequately could “erode public trust” in the Islamic Republic and stated that “those payments must be reimbursed, the violators of law should be punished, and those abusing the regulations should be dismissed.” President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to pursue salary reforms “to the end.”

Khamenei also addressed Bahrain, which has experienced protests by the country’s Shia majority after the ruling Sunni family revoked the citizenship of a leading Shia cleric and suspended the largest Shia political group in June. Khamenei stated that Iran will not “intervene” in Bahrain but warned Bahraini officials not to “turn a political conflict into a civil war.”

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

  • Khamenei calls excessive government salaries “treason,” says Iran will not intervene in Bahrain. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the excessive government salaries received by some government employees as “treason” in remarks delivered after Eid al Fitr prayers in Tehran. Khamenei warned that failure to address the salary controversy could “erode public trust” in the Islamic Republic and stated that “those payments must be reimbursed, the violators of law should be punished, and those abusing the regulations should be dismissed.”
    • On Bahrain: Khamenei also addressed the crisis in Bahrain, stating, “We have not and are not interfering in the issue of Bahrain, but we advise [Bahrain’s leaders] that they are turning a political conflict into a civil war… If they have political wisdom and awareness, they will not do such a thing and will not pit the [Bahraini] people against each other.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Asr Iran)
  • Larijani requests Parliament commission investigate salary scandal. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani requested that Parliament’s Article 90 commission, the parliamentary body responsible for investigating complaints against any of three branches of government, submit a report on the issue of “astronomical salaries” within two weeks. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Parliamentarians protest closure of Sunni mosque as contrary to national security. Eighteen parliamentarians sent a note to the Interior Ministry criticizing the closure of a Sunni mosque in Eslamshahr, Tehran province on July 5. Permission to hold Eid al Fitr prayers was not granted for multiple mosques, according to reformist parliamentarian Mahmoud Sadeghi, who is also on the reformist-moderate List of Hope faction’s board of directors. He stated, “These violations contradict the Shia-Sunni unity that is always stressed by the Supreme Leader… Given the sectarian movements in the region, they also contradict national security.” Iran’s Sunni minority accounts for nearly ten percent of the population and faces discrimination in religious practice. (ILNA)

Military and Security

  • New AFGS Chief: We will increase the Basij’s power. Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri discussed his priorities on the sidelines of his swearing-in ceremony. Bagheri told reporters that “increasing the defensive power and improving the capabilities of the armed forces and upgrading the Basij” are among his most important goals as AFGS chief. He also noted that his priorities include “promoting the readiness and the defense of the Islamic Republic’s national interests beyond its borders, like in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, and the northern Indian Ocean.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Four guards killed near Iran-Pakistan border. Iranian news outlets reported that four Iranian border guards died during clashes near the village of Jakigour in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan on July 6. Fars News Agency initially reported that “terrorist groups” killed the guards, but other news outlets attributed the clashes to “armed bandits.” The Sunni Jaish al Adl militant group operates in the province and reportedly killed a police officer last month. (Fars News Agency) (Press TV(E) 
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