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 and contributor Ken Hawrey. 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: The Guardian Council announced changes in the parliamentary runoff elections results that prevent two reformist and moderate-backed politicians from taking their seats.
The Guardian Council cited evidence of “violations and illegal interference” to annul votes for a reformist-backed candidate in the electoral district of Ahar and Heris, while a recount of votes in the district of Tabriz prompted a principlist candidate to take a seat originally won by another reformist-backed candidate. The Guardian Council must approve all election results before they are final. The changes in these two districts follow the Guardian Council’s refusal to confirm the parliamentary election results in a district in Hormozgan province on May 18, which was also justified by “electoral violations” and prevented another reformist-backed candidate from taking his seat. The altered results also follow the controversial disqualification of reformist politician Minoo Khaleghi after photographs circulated online allegedly of her without a headscarf.
Iran’s representative to OPEC, Mehdi Asali, stated that while Iran is unwilling to join any global oil output freeze, it nonetheless “supports any of OPEC’s efforts to restore stability to the market with fair and logical prices.” Asali’s comments come as other OPEC members have indicated that they are interested in joining an oil production freeze.
- Follow the latest electoral developments in Parliament and the Assembly of Experts, including the parliament speaker election, in the Critical Threats Project’s “Iran Elections Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
- Caitlin Pendleton discusses how a reformist parliamentarian’s late disqualification could transform Iran’s domestic political scene in “Iran’s Guardian Council pushes the limits of its electoral control.”
Guardian Council prevents two additional reformist-backed candidates from taking seats in Parliament. Guardian Council member Siamak Rahpeyk announced changes in the parliamentary runoff election results for two districts in East Azerbaijan province that prevent two politicians endorsed by the joint reformist-moderate candidate list from serving in Parliament.
- The Guardian Council cited evidence of “violations and illegal interference” to annul votes in the electoral district of Ahar and Heris. Baitullah Abdollahi, who had won that district’s single seat in the April 29 parliamentary runoff elections, was endorsed by the joint reformist-moderate List of Hope. Rahpeyk stated that the race to fill Abdollahi’s seat will be held simultaneously with the 2017 presidential elections. (Tasnim News Agency) (ISNA)
- Rahpeyk added that a recount of votes first announced on May 18 has altered the final election results in the district of Tabriz, Osku, and Azarshahr. Principlist politician Mohammad Esmaeil Saeedi, who had come in fifth place for the four seats available in the runoff elections, will take that district’s fourth seat. Ali Reza Monadi Sefidan, who was also endorsed by the reformist-moderate List of Hope, had initially won the seat on April 29. (ISNA) (Asr Iran)
- Iran’s representative to OPEC: We will not commit to any oil freeze. Mehdi Asali, Iran’s representative to OPEC, stated that Iran is unwilling to join any global oil output freeze during an interview with reporters. He stated that Iran nonetheless “supports any of OPEC’s efforts to restore stability to the market with fair and logical prices.” Asali’s comments come as some OPEC members have indicated that they are interested in joining an oil production freeze. (SHANA)
- Iran set to resume oil swaps in the Caspian Sea. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) ordered one of its subsidiaries, Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), to prepare oil swap operations with states along the Caspian Sea. Under oil swap arrangements, which started in 1997 but were discontinued in 2010, Iran imported crude oil into its ports on the Caspian Sea from surrounding states and exported refined oil from its Persian Gulf ports on behalf of the crude oil exporting states. (Donya-e Eqtesad)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization head: Do not try to go on Hajj through a third country. Saeed Ohadi called on Iranian nationals not to make the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia through another country “due to the anti-Iran psychological atmosphere created by Riyadh.” The head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization stated, “The conditions for ensuring the security of Iranians outside the country are not being provided in any way. Our advice to our countrymen is to avoid performing the Hajj this year.” Ohadi also said that “Saudi Arabia is paying a heavy price for depriving Iranians of the Hajj, and Islamic communities will not accept this injustice.” Ohadi added that Saudi Arabia “should be held accountable in the international community” for abusing pilgrims’ rights. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (IRNA)
Zarif: Republicans cannot renegotiate the nuclear agreement. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven while on a diplomatic visit to Sweden. Zarif stated that the nuclear deal “is not an Iran-U.S. agreement for the Republican front-runner or anybody else to renegotiate. It's an international understanding annexed to a Security Council resolution."
- Zarif also commented on Iranian presence in Iraq, stating, “We will leave Iraq whenever Iraqi officials ask us, and we will help Iraq whenever they want us to do so. Saudi Arabia will soon understand that ISIS is Saudi Arabia’s primary enemy.” (ILNA) (Fars News Agency) (Fars News Agency) (E)
- IRGC Ground Forces commander spotted near Fallujah. Iranian news outlets circulated photos of IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour with IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani reportedly near Fallujah. (Jahan News)
Military and Security
Artesh Navy 41st Fleet travels to Gulf of Aden. Fars News Agency reported that the Artesh Navy’s 41st Fleet has left the port of Bandar Abbas and is bound for the Gulf of Aden. The 41st Fleet will reportedly conduct anti-piracy exercises while in the Gulf of Aden. (Fars News Agency) (E)
- Defense Minister: We will liberate Aleppo. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stated, “We are helping in Syria and Iraq as much as we can because a part of the Muslim community has been under attack and we are defending it… because Islam and Islamic lands are important to us.” The defense minister also stated, “Aleppo is a strategic location, and the terrorists are trying to dominate it. Ultimately, however, the occupied area of this Syrian province will be liberated by the Resistance Front.” Iran refers to its network of partners and allies in the region, such as Lebanese Hezbollah, as the “Resistance Front.” (Tasnim News Agency)