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 Mehrdad Moarefian and Marie Donovan, with contributor Ryan Melvin.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 LEF Commander Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam stated that an investment company named Qadr is at the center of a corruption case Moghaddam brought against the LEF Cooperation Foundation.

Former LEF Commander Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam disputed LEF Spokesman Montazer al Mahdi’s account of the judicial case involving the LEF Corruption Foundation [Bonyad Taavon NAJA]. Ahmadi Moghaddam stated that the case is not against multiple companies, but a single investment company called Qadr.

In an interview with Hezbollah-run news outlet al Ahed, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani stated that the war against “terrorists” like ISIS is “more difficult than the war against the Zionists” due to the terrorists’ “hypocritical” nature.

Mayor of Tehran and former presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf criticized the Rouhani administration for suggesting Iran’s economic challenges can only be solved with a nuclear deal. Ghalibaf’s statements echo Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s earlier pushback against Rouhani; on May 27, Khamenei highlighted that “the key to solving the country’s economic problems as well as the nuclear issue” is reliance on and reinforcement of domestic production.

AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis analyzes the recent arrest of former vice president Hamid Baghaei, Supreme Leader Khamenei’s comments from the regime’s commemoration of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei’s death, and Iran’s economic and regional challenges in his most recent blog post, “Can arresting another former vice president help save Iran from itself?"

Official Statements

  • Ahmadi Moghaddam gives interview on LEF Cooperation Foundation corruption case. Former LEF Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam addressed “rumors of [his] arrest and the financial corruption” case related to the LEF Cooperation Foundation in an interview with state television:
    • “We encountered a case of economic corruption in the Bonyad Taavon [NAJA] [LEF Cooperation Foundation]. [LEF Spokesman] Mr. Montazer al Mahdi stated there were companies, but no, it was one company, it was an investment company, called “Qadr” [“power”]. This company must not manage an [organization].  [Qadr] buys fewer than 50% of stocks or exchanges them. We found that… men have exploited companies established outside [the investment company] and are investing in their own companies. We said to these men… ’You must return the assets,’ and we procrastinated….after, they [the Qadr employees] saw the companies were profitable, and they [the Qadr employees] said we should buy [shares].”
    • “Money does wonders. They removed the judge in the middle of the case; twice I have explained the financial corruption case to the judge, but I was not charged or imprisoned.”
    • “I was disappointed with the courts. I went back to Judiciary Head Ayatollah [Sadegh] Amoli Larijani…he [possibly Amoli Larijani] read my letter and said, ‘is it possible to transfer the judge in the middle of the case?’ By law, the investigative judge is not transferrable or detachable. This case should be handled by a special judge. They ordered the case to go the normal route to the Military Prosecutor. A judge and special prosecutor was appointed, and the case was processed with strength.” (Tabnak) http://www(.)tabnak(.)ir/fa/news/507651/%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B4%D8%A7%DA%AF%D8%B1%DB%8C%E2%80%8C-%D8%A7%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D9%85%D9%82%D8%AF%D9%85-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B2%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%AA-%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%82-%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%A7
  • Larijani: war against terrorists is “more difficult than the war” against Israel. In an interview with Hezbollah-run news outlet al Ahed News, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani “said that Muslims today are faced with a terrorist movement which has taken on “the banner of ‘There is no God but God’…” but “in reality” is evil; Larijani continued, “With its experience and intelligence, Hezbollah has managed to enter into real conflict against terrorists, and soon these realities will show that this conflict is more difficult than the war against the Zionists, because [the conflict] is carried out directly against the hypocritical currents [terrorists].”
  • On the West’s anti-ISIS coalition: “With the exception of some attacks, the Western coalition has taken no significant action against terrorists in Syria and Iraq.” Larijani criticized the West for thinking it “can support [terrorist] groups behind the scenes and then destroy them when necessary. (Mashregh News) http://www(.)mashreghnews(.)ir/fa/news/427189/%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%AE%D9%81%D8%AA-%D9%88-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AC-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%86%D8%AF-%D8%B4%D8%AF-%D8%AF%D8%B1%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%AA%DA%A9%D9%81%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D8%AE%D8%AA%E2%80%8C%D8%AA%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AC%D9%86%DA%AF-%D8%B9%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%B5%D9%87%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%B0%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%87%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87-%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D9%88-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AC%D9%84%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%AA
  • Ayatollah Larijani- Interior officials trying to “distort” the image of Islam. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani spoke at a Supreme Judicial meeting claiming, “Efforts to distort the vision and personality of Imam [Khomeini] are still seen in the interior and along with it many Western countries are trying to distort true Islam…” The Judiciary Head also discussed sanctions and terrorism:
    • On sanctions: Larijani shared the sentiment from other government officials that the nuclear sanctions have been linked to “economic problems and political troubles,” including an overlooking of the “capabilities of the youth and other local talents.” Larijani called to avoid the repeating of the “strategic mistake” in terms of the talks and sanctions, and that he will discuss the matter further in private circles. He added that the focus on the “domestic power” has created discussions to examine the “way forward.”
    • On terrorism: He stated that terrorists are creating a "disaster" in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. He added that it is "regrettable that Western countries...allow a few thousand terrorists to easily enter these countries." (YJC)  http://www(.)yjc(.)ir/fa/news/5228025/%D8%B9%D8%AF%D9%87%E2%80%8E%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%85%D8%B4%DA%A9%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AA-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%85%E2%80%8E%D9%87%D8%A7-%D9%88-%D9%85%D8%B0%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D9%87-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8E%D8%B2%D9%86%D9%86%D8%AF
  •  Izadi rejects reports of Iranian missiles in Iraq and Yemen. IRGC Maj. Gen. Mostafa Izadi dismissed a recent BBC report claiming that Iran has transported missiles to Iraq and Yemen. The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces stated: “News about Iran sending missiles is not true; Zelzal missiles deployed in Iraq and Yemen were indigenously produced by the armed forces of these countries.” Izadi added that the resistance forces in Iraq and Yemen do not need Iran’s military hardware. (Defa Press) http://www(.)defapress(.)ir/Fa/News/48046
  • Salami: “Americans are our worst enemies.” Deputy Commander of the IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said that even though Americans speak eloquently, their words are not based on truth.  Salami added that there are three reasons why large states fail: “the waning of political civility, the collapse of ethical values, and excessive expansion.” Salami said that the U.S. is suffering from the first two; therefore the U.S.’ “decline and collapse is certain.” Salami noted that advances in technology, if not based on a moral framework, will lead to the collapse of justice, ethics, and the economy on the world stage. Salami described the advancement of Iran’s “school of security” as being firmly based on moral values. (Sepah News) http://sepahnews(.)com/shownews(.)Aspx?ID=c1bf646d-cbde-48e9-9a6a-5de890331dcd       
  • Nasrallah: World should know truth of Saudi aggression on Yemen. Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah delivered a televised speech to a meeting of clerics in Qom, and stated: "The Yemeni people need the international, political, diplomatic and humanitarian support so that the aggressors [the Saudis] aren't able to impose solutions that do not fit Yemen's interests and its enormous sacrifices." He added that the war will shape the future of the region "either in serving the interests of the global arrogance and tyrants [the U.S. and its regional allies] or in serving the interests of the peoples of the region..." (Kayhan) (E) http://kayhan(.)ir/en
  • Vahidi: The support of the Islamic Republic elevates nations to stronger positions. President of the Strategic Defense Studies Center Ahmad Vahidi spoke recently at the unveiling ceremony for the biography of "Martyr Rasoul Haidari," an Iranian who died fighting during the Bosnian War in the 1990s. The former IRGC Qods Force Commander:stated that the Western powers and "reactionary Arab countries" only provided the Bosnian people with humanitarian aid, and these Muslims became defenseless at the Srebrenica massacre: "Where were they [Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries] when the people of Bosnia and Palestine, who are Sunni, were crushed under the feet of the Serbs and the Zionists?" He added that when Bosnia turned to the Islamic Republic, the tide of war shifted towards a favorable Muslim agreement. Vahidi stated this is currently happening in Iraq, and that the Islamic Republic is preventing "the victory [for ISIS] and registering it in the name of Iran..." (Defa Press) http://www(.)defapress(.)ir/Fa/News/48064              
  • Shariatmadari: Rouhani’s statements are a “message of weakness” to the enemy. Hossein Shariatmadari, the Managing Editor of the conservative newspaper Kayhan, criticized Rouhani’s comments regarding the negative effects of sanctions on Iran’s economy and environment. According to Shariatmadari, Rouhani’s comments depict an Iran in the throes of an economic crisis and therefore put Iran in a weaker bargaining position in its negotiations with the West. (Raja News) http://www(.)rajanews(.)com/news/214429          
  • Afkham: Iran has no military presence in Syria. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told reporters that “raising issues like the presence of Syria's friends, including Iran, in the country is baseless. The Syrian nation and government enjoys the power to resist." She reiterated that Iran is only sending humanitarian aid to Syria and blamed foreign powers on blocking a political settlement to the Syrian conflict. (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english(.)farsnews(.)com/newstext(.)aspx?nn=13940320001021


Domestic Politics

  • Mayor of Tehran criticizes the government for hyping impact of U.S. sanctions. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf criticized the Rouhani administration for suggesting that Iran’s economic challenges are due to sanctions and could only be solved with a nuclear deal. The Mayor of Tehran and former senior IRGC commander stated, “Lack of planning and poor management in this government and the previous government [under President Ahmadinejad] has been more effective than sanctions.” Ghalibaf blamed the Rouhani administration for politicizing economic issues and creating problems rather than working towards solutions. (Mashregh News) http://www(.)mashreghnews(.)ir/fa/news/427129/%D9%86%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%DA%AF%D9%85-%D8%A8%DA%AF%D9%85-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%B5%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D9%82%D8%A8%D9%84%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%A8%D8%AF%DB%8C%D9%84-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Iran, China, and Indonesia reach final agreement on constructing refinery. Hassan Khosrojerdi announced that a joint venture plan has been finalized to build an oil refinery in East Java, a province in Indonesia located on the island of Java. The refinery will have the capability to process 150,000 barrels of heavy crude per day. The head of the Iranian Oil Exporters Union said that the deal envisages China financing 85% of the initial investment with Iran providing the rest and supplying refinery feedstock.  Khosrojerdi added that the three countries are also planning to build five gas condensate refineries in Indonesia. (IRNA) (E) http://www(.)irna(.)ir/en/News/81641126/
  • Senior Iranian cleric to attend Islamic conference in Russia. Secretary General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought Ayatollah Mohsen Araki will attend the Fifth Russia and the Islamic World Conference from June 11-13 in Moscow. The Supreme Leader’s former Representative in London also met with a number of Turkish Muslim scholars on June 9 in Istanbul. (YJC) (Tasnim News Agency) (E)http://www(.)yjc(.)ir/fa/news/5227915/%D9%BE%D9%86%D8%AC%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86-%DA%A9%D9%86%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B3-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%AC%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B3%DA%A9%D9%88-%D8%A8%D8%B1%DA%AF%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF http://www(.)tasnimnews(.)com/english/Home/Single/765835


Military and Security

  • Fadavi: The U.S. is threatening our existence. IRGC Navy Commander Brig. Gen Ali Fadavi said that Americans are determined to not only annoy Iran but threaten its very existence whenever the opportunity presents itself. In a conference with Basij and IRGC personnel, Fadavi noted that hostility with the U.S. has not diminished and that the Americans have targeted the deterrence capabilities of Iran. Fadavi described the IRGC Navy as “confronting American naval forces every day.” Fadavi added that the capabilities of the IRGC Navy are advancing; for example, its missile and flotilla forces are able to cover “all the waters of the Persian Gulf.” (DefaPress) http://www(.)defapress(.)ir/Fa/News/48103
  • Ashtari: Iran to bolster border security. Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari said that “we will certainly enhance our capability and equipment in the bordering areas” and stressed that the LEF was ready to thwart any threats at the borders. (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english(.)farsnews(.)com/newstext(.)aspx?nn=13940320000311


Nuclear Talks

  • Nuclear talks to run through Friday. Iran and P5+1 members resumed deputy-level talks in Vienna, Austria. Expert-level talks are set to be held later in the week. (Press TV) (E) http://www(.)presstv(.)com/Detail/2015/06/10/415193/Iran-nuclear-talks-P51-Vienna
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