Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voted earlier this morning, discussed his ballot choice and reacted to recent American statements about the illegitimacy of Iranian elections:
    • “The dear Iranian people [should] enter the elections scene with excitement and interest and know that the country’s destiny and the nation’s prosperity depend on their presence and election.”
    • “The enemies’ opinion has never been important for the Iranian people, and the nation has always determined what it needs and what is in country’s interest and has and will always elect on this basis.”
    • “No one, even the ones closest [to me] and my family, is aware of my vote, and the people have the duty to research about their choice.” 
  • According to Fars News Agency, Iran is on the brink of a record breaking election participation rate.
  • After casting their ballots, presidential candidates affirmed their deference to the election results.
  • Senior clerics reportedly voted in the early hours and urged participation in the elections as a religious duty. Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said, “The people must consider participation in the elections as prayer, so a good future will be [created] for the country.” 
  • A close companion of disqualified presidential candidate Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, Abbas Amirifard, stated, “Mr. Mashai has implemented his duty and has not protested [his disqualification].”
  • Guardian Council Spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodai announced that between three to five monitors are present at each voting box and, added, “Supervision of elections is only the responsibility of the Guardian Council. Other organs [must not] interfere in this act and Guardian Council monitors will prevent [any such interference].” 

Regional Developments

  • Iranian media reports that the Syrian army is continuing its advancements toward Aleppo and that heavy clashes are taking place in the al-Sakhour neighborhood.
  • The Syrian Foreign Ministry categorically denied that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons.
  • Free Syrian Army Commander Salim Idris has reportedly told Western officials that the rebel-held city of Aleppo is on the verge of falling to Syrian army and Lebanese Hezbollah forces and requested special support, such as anti-tank and anti-aircraft equipment. 
  • After the fall of al-Qusayr, Muslim Ulama Union Deputy Abdolaziz al-Torki announced the formation of armed groups to fight in Syria. 
  • The Lebanese Muslim Ulama Association condemned the massacre of Shia villagers in Hatlah by Syrian opposition forces early this week. 
  • The Grand Mufti of Syria Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun said, “We are not only defending ourselves, rather we are defending the entire East and, in reality, the entire East has been targeted.” He reportedly added that if the Syrian government fell, so would Russia.
  • Ahlul Bayt News Agency reports the emergence of security unrest in Qatar in the past twenty-four hours. 
  • Human rights violations in Bahrain have reportedly increased in the past month, since the announcement of a state of emergency by the Bahraini government.

Diplomacy

  • In reaction to Canada’s refusal to establish voting booths for Iranian residents, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stated that he hopes “…the Canadians take the path of reason and logic, and if there are misunderstandings between the two countries [they should] come [so we] can resolve it with dialogue.” He added, “With the Islamic revolution, Iran liberated itself from being the slave of Global Arrogance and has maintained its political independence to this day. Elections are one of the main mechanisms for maintaining political independence because they are the symbol of national solidarity. If we have widespread participation in the elections and demonstrate our internal solidarity, then our national security will also be maintained.”

Military and Security

  • A group known as the Iranian Cyber Army has reportedly hacked thirteen websites and weblogs connected to “the Islamic Republic opposition front.”
  • Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander BG Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam announced that no security incidents have been reported during the elections and added, “Providing security in some border areas is the responsibility of our [the IRGC] and also our brothers in the Artesh, and in some areas only the [LEF] are present. All of these forces, in addition to supervision, are attempting to prevent the emergence of any incidents before they happen with total cooperation and vigilance.”
  • Speaking at the IRGC-affiliated Imam Sadegh University, Minister of Islamic Culture and Guidance Mohammad Hosseini stated that more than 450 foreign journalists are covering the elections.

Economy

  • After increasing oil refinery capacity in the Persian Gulf in order to adjust to international sanctions, Iran will begin exporting refined oil products with Euro 4 standards instead of crude oil. 
  • The eleventh national Iranian gas pipeline, a 1,100 kilometer long pipeline with the capacity to transfer 110 million cubic meters per day, will transfer Southern Pars phase three gas fields to the country’s interior areas and will reportedly be operational before spring 2016.

Photo of the Day

 

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