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 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: The IRGC released a statement confirming the arrest of British-Iranian dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and accusing her of plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic.

The IRGC Intelligence Organization reportedly arrested Zaghari-Ratcliffe as she attempted to leave Iran with her infant daughter on April 3. The statement is the first confirmation by the IRGC of her arrest. It cites “a series of extensive intelligence operations” as proving that she sought “the soft overthrow of the Islamic Republic’s establishment.” Senior officials including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have repeatedly maintained that Iran is engaged in a “soft war” with the West, which they claim has changed tactics to manipulating public opinion after failing to overthrow the regime by military force.

Iran’s Press Supervisory Board shut down the conservative website Jahan News on June 15 for running “two false stories,” according to an “informed source” cited by Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). One of the two stories had claimed that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour held “various negotiations with different organizations” in Iran over a two-month period before being killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan on May 21.

AEI Must-Reads

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • IRGC accuses dual British-Iranian citizen of seeking “soft overthrow” of Islamic Republic.The IRGC released a statement on June 15 confirming the arrest and imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian citizen, by the IRGC’s intelligence wing on April 3. It cites “a series of extensive intelligence operations” as having prompted her arrest and and accuses her of being a “main ringleader of hostile institutions… under the auspices of foreign governments’ media and espionage services.” It further claims that Zaghari-Ratcliffe planned “media and cyber projects” in order to orchestrate the “soft overthrow of the Islamic Republic’s establishment.” The statement concludes that her case “is being sent to Tehran” for judicial proceedings. (Tasnim News Agency(E) (IRIB)
     
  • Former IRGC commander: Our ambassadors in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria are Quds Force members. Former IRGC Commander Javad Mansouri discussed the formation of the IRGC Quds Force during an interview with a reporter from Ramz-e obour, a weekly Iranian publication. Mansouri appeared to confirm that Abbas Araghchi, a current deputy foreign minister and former nuclear negotiator, was a member of the IRGC Quds Force during the interview.  The interviewer asked whether  “some [diplomats] including Mr. Araghchi had experience in the Quds Force and the Quds Force actually introduced them to the Foreign Ministry?” Mansouri replied, “They are essentially members there [of the Quds Force]. Now, our current and previous ambassadors to Iraq are Quds Force members. It is the same for Lebanon and Syria.” Iranian news outlets subsequently denied Mansouri’s comments, citing anonymous officials in the administration and Foreign Ministry. Several Iranian media outlets also insinuated that news coverage had misconstrued Mansouri’s comments since the reporter had asked a leading question. During an interview with another publication last year, Araghchi claimed that he formally “separated” from the IRGC when he entered the Foreign Ministry in the Persian calendar year 1368 (1989-1990), according to Ghanoon News. Ramz-e obour is reportedly a conservative publication that sometimes takes anti-Rouhani positions. (Basij News) (Ghanoon News)  (Farda News)
     
  • AEOI spokesman: Iran won’t bow to U.S. attempts to impose additional JCPOA requirements. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi stated that during the nuclear negotiations, Iran and the P5+1 agreed to use the term “stockpile,” which he argued “means the final stocked product” of enriched uranium, “instead of the word inventory, which includes all enriched materials from the beginning to the end of the enrichment process.” Kamalvandi claimed that the U.S. is attempting to interpret instances of the word “stockpile” in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as the more comprehensive “inventory” and stressed that Iran has “naturally opposed” America’s interpretation. Kamalvandi also said that the U.S. has “raised a demand beyond the JCPOA” regarding the issue of “fiber carbon,” but that Iran “naturally [has] not and will not accept” America’s demand. (Fars News Agency) (E
     
  • Foreign Ministry spokesman describes “closed-door meeting” between Kerry and Zarif. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari commented on the meeting between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry. Ansari stated, “The closed door meeting was 70 minutes. The two sides negotiated the continued implementation of the JCPOA, including issues connected to banks and the easing of nuclear-related sanctions.” (IRNA) (IRNA)

Domestic Politics

  • Jahan News shut down. Iran’s Press Supervisory Board shut down the conservative website Jahan News on June 15 due to “two false stories” it ran, according to an “informed source” cited by Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). One of the stories had claimed that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour held “various negotiations with different organizations” in Iran over a two-month period before being killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan on May 21. The other story claimed that EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini sent a “secret letter” to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denying that the P5+1 must resolve banking problems for Iran as part of the nuclear deal. IRNA’s source added that the false stories had caused “anti-revolutionary sites, Zionist media outlets, and satellite channels” to accuse Iran of lying. (IRNA)
     
  • Rouhani reiterates importance of implementing the Resistance Economy doctrine. President Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech on June 15 following a meeting with Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
    • On the Resistance Economy’s implementation: Rouhani reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent statements on the importance of the implementation of the Resistance Economy doctrine, stating, “As the Supreme Leader of the Revolution has said, the country’s power depends on its economic and scientific power [and] providing opportunities for the youth to make the best use of their science, knowledge, and technology.”
    • On Iranian involvement in the region: Rouhani stated, “We, as a neighboring country, will continue assisting [neighboring] nations and governments, which have called for our help.”
    • Rouhani also criticized the UN’s recent decision to remove the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen from its list of children’s rights violators, stating, “This issue indicates that, unfortunately, international organizations have lost the even flawed position they used to have.” (President.ir) (E) (Press TV) (E) (President.ir)

Casualties in Iraq and Syria

  • Fatimiyoun Brigade member to be buried in Shiraz. Zaher Hosseini was an Afghan who was reportedly killed in Syria. He was 22 years old. (Tasnim News Agency)
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