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: A hardline news agency published an article revealing the “astronomical salaries” of senior government employees at the National Development Fund (NDF).

Tasnim News Agency reported that the annual salary of NDF President Safdar Hosseini was 680 million toumans ($220,000). The revelation is the latest in a chain of leaks that senior Iranian government officials have been receiving exorbitant salaries as well as low-interest loans and bonuses far above the legal cap for government employees. Hardliners have seized upon the leaks to attack President Hassan Rouhani, who has often been praised for working to stabilize inflation and decrease unemployment. Rouhani has ordered a government investigation into the salaries.

An official at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) told reporters that Iran has dispatched a team of “experts” to the U.S. to negotiate the retrieval of $2 billion in Iranian frozen assets. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April allowed the victims of terrorist attacks attributed to Iran to collect the assets. The CBI official’s statement follows President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement on June 15 that Iran has filed a complaint against the U.S. with the International Court of Justice over the assets.

Iranian news outlets reported that Asadollah Ebrahimi, a commander in the Afghan Shia militia Fatimiyoun Brigade, was killed in southern Aleppo, Syria.

AEI Must-Reads

Domestic Politics

  • Hardline news outlet discloses salary of top NDF officials. Tasnim News Agency published an article detailing the “astronomical salaries” of top officials at the National Development Fund (NDF), Iran’s sovereign fund tasked with investing a portion of revenues from oil and gas into the economy. Tasnim News Agency reported that the salary of Safdar Hosseini, the NDF president, was 680 million toumans ($220,000) in the Persian calendar year of 1394 (2015-2016). Hosseini’s salary is the latest in a series of leaks that some senior government officials have been receiving exorbitant salaries as well as low-interest loans and bonuses far above the legal cap for government employees. President Hassan Rouhani has ordered an investigation into the salaries. (Tasnim News Agency) (Mehr News Agency)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • CBI official: Iran has sent a group to U.S. to negotiate frozen assets. Hossein Yaghoubi Miab, the director-general of the international affairs department at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), stated that Iran has dispatched several “experts” to the U.S. to negotiate the return of the $2 billion in Iranian frozen assets that the U.S. Supreme Court had ordered to be turned over to the families of victims of terrorist attacks attributed to Iran. He did not provide further details on the group of experts but added, “We have sent some teams from the government to America before for negotiation. I am confident that this issue will be resolved soon.”
    • Yaghoubi Miab, who was speaking at a banking conference in Saint Petersburg, also addressed the status of Iran-Russia banking relations. He stated, “Under sanctions, some Russian banks gave good assistance to the Iranian banking sector. After the removal of sanctions, what happened to them? A smaller number of them are coming to Iran, and this is regrettable. One positive piece of news is that we have begun negotiations with Gazprombank [Russia’s third-largest bank], but we need the participation of more banks. We expect to have a smoother banking relationship with Russia.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Tehran Friday prayer defends Shia Muslims in Bahrain and Pakistan. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani criticized the Bahraini government’s “crackdown” on Shia clerics and urged the Pakistani government to protect Shia civilians during his sermon on June 16. The interim Tehran Friday prayer leader accused Bahrain of closing Shia mosques and torturing clerics and called for Muslims worldwide to “sympathize with the oppressed Muslims of Bahrain.” The Iranian Foreign Ministry also released a statement criticizing the Bahraini government on June 16 for suspending al Wefaq, the largest Shia political group in the country. Emami Kashani added that “they beat and kill Shias in Pakistan… Even Christian scholars support them, but the government is silent.”
    • Emami Kashani also called for Iranian youth to recognize the “magnitude” of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and stated, “Opinions regarding the Revolution other than his are wrong.” Emami Kashani added that Khamenei is “the only one who can analyze what the Islamic Revolution is, what greatness it has, how it should be protected, how one must interact with the world, and what the enemies’ deceit is.” (Mehr News Agency) (E) (Tasnim News Agency)

Military and Security

  • Senior advisor to Soleimani: We will be in Syria and Iraq until the last ISIS fighter is killed. IRGC Brig. Gen. Iraj Masjedi praised Iran’s operations in Syria during a ceremony commemorating the IRGC soldiers who lost their lives during the rebel offensive on the town of Khan Tuman in early May. He explained that Iran’s presence in Syria and Iraq is in order to defend Iran’s borders from “Saudi Arabia and Israel.” He added, “Aleppo, Fallujah, and the other regions of Syria and Iraq are the frontline of the Resistance Front, and the IRGC and the Iranian Basij will be present on these fronts until the last ISIS fighter is killed.” (Asr Iran)
  • Police chief: ISIS has not infiltrated our borders. Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari told reporters that ISIS forces have not crossed Iran’s borders, although there have been intermittent border clashes between Iranian and ISIS forces. He also stressed the security of Iran’s border regions and readiness of Iran’s military forces. Ashtari’s comments are likely in reaction to recent clashes between Kurdish Iranians and the IRGC in northwestern Iran and between Iranian forces and Baluch separatists in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan. (IRNA) (E)


  • Deputy minister: The Boeing deal will be the largest trade agreement with the U.S. in decades. Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, the deputy minister of Roads and Urban Development, told reporters that the details on the prospective agreement to purchase Boeing commercial aircraft will be announced “within the next two days.” He also noted that the upcoming deal will be “the biggest civil trade agreement between the two countries in decades.” (Press TV) (E)

Casualties in Iraq and Syria

  • Fatimiyoun Brigade commander killed in Syria. Iranian news outlets reported that Asadollah Ebrahimi, a Fatimiyoun Brigade commander, was killed in southern Aleppo, Syria. (Golestan24) (
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