Iran News Round Up

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

Key takeaway: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s call for Parliament to “legislate independently” on international protocols may pressure parliamentarians to abandon efforts to adhere to global anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing standards.

Khamenei expressed his disagreement with pending legislation that would necessitate Iran’s adherence to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) during a meeting with parliamentarians on June 20. Khamenei’s meeting follows Parliament’s postponement of a vote on FATF-mandated legislation related to anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing on June 10 for two months until August 10. Regime officials are likely forestalling concessions over U.S. and European concerns related to the regime’s support of terrorism and illicit financial activities until Europe offers “economic guarantees” in the form of blocking regulations, before the reimplementation of U.S. sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal on August 7.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from June 14 - 21.

Domestic Politics
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June 21, 2018

Khamenei: Parliament must "legislate independently” on international protocols

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iranian lawmakers to “legislate independently” on bills related to Iran’s adherence to international protocols during a meeting with parliamentarians on June 20. Khamenei suggested that Parliament should pass its own legislation to counter illicit activities instead of passing legislation that is “problematic.” The Supreme Leader’s remarks were in reference to pending parliamentary bills over the approval of safeguards that would make Iran compliant with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) items related to financial transparency, terror financing, and money laundering. Parliament suspended voting over legislation that would have necessitated Iran’s adherence to the FATF for a period of two months on June 10. Hardliners voiced opposition to the parliamentary legislation. Failure to ratify the necessary legislation to comply with FATF conventions may result in the FATF blacklisting Iran and would further stymie international companies and banks from conducting business with Iran. (Khamenei.ir)

June 21, 2018

Senior IRGC official vacates SETAD property following scandal

Senior Advisor to the Supreme Leader and former Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi vacated a lavish property in northern Tehran on June 20 and returned the property to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei-owned Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam (EIKO), commonly referred to as SETAD. SETAD is a multi-billion dollar economic empire under Khamenei’s direct control that maintains vast holdings in petrochemicals, oil and gas, real estate, pharmaceuticals, and construction. Firouzabadi’s forfeiture follows a heavily-publicized letter from the University Students Seeking Justice Movement to Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi calling for Firouzabadi's immediate removal from the property. The students alleged that SETAD permitted Firouzabadi to reside in the villa for more than 20 years at no charge. The students also claimed that both Khamenei and EIKO Managing Director Mohammad Mokhber previously ordered Firouzabadi to vacate the property before May 21. Firouzabadi denied claims that Khamenei or SETAD had ordered for his eviction on June 19. (Edalat Khahi) (Tasnim News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Khamenei.ir
http://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=39982

Citations & Links

1. Edalat Khahi
https://edalatkhahi.ir/2018/06/18/%d8%ac%d8%b2%d8%a6%db%8c%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d8%b1%d9%88%d9%86%d8%af-%d9%85%d8%b7%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a8%d9%87-%d8%a8%d8%a7%d8%b2%d9%be%d8%b3%e2%80%8c%da%af%db%8c%d8%b1%db%8c-%d9%88%db%8c%d9%84%d8%a7%db%8c-%d9%84/

2. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1397/03/30/1754253/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D9%84%D8%B4%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D9%81%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A2%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%88%DB%8C%D9%84%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%84%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%AD%D9%88%DB%8C%D9%84-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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June 21, 2018

Ansari convenes with UN, Russia, and Turkey to discuss Syrian constitution formation process

Foreign Ministry Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari participated in a meeting with UN, Russian, and Turkish officials to discuss the formation of a Syrian constitutional committee on June 19 in Geneva, Switzerland. UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, and Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Under Secretary Sedat Onal attended the meeting. The UN noted that it will host additional negotiations with Iran, Russia, and Turkey “in the next few weeks.” The Iranian, Russian, and Turkish governments have hosted the Astana Peace Talks parallel to the UN-sponsored Geneva Process since January 2017. (YJC) (United Nations) (E)

June 21, 2018

Israel indicts former minister on suspicion of spying for Iran

The Israeli Jerusalem District State Attorney filed a criminal indictment against former Israeli Energy and Infrastructure Minister Gonen Segev on June 15 on suspicions of spying for Iran. The Israel Security Agency (ISA) arrested Segev in May 2018. The ISA alleged that Segev had been in contact with Iranian intelligence officials as well as elements within the Iranian Embassy in Nigeria since 2012. Segev allegedly transferred information on Israel’s energy market, security sites, and diplomatic and security personnel and buildings to Iranian officials. (Twitter) (E) (Jerusalem Post) (E) (Reuters) (E)

Citations & Links

1. YJC
https://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/6569893/%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AE%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B6-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF

2. United Nations
https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/note-correspondents/2018-06-19/note-correspondents-statement-behalf-united-nations

Citations & Links

1. Twitter
https://twitter.com/hrome2/status/1008721087054696449

2. Jerusalem Post
https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Former-minister-arrested-for-suspicion-of-spying-for-Iran-560252

3. Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-iran-espionage/israel-says-indicts-ex-cabinet-minister-over-alleged-spying-for-iran-idUSKBN1JE1I4

Nuclear Deal Developments
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June 21, 2018

Zarif responds to Pompeo’s 12 demands to Iran

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif castigated U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s May 21 list of 12 U.S. demands to Iran in a letter on June 21. Zarif criticized U.S. foreign policy and its proclivity to abandon international, multilateral agreements under the Trump administration. Zarif cited U.S. decisions to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Climate Accord, and most recently, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as examples of abandonment. Zarif ended the letter calling for the U.S. to cease its intervention in Iran’s domestic affairs and for the U.S. to acknowledge “its unwarranted and unlawful actions against the people of Iran” among other demands. (Iran Daily) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Iran Daily
http://iran-daily.com/News/217019.html

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