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: Iranian officials announced the arrests of separatist and terrorist groups in East Azerbaijan and Khuzestan provinces, less than a week after the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) arrested individuals connected to one of the “largest takfiri-Wahhabi terrorist plots” in Iran.
Farhad Afsharnia, the Judiciary head for the southwestern province of Khuzestan, announced that security forces recently arrested individuals connected to several “terrorist teams” in the province. The Judiciary head for East Azerbaijan province, Hojjat ol Eslam Ali Mozaffari, meanwhile, announced that six “spies” from an Azerbaijani separatist group were arrested in the provincial capital of Tabriz. IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour also claimed that two terrorists recently arrested by security forces in Sistan and Baluchistan province confessed to receiving U.S. and Saudi support. These announcements follow MOIS’s arrests of ten individuals allegedly planning to attack nearly “50 targets” in Iran and reports of clashes between security forces and separatists in northwestern Iran and Sistan and Baluchistan province last week.
Judiciary Spokesman Hojjat ol Eslam Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei claimed that the investigation into “exorbitant salaries” paid to some government employees has discovered that “in just one ministry, 50 people have been receiving monthly salaries of more than 40 million toumans ($13,000).” Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Head Valiollah Seif, meanwhile, downplayed the scandal and claimed that it has been “exaggerated” for political reasons.
- Matthew McInnis analyzes President Hassan Rouhani’s ability to push through economic reforms in “Will Rouhani have a tough road to re-election?”
Military and Security
- Terrorists reportedly identified and destroyed in Khuzestan province. Farhad Afsharnia, the Judiciary head in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, announced that “several terrorist teams” have been identified and arrested in the province. Afsharnia added that some were killed in clashes with security forces. His remarks follow the arrests of a number of individuals who allegedly planned to conduct attacks in Tehran and “a few provinces” during the month of Ramadan. (Fars News Agency) (IRNA) (E)
- Six “separatists” arrested in East Azerbaijan. Hojjat ol Eslam Ali Mozaffari, the Judiciary head in East Azerbaijan province, announced that six “spies” from the Azeri rights group Yeni GAMOH were arrested in the provincial capital of Tabriz. Mozaffari claimed that the “separatists” obtained and shared classified military and economic documents with “enemies of the regime,” although he did not provide further details. Iran’s large Azeri minority is concentrated primarily in the northwest, including East Azerbaijan. (Javan Online) (Fars News Agency) (E)
- Pakpour: U.S. supporting terrorists inside Iran. IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour claimed that two individuals in a “terrorist team” arrested by security forces last week in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan confessed to receiving U.S. and Saudi support. Pakpour added that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are organizing and supporting other anti-revolutionary terrorist groups inside Iran and near border areas. (Mehr News)
- Saudi website defaced allegedly by pro-Iranian hackers. Fars News Agency reported that the website for the Saudi Supreme Council for Youth and Sport (SCYS) was hacked on June 22. Some Iranian news outlets have published a screenshot of the defaced page that shows an Iranian flag and reads, “Hacked by aHor4 Arab sit down and eat Lizards.” This attack comes as malicious cyber activity between pro-Iranian and Saudi Arabian hacking groups appear to be escalating. Iranian news outlets have reported multiple website defacements allegedly by Saudi hackers over the last month, including a “number” of websites belonging to the Iranian Foreign Ministry. (Fars News Agency) (E)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- IRGC Deputy Commander: The Khalifa family is on the verge of collapse. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami commented on the Bahraini government’s recent decision to revoke Bahraini cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim’s citizenship. He stated that the Khalifa family is “suffering from extreme weakness, and the foundation of the Khalifa’s oppressive rule is on the verge of collapse.” (Mehr News Agency)
- Judiciary spokesman: We will pursue the salary scandal seriously. Judiciary Spokesman Hojjat ol Eslam Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei discussed the recent scandal of government employees receiving salaries and other benefits above the mandated cap during a televised interview. Ejei noted, “It is possible that the number of people receiving ‘astronomical’ salaries is not a lot… but any case is unacceptable.” Ejei added, however, that the investigation has discovered evidence of exorbitant government salaries, stating, “In just one ministry, 50 people have been receiving monthly salaries of more than 40 million toumans ($13,000).” Ejei also defended the news agencies that initially broke the story and added that he does not believe it was intended to hurt the Rouhani administration. (IRIB)
CBI head: The salary scandal has been “exaggerated.” Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Head Valiollah Seif claimed that the country’s “political conditions” have “exaggerated” the scandal. He explained that “some of the figures reported were not actually monthly salaries. Instead the numbers reported were the salary for several months that were paid in one month.” (Fars News Agency)
- Tehran governor denies receiving exorbitant salary. Hossein Hashemi, the governor of Tehran province, issued a statement rejecting rumors that he has a monthly salary of over 65 million toumans ($21,000). The statement dismissed the rumor as “completely erroneous.” Hamid Resaei, a former hardline parliamentarian, had previously called upon Hashemi to disclose his salary and accused him of corruption. (Fars News Agency) (Fars News Agency)