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: An IRGC brigadier general praised the UK’s decision to leave the EU as a rejection of “subordination” to America.
Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri called the EU a “tool” of the U.S. government and stressed that Scotland, Ireland, and “others” have a right to independence from the UK. Jazayeri added that their separation would represent the “lowest price” for the UK to pay in return for “years of colonialism and crimes against humanity.” The EU had imposed economic and financial sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program before the nuclear agreement.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has reportedly rejected Iran’s bid for membership despite Russia's backing. Reporting indicates that China was behind Iran’s repudiation. Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Rahimpour denied that Iran was rejected SCO membership and claimed that the organization has yet to make a decision on the matter. The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and military organization whose members include China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, which is currently an observer state in the SCO, had applied for full membership in 2008 but was rejected due to UN sanctions over its nuclear program.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided to remove anti-money laundering restrictions against Iran for a year. It noted in a statement that it will re-impose the restrictions if Iran fails to make progress in reforming its financial sector within that period. FATF seeks to protect the international financial system by applying countermeasures such as financial, trade, and oil sanctions.
- Matthew McInnis analyzes President Hassan Rouhani’s ability to push through economic reforms in “Will Rouhani have a tough road to re-election?”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Senior officials praise Brexit. Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri criticized the EU as a “tool” of the U.S. government and praised the UK’s vote to leave the EU as a rejection of “subordination” to the U.S. He also noted that Scotland, Ireland, and “others” have a right to independence from “the monarchy of the so-called United Kingdom.” He stated, “Britain must pay the price for years of colonialism and crimes against humanity, and the separation of some parts of this country is the lowest price it will have to pay.” (Fars News Agency) (Mehr News Agency) (E)
- Hamid Aboutalebi, President Hassan Rouhani’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, praised the UK’s vote as a “historic opportunity” for Iran but did not specify how. He predicted the collapse of the EU as a result of economic crises, terrorism, and immigration, stating that the “stars on the flag of unity in Europe are now falling away.” (IRNA)
- The Iranian Foreign Ministry released a statement asserting that the vote “will not change Iran’s approach” toward the UK. (IRNA)
- Tehran Friday prayer leader: “The Shah’s fate awaits the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.” Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Kazem Sedighi condemned the Bahraini government as “illegitimate” and added that it “lacks the support of the Bahraini people.” He stated, “The Bahraini people have one universal demand...to have a vote so that they can decide on the destiny of their country.” Sedighi added that the Bahraini government’s decision to revoke cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim’s citizenship is a “sign of the Bahraini government’s desperation.” He also criticized the U.S. and other Western countries for “being silent” on the Bahraini government’s actions toward its Shia population. (Fars News Agency)
Shanghai Cooperation Organization reportedly denies Iran full membership. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Tashkent, Uzbekistan for the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. The SCO has reportedly rejected Iran’s bid for membership in the SCO despite Russia’s support for Iranian membership. Reporting suggests that China played a key role in blocking Iran’s inclusion into the SCO. The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and military organization founded in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran applied for full SCO membership in 2008 but was rejected due to UN sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.
- Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour denied that Iran was refused membership in the SCO and stated that a decision on membership has not yet been made. Rahimpour also denied rumors that Zarif left the SCO meeting in protest, stating that he instead left to “say his prayers.” (IRNA) (IRNA) (IRNA) (E)
Zarif: There is “complete consensus” between Soleimani and me regarding Syria. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “stressed that there is a common interpretation and complete consensus in Iran between me and all officials, including [IRGC Quds Force Commander Brig. Gen.] Qassem Soleimani,” in response to a question at an event at the Clingendael Institute in the Netherlands. He added, “We all believe that the solution to the problems is Syria is political.”
- Zarif also commented on the ongoing demonstrations in Bahrain during a press conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, stating, “Tehran believes that the international community must pay more attention to the situation in Bahrain. The situation is awful. Due to the foreign pressure on Bahrain brought on by the Saudi intervention, peaceful methods for opposing the government do not exist. We believe that this is a very dangerous situation.” Saudi Arabian troops have remained in Bahrain after being deployed to suppress the 2011 anti-government protests. (Farda News)
Rouhani: We will apologize “if an error has occurred” regarding salary controversy. President Hassan Rouhani commented on the recent controversy surrounding the revelation that some government employees have received excessively high salaries. He stated, “The Supreme Leader said we must stand up [regarding the issue], and of course we will stand up… If an error occurred, the administration will not falter in apologizing.”
- Rouhani also discussed the JCPOA and his administration’s achievements during an iftar dinner with government officials on June 23. Rouhani said that the nuclear agreement “is a big victory for us in foreign policy. No one can ignore it because it is a light that was realized through unity, resistance, and the people’s efforts, as well as the Supreme Leader’s guidance and our seasoned experts.” Rouhani “also said that no one at home or abroad can undermine the firm foundations” of the nuclear deal. (President.ir) (E) (President.ir)
- Salary scandal leads to dismissal of bank CEO. An official from the Ministry of Labor, Welfare, and Social Security stated that Labor Minister Ali Rabiei has dismissed CEO of Refah Bank Ali Sadeghi and ordered him to repay 240 million toumans. Sadeghi was one of the officials involved in the “astronomical salaries” scandal. (ISNA)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
- Three Fatimiyoun fighters to be buried in Tehran province. The bodies of three Afghan fighters killed in Syria are scheduled to be buried in Pakdasht county on June 26. (Defa Press)