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: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed IRGC Major General Mohammad Bagheri as the new chief of the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS).
The former AFGS head, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, was appointed as a senior advisor to the Supreme Leader. He had served as chief of staff since 1989. The AFGS head is the highest military official in Iran after the Supreme Leader. The AFGS is tasked with coordinating the activities of the IRGC and Iran’s conventional military, the Artesh. Bagheri served as the AFGS Intelligence and Operations deputy and has been embedded within the IRGC’s leadership network since the Iran-Iraq War.
General Mohammad Hossein Rajabi, the IRGC Ground Forces commander in Kurdistan province, announced that the IRGC killed 11 members of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (DPIK) in Kurdistan province along the Iran-Iraq border. Rajabi noted that three IRGC members were also killed in the fighting and added that the DPIK members had intended to enter Iran from Iraq via Sarvaband before they encountered IRGC forces. The IRGC Ground Forces have clashed with Kurdish separatists in Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan provinces over the past week. IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour also discussed DPIK-IRGC clashes on June 26, stating that Iran will target “terrorists’ primary bases” in northern Iraq if Iraq does not “act upon its commitments” to secure the area.
- Matthew McInnis analyzes Iran’s prospects for success in its regional conflicts in “How the Middle East looks to Iran one year after the deal.”
Military and Security
Khamenei appoints new armed forces chief. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri as the new head of the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) on June 28. Bagheri replaces Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, who was appointed Khamenei’s senior military advisor. (ABNA)
- IRGC kills 11 Kurdish rebels near Iran-Iraq border. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Rajabi, the IRGC Ground Forces commander in Kurdistan province, announced that the IRGC killed 11 members of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (DPIK) in Sarvaband county along the Iran-Iraq border after a “10-day pursuit.” It is unclear if the count of 11 DPIK members killed includes the 5 members killed in clashes on June 24. Rajabi noted that three IRGC members were also killed in the fighting and added that the DPIK members had intended to enter Iran from Iraq via Sarvaband before they encountered IRGC forces. (Fars News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Larijani: Changing diplomats will not change Iran’s policies. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani responded to criticism from conservative media outlets that new appointments in the Foreign Ministry will alter Iran’s foreign policy. Larijani stated, “Iran’s foreign policy is derived from the text of the Constitution and will not change with the changes in the government and its deputies. Therefore these strategic changes will not cause any changes in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policies.” The Foreign Ministry appointments on June 19 included Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari replacing Hossein Amir Abdollahian as the new Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs and Bahram Ghasemi succeeding Ansari as the new Foreign Ministry spokesman. Abdollahian was then appointed an “advisor” to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (IRNA)
New deputy foreign minister meets with Nasrallah. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari met with Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut on June 28. This is Ansari’s first official international trip since his appointment as deputy foreign minister on June 19. (Fars News Agency)
Shamkhani discusses Syria with Russian defense minister. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani held separate meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, and Russia's Syria envoy Alexander Lavrentiev in Moscow. Shamkhani arrived in Russia on June 27 and has been described in Iranian media as the chief official for coordinating Iranian military activities with Syria and Russia. (Press TV) (E)
- Boroujerdi: Iran will resume uranium enrichment if other side violates nuclear agreement.Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission, told reporters that Iran’s “response to the other side's non-compliance with the implementation of the nuclear deal will be uranium enrichment.” The NSFP Commission has some legislative oversight over the nuclear deal’s implementation in Iran according to a parliamentary resolution passed last fall. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has similarly asserted that Iran will violate the nuclear agreement if the “other side” violates it first. (Fars News Agency) (E)
Rouhani calls for “transparency” in trial of Saudi embassy stormers. President Hassan Rouhani urged the Judiciary to uphold “transparency” during the upcoming trial of men accused of storming the Saudi embassy in Tehran in early January. The embassy attack prompted Saudi Arabia to sever diplomatic ties with Iran. Rouhani stated that transparency will demonstrate to the international community that Iran “is responsible for the security of its embassies.” The trial is scheduled for next week. (IRNA)
- Official discusses Ahmadinejad’s potential candidacy in presidential elections. A former official in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration, Gholam Hossein Elham, reportedly spoke to the Guardian Council about Ahmadinejad’s qualifications to run in the 2017 presidential elections, according to reformist newspaper Shargh. The paper also noted that a “grassroots campaign” for Ahmadinejad has been founded and reported that Ahmadinejad “only smiled” when someone in a crowd of supporters shouted for him to run in 2017 and “take back our rights.” Sputnik News, a Russian news agency, cited an anonymous source “close” to Ahmadinejad stating that reports claiming that he intends to run are “inaccurate.” Observers have speculated that Ahmadinejad, who is disliked even among many conservatives, is considering a run against moderate President Hassan Rouhani in the 2017 elections. (Shargh)