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: Regime officials are pushing for change within the Rouhani administration in an attempt to placate public discontent following the eruption of merchant-class protests in Iran.

Seventy-two parliamentarians submitted a letter calling for the interpellation of Economic Affairs and Finance Minister Massoud Karbasian following widespread protests over the rapid devaluation of the Iranian rial and rises in the cost of imports. Thousands of shopkeepers and citizens have protested across several major cities since June 24. Several parliamentarians including Parliamentary Economic Committee head Mohammad Reza Pour Ebrahimi called on President Hassan Rouhani to replace members of his “economic team” due to their lack of success in improving Iran’s economy. Increased social upheaval over economic grievances will continue to fuel attacks against the Rouhani administration.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from June 22 - 29.

Domestic Politics
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June 29, 2018

Merchants protest worsening economic situation in several major cities

Thousands of shopkeepers and citizens have taken to the streets around major marketplaces in Iran to protest the rapid devaluation of the Iranian rial and the rising costs of goods since June 24. Protests peaked on June 25 and have died down significantly since then. Merchants and everyday Iranians went on strike and closed their shops in major cities including Tehran, Arak (Markazi Province), Shiraz (Fars Province), Tabriz (East Azerbaijan Province), and Kermanshah (Kermanshah Province), among several others. Protesters chanted anti-regime slogans during the demonstrations. The BBC reported that the demonstrations in Tehran were the largest protests in the city since 2012. Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) employed tear gas to disperse protesters and injured many demonstrators. The protests follow a record low valuation of the Iranian rial before the start of the protests on June 24. The rial has devalued by nearly 40 percent since the May 8 U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). (BBC) (E) (Reuters) (E) (Reuters) (E) (Instagram)

June 29, 2018

Parliamentarians call for change in Rouhani’s economic team following Bazaar protests

Parliamentarians voiced their dissatisfaction with the President Hassan Rouhani administration’s economic performance. Conservative Parliamentarian Hamid Reza Hajji Babaei called for the “reshuffling or change in the government’s economic team.” Babaei warned that Parliament will be forced to make the changes by interpellating cabinet members if Rouhani is unable to institute the necessary changes. (Mehr News Agency)

  • Etemaad floats rumors for CBI Governor replacement. Reformist newspaper Etemaad reported on June 28 that Rouhani was considering replacing Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Valiollah Seif with former Economic Affairs and Finance Minister Ali Tayyeb Nia in order to appease demands for change within his economic team. Parliamentarians have interpellated several ministers over previous months including Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh and Labor Minister Ali Rabiei. Parliament is also soon expected to initiate the interpellation of Economic Affairs and Finance Minister Massoud Karbasian. (Jam-e Jam) (Alef) (Etemaad) (Fars News Agency)
June 29, 2018

Safavi suggests Iran might be better off without the government.

Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi stated that “sometimes, it appears that the country would be run better if the government didn’t exist” on June 25, one day after the beginning of economically-driven protests in Tehran. Safavi attributed part of the people’s dissatisfaction with the government to the “failures of leaders,” a likely reference to the President Hassan Rouhani administration. Safavi later accused certain media outlets on June 27 of “incorrectly reflecting” his comments. Safavi’s statements are indicative of a growing sense of dissatisfaction amongst senior IRGC officials with the Rouhani administration. (Vatan-e Emrooz) (BBC Persian) (Aftab News)

June 29, 2018

Rouhani: convergence of foreign and domestic pressures is “fatal.”

President Hassan Rouhani expressed his concern with foreign and domestic pressures working together to attack the government during a televised speech on June 27. Rouhani called the convergence of foreign and domestic pressures from within Iran “fatal.” Rouhani reacted to recent calls for a change in his administration and uncharacteristically scolded critics of his government. Rouhani exclaimed that those “who think that the government is scared, will resign, or will give up in [the face of these pressures], are wrong!” Rouhani’s statements follow increased calls from parliamentarians for a “reshuffling” of Rouhani’s economic team. (President.ir) (President.ir) (President.ir)

  • Vaezi: reshuffling of cabinet not certain as of yet. President Hassan Rouhani’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi refused to confirm rumors of changes to Rouhani’s economic team on June 27 but stated that the “reshuffling of the cabinet is not for certain [yet].” Vaezi suggested that Rouhani is the sole decision maker regarding any possible changes to his economic team. (Tabnak)

Citations & Links

1. BBC
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-44602189

2. Reuters
https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-economy/iran-bans-1300-imports-as-protesters-police-clash-over-currency-weakness-idUKKBN1JL1XT

3. Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nuclear-iran-rouhani/rouhani-says-iran-will-not-give-in-to-pressure-from-trump-idUSKBN1JM0IK

4. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/BkfaDCABL2R/?hl=en&taken-by=manotoofficial

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
https://www.mehrnews.com/news/4331966/%D8%B1%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%B3-%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%AA%DB%8C%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%B9%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D8%BA%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%87%D8%AF

2. Jam-e Jam
http://jamejamonline.ir/online/3345948343267140129/%D8%AA%DB%8C%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%86%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%AF-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%BA%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D9%86%D9%86%D8%AF

3. Alef
http://www.alef.ir/news/3970407054.html

4. Etemaad
http://www.etemaad.ir/Modules/News/PrintVer.aspx?News_Id=104553&V_News_Id=&Src=Main

5. Fars News Agency
https://www.farsnews.com/news/13970405000459/%d8%a7%d9%82%d8%af%d8%a7%d9%85-%d9%85%d8%ac%d9%84%d8%b3-%d8%a8%d8%b1%d8%a7%db%8c-%d9%85%d9%82%d8%a7%d8%a8%d9%84%d9%87-%d8%a8%d8%a7-%da%af%d8%b1%d8%a7%d9%86%db%8c%e2%80%8c%e2%80%8c%d9%87%d8%a7-%d8%a7%d8%b3%d8%aa%db%8c%d8%b6%d8%a7%d8%ad-%d9%88%d8%b2%db%8c%d8%b1-%d8%a7%d9%82%d8%aa%d8%b5%d8%a7%d8%af-%d8%aa%d9%82%d8%af%db%8c%d9%85-%d9%87%db%8c%d8%a7%d8%aa

Citations & Links

1. Vatan-e Emrooz
http://www.vatanemrooz.ir/Newspaper/BlockPrint/194569

2. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-44606202

3. Aftab News
http://aftabnews.ir/fa/news/530902/%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%A7%DA%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D9%86%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%AF-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%AA%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%87-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%AF%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B2%DB%8C-%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D8%A7%D9%8F%D8%AE%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%BE%D9%88%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%DA%A9%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%8B-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%AF%D9%86%D9%87-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%87-%D9%86%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D8%AF%D9%87%D8%AF-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A8%D9%88%D8%AF-%DA%A9%D9%87-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%B2%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86%E2%80%8C%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%BE%D8%A7-%D8%AE%D8%B7%D8%A7-%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF-%D9%87%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B4%DA%A9-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%AA%E2%80%8C%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B4%D9%84%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%DB%8C%D9%85

Citations & Links

1. President.ir
http://president.ir/fa/104983

2. President.ir
http://president.ir/view/player.php?file=153013036140298700.mp4

3. President.ir
http://president.ir/view/player.php?file=153013748901794900.mp4

4. Tabnak
http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/812121/%DA%A9%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%AC%D8%AF%D8%A7-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D8%B4%D9%88%D9%86%D8%AF-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D9%86%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AA%D8%B5%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%85-%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AD%DB%8C-%D8%A8%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%AF

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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June 29, 2018

Parliamentarian expresses distrust of Syria and Russia

Reformist Parliamentarian Behrouz Bonyadi stated during a plenary session of Parliament on June 27 that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al Assad will “sacrifice” Iran for their own benefit and for the benefit of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump. Bonyadi referenced Russian and Syrian “concealment” of Iranian deaths in Syria and Russia’s approval of the Saudi-sponsored plan to boost oil production during the June 22 OPEC meeting as evidence of Putin and Assad’s lack of concern for Iran. (ICANA)

June 29, 2018

FATF continues to suspend counter-measures against Iran until October 2018.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced on June 29 that it will continue to suspend counter-measures against Iran for money laundering and terrorism financing. The FATF stated that it will reevaluate Iran’s efforts to approve safeguards that would make Iran compliant with FATF items in October 2018. The FATF will continue to call on member-states to apply enhanced due diligence when doing business with Iran until Iran meets the FATF requirements. (FATF) (E)

Citations & Links

1. ICANA
http://www.icana.ir/Fa/News/390564/%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%AF%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%B7-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AE%DB%8C-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AD%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AC-%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%AA%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

Citations & Links

1. FATF
http://www.fatf-gafi.org/countries/d-i/iran/documents/public-statement-june-2018.html

Economy
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June 29, 2018

Iran bans importation of 1,339 products

Industries, Mines, and Trade Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari announced on June 24 the institution of a ban on the importation of 1,339 goods that have suitable domestic alternatives for the current Persian Calendar year. Banned imports include home appliances, clothing, healthcare products, and some machinery. Regime officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have increased calls for Iranians to stop the importation of goods that Iran already produces domestically in order to promote the Resistance Economy doctrine. Khamenei has also called on Iranians to “kick the habit” of traveling abroad for “pleasure and superfluous [reasons].” The Resistance Economy doctrine seeks to neutralize the effect of U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and promote a stronger, self-reliant domestic economy. (Tehran Times) (E) (Tasnim News Agency) (Fars News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Tehran Times
http://www.tehrantimes.com/news/424718/New-imports-ban-to-thwart-10b-of-foreign-currency-outflow

2. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1397/04/02/1758203/%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%B5%DB%8C-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AA-1339-%D9%82%D9%84%D9%85-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7-%D9%85%D9%85%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B9-%D8%B4%D8%AF-%D8%B3%D9%86%D8%AF

3. Fars News Agency
https://www.farsnews.com/news/13970404000880/%d9%85%d9%85%d9%86%d9%88%d8%b9%db%8c%d8%aa-%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%b1%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%aa-%db%b1%db%b3%db%b3%db%b9-%d9%82%d9%84%d9%85-%da%a9%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a7-%d8%a8%d9%87-%da%af%d9%85%d8%b1%da%a9%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d8%a7%d8%a8%d9%84%d8%a7%d8%ba-%d8%b4%d8%af

Military and Security
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June 29, 2018

Border guard killed during clash near Iraqi Kurdistan border

The IRGC Ground Forces Northwestern Hamzeh Seyyed ol Shohada Operational Base announced that 14 unidentified militants clashed with Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) border guards around Piranshahr, West Azerbaijan Province near the Iraqi Kurdistan border in northwestern Iran. The clash resulted in death of one LEF border guard. The unidentified militants were likely members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK). LEF Border Guard Commander IRGC Brig. Gen. Ghassem Rezaei called on the Iraqi government to exercise control over its joint borders with Iran in response to the clash. IRGC Ground Forces clashed with what were also presumably kurdish militants in three seperate engagements in early June. The increase in violence in northwestern Iran correlates with an intensified Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) air campaign against PKK locations in northern Iraq during recent weeks. (Donya-e Eqtesad) (IRNA)

June 29, 2018

Three border guards killed in clash near Pakistan border

Unidentified militants killed three Law Enforcements Forces (LEF) border guards in a clash near Tahlab, Mirjaveh County, Sistan and Baluchistan Province, less than five miles from the Pakistan border on June 25. The IRGC Ground Forces Southeastern Quds Operational Base stated that IRGC fighters destroyed the unidentified “terrorist team” and also verified that two local Basij Organization members and one IRGC Ground Forces fighter died during the clash. The clash on June 25 is the second border incident since June 20, when unidentified militants killed two LEF border guards near Zabol, Sistan and Baluchistan Province near Iran’s border with Afghanistan. Salafi-jihadist groups such as Ansar al-Furqan, Jundullah, and the Army of Justice have carried out or claimed attacks against IRGC and LEF outposts in southeastern Iran in the past. Army of Justice fighters claimed an attack against Iranian border guards in Mirjaveh County on February 3, 2018. (Tasnim News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Donya-e Eqtesad
https://donya-e-eqtesad.com/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-62/3404777-%D8%AF%D8%B1%DA%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%B2%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%AD-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%B2-%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%B1

2. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82952370

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1397/04/05/1760701/%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%87%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%85-%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D8%AA%DB%8C%D9%85-%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AC%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A8-%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%82-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%B7-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%DB%8C-%D8%B2%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87

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