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 and contributors Ken Hawrey and Shayan Enferadi. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: The Foreign Ministry rejected three Republican congressmen’s request to visit Iran as a “publicity stunt.”
Congressmen Mike Pompeo, Lee Zeldin, and Frank LoBiondo had requested in February to visit Iran in order to “inspect” nuclear sites, observe the recent elections to ensure they were “free and fair,” meet with remaining American hostages, and receive “briefings” from the IRGC on the January detention of American sailors and on ballistic missile tests. The Foreign Ministry responded in a six-point statement that the nuclear agreement empowers only the International Atomic Energy Agency, not officials from participating countries, to monitor its implementation. The Foreign Ministry called the request inappropriate and a “publicity stunt.”
Alireza Rezaei, the director of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security for West Azerbaijan province, told reporters that 20 “foreign nationals” intending to join ISIS were arrested in the province, which shares a border with Iraq and Turkey. He did not specify the arrested individuals’ nationalities.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and Iranian Offshore Oil Company have reached preliminary deals estimated at $2.4 billion with South Korean shipyards.
- Matthew McInnis analyzes President Hassan Rouhani’s ability to push through economic reforms in “Will Rouhani have a tough road to re-election?”
- Follow the latest electoral developments in Parliament and the Assembly of Experts, including the parliament speaker election, in the Critical Threats Project’s “Iran Elections Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Foreign Ministry rejects U.S. congressmen’s visa request. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s office released a statement “strongly” rejecting the requests by Republican congressmen Mike Pompeo, Lee Zeldin, and Frank LoBiondo in early February to visit Iran in order to “inspect” nuclear sites, observe the recent elections to ensure they were “free and fair,” meet with remaining American hostages, and receive “briefings” from the IRGC on the January detention of American sailors and on ballistic missile tests. The Foreign Ministry statement asserted in response that the nuclear agreement empowers only the International Atomic Energy Agency, not officials from participating countries, to monitor its implementation. It also referenced legislation making recent travellers to Iran ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program and stated, “Surely it is ironic that you believe that going to Iran would ‘radicalize’ and turn citizens of all other countries into ‘potential security risks’ for the United States; but you still seek to visit Iran and believe that such a visit will have no such radicalizing effect on you.” The statement concluded, “In sum, we consider your visa request to have been a publicity stunt and not an appropriate request to visit a sovereign country; and it has, and will continue to be, treated in that spirit.” (Fars News Agency) (E)
- Larijani: BBC was trying to weaken stigma against developing ties with America. Ali Larijani dismissed the recent controversial BBC report claiming that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established a secret correspondence with the Kennedy and Carter administrations as “fake.” The parliament speaker stated the report was designed to raise “doubts about the authenticity of Imam Khomeini’s determined fight against America” and to shock “the public opinion so that the stigma of ties with America drops.” (Press TV) (E)
Military and Security
- Twenty alleged ISIS supporters arrested in West Azerbaijan province. Alireza Rezaei, the director of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) for West Azerbaijan province, told reporters that 20 “foreign nationals” allegedly intending to join ISIS were arrested in the province. (ABNA)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
Three Iranians reported killed by fighting in Syria.
- Reza Khorami was reportedly killed on June 3 near Aleppo. He was buried in Tehran. IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani attended the ceremony. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Mehdi Tahmasebi was killed in the vicinity of Aleppo. He was from Qom province. (ABNA)
- Ebrahim Eshriye was an IRGC member from Mazandaran province. He was reportedly wounded in late April but recently died from his wounds. (ISNA)