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: Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan voiced his support for a comprehensive ceasefire in Syria during a meeting with his Syrian and Russian counterparts, but stated that any ceasefire must not “cause a renewal of terrorism in the country.”
Hossein Dehghan vowed that Iran “will continue to combat terrorism in order to bring peace and stability to the region” during his meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al Freij in Tehran on June 9. Dehghan’s remarks may be part of pro-regime efforts to justify expanded operations in northern Syria, including against mainstream elements of the armed opposition. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani was also reportedly scheduled to meet with Shoigu.
Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, meanwhile, claimed that the LEF is ready “for cooperation, training, and transferring experiences to Syria in various fields of policing” during a meeting with Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al Shaar in Tehran. The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the LEF in 2011 for providing support to the Syrian government.
The IRGC’s intelligence arm reportedly arrested Homa Hoodfar, a professor with dual Canadian-Iranian citizenship, last week. Her family stated that no reason has been given for the arrest.
Royal Dutch Shell has restarted its purchases of Iranian crude oil, according to Bloomberg News. Shell will be the second major oil company after Total SA to resume oil purchases with Iran after nuclear-related sanctions were lifted in January.
- 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
Iranian defense minister meets with Syrian and Russian counterparts. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al Freij traveled to Iran to meet with Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan on June 9. Fars News Agency reported that Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani was also scheduled to meet with Shoigu. Defa Press reported that the talks focused on the “latest regional developments and ways to reinforce and expand the fight against terrorism.” Dehghan delivered the opening speech at the meeting and stated:
- “We believe that a comprehensive ceasefire, the establishment of relief clinics, and humanitarian efforts, while also preventing the support of terrorist groups and taking decisive military action against the terrorists, are the first steps for restoring security and stability to the region.”
- “Iran always supports negotiations and solutions to the political crisis by negotiations...We support a ceasefire that will not cause a renewal of terrorism in the country.”
- Dehghan claimed that Iran has been “the largest victim of terrorism” and stated, “Iran seriously and comprehensively considers combating terrorist, takfiri, and Zionist movements its duty and humanitarian mission in order to bring security and stability to the region.” (Fars News Agency) (Defa Press)
- LEF commander: We are ready to help Syria train its police force. Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari attended a meeting with Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al Shaar in Tehran. Ashtari stated, “We are ready, with all our possibilities and capacity, for cooperation, training, and transferring experiences to Syria in various fields of policing.” (Fars News Agency) (E)
Rouhani praises post-sanctions environment. President Hassan Rouhani pushed back against criticism of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) during remarks delivered to government officials on June 9. He stated, “Before the JCPOA, we waited every day to see what new restrictions, sanctions, and hardships would be created for the Iranian nation. But now there is a new opening every day for the people. These are praiseworthy openings, and in their shadows, a greater effort must be made for the people.” (president.ir)
Hardline newspaper: “You, Rouhani, are the one who created expectations!” Javan News, a conservative newspaper, criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s recent comments that Iran’s media has unfairly raised expectations for implementing the Resistance Economy. Javan News claimed that Rouhani had a hand in creating these expectations during the first two years of his presidency. (Raja News)
Mehdi Karroubi’s son denies rumors of his father’s hospitalization and death. Hossein Karroubi, the son of prominent reformist and former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, denied rumors circulating on social media that his father was hospitalized and later passed away due to cardiac arrest. Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services Public Relations Director Esmail Ramazan also stated that the rumors “are not true in any way.” Mehdi Karroubi has been under house arrest in Iran since the 2009 election protests. (Ghatreh)
Military and Security
- Iranian Navy to unveil advanced vessels. Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Iran will unveil new domestically produced surface and subsurface vessels in the coming months. When asked about the presence of Iran’s Artesh Navy 41st Fleet in the Gulf of Aden, Sayyari stated that the fleet’s presence is meant to ensure security in the region and protect Iranian interests. (Tasnim News Agency)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
- Iranian killed in Syria. Ahmad Makian was from Mahshahr county in Khuzestan province. He is reportedly the first Iranian casualty from Mahshahr county. (Dolat-e Bahar)