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 Alice Naghshineh. 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: The head of the Interior Ministry’s Elections Committee announced that 69 seats will be decided in runoff elections, underscoring the uncertain composition of the next Parliament.
Mohammad Hossein Moghimi announced that 138 parliamentary candidates will compete for 69 seats in runoff elections scheduled for mid to late April. Parliament has 290 seats, and no single faction appears to have won a majority. President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, praised the high voter turnout in the elections despite “the limitations in the qualifications process,” a direct reference to the Guardian Council’s aggressive vetting of candidates. The Guardian Council must still certify the February 26 election results. For detailed analysis of the elections, please see the Critical Threats Project’s “Iran Elections Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
Iranian news outlets reported that a member of the Pakistani Shia militia Zainabiyoun Brigade was killed in Syria. The Zainabiyoun Brigade is part of the Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary forces that fight in support of the Assad regime.
Matthew McInnis discusses Iranian perspectives on the possible deployment of Saudi Arabian and Emirati special operations forces to Syria in his latest blog post, “Iran isn’t sweating Saudi intervention in Syria.”
Sixty-nine parliamentary seats to be decided in runoff elections. Mohammad Hossein Moghimi, the head of the Interior Ministry’s Elections Committee, stated that 138 parliamentary candidates will compete for 69 seats in runoff elections scheduled for mid to late April. He added that “there were very few complaints” about the handling of the elections. (ISNA)
Rouhani expresses gratitude for high voter turnout “despite limitations in the qualifications process.” President Hassan Rouhani alluded to the mass disqualification of parliamentary and Assembly of Experts candidates in an open letter to the Interior Ministry on March 2. Rouhani congratulated Iranians for high voter turnout rates “despite some limitations in the confirmation of qualifications.” (President.ir)
Hardliner news outlet criticizes Guardian Council spokesman’s interview. Raja News published an editorial pushing back on Guardian Council Spokesman Nejatollah Ebrahimian’srecent comments criticizing the Guardian Council’s vetting process. The editorial accused the “reformist newspapers” Shargh and Etemad for publishing Ebrahimian’s remarks and airing the Guardian Council’s “internal disagreements” in order to cast doubt on the Council’s role in the Iranian political system. (Raja News)
- Kayhan publishes story on possible violation in Tehran parliamentary elections.Conservative newspaper Kayhan claimed that an investigation into Mohammad Reza Najafi, one of the 30 reformist-moderate coalition candidates elected in Tehran, has begun. Najafi reportedly did not resign from another position in time in order to run in the parliamentary elections legally. If the Guardian Council receives proof of the electoral violation, the candidate who received the 31st highest number of votes -- Principlist Coalition Council Spokesman Gholam Ali Haddad Adel -- will be elected in Najafi’s place. (Kayhan)
Military and Security
IRGC Commander: U.S. vessels will be detained again if they enter Iranian territorial waters. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari referenced the January detention of two U.S. Navy vessels and their crewmembers during remarks on March 2. Jafari stated that “any similar incident will draw the same reaction” from the IRGC Navy and added, “The enemy is the same old enemy… This enemy’s hostility towards the [Islamic] Revolution, its characteristics, and its anti-arrogance nature has not ended. It is only possible for the type of its tactics, appearance, and implementation of this hostility to change over time.” (Mashregh News)
- Artesh Air Force Commander: “We do not need to buy helicopters.” Artesh Air Force Commander 2d Brig. Gen. Houshang Yari touted the Artesh Air Force’s current helicopter technology, stating, “This unit does not need to buy helicopters or spare parts from foreign countries.” The Artesh Air Force Commander’s praise of Iranian helicopter technology comes at a time when Iranian officials have expressed interest in purchasing SU-30 warplanes from Russia. (IRNA)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Larijani: The P5+1 still has not completely fulfilled its commitments on the nuclear deal.Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani discussed the implementation of the JCPOA during a meeting with the Romanian foreign minister in Iran. He stated:
- “Some time has passed since the nuclear deal, and Iran has fulfilled all of its commitments in this time. Unfortunately, however, the opposing side has not completely completed all of its commitments [under the JCPOA].” Larijani noted that some banking restrictions continue to impede financial transactions with Iran and stated, “I hope that these problems are solved as soon as possible.” (Mehr News Agency)
- Khatam ol Anbia commander announces public works project. IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Ebadollah Abdollahi announced that the IRGC Khatam ol Anbia Construction Base will start construction on 17 dam projects across Iran. Abdollahi did not disclose further information on these projects but noted that they are part of Iran’s “resistance economy policies.” Khatam ol Anbia is the engineering arm of the IRGC. (Basij News)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
- Pakistani fighter killed in Syria. Morteza Heidari was reportedly killed in Syria. He was a member of the Pakistani Shia militia Zainabiyoun Brigade. (Shahid News)