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: Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei warned of waning anti-American sentiment in Iran and called for Iranian officials to resist a “second JCPOA” on regional issues.
Mohsen Rezaei, who is also the former IRGC Commander, reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s call to implement the Resistance Economy during a televised news interview. Rezaei also warned against pursuing further negotiations with the U.S., stating, “Our young people are sometimes not aware of the history of American sabotage. Today, some ask why revolutionaries and the great Supreme Leader of the political system are at war with the Americans.”
Iranian news outlets reported that eight members of the Afghan militia Fatimiyoun Brigade will be buried in Tehran on March 24.
Matthew McInnis discusses Iran’s calculations following the partial Russian withdrawal from Syria and the consequences if Russia scales back its use of airpower in his latest blog, “Did Putin just leave Iran holding the bag in Syria?”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Rezaei defends Resistance Economy doctrine. Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei discussed opposition to Resistance Economy doctrine and relations with the U.S. during remarks on March 23.
- On opposition to implementing the Resistance Economy doctrine: “Non-revolutionaries do not allow the revolution to enter into the economy. The revolution has entered into politics, defense, and security and has conquered these areas, but some do not allow the revolution to enter into the economy…. I’m not saying that those who have doubts are traitors, but their thinking and perceptions are wrong. The Supreme Leader and the revolutionary forces are planning to fix the economic problems.”
- On relations with the U.S.: Rezaei outlined a number of reasons why Iran should not seek relations with the U.S., including that it “wants to implement a second JCPOA in the region.” Rezaei also stated, “Our young people are sometimes not aware of the history of American sabotage. Today, some ask why revolutionaries and the great Supreme Leader of the political system are at war with the Americans. I say, frankly, that we are not looking for war. We will fight the Americans, but we don’t have the intention of war.”
- Rezaei also criticized the U.S.’s approach to the Syrian conflict and defended Syrian President Bashar al Assad. He stated that the U.S. “tells us that we must negotiate on the issue of Syria… They say, ‘You must accept that Mr. Assad must go.’ If Mr. Assad goes and insecurity expands, the entire region will be thrown into a crisis.” (Defa Press)
- Iranian ambassador to Turkey: Ankara-Tehran relations improved over the last year. Firouz Dolatabadi stated that last Iranian year [March 2015-March 2016] “was not a thriving year for Tehran-Ankara relations.” The Iranian ambassador to Turkey continued, “Fundamental differences between the two countries are unlikely to be resolved quickly, but [over the last Iranian year] the ties between Iran and Turkey became smoother.” Dolatabadi also claimed that the Foreign Ministry was not able to address regional issues and relations with Iran’s neighbors, especially Turkey, as much over the last year due to nuclear negotiations. (ILNA)
Guardian Council announces disqualification of elected parliamentarian from Esfahan. The Guardian Council reportedly sent a letter to the governor of Esfahan province on March 19 explaining that Minoo Khaleghi, who was elected to Parliament in the February 26 elections, had actually been disqualified prior to the elections and should not have run. News outlet Alef wrote that Khaleghi’s disqualification “is the first time that an elected individual, and someone who has been selected through the votes of the people, has been disqualified.” The Esfahan governor told reporters on March 23 that the Guardian Council did not provide a reason for the disqualification and added that Khalaqi is protesting her disqualification. (Mehr News Agency) (Alef)
Interior Ministry confirms election dates. Interior Ministry Spokesman Hossein Ali Amiri stated that the next Parliament will be in session starting on May 27 and added that the government must therefore finalize “election matters” before that date. Amiri also confirmed that runoff elections for 69 parliamentary seats will be held on April 29. Candidates have one week to campaign before the runoff elections, with campaigning prohibited the day before election day. (Tasnim News Agency)
Principlist parliamentarian criticizes Rouhani’s “JCPOA 2” plan. Esmail Kowsari criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s comments about a “JCPOA 2” for developing the Iranian economy during an interview on March 23. Kowsari called the JCPOA 2 a “deviation” and stated, “We must pay attention to this matter. The JCPOA 1 has not been successful yet, and yet we want to implement a JCPOA 2 and 3, which have no meaning?”
- Kowsari praised Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s order to establish a Resistance Economy headquarters, stating that it demonstrates a “serious” approach to the Resistance Economy. Kowsari, who is a vocal critic of the Rouhani administration, lost his seat in the February 26 elections. (Fars News Agency)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
- Eight Fatimiyoun fighters to be buried in Tehran. Iranian news outlets reported that eight members of the Afghan militia Fatimiyoun Brigade will be buried in Tehran on March 24. (ABNA)