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: Parliament increased the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) budget for purchasing “weapons and equipment, and strengthening of enforcement stamina” by 400 percent from last year’s budgetary allocations.

The 2018-2019 final authorized budget, which went into effect on March 20, approximately doubled the overall budget for the LEF, Iran’s police, from last year’s final authorized budgetary allowance. The budgetary increases follow the signing of a cooperative agreement between the LEF and the Ministry of Defense on March 3. Defense Minister Artesh Brigadier General Amir Hatami expressed the Ministry’s preparedness to provide the LEF with equipment such as drones, helicopters, communication systems, and armaments. The significant increase to the LEF budget also follows widespread anti-regime protests in late-December 2017 and the February 19 Gonabadi Dervish protests in northern Tehran. The protests resulted in the deaths of several security officials and exposed grave security flaws in the front line defenses in several of Iran’s smaller cities. Regime action to boost the LEF’s financial capability to purchase weaponry and equipment is likely in preparation for future internal security challenges.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from March 21 - 26.

Military and Security
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March 27, 2018

Government bumps the police’s weapons acquisition budget by 400 percent.

Parliament nearly doubled the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) budget from last year’s final budget. The 2018-2019 final budget, which went in effect on March 20, also approved an increase to a line item pertaining to the LEF’s “purchase of weapons, equipment, and the strengthening of enforcement stamina” by approximately 400 percent from last year’s authorized allocation. These significant budgetary increases follow the signing of a cooperative agreement between the LEF and the Ministry of Defense to provide the police forces with the necessary equipment to meet their needs, including helicopters and drones. The final authorized budget for the LEF also includes a substantial increase for LEF border guards and border security. (Shenasname.ir)

Citations & Links

1. Shenasname.ir
https://shenasname.ir/1391-09-30-20-01-30/budjet/1397/4378-budjet97.html

Domestic Politics
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March 27, 2018

Ahmadinejad blames Judiciary for lack of political freedoms.

Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on March 23 and blamed the Judiciary for inhibiting Iranians’ freedom of speech. Ahmadinejad referenced Khamenei’s March 20 statement that Iranians can express their complaints about regime officials without fear of persecution. Ahmadinejad stated that “apparently the Judiciary does not accept the [Supreme Leader’s] comments.” Ahmadinejad noted that a large number of people have been arrested, including his former First Vice President Esfandiyar Rahim Mashaei, for voicing unpopular opinions despite their constitutionally-afforded civil rights. Ahmadinejad also highlighted the “totally political” imprisonment of another Ahmadinejad-era Vice President Hamid Baghaei as further proof of the Judiciary’s disregard for the Iranian people’s freedom of speech. Ahmadinejad has released a series of letters and statements targeting the Judiciary and attempting to undermine the authority of regime officials. (Dolat-e Bahar)

March 27, 2018

Rouhani emphasizes the need for greater transparency and global communication.

President Hassan Rouhani emphasized his focus on ensuring the younger generation of Iranians will have the ability to communicate with the world and to prepare for employment in a global market during a speech on March 21. He said that the coming year “should be a year of greater transparency and a greater fight against corruption.” Rouhani added that young Iranians desire   “greater transparency, a better economy, greater freedom, an open culture, and better relations with the world.” Rouhani’s statement follow President Donald Trump’s condemnation of the IRGC during his Nowruz address on March 20. (IRIB News)

March 27, 2018

Khamenei promotes Iranian-made products and economic productivity.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promoted domestically-produced Iranian goods and economic productivity during a speech congratulating the Iranian people on the Persian New Year, known as Nowruz, on March 21. Khamenei stated that Iran can improve its economy and generate employment through increased exports to Iran’s neighbors. Khamenei also called on Iranians not to import foreign goods that Iran already produces domestically. Khamenei emphasized the need for Iran to reduce its reliance on oil exports to diminish the economic impact of a potential drop in oil prices. Senior Iranian political, religious, and military officials later echoed Khamenei’s sentiment on domestic goods and production. Khamenei separately lauded the personal freedoms of Iranians to maintain different opinions and express their thoughts without fear of persecution. Khamenei’s speech follows a Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) statement advocating for the “free flow of information to the citizens of Iran” on March 19. (Khamenei.ir) (Mehr News Agency) (IRIB News) (YJC) (IRNA) (Defa Press)

Citations & Links

1. Dolat-e Bahar
http://www.dolatebahar.com/view-476570.html

Citations & Links

1. IRIB News
http://www.iribnews.ir/fa/news/2077845/%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AE%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B5%DB%8C-%D9%81%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF

Citations & Links

1. Khamenei.ir
http://farsi.khamenei.ir/news-content?id=39268

2. Mehr News Agency
https://www.mehrnews.com/news/4256214/%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%B9%DB%B7-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85-%DA%AF%D8%B0%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%86%D8%AF

3. IRIB News
http://www.iribnews.ir/fa/news/2077845/%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AE%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B5%DB%8C-%D9%81%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF

4. YJC
https://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/6479271/%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C-%D8%A2%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%B4%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%B3-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%AA%D8%B4%D8%AE%DB%8C%D8%B5-%D9%85%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%AA-%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%85

5. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82868356

6. Defa Press
http://defapress.ir/fa/news/284350/%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%DB%8C-%D8%B2%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%85%D9%84%DB%8C-%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF

Nuclear Deal Developments
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March 27, 2018

Araghchi: There will be severe consequences for international community if JCPOA is “disrupted.”

Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi warned that there will be severe consequences for the international community if the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is “disrupted.” Araghchi stated that the U.S. and Europe will lose their credibility if they withdraw from the JCPOA. Araghchi stated that the U.S. seeks to oppose Iran’s regional influence by imposing “oil and shipping sanctions.” Incoming White House National Security Advisor John Bolton stated that negotiations between the U.S. and Europe will not resolve perceived flaws within the JCPOA on March 25. (ISNA) (YJC) (omny.fm) (E)

Citations & Links

1. ISNA
https://www.isna.ir/news/97010601095/%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82%DA%86%DB%8C-%D9%87%D8%B1%DA%AF%D9%88%D9%86%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%A8-%D8%B3%D9%86%DA%AF%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B9%D9%87-%D8%A8%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%84%D9%84

2. YJC
https://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/6479451/

3. omny.fm
https://omny.fm/shows/cats-interviews/john-bolton-3-25-18

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