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 IRGC tested a variety of short and medium-range ballistic missiles during military exercises on March 8, underscoring the regime’s ongoing commitment to developing its missile program despite sanctions.
IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari praised the tests, which included missiles with ranges between 300 and 2000 kilometers, as a “forceful response to the enemy’s nonsense regarding missile sanctions.” The U.S. imposed new sanctions against entities and individuals linked to Iran’s missile program in January.
IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, meanwhile, stressed Iran’s commitment to supporting the al Houthi movement during a news interview on March 8. He stated, “The Islamic Republic considers it to be its duty to support the Syrian nation and government... It also recognizes its own responsibility to go and help the people of Yemen. It will do anything that can be done to help Yemen, and at any level necessary.” Jazayeri’s comments are likely in response to Saudi statements threatening to deploy ground troops to Syria.
Iranian media reported the funerals of at least nine Fatimiyoun Brigade fighters in cities across Iran.
Matthew McInnis discusses Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s decision-making following the elections and explains five steps the Iranian leader may take to shape the resulting political arena in his latest blog post, “After Iran’s elections, the Supreme Leader’s next steps.”
Military and Security
Jafari highlights indigenous missile production during ballistic missile tests. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari praised the IRGC’s testing of a variety of ballistic missiles during the final states of a military exercise on March 8. The IRGC Commander called the test-firing a “forceful response to the enemy’s nonsense regarding missile sanctions.” Jafari also claimed that “almost 100 percent of our [missile] production has been indigenous. We are not reliant on the outside. During sanctions, we have grown and become self-sufficient.” Jafari stressed that Iran’s “officials consider the increase of [Iran’s] missile power a red line.” He claimed that Iran’s enemies “have realized...that the expansion of sanctions and pressure has not had an impact on improving our capabilities. They are therefore trying to limit us in the missile arena by means of economic sanctions.” (IRIB)
- Hajizadeh: Exercises send message that Iran won’t tolerate attempts to undermine its missile power. IRGC Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh stated that the IRGC fired “a variety of long-range, medium-range, and short-range missiles from various regions” throughout Iran during the military exercises. The IRGC Air Force Commander claimed that they fired missiles “with ranges of 300, 500, 800, and 2000 kilometers” during the exercises. Hajizadeh stated that the goals of the exercises were to demonstrate the “deterrence power” and “all-out readiness of the armed forces, especially the IRGC.” He further claimed that exercises are meant to send a “clear message” that “the children of the Iranian nation in the IRGC and other armed forces” will not stand for attempts to “undermine the country’s missile power and defensive authority and threaten Iran’s national security.” (IRIB)
Rafsanjani criticizes Guardian Council’s vetting process. Expediency Discernment Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called the Guardian Council’s vetting of candidates “unconvincing for the majority of people” and added, “We have seen just how these people responded to the Guardian Council.” He also noted, “The people have proven with their votes that they have avoided extremism and want moderation in all aspects of politics, culture, and the economy.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Hassan Khomeini praises election results. Hojjat ol Eslam Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, praised the February 26 election results during a meeting with political activists at the University of Tehran. Khomeini also referenced his disqualification from the Assembly of Experts elections, stating, “Whether people like me participated is not important… We must not forget the ultimate cause.” Reformists backed moderate candidates during the elections after the Guardian Council disqualified most of their candidates. (ISNA)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
- Nine Afghan fighters buried in Iran. Iranian media reported the funerals of at least nine Fatimiyoun Brigade fighters throughout Iran in the past week. The Fatimiyoun Brigade is part of the Iranian-backed Shia militias fighting in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime. (Isaar) (Isaar) (Tarood) (ABNA) (Tasnim News Agency) (Fars News Agency)