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 25th Karbala Division’s forces in Syria have reportedly returned to Iran after suffering heavy losses south of Aleppo.
An IRGC spokesman announced that all of the IRGC 25th Karbala Division’s troops have returned to Iran after suffering over 30 casualties during the rebel counteroffensive south of Aleppo. IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami, meanwhile, claimed that pro-regime forces are in the process of recapturing Khan Tuman. Iranian officials have vowed to retaliate against the rebel offensive, signaling a possible escalation in Iranian military activity on the battlefield south of Aleppo.
Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan announced that Russia has completed the delivery of the S-300 missile defense system. Iran has disclosed parts of the S-300 system previously, including a deployable radar and a command vehicle during a parade on April 17 and other components during a military convoy on April 25.
- Paul Bucala analyzes the details and significance of the Artesh’s deployment to Syria in “The Artesh in Syria: A fundamental shift in Iranian hard power.”
- The Critical Threats Project has also translated an interview with the Artesh deputy commander on the deployment to Syria that hints at a transformation in the orientation of Iran’s conventional military. Read the translation here.
- Follow the latest developments from Iran’s elections, including the results of the April 29 runoff elections, in “Iran Elections Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
- Matthew McInnis discusses the economic challenges facing President Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s newly elected parliament assumes office in his latest blog, “Will Iran’s new parliament be any better for Rouhani?”
Military and Security
IRGC spokesman: We have withdrawn all IRGC Karbala Division soldiers from Syria.Hossein Ali Rezaei, the public relations deputy for the Mazandaran IRGC provincial unit, reported that all of the IRGC 25th Karbala Division’s forces in Syria have returned to Iran after suffering heavy losses during the Syrian opposition’s capture of the town of Khan Tuman south of Aleppo. He reported that the remains of 12 of the division’s casualties are “in the hands of the takfiris.” He also noted that five of the division’s injured soldiers are currently being treated in Baqiyatallah Hospital in Tehran. (tnews)
Deputy IRGC commander: Khan Tuman is being recaptured. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami discussed Iranian-backed operations in Syria with reporters on May 10. Salami claimed that “the areas that the takfiris have captured in recent days are being recaptured.” Salami added that he remains “optimistic about the situation on the battlefield,” despite the defeat in Khan Tuman. (Defa Press)
Defense Minister: We have received the S-300 system. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan announced that Iran’s Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base received the S-300 system on May 10. Dehghan added that the Bavar-373, Iran’s domestic copy of the S-300 missile system, is also currently being produced. The Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base is the branch of the Artesh responsible for Iran’s land-based air-defense systems. Dehghan noted that the Bavar-373 is capable of tracking and destroying multiple targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles, UAVs, and warplanes. (Defa Press)
Rouhani praises Quds Force’s regional reach. President Hassan Rouhani praised IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the IRGC during remarks in Kerman province in southeastern Iran on May 10. Rouhani described his friendship with Soleimani as dating back to the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s and stated:
- “If we look at eastern Iran, and not just Iran but also throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, we see the footprints of General Soleimani’s valor and courage.”
- “Today the IRGC is not only burdened with providing for the country’s security. It has also taken the responsibility of providing security in countries that seek Iran’s help.”
- “The IRGC is a pioneer for the sacrifice and defense of holy shrines in Iraq and Syria and for the defense of the oppressed in Palestine and Lebanon and other countries that request Iran’s help.” (President.ir) (President.ir)
Dispute settlement commission reportedly upholds reformist politician’s disqualification. A dispute resolution commission has upheld the Guardian Council’s controversial disqualification of Minoo Khaleghi, a reformist politician elected in Esfahan in the February 26 parliamentary elections, according to an unnamed parliamentarian. Neither the Guardian Council nor the Supreme Commission for the Resolution of Conflicts and Regulation of Relations Among the Three Branches, established by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2011 and led by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, have formally announced why Khaleghi was disqualified. Khaleghi’s disqualification has been uniquely controversial because the Guardian Council conducted every other disqualification during discrete rounds of qualifications review before the elections took place. President Hassan Rouhani criticized the Guardian Council for overstepping its legal authority by disqualifying Khaleghi outside of this official timeframe during remarks on April 28. Rouhani and other officials in Parliament and the Interior Ministry have argued that only Parliament, not the Guardian Council, has the right to review parliamentarians’ qualifications after elections take place. (Asr Iran) (Donya-e Eqtesad)
- Senior principlist parliamentarian criticizes potential Ahmadinejad candidacy. Hojjat ol Eslam Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, the spokesman for the Combatant Clergy Society, criticized former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is rumored to be positioning himself to run in the 2017 presidential elections. Moghaddam stated, “I cannot imagine that Ahmadinejad wants to enter the election fray. This is due to his actions in his second term as president… When we observe Ahmadinejad’s management record, we cannot conclude that he can manage a country like Iran.” Mesbahi Moghaddam added that the Guardian Council would “certainly” disqualify Ahmadinejad from the elections and that the Combatant Clergy Society would not accept “the hand of friendship” from Ahmadinejad if he offered it. (Aftabir)