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's Critical Threats Project Iran Analysts Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton. 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: Friday prayer leaders in Tehran and Shiraz condemned the Baha’i faith following a recent meeting between Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s daughter and a Baha’i leader.

Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani called the Baha’is a “dirty polluted sect” with “roots in Israel.” Shiraz Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Abu Fazl Razavi Ardakani added that “we should not view the Baha’is like a religion, but instead as a Zionist party and a dangerous spy for the Zionist regime.” Iranian Baha’is face widespread discriminationin education and employment, and officials often accuse Baha’is of acting as agents of enemy states. Judiciary Spokesman Hojjat ol Eslam Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei told reporters on May 18 that the Judiciary will investigate Rafsanjani’s daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, for the meeting.

Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah will increase its presence in Syria following the death of senior Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine.

An IRGC soldier was buried in Ardabil province today. He was reportedly killed two months ago in Syria, but his body was only recently returned to Iran.

AEI Must-Reads

Domestic Politics

  • Interim Tehran Friday prayer leader denounces Baha’is as Iran’s enemy. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani criticized Baha’is as a “dirty polluted sect” during his Friday prayer sermon. Kashani claimed that the Baha'i faith’s “roots” are in Israel and added, “What law allows the enemy to live in our country?”
    • Kashani also praised Parliament for passing legislation calling on the Rouhani administration to seek compensation from the U.S. “for its hostile actions against Iran.” He stated, “God willing, the government will implement the law as powerfully as it can.” (ISNA) (Fars News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency(E)
  • Dehghan: The government plans to develop a serious and practical Makran coast.Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan emphasized the need to develop the southeastern Makran coast region and the airport in Chabahar, a port in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan. India, Afghanistan, and Iran reportedly finalized the text of a trilateral Chabahar port agreement on April 13. The Chabahar Free Trade Zone is strategically significant because it provides India with a trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia that bypasses Pakistan. (IRNA)
  • Supreme Leader: Curing social corruption will become more difficult with each passing day. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office released a statement criticizing social corruption in Iran. The statement declared that curing social corruption is “tremendously important” even though the country has economic problems as well. (Mehr News Agency)
  • Hassan Khomeini: Revolutionary discourse may be severely damaged if we do not take care. Hassan Khomeini, a grandson of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, discussed the importance of preserving the discourse of the 1979 Islamic Revolution during a meeting with the International Conference on Imam Khomeini’s Political Islam and the Contemporary World Policy Council. He stated, “If we do not take care of the discourse [of the Islamic Revolution], we will not recognize damages done to it, and those who are its guardians and bearers will not belong to it anymore. The discourse of the Islamic Revolution may turn into its opposite.” Khomeini was disqualified from running in the February 26 elections to the Assembly of Experts. (ISNA)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Shiraz Friday prayer leader: Iran should bring the U.S. to The Hague. Shiraz Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Abu Fazl Razavi Ardakani declared that “it is expected that the Islamic Republic will sue the United States in international courts such as the International Court of Justice to exercise its rights.” Ardakani added that “it is expected that a panel of prominent and skilled lawyers will be sent to The Hague to institute legal proceedings against America.” His comments are a response to recent efforts by Iran to sue the United States over the Supreme Court decision permitting victims of terror attacks attributed to Iran to collect $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
    • He also claimed that “the English have created Wahhabism and the Baha’is at the same time.” He added that “we should not view Baha’is like a religion, but instead as the Zionist party and a dangerous spy for the Zionist regime.” (IRNA)

Military and Security

  • Alavi: Our security services have destroyed more than 20 terrorist teams in the past year. Intelligence Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi stated that the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has arrested “more than 20 terrorist teams” that had planned “explosions and other anti-security measures” over the last year. Alavi added that the country’s security apparatuses have had a coordinated approach among the MOIS and “other security agencies, the military, police, and political management.” (ISNA) (IRNA)

Casualties in Iraq and Syria

  • IRGC soldier buried in Iran. Hashem Dehghan was buried in Ardabil province on May 20. It appears that he was a member of IRGC Special Forces. He was reportedly killed two months ago in Syria, and his body was recently returned to Iran. (Tasnim News Agency)   
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