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. 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: Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami called the election of hardline cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati as the Assembly of Experts’ chairman a “strong slap in the faces of America and the British.”
Khatami further praised Jannati’s election as a demonstration of the Iranian electorate’s ability to foil plans by “the media outlets of the Arrogance,” a term loosely referring to the U.S. and its allies, to block Jannati’s re-election to the Assembly of Experts. Khatami is referring in part to a pre-election conspiracy that foreign media, particularly BBC Persian, sought to influence the elections by preventing the re-election of several influential hardliners, including Jannati.
The International Atomic Energy Agency stated that Iran’s stockpiles of heavy water and uranium are within the limits set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in its second quarterly reportdetailing Iran’s compliance with the deal. Its last report in February stated that Iran had briefly exceeded the limit on its stockpile of heavy water.
IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani reportedly attended a May 27 meeting of more than 180 parliamentarians who support Ali Larijani’s re-election as parliament speaker. Fars News Agency reported that voting for parliament speaker is scheduled for May 29, but outgoing principlist parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Bahonar said the results may not be determined until May 30.
- Follow the latest electoral developments in Parliament and the Assembly of Experts in the Critical Threats Project’s “Iran Elections Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
- Caitlin Pendleton discusses how a reformist parliamentarian’s late disqualification could transform Iran’s domestic political scene in “Iran’s Guardian Council pushes the limits of its electoral control.”
- Paul Bucala has published a map depicting recent reports of Iranian military activity in Syria in “What the Khan Tuman defeat means for Iran.”
- Paul Bucala discusses the implications of the Artesh’s deployment to Syria in “Is Iran’s regular military pivoting to force projection?”
- Matthew McInnis analyzes the future of Iran-Iraq relations following the storming of the Iraqi parliament by supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr in “Is Iran’s Iraq policy coming apart?”
Tehran Friday Prayer Leader: Jannati’s election is a “strong slap in the face” of U.S., Britain. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami called the election of hardline cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati as Assembly of Experts chairman “a strong slap in the face of America and the British” during his sermon on May 27. Khatami praised the Iranian electorate’s ability to foil plans by “the media outlets of the Arrogance,” a term loosely referring to the U.S. and its allies, to block Jannati’s reelection to the Assembly of Experts. Khatami also reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent call for vigilance against the enemy’s “infiltration” of Iranian decision-making centers. (Defa Press) (IRNA) (Etemaad)\
Newly elected parliament meets. The tenth Parliament held a session for “familiarity with parliamentary functions” on May 27. Fewer than 25 percent of the representatives elected to the tenth Parliament were incumbents, according to Tabnak. Fars News Agency reported that voting for parliament speaker is scheduled for May 29, but outgoing principlist parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Bahonar said the election results may not be “determined” until May 30. (Asriran) (Tabnak) (Fars News Agency) (Fars News Agency)
- Soleimani reportedly meets with pro-Larijani parliamentarians. More than 180 parliamentarians who support Ali Larijani’s re-election as parliament speaker met on May 27, according to parliamentarian Gholam Ali Jafarzadeh, who attended the meeting. He stated that IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani attended the meeting and addressed the parliamentarians as well. Soleimani had also praised Larijani before the February 26 parliamentary elections. Jafarzadeh added that the group is now calling itself the “velayat faction” -- referring to the doctrine of velayat-e faqih, or guardianship of the jurist -- as opposed to the “principlist faction.” (ILNA)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Foreign Ministry: Soleimani is in Iraq at Iraqi government’s request. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari responded to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir’s recent criticism of IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s coordination with Iraqi Shia militias on the offensive to recapture the ISIS-held city of Fallujah. Several pictureshave recently emerged of Soleimani with senior Iraqi Shia militia commanders, including U.S.-designated terrorist Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. Ansari stated, “The presence of Iranian military advisors under the command of Qassem Soleimani in Iraq is at the request of the legal government of Iraq to combat terrorism and extremists.” (IRNA)
Russian company Krasnye Barrikady to develop Iranian oil rigs. An unnamed official from the Russian company Krasnye Barrikady stated that it won a contract to develop five offshore oil rigs for Iran. The official added that the contract will be worth an estimated $1 billion. (Press TV) (E)
- Araghchi dismisses U.S. bill barring future heavy water purchases from Iran. Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi stated that the U.S. House of Representatives’ recent vote to bar future heavy water purchases from Iran “has no importance.” Araghchi stated that under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), neither “America nor any other country is required to purchase heavy water from Iran… The only commitment Iran has [under the JCPOA] is to put its surplus heavy water up for sale on the international market. If a buyer is found, it is found, and if not, then it is not.” He added that Iran “will continue the production of heavy water… We take whatever amount we need and sell the surplus” on the international market. The House’s vote does not cancel the purchase of 32 tons of heavy water from Iran in late April. (Mehr News Agency) (E) (IRNA) (E) (Donya-e Eqtesad) (Asr Iran)
Military and Security
- Iran and India commence joint naval exercises. Artesh Rear Admiral Hossein Azad announced that the joint naval drills between India and Iran have officially begun. Mehr News Agency reported that nearly 600 personnel from the Artesh Navy and 400 from the Indian Navy will participate in the drills. The drills are being held “on the outbound channel of the Strait of Hormuz and the northern part of the Indian Ocean.” (Mehr News Agency) (Mehr News Agency) (E)