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: Iranian media reported the deaths of two IRGC soldiers who died in clashes, allegedly with Kurdish insurgents, in northwestern Iran.
Iranian reporting described the clashes as between the IRGC and “anti-revolutionary agents” on May 4 without further detail. Several non-Iranian news agencies attributed the clashes to Kurdish insurgents, however. Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan member Mohammad Salih reportedly stated that the clashes actually killed 10 Iranian soldiers and wounded “20 others.” The Islamic Republic has experienced sporadic violence from Kurdish separatist groups since its inception. The May 4 clashes do not yet differ in scale from past attacks, despite reporting that Iran is now confronting a “wide-scale armed uprising.” These are the most violent clashes since August 2015, when Iranian media reported that five Basij members died in a firefight with the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK). PJAK had claimed it killed 12 IRGC members then.
Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi stated that British oil company BP will open an office in Tehran sometime this summer and that BP wants to transfer “both technology and capital” to Iran.
- 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 members reported killed in clashes with Kurds in northwestern Iran. Iranian media reported the funerals of two IRGC members killed in “clashes” on May 4 in the northwestern city of Sardasht, West Azerbaijan province. Iranian reporting described the clashes as between the IRGC and “anti-revolutionary agents” without further detail. (IRNA)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Velayati calls for stability in Iraq. Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati reiterated his previous call for maintaining the status quo in Iraq, stating that Iran “supports stability and the elimination of unrest, as a neighbor to this country. The legal frameworks of this country have been accepted. One must strengthen the democracy in [these frameworks] with coordination and agreement among groups… Americans do not have the right to interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs, just as the Islamic Republic of Iran does not claim this right for itself.” See the Institute for the Study of War’s “Tracking of Iraq’s 2016 Political Crisis” for updates on Iraq. (Fars News Agency)
- Khamenei accuses U.S. of “Iranophobia” and “Shiaphobia.” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed regional developments during his speech marking Eid al Mab’ath, which celebrates the day that the Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation. Khamenei claimed that combating Iran and Shia Islam is America’s “clear policy” and added, “The most important duty is protecting Islam and confronting the ‘ignorant movements’ led by the U.S...Iran is being threatened and sanctioned simply because it opposes the policies of America.” (Leader.ir)
Iran Oil Show 2016 kicks off in Tehran with American and European companies. The 21st International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition of Iran, also known as Iran Oil Show 2016, will take place in Tehran from May 5 to 8. Press TV reported that the event will host around 1,900 domestic and foreign companies from 38 different countries. The majority of foreign participants are European, but some U.S. companies, which reportedly include Lincoln Electric, will also participate through their European representatives. Russia’s Gazprom and Lukoil, Austria’s OMV, and Italy’s Saipem represent major corporations taking part in the exhibition, according to the event’s official website. (Press TV) (E) (Mehr News Agency) (E) (Iran-oilshow.ir) (E)
Iranian oil exports surpass two million barrels per day. Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi told reporters that the average of Iran’s daily oil exports has increased to over two million barrels. Iran was producing nearly 2.6 million barrels daily in 2011 before the U.S. and EU imposed further sanctions, leading to a fall in oil exports to an average of 1.4 million barrels per day in 2014. Iranian officials have repeatedly insisted that Tehran will ramp up oil production until it reaches its pre-sanction production levels. (IRINN)
- Deputy Oil Minister discusses development of new model for oil contracts. Javadi announced that Parliament is currently reviewing a new model for Iranian oil contracts in order to ensure its legality. Javadi, who is also the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company, stated, “We are now inspecting a long list of domestic and foreign exploration and production (E&P) companies that will be ready by the end of Ordibehesht (≈ mid-May). The evaluations of these companies will take place throughout Khordad (≈ May 21 - June 20), so that we arrive at a short list of recommended E&P companies by the beginning of Tir (≈ June 21).” He added that Iran will introduce the first round of projects based on the new model and will hold bids for them within June or July. (Tasnim News Agency)
- BP to open office in Iran. Javadi also met with a representative from BP to discuss the company’s interest in investing in Iranian oil and gas projects. He claimed that BP wants “to transfer both technology and capital” to Iran and that BP will open an office in Tehran this summer. (Tasnim News Agency)