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 and contributor Wali Miller. 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: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that renewing the Iran Sanctions Act would “certainly” violate the nuclear deal.
Khamenei added that Iran will “certainly respond” to a renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). He also accused the U.S. of using the nuclear deal “as a tool to apply pressure on Iran.” Khamenei has previously warned that the U.S. is failing to honor its commitments under the nuclear deal without stating that Iran will withdraw from the accord, however. The ISA authorizes energy, banking, and defense sanctions over Iran’s missile and nuclear activities and is set to expire at the end of the year. The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a “clean” ten-year renewal the ISA on November 15 by a vote of 419 to 1. The Senate is expected to vote on the renewal before adjourning in December. Supporters of the legislation claim that renewing the ISA will protect the U.S. government’s ability to impose “snapback sanctions” if Iran violates the nuclear deal. The White House has not signaled that it will veto the legislation.
- Paul Bucala analyzes a recent speech by former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi in “Supreme Leader's Adviser Discloses Details on Iranian Efforts Abroad."
- The Critical Threats Project team explains the significance of Iran’s upcoming 2017 presidential election and tracks important electoral developments in “Iran Presidential Election Tracker: Updates and Analysis.”
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
- Supreme Leader: Renewing the ISA would violate the nuclear deal. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the U.S. House of Representative’s recent renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), which authorizes a variety of sanctions over Iran’s missile and nuclear activities. Khamenei stated, “If this renewal is passed and implemented, it would certainly be a violation of the nuclear deal. They should be aware that Iran will certainly respond to this act.” Khamenei noted that the U.S. “has violated the nuclear deal on many occasions.” He also accused the U.S. of using the nuclear deal “as a tool to apply pressure on Iran.” (ILNA)
Military & Security
Senior officials commemorate Basij Week. Iranian officials celebrate “Basij Week” each year to commemorate the founding of the Basij Organization, which is a large paramilitary organization with a variety of roles in internal security and civil society.
- IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani stressed the importance of maintaining Basij culture and called the Basij “a national duty and a religious necessity.” (Tabnak)
- Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri stated, “The Basij is not confined to Islamic Iran, but has manifested significantly beyond Iran’s borders in the geography of Islamic Resistance, anti-Zionism, and combating terrorism and the ISIS sedition.” Bagheri also praised the Basij’s “influential role in the deterrence and defensive power of Islamic Iran, along with the other armed forces.” (Fars News Agency)
- Artesh deputy commander: The Artesh Air Force is ready to operate anywhere. Artesh Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced that the Artesh will prioritize developing the capabilities of the Artesh Air Force, which is “ready to be present in any geographic area.” (Tasnim News Agency)
IRGC denies involvement in cancellation of deputy parliament speaker’s speech. IRGC Public Affairs Head Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif denied that the IRGC played “any kind of role” in cancelling a recent speech by Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari in Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan province. The cancellation provoked harsh criticism from officials including President Hassan Rouhani, who warned against restricting freedom of speech. However, Sharif added that the IRGC sent a letter to the provincial governor and the city prosecutor warning against “exploitation” of the speech, which would have coincided with the major pilgrimage of Arbaeen. Sharif’s statement was likely a response to the governor of Razavi Khorasan, Ali Reza Rashidian, who claimed that the city prosecutor cancelled the speech based on the IRGC’s warning that “violations” would “likely” occur at the event. (Tasnim News Agency) (IRNA)
Judiciary Head denounces criticism over Motahari controversy. Hardline Judiciary Head Sadegh Amoli Larijani rebuked President Hassan Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, his brother, for their criticisms of the Judiciary. Ali Larijani previously criticized the Mashhad city prosecutor’s cancellation of Motahari’s speech as “regrettable,” while Rouhani has called the cancellation a “source of shame.” Sadeghi Amoli Larijani condemned both reactions and claimed that Rouhani’s statement violates his responsibility as president to uphold the Constitution. Sadegh Amoli Larijani also denied ongoing accusations that he transferred public funds to his personal account as “100 percent lies.” The Larijani brothers rarely, if ever, publicly criticize each other. (IRIB)
- Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili passes away. Ayatollah Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili passed away in Tehran on November 23. Mousavi Ardebili was a prominent figure in the 1979 Islamic Revolution and previously served in the Assembly of Experts. He was known to be sympatheticto the 2009 Green Movement protests. (IRNA)