Iran News Round Up
A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.
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 contributors Hirad Yaldaei and Ali Javaheri. 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 that the Artesh Navy deployed a frigate and a support vessel off the Yemeni coast last week, several days prior to missile attacks on U.S. vessels by Iranian-backed al Houthi forces.
Iran dispatched the Artesh Navy’s frigate Alvand and the support vessel Bushehr to the Bab el Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden on October 5, according to the Artesh Navy’s website and Iranian news agencies. The warships will “protect trade vessels traversing the area.” The deployment of Iranian warships threatens to escalate tensions further off the coast of Yemen, where the U.S. has launched cruise-missile strikes against radar sites in al Houthi-controlled areas. Al Houthi forces have launched at least three separate anti-shipping attacks over the past two weeks.
Iranian media circulated an announcement from Russia’s state arms export agency that Moscow has completed its delivery of the S-300 air defense systems to Iran. For more information on how the S-300 improves Iran’s military capabilities and affects the regional balance of power, see the Critical Threats Project’s “The Strategic Impact of the S-300 in Iran.”
- J. Matthew McInnis argues that Washington should expect a new range of potentially escalatory behaviors from Iranian naval forces in “Five reasons the Middle East is becoming more dangerous for the US Navy.”
- Paul Bucala and Shayan Enferadi analyze the implications of recent instability in Iranian Kurdistan in “Iran’s Kurdish Insurgency.”
- 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.”
Military & Security
Iran deploys warships off the coast of Yemen. Iran dispatched the Artesh Navy’s frigateAlvand and the support vessel Bushehr to the Bab el Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden on October 5. Tasnim News Agency reported that the warships will “protect trade vessels traversing the area.” The two ships will then travel to Tanzania, South Africa, and later into the Atlantic Ocean. (Tasnim News Agency) (AJA)
- Security forces arrest “takfiri terrorists” in southern province. Iranian officials announced on October 13 that security forces detained 11 “foreign takfiri terrorists” in the southern province of Fars. Iranian officials use the term “takfiri terrorists” to refer to Sunni extremist groups, including ISIS. The detained individuals intended to attack Ashura commemorations, according to a deputy to the provincial governor. None of the detained individuals were reported as Iranian nationals. Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi stated that the security forces seized “over 100kg of explosives and other equipment.” ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on Shia Muslims marking Ashura in Kabul on October 12. (Fars News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Russia completes delivery of S-300 missile defense system. Iranian media circulated an announcement from Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation that Russia has completed the delivery of the S-300 air defense systems to Iran. Russia and Iran had signed a contract for the S-300s in 2007, but Russia suspended the contract from 2010 to 2015 under the pressure of sanctions. Russia delivered components of the S-300 to Iran in April and July 2016. Iranian officials announced in August 2016 that Russia would complete the deliveries by the end of the year. (Press TV) (E)
Zarif discusses Syria in calls with Russian and EU counterparts. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held separate phone conversations regarding Syria with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini on October 13. Zarif “called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and initiatives for [a] political settlement” to end the humanitarian crisis in that country. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (IRNA) (E)
- Iranian media also reported that Zarif will not participate in a forthcoming meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, the U.S., and other countries in Switzerland to discuss recent events in Syria. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
- Cultural minister rumored to have submitted resignation. President Hassan Rouhani’s cultural adviser, Hesamodin Ashna, “neither denied nor confirmed” the resignation of Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati during a conversation with reporters. Jannati has come under increasing criticism recently after his ministry issued permits allowing a controversial concert in the city of Qom. The ministry’s managing director in Qom resigned on October 9 as a result of the scandal. (Tasnim News Agency)
- India purchases oil from Iran. Iran delivered two million barrels of crude oil to Indian Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals on October 12. India plans to store this shipment as part of its strategic reserve. (IRNA)