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 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: Friday prayer leaders criticized American-Saudi cooperation in Yemen a week after a Saudi-led airstrike killed at least 155 individuals in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.
Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami criticized the U.S. for supporting “Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen.” He added that the Americans have “said that they have not given a blank check to Saudi Arabia. But you have actually given Saudi Arabia something worse than a blank check.” Khatami was likely referring to a recent statement from the White House that “U.S. security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check.” Shiraz Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Asadollah Imani stated that America’s “70-year relationship with Saudi Arabia will not be destroyed easily.” He acknowledged, however, that the U.S. “has announced clearly that it is not on the side of Saudi Arabia” regarding the strike.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will attend an international conference on Syria in Lausanne, Switzerland, on October 15, according to a deputy foreign minister. Iranian media had reported on October 13 that Zarif would not be participating in the Lausanne talks. The Russian, American, Iraqi, Turkish, and Saudi foreign ministers will also attend.
- Paul Bucala and Shayan Enferadi analyze the implications of recent instability in Iranian Kurdistan in “Iran’s Kurdish Insurgency.
- 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.”
- 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
Friday prayer leaders denounce Saudi “war crimes” in Yemen. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami criticized the U.S. and the UK for supporting “Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen” during his Friday prayer sermon. He noted that “U.S. drones have supported the crimes of Saudi Arabia around the clock. They have said that they have not given a blank check to Saudi Arabia. But you have actually given Saudi Arabia something worse than a blank check.” Khatami was referring to U.S. National Security Council Spokesman Ned Price’s statement that “US security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check" in response to the Saudi-led airstrike that killed at least 155 individuals and wounded more than 500 at a funeral in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a on October 8. (Fars News Agency)
- Shiraz Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Asadollah Imani stated that America’s “70-year relationship with Saudi Arabia will not be destroyed easily” but noted that the U.S. “has announced clearly that it is not on the side of Saudi Arabia [regarding the airstrike]. The U.S. fired missiles at Yemen in order to demonstrate its commitment [to Saudi Arabia], however.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Ahvaz Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Mousavi Jazayeri expressed hope that Saudi Arabia will “be punished as soon as possible and that we can witness the victory of the Yemeni people.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Zarif to attend Syria talks in Switzerland. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will attend an international conference on Syria in Switzerland on October 15, according Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari. The foreign ministers of Egypt, Iraq, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. will also attend the talks. (ISCA)
Parliamentarian denies torture of detained dual citizens. Abolfazl Hassanbeigi, the vice-chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, denied that Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian and Iranian-Canadian professor Homa Hoodfar were subject to “torture” in Iranian prisons. Hassanbeigi claimed that they experienced “nothing but peace” while detained. Rezaian accused Iran of torture when he filed a federal lawsuit against the Iranian government on October 3 over his 544-day imprisonment. Hassanbeigi also claimed that the CIA and Mossad “went after” and “pressured” Rezaian and Hoodfar after their release. He added that if the U.S. uses imprisoned dual nationals to “start making up excuses, then we can pursue 80 of Iran’s complaints against America.” (Fars News Agency)
Iranian ambassador to Syria set to end diplomatic tour. Iranian Ambassador to Syria Mohammad Reza Raouf Sheibani met with Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis to commemorate his five years of service in Syria. During the meeting, Sheibani praised the “strategic cooperation” between Syria and Iran. Hossein Sheikholeslam will become the next Iranian ambassador to Syria, according to news reports from July. He was previously the international affairs deputy to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. (Mehr News Agency)
- Khomeini grandson: Trump is the result of the capitalist system. Hojjat ol Eslam Ali Khomeini, a grandson of Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, stated that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “is a product of the capitalist system, as he rose up because of [his] wealth. Now, American officials do not know what to do with this character.” (Fars News Agency)
Military & Security
- IRGC brigadier general: “The Axis of Resistance will soon deliver a heavy defeat to the terrorists.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Shadmani, who was recently appointed IRGC Khatam ol Anbia Base coordination deputy, celebrated that the U.S. has accepted that “the Axis of Resistance will soon deliver a heavy defeat to the terrorists,” a reference to Iranian-backed operations in Syria and Iraq. Shadmani also claimed that Iran “has not allowed the child-killing Zionists, the evil English, the criminal Americans, or the terrorist-supporting Saudis” to “show their strength in the region or the Persian Gulf.” Shadmani also commented upon his role as coordination deputy, stating that his “responsibility” is to ensure cooperation among the IRGC, the Artesh, and the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF). (Basij News) (Mehr News Agency)
- U.S. and Japanese banks to fund Boeing sales to Iran. An unidentified U.S. bank and an unidentified Japanese bank have reached an agreement to finance Iran’s purchase of airliners from Boeing. Iran and Boeing announced the sale earlier this year, but the U.S only issued licenses necessary for the sale to move forward late last month. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)