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: President Hassan Rouhani called the American presidential elections a choice between “bad and worse.”
President Hassan Rouhani claimed that the presidential elections show that “ethics do not exist” in the U.S. Rouhani added, “Look at how they talk, the way they accuse each other, and the way that they mock each other!” Iranian media outlets and senior officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have ramped up their commentary on the U.S. election in recent weeks. Iranian state television even aired a presidential debate live for the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic. Iran’s leadership, however, has voiced apprehension over the effects of the election on U.S. policy toward Iran. In late September, for example, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran warned that the U.S. presidential elections could bring “difficult days” for the nuclear deal.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi denounced Turkey’s push to participate in the operation to retake the city of Mosul. Ghassemi claimed that “any type of participation in the fight against terrorism in Iraq must occur with the coordination and permission of the Iraqi central government.” For more information and analysis on the operation to recapture Mosul, tune in to AEI’s Facebook page on Tuesday, October 25 at 10:00 a.m. for a live video event as Critical Threats Project Director Frederick W. Kagan interviews Institute for the Study of War Iraq analysts Patrick Martin and Emily Anagnostos on why the campaign for Mosul matters for the United States.
Ghassem Ghavidel, one of the four Iranians killed in Kirkuk on October 21, was buried with an IRGC honor guard in Gilan province. Iranian media had claimed that Ghavidel was an electrician working in Kirkuk, but imagery from his funeral suggests that he may have been affiliated with the IRGC.
- The Critical Threats Project and ISW Naval Analyst Christopher Harmer assess Iran’s role in the recent anti-shipping attacks off the Yemeni coast in “Iranian involvement in missile attacks on the USS Mason.”
- Katherine Zimmerman and Emily Estelle explain the escalations in the Red Sea in the context of broader regional conflicts and the risk to the U.S. in their latest piece, “Escalation in the Red Sea: Yemen’s Civil War, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Rouhani: The U.S. elections are a choice between “bad and worse.” President Hassan Rouhani commented that the U.S. elections show that “ethics do not exist in that country.” Rouhani stated, “At the UN, a head of state asked me which of the two candidates [Trump or Clinton] would be better. I said that I would prefer not to choose between bad or worse. Look at how they talk, the way they accuse each other, and the way that they mock each other!” (Donya-e-Eqtesad)
Foreign Ministry warns against Turkish intervention in Mosul operation. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi called Turkish involvement in the fight to retake Mosul “completely unacceptable.” Ghassemi added that “any type of participation in the fight against terrorism in Iraq must occur with the coordination and permission of the Iraqi central government.” (ISNA)
Soleimani meets with family of Kurdish fighter in Iraq. IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani met with the family of a Kurdish fighter killed in Iraq. (Hajghasem.ir)
- Gunfire breaks out near Iranian embassy in Ankara. Iranian state news reported that bystanders heard “more than 12 shots” near the Iranian embassy in Ankara. Authorities have not disclosed details on the incident, although “informed sources” report that security forces fired upon a suspicious vehicle in the area. (Press TV)
Military & Security
New long-range radar unveiled. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan announced the unveiling of the Meraj 4 and Matla ol Fajr 4 radars in Fars province. Dehghan claimed that the Matla ol Fajr radar is capable of tracking and identifying targets in a range of 500 kilometers. (Tasnim News Agency)
- New commander appointed for Artesh naval region. RDML Hossein Sharifi Nasb was appointed as the new commander for the 3rd Artesh Naval Region, which is currently based in the port of Konarak, Sistan and Baluchistan province. (Tasnim News Agency)
Rouhani presents ministry head candidates to Parliament.
- President Hassan Rouhani presented Reza Salehi Amiri as his candidate for minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Salehi Amiri has previously served as the head of the National Library and Archives Organization of Iran. Salehi Amiri was Rouhani’s initial choice to head the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs at the beginning of Rouhani’s presidency, but Parliament rejected his nomination.
- Rouhani introduced Masoud Soltani Far as his candidate for minister of Sports and Youth Affairs. Soltani Far has served as vice president and head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization. Rouhani previously nominated Soltani Far to lead the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, but Parliament rejected the nomination. (Mehr News Agency) (E)
- Rouhani designated Fakhreddin Ahmadi Danesh Ashtiani as his nominee to head the Ministry ofEducation. Rouhani previously nominated Danesh Ashtiani as minister of Science, Research, and Technology following the impeachment of Reza Faraji Dana from that position in 2014, but Parliament did not approve him. Danesh Ashtiani previously served as a deputy minister in the Science, Research, and Technology Ministry under former President Mohammad Khatami. (Press TV) (E) (Tasnim News Agency)
- Expediency Discernment Council member calls for election law reform. Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council and the Assembly of Experts, called for revisions in Iran’s election laws during an interview on October 22. The Expediency Discernment Council mediates disputes between Parliament and the Guardian Council, which holds veto power over parliamentary legislation and vets electoral candidates. Dorri Najafabadi stated, “The election laws must be reformed in such a way that the lack of authenticating [candidates’] qualifications by the Guardian Council reaches a minimum… It must be arranged so that there is enough time for reviewing documents, responding [to inquiries], and providing written answers.” An overwhelming number of candidates registered for the spring 2016 parliamentary elections, straining the Guardian Council’s vetting process and spurring calls for reform. Dorri Najafabadi added that he hopes Iranian elections will embody greater “electoral ethics… so that what has been done by the American presidential candidates, meaning Trump and Clinton, does not happen in our society.” (Ana.ir)
Casualties in Iraq & Syria
- Iranian killed in Kirkuk given military funeral. Ghassem Ghavidel was buried in Gilan province accompanied by an IRGC honor guard. Four Iranian “technicians” were reported to have been killed in Kirkuk after ISIS fighters launched a counterattack in Kirkuk province on October 21. In response, Iran's Consul General in the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah, Saadollah Massoudian, told reporters that all Iranian technicians have been withdrawn from the city after the attack. (Press TV) (ISNA)
Khamenei: Some countries are “using oil as a weapon.” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed developments within the global oil market during a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Iran ahead of the upcoming OPEC meeting. Khamenei blamed “some countries in the region” for trying to cut oil prices “in coordination with the U.S.” (Entekhab)
- U.S. petrochemical company holds talks with Iran on investment and technology transfer. Officials from U.S. petrochemical company UOP and France’s Total and Air Liquide held talks with Iranian officials in Germany to discuss the transfer of petrochemical-related technology. (Mehr News Agency) (E)