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: The commander of the IRGC Khatam ol Anbiya Construction Headquarters criticized Iran’s oil and gas model contract as a “shame” for the Islamic Republic, underscoring the IRGC’s continued dissatisfaction with the contract’s new terms.
IRGC Commander Brigadier General Second Class Abdollah Abdollahi stated that “it is a shame for the Islamic Republic that talented and capable individuals who 37 years ago were in the Islamic Revolution” are now involved in oil projects with foreigners. The Khatam ol Anbiya Construction Headquarters is the IRGC’s engineering wing and is involved in a number of energy projects, including developing several phases of the South Pars oil field. Abdollahi is referring to the new terms of Iran’s oil and gas model contract, which require foreign companies to partner with Iranian companies in order to invest in Iran’s energy sector. The model contract is designed to provide more incentives for international firms than Iran’s previous model by giving foreign partner companies more control over the development of oil fields. Regime hardliners have therefore repeatedly criticized the contract, despite the benefits that Iranian companies stand to gain from increased technology transfer. In July, Iran’s Oil Ministry identified Khatam ol Anbiya Construction Headquarters as one of the eligible domestic partners for international oil companies.
- 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.”
- Khatam ol Anbiya Construction Headquarters commander expresses dissatisfaction with IPC. IRGC Khatam ol Anbiya Construction Headquarters Commander Brig. Gen. 2C Abdollah Abdollahi stated that it “is a shame for the Islamic Republic that talented and capable individuals who 37 years ago were in the Islamic Revolution” are now involved in oil projects with foreigners. He added, “No one is denying that there is cooperation with foreigners, since we are in contact with others in a society. But this contact must be defined and specified within a framework, and we should possess control.” Abdollahi also stressed that the Construction Headquarters is “completely ready” to compete in “upstream projects,” referring to exploratory and production projects on undiscovered oil and gas fields. (Tasnim News Agency)
Military & Security
IRGC unveils “suicide drone.” The IRGC Navy unveiled a new “suicide drone” with a range of 1000 kilometers (620 miles) and a maximum flight time of four hours. The drone is not able to carry weapons, but Iranian news reports suggest that it could serve as a “suicide drone” by crashing into designated targets. (Tabnak)
- IRGC Commander: The IRGC is the strongest force in the region. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari praised the IRGC Navy during a ceremony inaugurating the first classes at the Imam Khameini Naval College in Gilan province. Jafari called the IRGC “the strongest force in the region” and noted that “the difference between the IRGC and other wings of the Iranian armed forces is the IRGC’s mission to protect the Islamic Revolution.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Reformist parliamentarian criticizes Guardian Council’s supervision. Reformist parliamentarian Mahmoud Sadeghi criticized the Guardian Council for interpreting its powers as including the supervision of parliamentarians throughout their terms in office during remarks on October 26. The conservative-dominated Guardian Council holds veto power over parliamentary legislation and vets candidates for office before election day, but the council took the unprecedented step of disqualifying a reformist politician after she had already won a seat in the spring 2016 parliamentary elections. The Guardian Council is reviewing a revised version of a parliamentary resolution to limit the time period in which it can disqualify candidates. Sadeghi referred to Guardian Council members’ recent defense of expanded supervisory powers as “illogical.” He also accused the council of “belittling the legal rights of Parliament.” Conservative Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani supported Sadeghi’s comments by stating, “Resist what you consider belittling.” Larijani has also criticized the Guardian Council’s post-election disqualification of the reformist politician as illegal. (Hamshahri)
- Guardian Council Spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei appeared to walk back previous statements from himself and council chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati that the council supervises parliamentarians throughout their entire terms. Kadkhodaei stated in an interview on October 26 that the Supreme Leader’s recently issued electoral guidelinesare “unclear” about which authority supervises parliamentarians after they are sworn into office. Kadkhodaei called for laws to be revised to clarify the issue. (Donya-e Eqtesad)
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Khamenei: Saudi Arabia’s bombing of the Yemeni people is “the worst type of terrorism.”Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Tehran. The Supreme Leader blamed Saudi Arabia for conducting “the worst type of terrorism” in Yemen and accused the U.S. and other states of “considering problems based upon their own interests” and “not [being] interested in completely removing terrorism in both Iraq and Syria.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Human rights official criticizes EU resolution. Secretary of Iran's Human Rights Council Mohammad Javad Larijani criticized the EU’s resolution for the normalization of EU-Iran relations. Larijani claimed that the resolution is “full of errors” and stressed that the Judiciary will “certainly” not allow the EU to establish an office in Iran to discuss human right issues, as the resolution outlines. (ISNA)
Zarif to meet with Russian and Syrian counterparts in Moscow. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem in Moscow on October 28 to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria. (Fars News Agency) (E)
- Tehran’s Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei stated, “In general, Iran and Russia are working closely on the Syrian issue. Currently, there are no serious problems here… Regular consultations on [the] settlement of the Syrian issue are underway between Iran and Russia at different levels.” He delivered the remarks to Russian news agency RIA Novosti on October 26. (Fars News Agency) (E)