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: Iranian media reported the death of a senior IRGC officer in Syria.
Gholam Reza Samaei was an Iran-Iraq War veteran from Razavi Khorasan province. Reports did not provide a rank for Samaei but called him a “commander,” which usually refers to brigadier generals. Casualty rolls indicate that Iranian forces have been taking fewer but higher-ranked casualties in recent months, indicating that Iranian troops have adopted a less aggressive deployment pattern in support of regime operations in Aleppo, Hama, and elsewhere.
Parliament is scheduled to review nominees to lead three ministries on November 1. The Rouhani administration recently nominated Fakhreddin Ahmadi Danesh Ashtiani, Reza Salehi Amiri, and Massoud Soltani Far to be ministers of Education, Culture and Islamic Guidance, and Sports and Youth Affairs respectively. The previous ministers were controversial figures in President Hassan Rouhani’s administration and resigned last week in a move likely designed to strengthen Rouhani’s cabinet ahead of the May 2017 presidential elections.
- 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 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.”
Casualties in Iraq & Syria
- Senior IRGC commander killed in Syria. Gholam Reza Samaei was an Iran-Iraq War veteran from Razavi Khorasan province. Samaei reportedly served in a number of different units, including within the Samen ol Aemeh Headquarters and as the commander of the artillery unit of the 5th Nasr Division. (Alef)
Parliament to review cabinet nominees on November 1. Parliament is scheduled to review the Rouhani administration’s nominees to head three ministries on November 1. President Hassan Rouhani nominated Fakhreddin Ahmadi Danesh Ashtiani, Reza Salehi Amiri, and Massoud Soltani Far to be ministers of Education, Culture and Islamic Guidance, and Sports and Youth Affairs respectively. Former hardline parliamentarian Hamid Resaei criticized two of the proposed ministers for their alleged support for the “sedition,” referring to the 2009 Green Movement protests. Resaei added that Rouhani’s decision to propose “three ministers whom the previous [conservative-dominated] Parliament would not have approved due to their presence in the sedition… sends a positive sign to reformists.” (Tasnim News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)
Shamkhani meets with senior clerics in Qom. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani held meetings with several senior clerics, including Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpaygani, Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani, Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli, Ayatollah Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili, Ayatollah Mohammad Alavi Gorgani, and Ayatollah Mousa Shubari Zanjani during a two-day visit to the city of Qom. Shamkhani was scheduled to brief the clerics on Iran’s security, among other topics. The clerics reportedly emphasized the importance of paying “more attention to resolving the people’s economic problems” and called for “unity of the Islamic world against the takfiris,” referring to Sunni extremist groups. (Fars News Agency)
- Assembly of Experts delays meeting to March 2017. The Assembly of Experts delayed its next full meeting from the month of Azar (November-December 2016) to the 17th and 18th of Esfand (March 7 and 8, 2017), according to presiding board member Ayatollah Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi. He explained that “necessary conditions” were not met for the meeting to be held this winter but did not provide further details. The Assembly of Experts is a top clerical body constitutionally charged with selecting the next supreme leader. (Tasnim News Agency)
Deputy foreign minister: ISIS could exploit Iran’s financial system. Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi called for further efforts to prevent money laundering by ISIS and narcotic traffickers. Araghchi also acknowledged that “there are real concerns” about regulations proposed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in order to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Araghchi noted, however, that FATF regulations will help prevent money laundering by “takfiri groups.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Former oil minister: I am opposed to the new oil and gas contract model. Rostam Ghasemi, who served as oil minister under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from 2011 to 2013, criticized the terms of Iran’s new oil and gas contract model, the Iran Petroleum Contract. He also criticized FATF regulations for “sanctioning Bank Sepah, the Ministry of Defense, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, and the Intelligence Ministry. Because of FATF, banks are not able to provide services to these institutions.” (Fars News Agency)