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 Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributor John Lesnewich. 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.
- MPs voted on President Hassan Rouhani's appointments to the ministries of Education, Science, and Sports and Youth in yesterday’s Parliamentary session. Former Khatami-era officials Reza Farji Nia and Ali Asqar Fani were approved with broad support as ministers of Sciences and Education, respectively. However, Rouhani’s appointment to the Sports and Youth ministry, Reza Salehi Amiri, was met with overwhelming opposition, leading to the rejection of his appointment. MP Elias Naderan charged Salehi with a series of crimes, such as bribery, "issuing orders for torture," smuggling, and having a hand in the 2009 post-election protests.
- Reza Salehi Amiri defended his record at the open session of Parliament before the vote:
- "I was never active in economic affairs during my time in the Intelligence Ministry, therefore if any smuggling took place it is not related to me.
- “Why am I being asked such questions today? I spent my [life] protecting the values of the regime, but today I stand in front of the regime accused with ungracious words being said against me. I have tried to convince delegates outside of this meeting; however, I currentIy, have come to believe that there is politics at [play] here in order to destroy my image and character.”
- Following reports that the daughters of jailed 2013 presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi were subject to beatings by security forces, MP Ali Motahari criticized the act and said, “I must summon the Intelligence Minister to Parliament.”
- Zahedan Sunni Friday Prayer Leader Molavi Abdolhamid issued a statement condemning the Jaish al-Adl “terrorist” attack on Iranian Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) border guards, which reads in part: “Creating any sort of instability is a betrayal.”
- Senior clerics criticized a recent editorial in Bahar newspaper on the anniversary of Eid al-Ghadir [important event for Shi'a Muslims, which they claim is the day Prophet Muhammad appointed the first Shi'a Imam Ali as rightful leader of Muslims]. The original article is not currently available, but it reportedly claimed that the event had many similarities in the reason for its occurrence regarding the caliphate and Ali's political leadership, which clerics and media claim undermined the Shi'a principle of divinely appointed Imams after the passing of Muhammad and the guardianship of the jurisprudent, velayat, the founding political principal of the Islamic Republic.
- Deputy Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Abdollah Haji Sadeghi said that foreign elements indirectly took the "role of director" in this matter.
- Society of Qom Seminary Teachers member Ayatollah Hassan Mamdouhi said, "The interpolation of baseless material in the Bahar newspaper in denying the guardianship of the Infallible Imams [12 Shi'a Imams] is wrong, deviating and Zionist-oriented."
- National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member Hamid Reza Taraghi asked for the international community to condemn the Jaish al-Adl attack as “terrorism” and called for negotiators to remember America’s hostile policies, saying: “An [American] announcement of lack of support for the terrorists must be a precondition to the upcoming negotiations. This is the minimum action that the Americans can take to prove their good intentions…. Given America’s role in contributing to Iranian and regional insecurity, the negotiations team must pay attention to this issue in the coming negotiations.”
NSFP Member Avaz Heidar Pour also cited the Saravan attacks as a reminder of “America’s previous protection of terrorist groups like [Abdolmalek] Reigi” [the leader of Jundallah, a militant Sunni organization who was captured and executed in 2010 by Iranian security forces]:
- “Reigi was one of the leaders of a terrorist group who, after his arrest by Iranian security officials, clearly announced that all of his own actions were carried out via consultation and alignment with American leaders. For the same reason, American leaders must [give an] answer for these types of terrorist movements in the Middle East, and especially within our borders.”
- Heidar Pour also claims that, based on evidence, American leaders have always supported terrorists: “An investigation of terrorist operations [should] be placed on the agenda for the P5+1 negotiations.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the Saravan attack and stated, “The painful Saravan event is an example of the results of the expansion of extremism in the region. Individuals and terrorists do not know borders.”
- Pakistan Charges d’Affaires in Tehran Soheil Sedighi expressed the Pakistani government’s condolences to Iran and said that Pakistan would inform the Iranian government after conducting an investigation.
- Deputy Urban Development and Roads Minister Ali Mohammad Nourian said, “First steps have been taken to establish a flight between Iran and America, but the subject depends on the progress of negotiations.”
Military and Security
In a clash with an armed group on Friday, October 24 in Saravan, southwestern Sistan aa Baluchestan province near the Pakistani border, Law Enforcement Forces border guards suffered several casualties in a coordinated attack. Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack:
- Initial reports claimed that the clash left fourteen killed, seven injured and three missing in action.
- On October 25, Jaish al-Adl [the Army of Justice] under the leadership of Salaheddin Faroughi, confirmed its responsibility for the attack on its Persian-language weblog. The group claimed to have killed “tens” in response “to the IRGC’s savage crimes in the Islamic land of Syria and also as an answer to the oppression and crimes that the regime has committed against the rights of the oppressed Sunni Iranian people. These [crimes] include the execution of an innocent Baluchi youth, the execution of a prideful Kurdish youth, and the hanging of a brave Ahvazi Arab youth during the past few days by the usurper, criminal velayat system and the oppression of the dynasty of the Pharaoh and the asr [meaning “age,” referring to the 12th Shi’a Imam Mahdi].”
- Unofficial state organ Fars News Agency was the first to announce Jaish al-Adl's role before the group issued the above statement. The article claims that Jaish al-Adl was formed shortly after the dissolution of Jundullah "with the strengthening of regional [intelligence] services and with the guidance of America and the supervision of Mossad." The article noted, "This [organizational] chart has interesting similarities with the managing methods of the Hypocrites’ organization [MEK]."
- Deputy Interior Minister for Security and Law Enforcement Affairs Deputy Brig. Gen. Ali Abdollahi announced that the Supreme National Security Council held an emergency meeting on the morning of October 26th and formed a special committee to investigate the attack. He said, "All published information regarding this matter is at the level of rumor and hearsay. The only source of information regarding the matter is from the country's Security Council and the Secreteriat and will be provided shortly after review." Abdollahi added that President Hassan Rouhani has ordered the Foreign Ministry to pursue the matter with Pakistan regarding its commitments to border security.
- Saravan MP Hedayatollah Mir Moradzehi announced during Parliament’s October 26th session that the three missing in action, thought to be taken prisoners, were found earlier that morning. He also confirmed the casualty numbers. The attack took place around Gezbastan post 167 on Friday at sunset. He added that the Governor of Saravan has claimed that Jaish al-Adl carried out the attack.
- Zahedan General and Revolutionary Prosecutor Mohammad Marziyeh on Saturday, October 25: “On the basis of the warnings that we had issued to bandit elements and groups opposed to the system which [said that] any measures that caused harm to innocent people, security, or enforcement elements would be met with an in-kind response, earlier this morning we executed sixteen bandits related to groups opposed to the system. The judicial system will not fall short regarding these movements.”
- Eight of the executed belonged to Jundullah and the rest were narcotics smugglers.
- Marzieh also said that “individuals have been arrested for their terrorist actions in the region and are in prison,” but that security forces were still looking to capture some individuals responsible for the Saravan attacks.
- IRGC Public Affairs released a statement on Sunday condemning the attack, claiming that its goal was “an attempt to create religious division and tarnish the stable popular security in Sistan va Baluchestan.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated, “With the serious condemnation of the recent crimes of the terrorists, I believe that, given Pakistan’s inability to provide security in its borders, our armed forces must take action to pursue the bandits inside this country’s soil and not permit our hard working border forces be martyred by criminals.” He added that the NSFP commission will hold a meeting Monday and provide a report, adding, “The Foreign Ministry, by quickly summoning the Pakistani Ambassador, must ask this government to apprehend and punish these criminals.”
- Law Enforcement Forces Border Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Zolfaghari announced that “at least three countries in the region and beyond the region” provided monetary, technical and intelligence support to Jaish al-Adl for the recent terrorist attack.
Supreme National Security Council Secretary Maj. Gen. Ali Shamkhani met with the Special United Nations Representative to Syria Lakhdar Ibrahimi and announced Iran’s preparedness to participate in Geneva 2 without preconditions:
- “Since the beginning, the Islamic Republic of Iran has known a political solution as the only path to resolve the Syrian crisis and welcomes that some parties have reached this conclusion, albeit with delay.”
- “The support of some countries for terrorist groups in Syria is inexcusable.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Navy Hojjat al-Eslam Abdolnabi Sedaghat said, “As long as America, as the symbol of Satanism, pursues the spread of Arrogance, dominance-seeking and the destruction of righteousness, [we] cannot compromise or negotiate with it.” He added that the US’s retreat from such policies and “compensating for the damages and harms that they have inflicted to this system from the few years before the victory of the Islamic Revolution until now are the necessary conditions to cautiously pursue matters from a diplomatic route.”
- Law Enforcement Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam announced that investigating allegations regarding the beatings of Mousavi’s daughters is with the Intelligence Minister, since “no complaints have been received in this matter from the daughters of the considered individual.”
Head of the Armed Forces General Staff Passive Defense Organization Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali claimed that “an Iranian Holocaust occurred during World War I,” characterized sanctions as economic warfare, and warned about the potential for the US to use biological weapons against Iran:
- “In our historical sources, the greatest human losses in [World War I] occurred in our country, but we see no sign of them in history.”
- “In 1914 the population of Iran was 20 million people, but after four years it decreased to 10 million due to a lack of strong, internal leadership. The greatest health tragedy and [lack of] treatment occurred due to famine and sickness in this time.”
- “The economic threat to our country has become a war. They have mobilized all of the diplomatic, military, and political powers to the economic front.”
- “The medical economy has also been affected by this economic war. Unfair sanctions on medicine, vaccines, and medical equipment are undertaken against us.”
- “We must avoid complacency with the West because these seemingly civilized Westerners have factories of biological weapons which they would use against us if there were a war.”
IRGC Navy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi talked about the successes of his force in implementing its resistance strategy:
- “The creation of active and continuous resistance against the enemy was a promise of the Islamic system and a continuous goal of the naval [forces]. Thanks to all of the sailors of this force, we have achieved that.”
- “The continuation of this field is preserving and stabilizing the situation, as well as avoiding points of weakness and reinforcing points of strength.”
- “Management, especially in the combat and defense fields, is considered an art, which, with the minimum cost and capabilities, you can get the greatest and best outcomes. Thanks to God, this important thing has been provided in the IRGC Navy in many areas.”
- Head of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi appointed Maryam Mojtahadzadeh Larijani as the President of the Organization for the Publication and Preservation of Works and Values of Women Participating in the Sacred Defense.
- Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs and lead member of the nuclear negotiations team Abbas Eraghchi met with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Vienna to discuss “continuing [Iran’s] cooperation with the agency and showing Iran’s new approach in negotiations with the agency to resolve the ambiguities and questions between the two sides.”
- President Hassan Rouhani delegated the mission of identifying Iranian families based on income in an effort to eliminate subsidies to higher income families to Cooperatives, Work and Welfare Minister Ali Rabi’i.
- Proposals for Iran-Shell oil company negotiations have begun and a workgroup has been selected in the Oil Ministry to take the lead. The main topic of these negotiations is Shell’s $2.3 billion debt to Iran, which it has been unable to transfer due to financial sanctions on Iran.
- President Hassan Rouhani announced that 3 trillion tomans [about $1 billion] were allocated from the National Development Fund in order to implement agricultural projects in the country.
Photo of the Day
- Ancient stone houses of Eshtehard, Alborz province.