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: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for a political solution to the Syrian conflict before meeting with his Russian and Syrian counterparts in Moscow.
Zarif stated that only “a political solution along with combating takfiri groups” can resolve the Syrian conflict. He claimed that Iran “has always stressed the necessity of a multilateral ceasefire, sending humanitarian aid, and efforts to find a political solution for the Syrian conflict.” He also praised the expansion of Russian-Iranian cooperation during a separate meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Zarif asserted that the humanitarian situation in Yemen and Syria requires “more cooperation” between Russia and Iran. Zarif’s comments come as Syrian rebels have launched a massive operation in order to break the government’s two-month-long siege of Aleppo city.
Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri claimed that there were “certainly violations” in Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf’s office when city officials offered favorable prices on government-owned property to certain individuals. Montazeri stressed that the “discounts must be returned and the contracts of sale must be canceled.” He added that the Judiciary is still investigating the case, but a preliminary investigation has shown that there was no “systemic corruption” in Ghalibaf’s office. The scandal was originally disclosed in late August, when Memari News published a report accusing Ghalibaf’s office of giving individuals “huge discounts” on government-owned property. Ghalibaf is a prominent principlist politician and is widely considered to be a possible contender in the 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.”
- 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
Zarif meets with Russian and Syrian counterparts in Moscow. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that Iran “has always stressed the necessity of a multilateral ceasefire, sending humanitarian aid, and efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict” before meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. He added, “Those countries that want peace and are currently fighting the takfiris in Syria must seek greater cooperation in expanding the peace process in order to bring an end to the conflict. The conversations today in Moscow are occurring within this framework.” Zarif noted, however, that “some countries want war and a military solution to the Syrian conflict even though [only] a political solution can resolve the crisis along with combating takfiri groups.”
- Zarif also commented on Russian-Iranian cooperation during a separate meeting with Lavrov. He stated, “In fighting terrorism, Iran and Russia have had great cooperation. It is necessary that we expand this cooperation and discussions as much as possible, considering the threat from terrorism… The deplorable humanitarian situation in Yemen and Syria requires us to have more cooperation.”
- EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini arrived in Iran on October 28. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi stated that Mogherini is scheduled discuss Syria and other regional developments with Zarif and “probably” President Hassan Rouhani. (IRNA) (Tasnim News Agency) (Press TV) (E)
Tehran Friday prayer leader criticizes U.S. presidential candidates. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani criticized Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for “deviating” from religious values. He stated, “Instead of paying attention to domestic American issues, they shout slogans against the oppressed of the world. The American people should have cast them aside and not supported them.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari claimed that American officials have made “groundless demands” after the nuclear deal’s implementation. He added, “We have recently seen the Americans’ infidelity regarding the nuclear deal. In addition to nuclear issues, they expect us to shut down [Iran’s] missile industry.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Attorney General: There were “certainly violations” in the Tehran mayoral office. Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri announced on state television that there were “certainly violations” when Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf’s office gave government officials “discounts” on government-owned property. Montazeri stressed that the “discounts must be returned and the contracts of sale must be canceled.” (Fars News Agency)
Conservatives continue criticism of Rouhani cabinet nominees for links to Green Movement. Qom Friday Prayer Leader Mohammad Saeedi criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s three cabinet nominees for participating in the 2009 Green Movement protests during his sermon on October 28. He stated, “Some of them had a role in the 2009 sedition, so this reshuffle can inflict serious challenges on the administration.” Meanwhile, conservative parliamentarian Hossein Naghavi Hosseini criticized Fakhreddin Ahmadi Danesh Ashtiani, Rouhani’s nominee for Education minister, for lacking experience and being involved in the 2009 protests. Naghavi Hosseini stated, “The expectation was that the president would observe the system’s red line… It has been proven that Danesh Ashtiani is a leader of the sedition and should not have been proposed to Parliament.” Conservatives hold a minority of seats in Parliament, which is scheduled to review the nominees on November 1. (Mehr News Agency) (Mashregh News)
Military & Security
- Senior security official credits “defensive power” for negotiations. Passive Defense Organization (PDO) Head IRGC Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali stated that “the powerful smile of [our] diplomatic apparatus is backed by defensive power” during remarks on October 28. He added, “If the P+5 countries sit down with us today, it is due to our country’s defensive power.” (Mehr News Agency)