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: Senior Iranian officials praised Lebanon’s election of Michel Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, as president.

Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati celebrated Aoun’s electionas a “victory” for Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, while Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi expressed hope that Aoun’s presidency will result in an “expansion” of Iranian-Lebanese ties. Aoun’s election ended a two-year vacancy in Lebanon’s top post, which is reserved for a Maronite Christian. The decision by Lebanon’s main Sunni political group, the Saudi-linked Future Movement, to endorse Aoun indicates Saudi Arabia’s curtailed influence in the country. Saudi Arabia appears to have been in retreat in Lebanon since February 2016, when it suspended a $3 billion aid package to the Lebanese armed forces. Beirut had refused to condemn the storming of the Saudi embassy in Iran, a move that one Saudi official attributed to pressure from Hezbollah.

Iranian news outlets reported the deaths of three IRGC soldiers in Syria, including a retired IRGC brigadier general. This uptick in deaths corresponds with an escalation of fighting around Aleppo, where rebel forces have launched a multi-day offensive to break the regime’s siege of the city.

AEI Must-Reads

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Supreme Leader’s foreign policy advisor: Aoun’s election is a victory for Hezbollah. Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati hailed the election of Michel Aoun as Lebanon’s president as “a victory for [Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General] Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon.” He added:
    • “The country of Lebanon is a very important link in the chain of the Islamic Resistance that starts in Iran and consists of states such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine. The Lebanese president plays a key role in managing the affairs of the country. Therefore, the election of Michel Aoun… shows a serious strengthening of the Islamic Resistance.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Foreign Ministry praises results of Lebanese elections. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi called Michel Aoun’s election an “important step for institutionalizing democracy and ensuring stability in Lebanon.” Ghassemi also expressed his hope that Aoun’s presidential term will witness an “expansion of ties” between Iran and Lebanon “as much as possible.”
    • Ghassemi rejected allegations from a top U.S. Navy commander that the U.S. and allied states have intercepted four weapon shipments from Iran to the Houthis since April 2015. Ghassemi accused Saudi Arabia of increasing its “barbaric air strikes against the Yemeni people” with the support of “some global powers.”
    • Ghassemi also called reports of Iranian assistance to the Afghan Taliban an “obvious lie.” Ghassemi was referring to a recent interview with Afghan Taliban Spokesman Mullah Zabihullah in the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, in which Zabihullah claimed that the Taliban “holds ongoing networks with a large number of regional and neighboring states.” Zabihullah did not mention Iran explicitly as one of these states. In mid-October, the Pakistani news source Express Tribune reported that the Afghan Taliban had formalized its ties with Iran by appointing Maulvi Nek Muhammad as the group’s official envoy to Iran. The Afghan Taliban also reportedly maintains an official office in Mashhad. (Tasnim News Agency) (Press TV) (E) (Fars News Agency)
  • Rouhani and Michel Aoun discuss regional developments. President Hassan Rouhani reportedly called Michel Aoun to congratulate him on his victory in the Lebanese presidential elections. Rouhani stated, “You have taken on this position at a very sensitive time. The region has seen an increase in the threat from terrorism and takfiri groups as well as greed from the Zionist usurpers. We are certain that the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon will be strengthened against these two threats with your election.” (Donya-e-Eqtesad) (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Rouhani and Zarif meet with EU foreign policy chief. EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini arrived in Tehran on October 28 to discuss the Syrian crisis and the implementation of the nuclear deal with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Rouhani stated that “Iran is ready to cooperate extensively with Europe in order to promote citizenship rights in communities” in the region. Rouhani added that Iran and the EU “have the capacity and the opportunity… to create momentum in their relations.” Zarif stressed that Mogherini visited for the purpose “of exchanging views, not negotiating, about war-torn Syria.” (Etemaad) (ABNA)
  • National Security and Foreign Policy parliamentary commission releases report on JCPOA. Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Commission issued a report detailing the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The report criticizes the U.S. for “disrupting or delaying its commitments” under the JCPOA. (Hamshahri)

Casualties in Iraq & Syria

  • Three IRGC members killed in Syria.
    • Mohammad Atabeh was a member of Gilan province’s 16th Quds Division.
    • Mohammad Keyhani was from Khuzestan province.
    • Zakar Hosseini was a retired IRGC brigadier general from East Azerbaijan province. He previously served as a top commander in the IRGC’s East Azerbaijan provincial unit. (Fars News Agency) (Fash News)

Domestic Politics

  • Guardian Council spokesman: The Judiciary or “another institution” could supervise parliamentarians. Guardian Council Spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei reiterated his previous comments walking back the argument that the council has the authority disqualify parliamentarians mid-term. The conservative-dominated Guardian Council vets candidates for public office, but council members appeared to have claimed controversially that it can also supervise elected parliamentarians after election day. Kadkhodaei stated on October 29 that the “past process” of the Guardian Council supervising candidates until Parliament swears them into office “still remains.” He added that “a law will be passed” specifying which authority supervises parliamentarians in order to ensure compliance with the Supreme Leader’s recently-issued electoral guidelines, however. The guidelines call vaguely for parliamentarians to be supervised to ensure that they retain the “qualifications” to serve. Kadkhodaei noted that it is possible that an authority either “internal or external” to Parliament will conduct that supervision. He stated, “For example, it is possible that the Judiciary or another institution will do this work. This will be clarified in the future.” (Donya-e Eqtesad)
    • Moderate-conservative Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari reiterated his criticism of any supervision by the Guardian Council over elected parliamentarians. Motahari accused such supervision of entailing “excessive nuisances, including conservatism in representatives.” He added that if the Guardian Council supervises Parliament, “then another authority must supervise the Guardian Council.” (Asr Iran)
  • Justice minister: Iran must review the number of executions. Justice Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mostafa Pour Mohammadi stated, “The volume of capital punishments in recent years has not been valuable. Therefore, the amount and instances of capital punishments should be reviewed.” He noted that “of course, the Judiciary has broadly accepted” the necessity of reviewing capital punishments. Pour Mohammadi added, “The principle of the death penalty [as a form of punishment] cannot be rejected because some corruption exists in the country, and there is no other way to correct corruption.” (Mashregh News)
Arrow down red
Nov '16
Oct '16