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: Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi announced that Iran and Russia will begin constructing two nuclear reactors in the southern city of Bushehr on September 10.
Salehi claimed that the two reactors will save Iran approximately 22 million barrels of oil per year. In 2014, Moscow and Tehran signed an agreement to construct up to eight new nuclear reactors in Iran after Russia completed its work on Iran’s first nuclear reactor in Bushehr in 2013.
Parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Aref, the head of the reformist-moderate “Hope” coalition, criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s administration for failing to fully implement its “slogan of change” in government. Reformists and supporters of Rouhani formed a coalition during the spring 2016 parliamentary elections, but the alliance is reportedly under pressure. Former reformist President Mohammad Khatami complained to Rouhani that his supporters have not “kept their promises” to reformists after the elections, according to a reformist leader who also warned that not all reformists may support Rouhani in the 2017 presidential elections as they did in 2013.
Iranian news outlets reported that three members of the Afghan Shia militia Fatimiyoun Brigade and two members of the Pakistani Shia militia Zainabiyoun Brigade were buried in the city of Qom.
- Marie Donovan analyzes how Russia’s use of an Iranian air base could improve Iran’s deterrence capabilities against the U.S. in “Russian Basing in Iran is about More than ISIS.”
- Christopher Harmer explains why international attention must turn to Moscow’s delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran in “The Strategic Impact of the S-300 in Iran."
- Iran to build two new nuclear reactors with Russia. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi announced that Iran will begin constructing two nuclear reactors with Russia at Bushehr. He claimed that the two reactors will save Iran approximately 22 million barrels of oil per year. (ANA)
Senior reformist criticizes Rouhani administration. Mohammad Reza Aref, a parliamentarian representing Tehran and the head of the reformist-moderate “Hope” coalition, criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s administration in remarks on September 1. Aref stated, “It seems like many [government] institutions have not been penetrated by the slogan of change that the people voted for in 2013.” Aref noted that “50 to 60 percent of managers in [government] institutions are from a previous era and do not assist the administration... Why haven’t some directors who came to power due to the excuse of the [conservative-dominated previous] Ninth Parliament been changed? What has been done to change the security atmosphere in universities? ...Students must be free to give their thoughts and opinions in universities.” He also criticized ministers in Rouhani’s cabinet and announced that some members of the Hope faction are considering impeaching “some ministers.” Former reformist President Mohammad Khatami reportedly complained about the behavior of Rouhani’s ministers during a meeting with Rouhani after the spring 2016 parliamentary elections. (Asr Iran)
- NSFP parliamentarian: Arrested nuclear negotiator has “accepted” espionage charges. Hajar Chenarani, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Commission, claimed on August 31 that Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani has “accepted” the charges of espionage against him. Esfahani, who was a banking expert on Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, was accused of selling Iran’s economic information to foreign countries, arrested, and subsequently released on bail. Members of the NSFP Parliamentary Commission met with IRGC Intelligence on August 30 and 31 to discuss foreign governments’ “infiltration project” against Iran. The IRGC reportedly warned during the meetings that hostile foreign governments are targeting Iranian dual nationals. Conflicting reports have claimed that Esfahani is a dual citizen of either Britain or Canada, although a senior official in the Foreign Ministry recently denied that Esfahani has a second nationality. (Basij News)
- Parliamentarians retract signatures on letter criticizing deputy parliament speaker over 1988 executions. Six parliamentarians “retracted” their signatures on a letter calling for Parliament’s presiding board to remove moderate-conservative politician Ali Motahari from his position as deputy parliament speaker. The letter had objected to Motahari’s recent criticism of the execution of approximately 5,000 political prisoners in 1988. Motahari had also called upon hardline Justice Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mostafa Pourmohammadi to explain his role in the executions. The six parliamentarians thought they were signing a letter criticizing Motahari’s remarks but not lodging a complaint against Motahari, according to parliamentarian Alireza Rahimi. Rahimi added that the number of parliamentarians retracting their signatures is likely to continue to rise. Separately, parliamentarian Abdollah Raziyan wrote that his signature on the letter was “forged” and that he had not seen the letter. Raziyan added that the issue is being “pursued legally.” (IRNA)
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
British Airway resumes direct flights to Iran. British Airways will conduct six flights per week between London Heathrow and Tehran beginning on September 1. The flights between London and Tehran will become a daily service later this year. This will be the first British Airways flight to Tehran since 2012. Air France resumed direct flights between Paris and Tehran in April 2016 after an eight-year halt. (PressTV) (E)
- Boroujerdi emphasizes increasing trade relations. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, stressed the importance of utilizing better relations with Western countries to strengthen the Resistance Economy after the implementation of the nuclear agreement. Boroujerdi stated, “If we cannot regulate our relationship with countries, naturally there will not be a place for exports. If we do not export, our products will encounter problems.” (IRNA)
Military & Security
- IRGC Deputy Commander: We are battling the enemy in remote places. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami stressed that the U.S. is seeking to “dominate the world” during a ceremony in the northeastern Razavi Khorasan province. He added that the nuclear deal can be an “appropriate test” for assessing “the spirit of commitment” among Iran’s enemies. (IRNA) (E)(Farda News)
Casualties in Iraq & Syria
- Five Fatimiyoun and Zainabiyoun fighters buried in Qom. Iranian news outlets reported that three members of the Afghan Shia militia Fatimiyoun Brigade and two members of the Pakistani Shia militia Zainabiyoun Brigade were buried in the city of Qom. They were reported to have been killed in Syria. (Mashregh News Agency)