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 and contributor Ali Javaheri. 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: An interim Tehran Friday prayer leader reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s assertion that Iran has an “inalienable right” to develop its offensive military capabilities.

Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani boasted that the prospect of Iran’s “defensive and offensive capabilities causes fear and panic in our enemies.” Esfahan Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Mojtaba Mirdamadi similarly called for Iran to “increase its defensive and military capabilities.” The Islamic Republic has historically depicted its weapon systems in terms of “defensive” rather than “offensive” capabilities.

Iranian news outlets reported that IRGC 2nd Lieutenant Hamed Reza Ziaaddini, a Special Forces officer from Kerman province’s IRGC 41st Sarallah Division, was killed during a firefight with a “terrorist cell” in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan.

IRGC Brig. Gen. Dariush Dorosti was reportedly killed in Syria. If Dorosti’s death is confirmed, he would be the second IRGC brigadier general to be killed in Syria in the last week.

AEI Must-Reads

Military & Security

  • Friday prayer leaders emphasize military capabilities. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani referenced Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s insistence that developing Iran’s “defensive and offensive capabilities” is its “inalienable right.” Movahedi Kermani added, “Encountering [our] defensive and offensive capabilities causes fear and panic in our enemies.” He also praised President Hassan Rouhani’s administration for its “effective” handling of the salary scandal, in which leaks revealed that certain government employees had been receiving astronomical benefits. He noted that Khamenei emphasized the importance of investigating the salary scandal during a recent meeting with Rouhani and his cabinet. (ISNA)
    • Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari stated, “Despite the limitations on the development of weapons of mass destruction, we have no restrictions on developing weapons so that we can make the enemy understand that if it attacks [our country] it will face a crushing response.” (Tasnim News Agency)
    • Esfahan Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Mojtaba Mirdamadi called for Iran to “increase its defensive and military capabilities so that [our] enemies will not even raise the thought of attacking the country.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • IRGC Special Forces officer killed in Sistan and Baluchistan province. Iranian news outlets reported that IRGC 2nd Lt. Hamed Reza Ziaaddini was killed during a firefight with a “terrorist cell” in Sistan and Baluchistan province. He was a Special Forces officer from the IRGC 41st Sarallah Division, which is based in Kerman province. (Dana) (IRIB)

Domestic Politics

  • Rouhani administration launches complaint against cleric. Vice President for Legal Affairs Majid Ansari announced that the Rouhani administration has launched a case in a clerical court against an unnamed cleric for his “very crude and criminal speech” against the president. Ansari was likely referring to Hamid Rouhani, who recently accused Hassan Rouhani of “treason” and forcing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to negotiate the nuclear deal. Ansari added that one “must not let the wrongdoing of an individual slide because he is a cleric.” The Rouhani administration previously announced that it would file complaints against several clerics who had attacked Rouhani, several days after Hamid Rouhani’s remarks and after Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda called Rouhani “Mr. Gullible” for his faith in the nuclear deal’s benefits. Ansari stated in early August that Hassan Rouhani is facing “unprecedented affronts” due to the upcoming presidential elections in May 2017. (Alef) (Damadam)
  • Interior ministry orders investigation into Tehran City Council corruption scandal. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced that he ordered one of his deputies to investigate the leaked sales of government-owned property to Tehran City Council members at “huge discounts.” He stressed, “If there is an issue, we will take action… There must be transparency.” A member of the Tehran City Council also rejected reports that a petition signed by 28 members of the city council was intended to be a formal complaint against Memari News, which first disclosed the sales. (Damadan) (ISNA)

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Rouhani offers condolences over Islam Karimov’s death. President Hassan Rouhani issued a statement expressing his condolences over the death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. (Mehr News Agency)

Casualties in Iraq & Syria

  • IRGC brigadier general killed in Syria. Social media accounts claimed that IRGC Brig. Gen. Dariush Dorosti was killed in Syria. He was reportedly killed in northern Hama.  (Shemshadi.Hassan
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