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 contributors Shayan Enferadi, Hirad Yaldaei, and 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: Influential conservative clerics praised Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s decision to bar former hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in the 2017 presidential elections.
Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani claimed that the Supreme Leader’s “intervention” in the elections was aimed at preventing the creation of “divisions and tension within society.” Assembly of Experts Chairman and Guardian Council Head Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati lauded Khamenei’s decision as an “appropriate action” against the “outbreak of a new sedition.” Former Intelligence Minister and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri criticized Ahmadinejad for “acting in such a way that the Supreme Leader had to publicly announce his view that he should not run in the elections.” In mid-September, Iranian news sites circulated rumors that the Supreme Leader had advised Ahmadinejad not to run in the upcoming presidential elections in a private meeting with the former president. Several of Ahmadinejad's advisors and close supporters promptly dismissed the rumors, however. Khameneiconfirmed that he had recommended Ahmadinejad not to run in the upcoming presidential elections during a speech on September 26.
- Paul Bucala and Shayan Enferadi analyze the implications of recent instability in Iranian Kurdistan in “Iran’s Kurdish Insurgency.”
- 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 Iran has likely recognized its limit in managing Iraq’s fractious political sphere in “Big questions in Iran’s great Iraq game.”
Jannati: Khamenei prevented another sedition. Assembly of Experts Chairman and Guardian Council Head Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati praised Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s decision to “take appropriate action” against the “outbreak of a new sedition” during a speech delivered to Assembly of Experts members. Jannati also stressed the importance of following the Supreme Leader’s decrees related to “avoiding the polarization of society.” Jannati was likely referring to Khamenei’s recent speech announcing that he had advised former hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not to seek a third term in the May 2017 presidential elections. Khamenei explained that Ahmadinejad’s candidacy “would polarize the country.” (Mehr News Agency)
Tehran Friday prayer leader: The Supreme Leader’s intervention in elections is to prevent tension. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani praised Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for “always considering the problems of the future” during his Friday sermon. Kashani noted that the Supreme Leader’s “intervention” in the elections was aimed at preventing “divisions and tension within society.” (ISCA)
- Former intelligence minister: “Ahmadinejad should have heeded the commands of the Supreme Leader.” Former Intelligence Minister and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for “acting in such a way that the Supreme Leader had to publicly announce his view that he should not run in the elections.” The former hardline president reportedly traveled to Golestan province to attend a political rally after the Supreme Leader privately advised him not to run. (Asr Iran)
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
AEOI head: Ahmadinejad opposed secret negotiations with U.S. in 2012. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi discussed the nuclear negotiations that led to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in a televised interview on September 29. Salehi claimed that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad considered the confidential nuclear negotiations that the Supreme Leader authorized with the U.S. in 2012 to be a “mistake.” Salehi noted that Ahmadinejad made the negotiations “very difficult” because he refused to fulfill his duties as the coordinator between the Foreign Ministry and the Supreme National Security Council.
- Salehi defended the nuclear agreement as having “opened paths” for Iran but accused the U.S. of working “behind the scenes” to intimidate banks from doing business with Iran. Salehi warned that if the U.S. “continues to renege on its promises, we will not return to our previous [pre-JCPOA] state. We will be something very different than what we were before the JCPOA.”
- Salehi also asserted that he did not sign a “secret agreement” with the U.S. He stated that Iran, as a signatory to the International Atomic Energy Organization’s (IAEA) Additional Protocol, did submit a private “long-term plan” spanning 15 years to the IAEA. He noted that “every country” that submits such a plan does not want it made public. The Additional Protocol is a supplement to IAEA safeguard agreements and allows the IAEA to verify a state’s safeguard requirements. (Asr Iran)
Military & Security
Interior minister: The Saudis are funding militant groups along our eastern border. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli claimed that Saudi Arabia has been funneling money and intelligence to militant groups in eastern Iran. Iranian authorities have increasingly accusedSaudi Arabia of backing militant groups along Iran’s western and southeastern borders. (Press TV)
- LEF Commander: The police will “seriously confront” the “hijab and chastity issue.” Law Enforcement (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari stated that Iran’s police force will “seriously confront” morality issues during remarks made at Friday prayer in Tehran. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Rouhani targets FATF critics. President Hassan Rouhani addressed critics of Iran’s compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s regulations on Iran in a message on his Persian-language Twitter account on September 28. He stated, “When we start measures to fight money laundering, some try to depict the FATF as an unclear issue…. We don’t want money laundering in the country.” (IRNA) (E)