Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

Key takeaway: Iran and Russia likely pressured Turkey to allow for a pro-Syrian regime offensive to secure control of Idlib Governorate in northwestern Syria.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Tehran on September 7 to discuss the Syrian Civil War ahead of a likely pro-Syrian regime-led offensive into Idlib Governorate. Putin and Erdogan also met separately with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran and Russia seek to gain Turkey’s approval for the offensive and to assuage Turkish concerns over a spillover of refugees. The Russo-Iranian coalition aims to secure Syrian President Bashar al Assad regime control in Syria in order to entrench Russian and Iranian military and political influence at the expense of U.S. and regional allies’ interests and influence.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from September 1 - 7.

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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September 07, 2018

Rouhani, Putin, and Erdogan meet in Tehran to discuss Syria

Hassan Rouhani, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Tehran on September 7 to discuss the Syrian Civil War. The Tehran summit comes before the beginning of a likely Syrian regime-led offensive to retake Idlib Governorate in northwestern Syria. Rouhani called on the U.S. to “immediately bring an end to its illegal meddling in Syria” and accused the U.S. of undermining the peace process. Russia and Iran likely seek to pressure Turkey to permit a pro-regime offensive in Idlib Governorate and to assuage Turkish concerns over a potential refugee crisis. Erdogan and Putin also met separately with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met ahead of the meeting between the three presidents on September 6 in Tehran. Zarif’s meeting with Cavusoglu follows his official visit to Damascus, Syria on September 3 where Zarif met with Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem. Zarif called for all “remaining terrorists” in Idlib Governorate to be “cleaned out” during his meetings in Syria. The Tehran summit is the third installment in Iranian-Turkish-Russian led talks about Syria, following meetings in Sochi, Russia and Istanbul, Turkey. The next meeting of the three Astana Peace Process guarantor states will take place in Russia on an undisclosed date. (Fars News Agency) (Fars News Agency) (IRNA) (IRNA) (IRNA) (ISNA) (Twitter)

September 07, 2018

Iraqi protesters set fire to Iranian consulate in Basra

Iraqi protesters in Basra, Iraq reportedly set fire to the Iranian consulate there on September 7 after massive protests erupted throughout the city earlier this month. The consulate was reportedly empty during the time of the attack, according to Iraqi security forces. Protesters also reportedly set fire to other pro-Iranian organizations, such as the IRGC-backed Badr Organizations headquarters in Basra. The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq reportedly ordered all Iranian citizens living in Basra to evacuate the city. (Telegram) (Twitter) (Instagram)

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
https://www.farsnews.com/news/13970616000334/%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2-%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%B2%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B3%D9%87-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86%D8%AF-%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%AD-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%87

2. Fars News Agency
https://www.farsnews.com/news/13970612001045/%D8%B8%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AF-%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF

3. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/83021788

4. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/83021651

5. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/83021850

6. ISNA
https://www.isna.ir/news/97061507783/%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%DA%86%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%88%D8%B4-%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%BA%D9%84%D9%88-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B8%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86

7. Twitter
https://twitter.com/FarsNews_Agency/status/1038079784989929474

Citations & Links

1. Telegram
https://t.me/khabaronline_ir/183716

2. Twitter
https://twitter.com/rafidenchannel/status/1037753598317391872

3. Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/BnbwE3bBl8k/?hl=en&taken-by=manotoofficial

Domestic Politics
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September 07, 2018

Khamenei holds meeting with Assembly of Experts members, including Jannati

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with Assembly of Experts members including Assembly of Experts head Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati on September 6. Khamenei stated that “criticisms [of government officials] should be aimed toward improvement and well-meaning” during the meeting. Khamenei also stated that the way to resolve Iran’s issues is to support the government and to not place blame on officials. (Khamenei.ir)

September 07, 2018

Rouhani rebuffs Assembly of Experts meeting invitation

The Assembly of Experts invited President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Judiciary head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani to attend a joint meeting to discuss economic issues on September 5. Ali Larijani and Sadegh Amoli Larijani were present for the meeting, but Rouhani declined the invitation. Ali Larijani presented a report on Parliament’s efforts in addressing the nation’s economic problems. Sadegh Amoli Larijani briefed Assembly of Experts members on judicial efforts in combating corruption and smuggling. Rouhani’s absence from the meeting follows his participation in a hardliner-instigated parliamentary questioning on August 28. Parliamentarians expressed their unhappiness with Rouhani’s responses on several economy-related issues. The Assembly of Experts issued a conclusory statement calling on officials to improve Iran’s economic situation, reduce unemployment, and stabilize the value of the Iranian rial, among other things. The meeting follows the devaluation of the Iranian rial to an all-time low of 138,000 rials per U.S. dollar on September 3. (Assembly of Experts) (Assembly of Experts) (Assembly of Experts) (Reuters) (E) 

September 07, 2018

Khamenei allegedly approves AML legislation

Reformist Parliamentarian Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted on September 6 that unidentified sources told him that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved of anti-money laundering (AML) parliamentary legislation. The Guardian Council previously rejected parliamentary-approved AML amendments on August 18, sending the legislation back to Parliament for revision. Khamenei expressed his disagreement with pending AML and counter-terror financing legislation that would necessitate Iran’s adherence to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on June 20. It is unclear if the current status of the amendments are in line with FATF-specified requirements to prevent Iran from FATF blacklisting. (Twitter)

Citations & Links

1. Khamenei.ir
http://farsi.khamenei.ir/news-content?id=40410

Citations & Links

1. Assembly of Experts
http://www.majlesekhobregan.ir/fa/NewsView.html?ItemID=4159

2. Assembly of Experts
http://www.majlesekhobregan.ir/fa/NewsView.html?ItemID=4155

3. Assembly of Experts
http://www.majlesekhobregan.ir/fa/NewsView.html?ItemID=4154

4. Reuters
https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-iran-economy-rial/iranian-rial-hits-record-low-at-138000-to-dollar-bonbast-website-idUKKCN1LK1MY

Citations & Links

1. Twitter
https://twitter.com/mah_sadeghi/status/1037765630789865472

Military and Security
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September 07, 2018

Hatami travels to Beijing to discuss bilateral military cooperation

Defense Minister Artesh Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami led a high-level military delegation to Beijing, China on September 6. Hatami met with Chinese National Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe and discussed bilateral ties as well as Chinese cooperation in developing Iran’s Makran Coast in southeastern Iran during the visit. Hatami’s official visit to Beijing follows his August 26 visit to Syria to discuss defense cooperation with Syria and Iranian support for Syrian reconstruction efforts. (al Alam) (Defa News) (Fars News Agency)

September 07, 2018

Khamenei meets with Artesh air defense commanders

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with Artesh Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base commanders and leaders on September 2 on the annually-celebrated Air Defense Day. Artesh Khatam ol Anbia Commander Brig. Gen. Alireza Sabahi Fard presented a report to Khamenei on the air defense base’s operations and programs. Khamenei emphasized the importance of the armed forces’ readiness and stated that armed forces “must upgrade their human and equipment capabilities every day.” The meeting follows a Reuters report on August 31 that details the regime’s transfer of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM’s) to Iranian-backed forces in Iraq. (Khamenei.ir) (Reuters) (E)

Citations & Links

1. al Alam
http://fa.alalam.ir/news/3764451/%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B9-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D9%BE%DA%A9%D9%86-%D8%B4%D8%AF

2. Defa News
http://www.defanews.ir/news/%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B9-%D9%88-%D9%BE%D8%B4%D8%AA%DB%8C%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%AD-%D8%A8%D9%87-%DA%86%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%B3%D9%81%D8%B1-%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF

3. Fars News Agency
https://www.farsnews.com/news/13970614000720/%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B9-%D9%88-%D9%BE%D8%B4%D8%AA%DB%8C%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%AD-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87-%DA%86%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%B3%D9%81%D8%B1-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%AF

Citations & Links

1. Khamenei.ir
http://farsi.khamenei.ir/news-content?id=40387

2. Reuters
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-iran-iraq-missiles-exclusive/exclusive-iran-moves-missiles-to-iraq-in-warning-to-enemies-sources-idUKKCN1LG0W7

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