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: The Guardian Council qualified President Hassan Rouhani, Hojjat ol Eslam Ebrahim Raisi, and four others to run in the presidential elections. It disqualified former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Guardian Council also approved Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, current First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri, Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, and Mostafa Hashemitaba. It disqualified Ahmadinejad, his protégé Hamid Baghaei, as well as former Parliamentarian Alireza Zakani and former Education Minister Hamid Reza Haji Babaei.

This Iran News Round Up covers predominantly covers events from April 19-20.

Domestic Politics
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April 21, 2017

Officials cancel live broadcasts of presidential debates.

The Presidential Elections Advertising Commission decided that the debates between presidential candidates will be recorded this year. Previous debates have been broadcasted live. Interior Ministry Spokesman Salman Samani stated that interviews with the candidates will be broadcast live. Samani did not specify why the debates will not be broadcast live.

  • Hesamuddin Ashna, an advisor to Rouhani, reportedly stated that Rouhani intends to appeal the decision. BBC Persian also reported that conservative presidential candidate and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf also expressed hope that the commission would broadcast the debates live.  Conservative presidential candidate Hojjat ol Eslam Ebrahim Raisi also stated that he welcomes the chance for a live debate. Presidential candidate and former Parliamentarian Alireza Zakani accused the Rouhani administration of “secrecy and lack of transparency” in a letter to the Interior Ministry. (BBC Persian)
April 21, 2017

Rouhani: We must not block access to technology.

President Hassan Rouhani stated, “We must not distance [ourselves] from technological developments and, instead of blocking access to them, the youth must become prepared for decent interaction with tomorrow’s technologies,” during a speech to university officials and faculty members on April 18. The popular messaging application Telegram introduced a voice call service on April 13, but users reported the service was disabled on April 17. Telecommunications Minister Mahmoud Vaezi stated that his ministry had authorized Telegram to introduce the service, but that the Judiciary blocked the authorization. Rouhani and members of his administration have stated that they did not support the recent arrest of 12 administrators of reformist channels on Telegram. (President.ir) (E)

  • Motahari demands accountability from Judiciary on “new Telegram restrictions.” Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari criticized the Judiciary for stopping Telegram Voice Call service, and demanded they explain why they banned it. (BBC Persian)
April 21, 2017

Raisi protests media bias in Rouhani’s favor.

Presidential candidate and Astan Quds Razavi Foundation Head Hojjat ol Eslam Ebrahim Raisi published two open letters protesting state TV’s coverage of President Hassan Rouhani on April 18. The Guardian Council must approve candidates to run for office before the candidates can begin official campaign advertising. The Council has not yet announced the names of the approved candidates.

  • Raisi accused Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) of airing “incessant” coverage of Rouhani in a letter to IRIB head Abdul Ali Aksari. Raisi stressed that Rouhani, too, is a presidential candidate and should therefore not receive preferential treatment from the media leading up to the elections.
  • Raisi addressed a separate letter to Rouhani. He stated that in the “competition to serve the people… it is a pity that the suspicious advertisements [on TV] infect and distort others’ judgements about us.” The IRIB has a monopoly on [media] in Iran. Iran’s Supreme Leader is charged with selecting the head of the IRIB. Reformists and moderates have accused IRIB of providing negative and biased coverage of Rouhani. (BBC Persian)
April 21, 2017

Parliament Speaker meets with Soleimani.

Parliament Ali Larijani met with IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a number of other IRGC commanders on April 19. IRGC Navy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi, Deputy for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Yazdi, and IRGC Coordination Deputy Brig. Gen. Jamal al Din also attended the meeting. (Tasnim News Agency)

April 21, 2017

Judiciary Head warns of enemy interference in elections.

Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani warned that Iran’s enemies have made a “huge investment” to undermine and exploit the May 19 elections during a meeting with Judiciary officials. He stated, “The enemies may want to deal a blow to the Iranian political system during the elections.” Larijani underscored the Judiciary’s responsibility to be proactive in “preventing crimes and offenses” in the elections. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Fars News Agency)

April 21, 2017

Supreme Leader calls for massive voter turnout to “disappoint enemies.”

During a meeting with Artesh commanders, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran should be aware that its “enemies” are attempting to “sabotage” the upcoming presidential election during a meeting with Artesh commanders on April 19. Khamenei stressed that the country should still vote in order to ensure elections are held in a “healthy and secure” manner.

  • On the U.S.: Khamenei stated that the U.S. and other enemies “cannot do a damn thing against an establishment that is tied to its people and cares for its nation.”
  • On reacting to Iran’s enemies: Khamenei warned that Iran’s enemies use “ranting” and “self-aggrandizement” to intimidate other countries. Khamenei stated that the “worst scenario” for Iran would occur if its officials “fear the enemies’ rantings, because this will open the door for [the enemies’] entry, aggression, and violation.”
  • On the Resistance Economy doctrine: Khamenei also reiterated his order to Rouhani administration officials to focus on the implementation of the Resistance Economy doctrine. He stated, “My expectation” for officials “is that when they see the motivation of the enemy to exploit the economic weak points, they should take up the removal of the economic frailties and closing of the loopholes.” (Press TV) (E) (Leader.ir) (E) (Khamenei.ir)
April 21, 2017

Guardian Council addresses disqualification of candidates from religious minorities.

Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei defended Guardian Council Secretary Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati’s statement that the Guardian Council should disqualify members of religious minorities running for local offices in Muslim-majority areas. Kadkhodaei said Jannati’s statement is in line with Islamic jurisprudence, and that that members of religious minorities can still run for office in non-Muslim-majority areas. Iran will hold city and village council elections as well as presidential elections on May 19. (Aftab News)

Citations & Links

1. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-39657209

Citations & Links

1. President.ir
http://www.president.ir/en/98800

2. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-39646140

Citations & Links

1. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-39627432

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/01/30/1383994/%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D8%B1%D9%84%D8%B4%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D8%AA%D8%B9%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%B1

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/04/20/1384913/iran-s-top-judge-warns-of-enemy-schemes-for-election

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960131000299

Citations & Links

1. Press TV
http://presstv.com/Detail/2017/04/19/518627/Iran-Leader

2. Leader.ir
http://www.leader.ir/en/content/18018/The-Leader\'s-meeting-with-Army-commanders-on-Army-Day

3. Khamenei.ir
http://leader.ir/fa/content/18016/%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%88-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA%D8%B4

Citations & Links

1. Aftab News
http://aftabnews.ir/fa/news/439898/%DA%A9%D8%AF%D8%AE%D8%AF%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D8%AC%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D9%87-%D8%A7%DA%A9%D8%AB%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%82%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AA%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AF%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D9%85%D8%B0%D9%87%D8%A8%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%AF-%D8%AD%D8%B6%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A2%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

Casualties in Iraq and Syria
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April 21, 2017

Iranian killed in Syria.

Iranian news outlets reported on April 18 that Noor Ali Alizadeh was killed in Syria. He will be buried in Tehran province. His unit affiliation and date of death are unknown. (Ghatreh)

April 21, 2017

Eleven Afghan Shia militia Fatimiyoun Brigade members killed in Syria.

Abdullah Shojaei, Ahmad Hosseini, Mohammad Heidari, Sarvar Karimi, Eman Alidad, Mohammad Eslami, Mohammad Mehdi Gorbani were buried in Qom on April 19. Another Fatimiyoun member, Mohammad Rezaei, was also buried in Qom. Zaher Ashouri, Reza Akhlaghi, Bagher Mousavi were buried in Mashhad on April 19. (Tasnim News Agency) (Aznav.ir)

Citations & Links

1. Ghatreh
http://www.ghatreh.com/news/nn37029851/%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%B9%D9%84%DB%8C-%D8%B9%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A2%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/01/30/1383597/%D8%AC%D8%B2%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AA%D8%B4%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B9-%D9%BE%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B7%D9%87%D8%B1-10-%D8%B4%D9%87%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86

2. Aznav.ir
http://www.aznav.ir/news/19107

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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April 21, 2017

Zarif: “U.S. accusations can’t mask its admission of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA.”

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: “worn-out US accusations can't mask its admission of Iran's compliance with JCPOA, obligating US to change course & fulfill its own commitments.” These comments come after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis denounced Iran for “destabilizing” the region. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also recently stated that Iran was responsible for “alarming ongoing provocations.” Tillerson sent a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan that confirmed Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal but acknowledged concerns Iran’s role as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E)

April 21, 2017

Dehghan dismisses claims that Iran is arming the Houthis.

Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan rejected U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ accusation that Iran is sending weapons to the Houthis in Yemen. Dehghan accused the U.S. of arming takfiri groups in Iraq and Syria, and called on the U.S. to learn from its “failed interventions” throughout history. (Press TV) (E) (ISNA)

April 21, 2017

Foreign Ministry announces new ambassadors to Syria and Oman.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi announced the appointment of Javad Tarkabadi as the new ambassador to Damascus. Tarkabadi previously served in a diplomatic post in northwest Africa. Hojjat ol Eslam Mohammad-Reza Nouri Shahroudi will replace Ali Akbar Sibevieh as the new ambassador to Muscat. (Fars News Agency)

April 21, 2017

Zarif meets with Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov to discuss expanding economic ties and increasing cooperation on fighting terrorism. Zarif also held a joint press conference with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev. During the press conference, Zarif stated that Iran is “ready to build large and small hydro power plants in Bishkek.” Zarif’s visit to Kyrgyzstan marks the end of his tour of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Georgia. (Press TV) (E) (IRNA) (Ghatreh)

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2017/04/20/1384995/iran-s-fm-scorns-us-accusations

Citations & Links

1. Press TV
http://presstv.com/Detail/2017/04/19/518675/Iran-US-Yemen-Ansarullah-fighters-Hossein-Dehqan-Jim-Mattis

2. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/96013014170/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%87%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AD-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D9%87%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2-%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960130001835

Citations & Links

1. Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/17/518344/Iran-Zarif-Turkmenistan-Georgia-Kirgizstan

2. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82498921/

3. Ghatreh
http://www.ghatreh.com/news/nn37045313/%D8%B8%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%82-%D8%A2%D8%A8%DB%8C-%D9%82%D8%B1%D9%82%DB%8C%D8%B2%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

Economy
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April 21, 2017

China to sign deal with Iran on Arak nuclear reactor.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said Chinese and Iranian companies will sign an agreement on April 23 in Vienna to “redesign the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor.”(Press TV)

Citations & Links

1. Press TV
http://presstv.com/Detail/2017/04/20/518777/Iran-China-Arak

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