Iran Names Six Candidates For President, Including Parliament Speaker


Iran Names Six Candidates For President, Including Parliament Speaker | The New York Times 

Six candidates, including the speaker of Parliament, have been approved to run in the Iranian election this month to succeed President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash last month. The vote comes at a moment when the country faces acute domestic and international challenges, state media said on Sunday. The speaker of Parliament, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, and five other men were approved by the Guardian Council, a 12-person body that vets candidates, for the balloting on June 28, according to the state news agency IRNA, which cited Mohsen Eslami, spokesman for the country’s election headquarters. Mr. Ghalibaf, a retired pilot and former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, has run twice unsuccessfully for the country’s presidency and is a former mayor of the capital, Tehran. He became speaker of Parliament in 2020 following a legislative election. The other candidates include a former interior minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi; Saeed Jalili, a former chief nuclear negotiator; and the current Tehran mayor, Alireza Zakani.  

Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq Step Up Warnings Of Attacks On US Troops | The National 

Iran-backed militias in Iraq continued to issue threats to attack the US on Sunday, repeating their insistence that American forces should leave Iraq. Kataib Sayyid Al Shuhada was the latest faction to issue the warning, speaking to Iraq’s Shafaq news agency. “The presence of American forces in Iraq – which are occupying forces – is categorically rejected,” the group’s spokesman told the news outlet. He said Kataib Sayyid Al Shuhada was “working to remove those forces through factional operations.” The militia joined a coalition of mostly Iran-backed Iraqi groups formed to fight ISIS in 2014, the Popular Mobilisation Forces, which is part of the official Iraqi Security Forces. Attacks on US forces in Iraq are currently rare, after a wave of nearly 200 attacks following the Israel-Gaza war. The current pause is due to Iraqi government talks with the US to agree on a timeline for withdrawing forces. If the talks fail to reach an agreement, further attacks are widely expected following several warnings by the militias.  

Iranian Sentenced In Minnesota In Tech Export Scheme | Asharq Al-Awsat 

An Iranian citizen has been sentenced in Minnesota to 27 months in federal prison for her role in an alleged conspiracy to illegally export restricted technology from the US to Iran. Forty-year-old Negar Ghodskani pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to defraud the US Federal Judge Joan Ericksen on Tuesday handed down a sentence that was close to time served, reported The Associated Press. Prosecutors say Ghodskani and others established a front company in Malaysia to illegally obtain restricted communications circuitry from companies in Minnesota and Massachusetts to ship to a company that supplies the government-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting company.  


Iran ‘Likely To Escalate War With Israel Before US Election In November’ Say Experts | The Jewish Chronicle 

Iran is likely to escalate its war against Israel via its proxies across the Middle East who are committed to an "apocalyptic" ideology before the American election in November, Iran experts warned this week. As conflict with Hezbollah escalates along Israel’s border with Lebanon, Kasra Aarabi and Beni Sabti addressed a round table hosted by Lord Bew, Chairman of UK Israel Future Projects. Aarabi, a research director at United Against Nuclear Iran, said: “The IRGC and its proxies are driven by the ambition to destroy the State of Israel and all Jews. This is the most antisemitic institution in the world. 

Podcast Interview With UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky | Iran International 

The country is in a crisis mode, facing one of its biggest challenges in decades amid public distrust of the ruling system. In this episode of ‘Eye for Iran,' host Negar Mojtahedi speaks with Jason Brodsky, the policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran and Behnam Ben Taleblu, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) about the significance of Raisi’s death and how his death is perceived by the power brokers of Iran. ‘Eye for Iran’ also takes a deeper look into the political heavyweights throwing their names into the mix, their backgrounds and examines how the Guardian council will make its final decision on who gets to run amid succession.  


Iran’s Proxies Escalate Attacks Amid Nuclear Censure And Election | Iran International 

Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen have intensified attacks on international shipping, while the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran's most powerful proxy force, launched volleys of missiles against Israel over the past week. UK maritime agencies reported on Sunday that two ships caught on fire after being hit by projectiles off Yemen's Aden, showing that Houthis controlling northern Yemen and supported by Tehran are determined to launch multiple attacks each day against international shipping. The attacks began in mid-November after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called on Muslim nations to blockade Israeli trade. Hezbollah, controlling the southern region of Lebanon bordering northern Israel, has also intensified its rocket and missile attacks on Israel, prompting fears of an all-out war, as Israeli patience runs out with the worsening security situation.  

Iran Bought 300 Tons Uranium From Niger For Illicit Nuke Weapon Program | The Jerusalem Post 

The Islamic Republic of Iran purchased 300 tons of refined uranium from Niger in a secret deal that is part of Tehran’s drive to amass the resources for the construction of a nuclear weapons device. The London-based independent news organization Iran International published a report in early June about Iran’s clandestine negotiations with Niger’s Junta government. Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian-American journalist, wrote that the deal was first reported by the France-based news organization Africa Intelligence in late April. Iran reached an agreement with Niger to purchase 300 tons of yellowcake in exchange for the delivery of drones and surface-to-air missiles to Niger, wrote Iran International.  


US Military Confirms Houthi Missile Strikes On Two Ships In Gulf Of Aden | Reuters 

Yemen's Houthi damaged two commercial vessels in missile attacks in the Gulf of Aden in the last 24 hours as part of the militia group's ongoing campaign against international ocean shipping, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Sunday. The Iran-backed Houthis hit the Tavvishi, a Liberian-flagged and Swiss-owned container ship with an anti-ship ballistic missile, CENTCOM said. According to CENTCOM, the vessel was damaged, but no crew were injured. Two missiles fired by the Houthis struck the Norderney, a German-owned cargo ship operating under Antigua and Barbados flags, CENTCOM said. That ship sustained damage, but no crew were injured, and the vessel continued on its journey, CENTCOM said.  


Contract Oil Workers Protest Over Wage Discrimination In Iran | Iran International 

Contract workers from key Iranian oil and gas companies in the south continue to protest against wage discrimination and dismal working conditions at their respective enterprises. Workers from Gachsaran Oil and Gas Producing Company and the National Iranian Drilling Company last week demanded an end to the “unjust wage system discrimination” and are calling for “equitable treatment for all”. Sporadic strikes and protests continue. “Oil Ministry officials, who are full-time employees with permanent contracts, are clearly prioritizing their own interests and showing complete indifference towards contract employees. This stark disparity in treatment raises the question, is this fair?” reported the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) on Friday.  

Reformist Candidate Protests Disqualification In Iran Election | Iran Wire 

Abbas Akhondi, a reformist candidate disqualified from running in Iran's upcoming presidential election, has sent a letter to the Guardian Council protesting his rejection as a qualified candidate. In the letter, Akhondi, a former government minister, called his disqualification "lacking legal aspect" and an act of "oppression and persecution" against himself and his reformist supporters who had nominated him. The politician, who was one of three candidates put forward by Iran's Reformist Front, said barring his candidacy restricts "the right of free Iranian voters to choose" their preferred candidate. Akhondi requested the chance to attend a Guardian Council meeting and defend his qualifications, stating he possesses "all the proof features" required to run and sees "no legitimate reason" for his rejection. "Certainly, this decision of the council is not believable for a large part of the Iranian society and is against their public conscience," the former minister wrote in his letter.  


Release Frozen Afghan Assets, Tehran Demands | The Jerusalem Post 

Tehran hosted the second meeting of the regional contact group for Afghanistan on Saturday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported. The gathering, which included special representatives from Iran, China, Russia, and Pakistan, was held at the Iranian Foreign Ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies. In a message to the meeting, Iranian caretaker Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani called for the United States to release Afghanistan's frozen assets. Bagheri Kani noted that nearly three years had passed since US troops withdrew from Afghanistan, yet the country continued to grapple with significant economic and developmental challenges. Bagheri Kani pointed out that while Afghanistan's caretaker government had addressed some issues, freezing its assets had impeded postwar recovery. He emphasized the need for the US to unfreeze these assets to aid Afghanistan's recovery process.  

US Sees Appeasing Impact Of Saudi-Iran Agreement On Lebanon, Region | Asharq Al-Awsat 

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said that the Saudi-Iran agreement showed to have an “appeasing effect” on the situation in Lebanon and the region in general. In telephone remarks made to Asharq al-Awsat on Thursday, Leaf said that Lebanon’s officials lack a sense of “seriousness” to address the deteriorating situation in their country and to steer it out of the economic and political crises. She stressed that extending a helping hand to the Lebanese people during times of crises has always been a priority for the United States. On the election of a new head of state, Leaf emphasized the need to elect a new president and to form a government capable of implementing the required reforms. “We urge Lebanese leaders to garner a sense of urgency and seriousness which they lack, and to take the necessary decisive decisions to steer the nation out of its unprecedented crisis,” said Leaf. The US officials had earlier pointed to new sanctions on Lebanese parties hampering the election of a new president.  


World Forgets ‘Catastrophic’ War In Sudan As Russia, Iran, Others Reportedly Feed Fighting With Arms | Fox News 

With the United Nations saying that up to 10 million people have been displaced and U.S. sources claiming up to 150,000 killed and some five million facing famine in a devastating year-long conflict between government and rebel forces, Sudan has been ripped apart. But observers say it is a forgotten war. "Sudanese (people) are asking why the world turns a blind eye as the third-largest country in Africa is laid to waste while at the same time fixating on the smaller conflict in Gaza," Hadeel Oueis, editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab media outlet Jusoor, told Fox News Digital. "There is no extensive media coverage, and nobody cares about what’s happening here," Abu Muhammad, a businessman in Sudan, told the Center for Peace Communications (CPC). "The little attention we attract fades away immediately. It’s the opposite of what is happening in Gaza. All the media channels are about is Gaza, Gaza and Gaza."  


Iran Approves Six Candidates To Run For President | Reuters 

Iran's Guardian Council, which oversees elections and legislation, has approved six candidates to run for president in snap elections to be held later this month after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, Iran's State TV reported on Sunday. On the list are Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Iran's hardline parliament speaker and former Revolutionary Guards commander, Saeed Jalili, a conservative, who was former chief nuclear negotiator and ran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office for four years and Tehran's conservative mayor Alireza Zakani, according to State TV. The list, announced on state TV by the Election Office spokesperson, also includes Masoud Pezeshkian, a reformist lawmaker, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, a hardliner and a former interior minister, and Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi a conservative politician.  

Iran Imprisons a Prominent Whistleblower | The Washington Post 

A prominent Iranian whistleblower was arrested and sent to prison to serve a 13-month sentence after he was convicted of “spreading lies to disturb the public mind,” Iranian media said Sunday. State-run IRNA news agency reported that the Tehran prosecutor summoned Yashar Soltani and sent him to prison. The report also said a court of appeal issued the verdict after 17 plaintiffs appealed the decision by a lower court, but gave no details about the earlier case. In recent years, Soltani has routinely published reports on corruption in public bodies. Authorities in the past few months have also detained several journalists and activists on security charges. In 2019, Soltani was sentenced to five years in prison after his series of exposes alleging massive corruption in land deals linked to Tehran’s mayor at the time, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, who is now the frontrunner in the presidential election scheduled for June 28. Soltani was later freed on bail.  

Iran’s Raisi Pledges To Tackle Inflation | Asharq Al-Awsat 

The pledge came as the rial touched a new low. Addressing MPs, Raisi tried to reassure Iranians over the economy which faces a serious crisis due primarily to US sanctions, mainly on oil exports. These were reimposed after Washington's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. "Transparency, improving people's livelihoods... controlling inflation and costs and supporting the stock market" are the budget priorities for the year starting on March 21, Raisi said. At the end of December, the governor of the central bank resigned after the rial lost around 30 percent of its value in two months, falling from 330,000 to 430,000 per US dollar. On Sunday, the national currency traded at around 450,000 rials per dollar, a new all-time low. At the same time, inflation reached 45 percent at the end of December. "Know that the prices of (foreign) currencies and gold, as well as the prices of many expensive things in the country will decrease," the president promised, without explaining in detail the strategy of the government to achieve this.