News Digest: Week of February 12

February 12

Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke with Qatari officials in Doha about the war in Gaza and regional tensions.


February 13

Diplomacy: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) had signed a letter of understanding with Iran on February 8, UNICEF announced. The agreement encouraged joint advocacy on areas such as children, education, health, food security, and water sanitation through a biannual action plan.

Diplomacy: Judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei visited Iraq for high-level talks at the invitation of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council chairman Faiq Zidane. The talks aimed to bolster legal and judicial relations between the two countries. Ejei said that he and his counterpart would discuss expanding judicial consultations and fighting terrorism through a joint committee.


February 14

Diplomacy: Iranian border officials met with Taliban representatives at the Islam Qala border crossing near Herat, Afghanistan to strengthen cooperation. 

Elections: Candidates started campaigning for Iran’s Assembly of Experts election slated for March 1. The Assembly of Experts is responsible for appointing and supervising the supreme leader. Out of 500 candidates who registered, the Guardian Council approved 144 to run for an eight-year term on the 88-member body. 

Domestic: A natural gas pipeline exploded in western Iran. The 790-mile pipeline starts in Iran’s major South Pars gas field and runs north to the Caspian Sea. The incident was a “sabotage and terrorist” act, Saee Aghli, the manager of Iran’s gas network control center, told state television. In an interview, Oil Minister Javad Owji drew a comparison to a similar set of unclaimed attacks on gas pipelines in 2011.


February 15

Diplomacy: Judiciary chief Ejei met with Iraqi National Security Advisor Qasim al Araji in Baghdad. They discussed ways to improve joint action in promoting security in the region. They also discussed how they would implement the Iran-Iraq Security Act, which Tehran and Baghdad had signed in March 2023 to formalize joint counterterrorism operations. 

Diplomacy: Iran’s ambassador to Riyadh, Alireza Enayati, announced on social media that he had met with the Saudi Minister of the National Guard Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz. They had discussed bilateral relations.

Diplomacy: Ali Akbar Ahmadian, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, met with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. They discussed ways to counter terrorism and cope with Western sanctions. Both officials underlined the need for a long-term agreement for bilateral cooperation.


February 16

Terrorism: Police spokesman Saeed Montazerolmahdi stated that two suspects had been arrested for the terrorist attack on the police checkpoint in Rask in southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province that killed one officer. The spokesman said that two suspects were members of the Jaish ul Adl terrorist organization. Montazerolmahdi added that four other members of the group had also been arrested.

Diplomacy: During a phone call, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan discussed regional security issues including the war in Gaza. They also highlighted the need for further cooperation in handling challenges to stability in the Muslim world.

February 17

Diplomacy: Iran’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Hasan Kazemi Qomi, participated in talks with the European Union’s special envoy on Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson. “Pivotal emphasis was placed on the necessity for Europe to refrain from tying humanitarian aid to its relationship with the regional alliances if it genuinely aims to support the people of Afghanistan,” Qomi said after the meeting.