News Digest: Week of July 1

July 1

International: Victims of the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas assault on Israel sued Iran, Syria, and North Korea for providing Hamas with funds, weapons, and training used in the unprecedented attack. The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York on behalf of over 125 victims and their relatives, all of whom were or were related to U.S. citizens. The plaintiffs sought $4 billion in damages, which could be paid out from a congressional fund that supports victims of terrorism if the case succeeds.


July 2

International: Iran was “hopeful” for another opportunity to strike Israel, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace force, warned. Overnight on April 13-14, 2024, Iran had launched “Operation True Promise,” an unprecedented attack—including 170 drones, at least 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles—on Israel. “We are hopeful of the arrival of the opportunity for [conducting] Operation True Promise 2 in which I do not know how many missiles wil lbe fired,” Hajizadeh added. 

Haijzadeh at a missile unveiling in 2023

International: Kamal Kharrazi, an adviser to the supreme leader, warned that a war between Israel and Hezbollah could quickly engulf the entire region. “All Lebanese people, Arab countries and members of the axis of resistance will support Lebanon against Israel.” He added that Iran would “no choice” but to support Hezbollah “by all means.”


July 3

Domestic: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged that turnout for the June 28 presidential election was “lower than expected.” Roughly 40 percent of eligible voters participated, the lowest turnout since the 1979 revolution. “Maybe they didn't participate in the elections because they had problems, were busy with work, were not in the mood, or simply didn't have the time.”

International: Iran’s foreign ministry sanctioned 11 U.S. officials, mainly police chiefs, for allegedly suppressing pro-Palestinian student movements in spring 2024. Since Israel retaliated against Hamas in Gaza for the October 2023 attack, Iranian officials have voiced support for pro-Palestinian demonstrators on American college campuses.


July 5

Domestic: Millions of Iranians headed to the polls to vote for a new president. Masoud Pezeshkian, a reformist and five-time member of Parliament, faced off against Saeed Jalili, a hardliner and former nuclear negotiator. 

July 6

Domestic: In a clear challenge to regime hardliners, Masoud Pezeshkian, a reformist and cardiac surgeon, won Iran’s snap presidential election on July 5. Voter turnout was nearly 50 percent, relatively low for Iran but higher than the historically low rate of 40 percent in the first round on June 28. Pezeshkian secured 16.3 million votes, 54 percent, compared to Jalili’s 13.5 million votes, or 44 percent. But Pezeshkian lacks a broad public mandate and faces an uphill battle to change policy within a government dominated by hardliners.

“Dear people of Iran, the election is over, and this is just the beginning of our working together,” Pezeshkian posted on X. “A difficult road is ahead. It can only be smooth with your cooperation, empathy and trust.”

Human Rights: Mohsen Borhani, a prominent lawyer and professor at the University of Tehran, was arrested and began serving prison sentence for a previous conviction. He had been accused of “spreading lies with the intention of disturbing the public mind” and “behavior against the affairs of the clergy by insulting the judges.” In a speech in support of presidential candidate Masoud Pezeshkian, Borhani had implicitly criticized the harsh crackdown on the nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022.


July 7

Domestic: Iran’s Sahand naval destroyer sunk while undergoing repairs in a port near the Strait of Hormuz, injuring several people. The ship, which lost balance after water entered its tanks, was furnished with an array of missiles, anti-aircraft batteries, and radar and radar-evading capabilities.

Military: Commercial satellite imagery of Modarres military base in March and the Khojir missile production complex in April, both located near Tehran, revealed more than 30 new buildings at the two sites. Three Iranian officials confirmed that Iran was expanding its capacity to produce conventional ballistic missiles. Another Iranian official said that the new facilities would help double drone production as well.