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POLITICAL

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke to entrepreneurs, media executives, economic activists and government officials today and continued to emphasize the importance of a resistance economy in order to fulfil Iran’s economic objectives (full text of speech in Persian). English language news agency Press TV also reported on his comments today.

Asked about whether the creation of a Tehran office for the European Union was discussed while EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton was visiting, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said, “This issue was not raised in our discussions, and published reports regarding this cannot be confirmed.”   

During his initial press conference with Catherine Ashton on March 9 (video with English subtitles), Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said, “A nuclear agreement can be reached in less than four months.”

The Ministry of Higher Education announced that degrees given out by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s university (Iranian University) are not valid and will not be recognized by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (which overseas Iran’s public universities).

OMAN

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh will accompany President Hassan Rouhani to Oman this Wednesday as Rouhani seeks to expand bilateral cooperation with the GCC member state. Underwater drilling projects as well as a long rumored transnational project between Iran, Oman, and India are to be discussed. The project aims to build the world’s largest underwater natural gas pipeline.  

Oman’s Minister of Transportation and Communications, Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi downplayed local media reports of Iranian officials mentioning a plan for constructing a bridge between Iran and Oman and said his ministry has “not received any indication from any government department regarding the mega-scale project.”

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham discussed President Rouhani’s upcoming two-day trip to Oman and said, “Iran and Oman have had long standing good relations with one another. Iran and Oman’s objectives are clear and senior economic officials from his administration will accompany the president. We hope this trip will not only expand relations with Oman, but with other countries in the (Gulf) region as well.”

OIL

Deputy Oil Minister Hamid Reza Araghi discussed scenarios in which Iran will be able to increase natural gas exports. “Due to the least amount of competition, the most attractive and important natural gas markets for Iran right now are China, India and Turkey,” said Araghi. He emphasized that Iranian pipelines to India will make the Chinese market accessible, and that Europe’s natural gas market will be accessible via pipelines through Turkey and the Persian Gulf.   

Under the terms of new oil and gas contracts, overseas oil companies interested in investing in Iran’s oil and gas sector won't be able to own reserves or assets. But under Iran’s new privatization program, overseas companies will be allowed to fully own subsidiaries of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) according to Iranian gas and oil Industry official Ali Kader. He emphasized that Iran is hoping to lure big oil companies such as Total of France to participate in joint investment projects.

PHOTOS

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking with entrepreneurs, media executives, economic activists and government officials.

Iran’s National Wrestling Team practiced in the presence of a few members of Iran’s Parliament.  

Governor of Shiraz, Mustafa Amiri visits a shantytown on the outskirts of Shiraz. ISNA published a different set of black and white photos of the same shantytown in Shiraz.