MP Ahmad Tavakoli was asked if there was a solution in regards to the house detention of Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Tavakoli answered, “The detention of Mousavi & Karroubi isn't based on legal circumstances, but rather political & security circumstances. Court trials for them will be costly and won’t benefit the country.”
Tehran Governor Seyed Hussein Hashemi praised President Hassan Rouhani and said, “No one could have imagined everything that has happened during the first six months of Dr. Rouhani’s presidency, and this has created even higher hopes and expectations of the president.
Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani announced a seven to eight year hiring freeze for individuals outside of any of the government apparatuses. Rahmani blamed the previous Ahmadinejad administration for swelling the government sector with appointees loyal to his administration.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a detailed report on the status of refugees and asylum seekers for the year 2013, and according to the report, four percent of all refugees in the world last year were Iranian.
Speaker of Iran’s Parliament Ali Larijani commented on the situation in Ukraine and said, “What happened in Ukraine is an important event that can’t be resolved in a simple manner. It doesn’t affect what we are trying to do, and we remain neutral on this issue. It’s not that we don’t have an opinion on matters regarding Ukraine, but there is no reason to comment on every situation and enter the (discussion). We have to wait and see what happens.” Larijani also criticized the west for their “hypocritical behavior,” in not recognizing the results of the referendum in Crimea.
In an extensive interview with Matin Moslim, an Iranian security and political expert, Khabar Online asks “Is the Kremlin sabotaging the nuclear negations (with its actions in Ukraine)? When asked to evaluate Iran’s stance towards the developments in Ukraine thus far, Moslim said, “In my opinion silence. Absolute silence. Sometimes silence is a part of diplomacy in action.”
ECONOMY & ENERGY
Akbar Torkan, senior adviser to President Rouhani, commented on the planned underwater crude oil pipeline to Oman and said, “A 1200 kilometer pipeline as well as storage facilities will be constructed in Jask (a southern Iranian port city in the Hormozgan), and a branching pipeline to export Iranian natural gas has been ordered to be constructed (that will connect to the seventh line).” Torkan also announced plans to transform Jask into a “special economic area.”
According to Mohammad Mehdi Nahavandi, the managing director of the Commercial Development Organization for Trade Promotion of Iran, “Imported goods last year (Iranian calendar) amounted to $32.3 billion dollars, while non-oil exports reached $29.2 billion dollars, and total foreign trade was valued at $ 62.5 billion dollars.” In addition, “during this time, exports of petroleum goods with the exception of liquefied gas, reached $22.9 billion dollars and imports were valued at $33.3 billion dollars,” according to Nahavandi. He also mentioned that the most important export markets for Iran are the markets of Iraq, the UAE, Afghanistan and China.
Iran's Energy Ministry announced that Iran and its neighbors have reached almost 2,000 megawatts in their electricity exchange. Iran and its seven neighbors Armenia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Afghanistan participate in an electricity cooperation pact.
Traffic on the Chaloos freeway is thick during the 13-day Nowruz holiday. The Chaloos freeway is the main route that connects Tehran to the northern Caspian region of Iran.
A pair newly arrived kangaroos at the Tehran Zoo.
Nowruz tourists visit the Persian Gulf coast city of Bushehr for leisure time on the beach, and New Year tourists also visit Kish Island to partake in water sports.