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Iran@Saban Headlines

Former Iranian Vice President and former presidential candidate Mohammad Reza Aref (REUTERS/Fars News).

POLITICS

While speaking at Firdowsi University in Mashhad, Mohammed Aref, the sole reformist candidate in last summer’s presidential election told the audience that reformists “had a small role,” in helping elect President Hassan Rouhani and that, “Women’s participation in the presidential election dropped 1.3 percent.” He also commented on the ongoing house arrests of Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and said, “Those who have committed a crime, should be tried in open court rather than be under house arrest.” Fars News Agency published a series of photos of the event which illustrate a large and enthusiastic audience.

Reformist newspaper Shargh Daily covered yesterday’s verbal sparring session in Parliament between Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh and conservative MP Hamid Resaei and wrote that it was a “a fuss over nothing.”

During his flight to Belarus this morning, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani had to make an emergency landing at the Zanjan Airport in northern Iran an hour and 33 minutes into the flight due to “unfavorable atmospheric conditions.”

The director of Tehran's prisons, Sohrab Soleiman commented on the status of jailed billionaire sanctions buster Babak Zanjani, who has been held for over two months. “Babak Zanjani has not yet received a furlough as of yet…we had hoped there would have been a conclusion (to his case file), but there hasn’t been and as a result his detention has been extended.”

ECONOMY & ENERGY

The exchange rate between the toman and the U.S. dollar has increased. The conversion rate of one USD is 3200 toman.

Ali Majedi, Iran's deputy oil minister claimed, “Iran's oil exports in February are much less than the amount of one million 650 thousand bpd, as estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA).” Majedi also predicted that despite the existing oil sanctions, he hopes that Iran’s “oil output will reach five million bpd by 2018.”

Senior nuclear negotiating official Majid Takht-Ravanchi said he expects Iran to receive its fifth installment of overseas frozen assets this week.

IMPLEMENTATION OF SECOND PHASE OF SUBSIDY REFORMS

In a television interview, Rouhani administration spokesperson Mohammad Noubakht reiterated that the implementation of the second phase of subsidy reforms is necessary to reduce inflation and that “the government is not looking to increase the prices of goods.”

Hussein Shariatmadari, the managing editor of the conservative newspaper Kayhan, has written an editorial in Kayhan titled, “To receive subsidies or not,” in which he criticizes government officials who have been advertising through state media as well as public statements that people who have the monetary means to live comfortably, “should withdraw from receiving subsidized goods.”

Fars News Agency published a cartoon in which two men tell each other that they will not be signing up to receive state subsides, while secretly they both sign up for the subsides on their smartphone and laptop. Another cartoon illustrates a man emotionally hugging a cash machine with a caption that reads: “The tough moment when withdrawing from the subsidy program.”  

With the implementation of phase two of the government’s subsidy program just days away, ISNA published a photo essay of the residents of Hamedon signing up to receive subsidized goods. According to the photo journalist, Iran’s Secretary of Labor has proposed replacing the word "withdraw” from the subsidy reform program with the term "donating subsidies," when applicants register,

NUCLEAR

The next expert-level meeting between Iran and the P5+1 will discuss the final steps of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), and will take place May 5-9, 2014 in New York City. The next round of formal talks between the sides is set for May 23, 2014, in Vienna, Austria.

Defense Minister General Hossein Dehghan told Fars News that “under no circumstances are Iran's missiles are negotiable… they never have been during the negotiations and never will be.”

Abbas Papizadeh, an MP from Dezful in the Khuzestan Province has urged MP’s that Iran “should maintain full cycles of uranium enrichment inside its borders.”

The Associated Press reports that “the United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran's ability to make a nuclear bomb has been greatly reduced because it has diluted half of its material that can be turned most quickly into weapons-grade uranium.”

PHOTOS

Iranian border guards conduct military exercises in the western province of Kermanshah. The simulation is meant to practice various military tactics in order to combat terrorists and drug smugglers according to Fars News Agency.

Oil and gas processing complex located in the Sarvestan and Sa'adatabad oilfields in the Fars Province.