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Iran Headlines: Babak Zanjani Record Holder in Fraud, 4.5 million Educated & Unemployed, and New Interest in Iranian Natural Gas

A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor, 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran (REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi).

NUCLEAR

Fars News Agency reports on comments made by Tehran Mayor Mohammed Bagher Galibaf in which he said, “The Supreme Leader is employing ‘heroic flexibility’ and knows precisely what is going on in the nuclear talks.” Qalibaf also called the nuclear negotiations “a battle,” and that “the Americans should not be trusted.”

Hardline Raja News published an editorial written by Ayatollah Qassem Ravanbakhsh, who is close to ultra-conservative Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi and asks, “(Should) National or Partisan Interests be Placed Ahead of the Negotiations?” Ravanbakhsh ends the piece by saying, “(Let’s hope) the day doesn’t come where President Rouhani and (former president) Khatami appear on (national) television and admit their mistakes for putting their trust in the west, and blame (the west’s) unethical tactics for not being able to fulfill their pledges.”

In a response to Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi’s remarks earlier this week regarding the ongoing nuclear talks being threatened by “dark forces,” news site Fararu interviewed Hassan Beheshtipour who agreed with Araghchi’s remarks regarding certain domestic elements being critical of the negotiations, as well as some foreign countries who do not want a deal to be reached. But Beheshtipour mentions a second group in Iran that is critical and against an eventual agreement “because it is in their interests to have additional sanctions placed on Iran… In such circumstances, they potentially can reap huge financial benefits in circumventing sanctions.”

ECONOMY & ENERGY

Tasnim News Agency reports that the Director General of the National Iranian Gas Export Company, Alireza Kameli announced that a private Italian company (Sicom) that specializes in natural gas filling stations and compressors has expressed an interest in the completion of a proposed natural gas pipeline to export Iranian gas to Europe. Additionally a Japanese natural gas company has also expressed interest in Iran’s North Pars natural gas field according to Kameli. 

While speaking to a working group comprised of employment specialists in Tabriz, Labor Minister Ali Rabiei said, “There are 4.5 million educated people in the country that are unemployed.”

Reformist Shargh Daily reports that Iran’s Judiciary has called the financial corruption case against billionaire sanctions buster Babak Zanjani “the biggest case of financial fraud since the 1979 revolution,” and that the investigation is “wide-ranging,” with many people involved and “multi-layered.” 

Fars News Agency published a cartoon entitled, “The Price Increase Race,” and depicts a man at the 10 percent marker trying to catch up to goods and commodities that are already at the 20 percent marker. 

POLITICS

While speaking to a group of teachers, former President Mohammed Khatami said that he wished the current security environment in relation to politics would have ended after last summer’s presidential election, “so that the people could better serve the system and society, but it has not.” He also regretted that he isn’t able to admit that Iran doesn’t have political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

PHOTOS

Iran’s national soccer team practices and prepares for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Iranian actors and artists get together to honor film director Masoud Kimiai.

Photo essay profile: Karim Abbasi is 32-year-old blind teacher from Tabriz, who holds a master's degree in special education and teaches blind children in the city of Tabriz. He is also a former track and field champion.