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Iran Headlines: Iranian Youth, Sanctions, and Saudi Arabia

A man and a woman walk past a traditional Iranian painting in northern Tehran (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl).

SOCIETY AND CULTURE

In an article entitled, “Streets of Love, Tears of Regret,” Alef News examines the social issues tied to relationships consummated by young boys and girls in public settings. According to social pathologist Dr. Majid Abhari, “90 percent of ‘street friendships’ are based on desire and lust, and don’t end in marriage.” The writer argues this has “become a social problem” as these relationships “are kept from their parents,” and can cause jealousy among different partners, which additionally can “lead to future crimes such as murder, kidnapping, extortion, and rape."

Nameh News reports that in a meeting with university officials, Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi said, “We must be able to convince students not to remain silent,” and that “joy and happiness should be accompanied with a sense of security.”

POLITICS

Ali Rajaei, a senior advisor to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was asked about recent diplomatic overtures by Saudi Arabia and whether Rafsanjani would consider traveling to Saudi Arabia. “Mr. Hashemi has traveled to Saudi Arabia twice already in the past but at the moment travel conditions haven’t been made yet, and domestic coordination would be required,” said Rajaei.

An editorial in hard line daily Kayhan criticizes western countries for promoting democracy “without religion or morality,” and cites Syria, Egypt and Ukraine as examples. The author goes on to write, “Wherever democracy is contrary to the interests of the West, (democracy) is destroyed by the installation of (western backed) dictators…so much in fact that the West even defends Syria's wild terrorists.”

ISNA reports that while speaking to a group of university students, Mohammed Aref, a member of Iran’s Expediency Council was asked multiple questions regarding the street protests following the 2009 Iranian presidential elections, as well as the fate of Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi who remain under house arrest. “I am hopeful that the government will deal with house arrests of Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi in a sensitive manner,” said Aref. 

Responding to comments made earlier this week by President Hassan Rouhani which suggested that force should not be used to promote cultural values, hard line Raja News quoted ultra-conservative cleric Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi as saying, “We shouldn’t use slogans that westerners use.”

ECONOMY AND ENERGY

Mehr News Agency reports that Iran's Statistical Center announced that the youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24) has “alarmingly reached 24 percent.” According to Labor Minister Ali Rabi'i, “1.1 million college graduates currently entering the job market won’t be able to find work, in addition to the 4.5 million college students that will also soon be graduating…we must act urgently, otherwise the job market will be faced with an tsunami of 5.6 million educated job seekers.” Masoud Nili, senior advisor for economic affairs to President Hassan Rouhani was also quoted by Mehr as saying, “The unemployment rate for women has reached the astronomical figure of 43 percent.”

Khabar Online quotes the head of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Yahya Al Isaac as saying, “Sanctions have greatly raised the cost of living for the people of Iran, while on that same note, the people that have been abusing these sanctions have made over 25 billion dollars during this time. There are a number of (Iranians) both inside and outside Iran who have their interests tied to the failure of the nuclear talks, and they exploit sanctions for their own benefit. But these people who ‘are worried’ about the negotiations know that their time is up, and despite some problems the negotiations will ultimately succeed.”

PHOTOS

President Hassan Rouhani met with a war veteran and his family in the southern part of Tehran and was greeted by residents of the neighborhood. 

Paralympic National Archery Team trains at camp.

A number of students gathered at Golestan National Park to protest its planned demolition.