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Iran Headlines: Ahmadinejad, Direct U.S. Flights, and Population Growth

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listens to a question during a joint news conference with Najaf governor Adnan al-Zurufi in Najaf, Iraq (REUTERS/Karim Kadim).

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD

Hard line Jahan News writes that a student reformist group plans on releasing a documentary on former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad entitled, “Dreaming of Spring.” The film will focus on Ahmadinejad’s time in office, his close confidant Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, hugging the mother of Hugo Chavez, and his alleged role in the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover. Jahan News calls the film “a response” to a recent controversial documentary that was critical of President Hassan Rouhani.

Deputy speaker of Parliament Mohammad-Reza Bahonar told Khabar Online, “The reformist administration (of Mohammed Khatami) opposed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s bid to become mayor of Tehran.” Bahonar explained that he (and others in Parliament) “defended him, and in the end the reformists were pushed back.” He also admitted that in the 2005 Iranian presidential election he supported the candidacy of current Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani instead of Ahmadinejad because he was “strongly against Ahmadinejad’s candidacy.”

EOCONMY AND ENERGY

Reformist Shargh Daily reports that according to Iran’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the volume of trade between Iran and the UAE “reached more than $15 billion dollars in 2013.” In addition, the head of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce stated that nearly “50 thousand Iranian companies operate in Dubai.” The article also mentions that Iranians residing in Dubai continue to face issues regarding housing, visa issuance, banking, as well as problems associated with sanctions.

In an extensive interview with Tasnim News Agency, Hussein Yacoubi the director of the International Department of Iran’s Central Bank explained the spending and transferring procedures of Iran’s unfrozen oil revenues as stipulated in the Geneva interim agreement. According to Yacoubi, “The initial Geneva agreement ends in 45 days and there are three remaining installments of unfrozen oil revenues.” He also added that “anything can be bought” with the $4.2 billion dollars that has been released. “But if it’s a sanctioned product Iran’s Foreign Ministry must communicate and inform the external parties and receive licensing from the P5+1 for purchases.”

U.S. DIRECT FLIGHTS

Fars News Agency reports that Akbar Torkan, the head of Iran's Free Trade Zones Coordination Council was asked in an interview with Gulf News about the status of direct flights to the United States. According to Torkan, “Consultations are currently being conducted with the Civil Aviation Authority regarding the idea of a launching an ‘open sky’ free travel zone. This way, flights can operate in these open sky zones until (normalized) travel conditions are created.”

SOCEITY AND CULTURE

While speaking at the Medical Sciences department at the University of Tabriz, Fars News Agency reported that Health Minister Hassan Hashemi said, “We have a long way to go in order to transform our health system. 10 to 15 years are needed in order to create an accessible and worthy system of health for the people.” Hashemi was also quoted by ISNA, “I won’t allow the ministry of health to become politicized.”

Hard line Jahan News reports that the Population Census Organization of Iran’s Statistical Center announced that there currently are 21 million households in Iran and 14.5 percent of these households are childless, while 19 percent are single child homes.

PHOTOS

Iran's national soccer team took part in a farewell ceremony in Azadi Stadium’s auditorium before departing for Brazil to compete in the 2014 World Cup.

In 1988 Iran-Iraq war veteran Akbar Azizi survived a chemical weapons attack on the battlefront.  He has been hospitalized over 25 times in Tehran, Tabriz and Ahar.

A massive sand storm ripped through Tehran today causing fatalities, injuries, and wide-spread damage. Tasnim News Agency, ISNA, Mehr News Agency, and Fars News Agency all published sets photos of the sand storm.