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Iran Headlines: Drafting a Nuclear Agreement, Supreme Leader Issues Decree, and Iranian Forces in Baghdad

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the beginning of talks in Vienna, Austria.

VIENNA NUCLEAR TALKS

ISNA reports that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi held a news conference at the end of day two of the fifth round of nuclear negotiations in Vienna and said, “The atmosphere (of the talks) is positive but that doesn’t mean each side is getting closer, we still have a lot of work to get to a mutual agreement.” Araghchi added, “We have had about 12-13 hours of bilateral meetings thus far, and hope that by the end of this week’s negotiations we will have a draft of the text.”

During today’s afternoon session, Fars News Agency quoted senior nuclear negotiator Majid Ravanchi as saying, “It’s too early to predict (and evaluate where we are) as we are still in the middle of the discussions.”

According to Fars News Agency, during  a gathering in Sirjan, former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said, “The West sanctions us in order to block our progress and for the Iranian people to become frustrated…but our young nuclear (scientists) were able to find a way and the world is now worried about our progress, they don’t want us to make advancements (in nuclear technology).”  

POLITICS

Fars News Agency reports that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a new decree appointing five new members to the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations. The five new members include former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, former ambassador to Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia, Ebrahim Sheibani, as well as former minister of defense Ahmad Vahidi. In addition, Hossein Taremi former ambassador to China and Saudi Arabia, and Mehdi Mostafavi Ahari, the former ambassador to West Germany were also appointed.

While meeting with family members of a martyr from the Iran-Iraq war, the widow of the family asked Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Iran’s Expediency Council if he would ever return to Friday prayers in Tehran. “Given my current considerations, my presence at Friday prayers wouldn’t be appropriate,” ISNA reported Rafsanjani as saying.

ISIS IN IRAQ

Fars News Agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian after meeting with Iran’s Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Committee regarding the situation in Iraq. According to Abdollahian the recent fatwa issued by Iraqi cleric Grand Ayatollah Sistani was “one of the most important developments in the crisis because it led to the unification of all domestic forces and groups,” and also “provided material and moral support, which caused ISIS forces to panic.”

Senior adviser to the Supreme Leader, Ali Akbar Velayati was asked by Mehr News Agency about the ongoing developments in Iraq to which he said, “American policies in the Middle East region prove that their intentions were all wrong as their (policies) now been defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.”

While attending the Group of 77 Summit in Venezuela, Vice President Esagh Jahangiri commented on Iran’s role in the crisis in Iraq and said, "We are ready to help Iraq if the Iraqi government requests it.” According to ISNA, Jahangiri also denied that there were Iranian military forces in Iraq saying, “At this point we haven’t sent any (military) forces into Iraq.”

Hard line Javan Online writes, “Why under the current circumstances (in Iraq) does the United States want to negotiate with Iran regarding ISIS? In order to defeat this violent group, wouldn’t it be a better idea to speak with its main sponsor in Riyadh?"

PHOTOS

President Hassan Rouhani wore an Iran national soccer team jersey as he watched Iran’s first World Cup match against Nigeria.

Hikers hike in the Alamut Valley in Qazvin Province.

Prominent artists attend the memorial service for the late Jalil Shahnaz, considered to be one of the best maestros of Persian classical music and tar soloists. During the ceremony a female musician played the tar in a solo performance.