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Iran@Saban Headlines

A woman holds a picture of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during Tehran's Friday prayers (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl).

POLITICAL

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei visited the southwestern Iran-Iraq war battlefield of Darkhovin, and gave a 22 minute speech highlighting the legacy and ideals of the war which according to Khamenei, “Proved that Iran is capable in defending itself against the world powers.” Khamenei’s website posted the full text of his speech in Persian,  as well as the full audio file of the 22 minute speech, and a three minute video clip of his address to tourists visiting the historic battlefield.  Photos illustrating the scene at Darkhovin were also posted. English news service Press TV also reported on the event.

In an extensive “conversation” with reformist newspaper Shargh, former President Mohammed Khatami discussed a range of topics.  Khatami was asked about the similarities between his “dialogue of civilizations” speech at the United Nations and President Hassan Rouhani’s United Nation’s speech last October. Also discussed were extremist elements within Iranian domestic politics, as well as an inquiry into why Khatami didn’t attend the funeral of his late friend and South African statesman Nelson Mandela. Khatami answered the last question by saying, “If this trip (to South Africa) took place, it would have benefited our country and the nation's dignity, but it didn’t happen. You need to ask them the reason as to why they didn’t take advantage of this historic opportunity for the system and country.”

Former President and current Head of Iran’s Expediency Council Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani tells reformist newspaper Shargh, that he has “no regrets” about entering last summer’s presidential race as a candidate only to be disqualified by the Guardian Council.  Rafsanjani discusses in detail the political maneuvering that transpired as he refused to withdraw from the race even when approached by Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani. He also recounts how Mohammed Khatami was instrumental in convincing reformist candidate Mohammed Aref to withdraw.

Khabar Online publishes a list of all legislation approved by the Iranian Parliament during the last (Iranian) calendar year.  A total 23 projects were approved by Parliament last year, as well as 15 legislation bills that were passed, which include such bills as: An extradition treaty between Iran and Kazakhstan, the Protection of Children and Orphans without Guardians Act, and a cooperation agreement between Iran and Russia’s Interior Ministries.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi announced that the foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) will hold a summit in Algeria on May 26-29, 2014.

NUCLEAR

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said, “We have not crossed any red lines, nor have we even came close in doing so. In fact, it’s actually the opposite. We crossed our own red lines ten years ago when we weren’t enriching as much (uranium).”

Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin warned, “We hope that the (Iran) nuclear negotiations won’t be hurt by the mindless steps of some members of the P5 +1.

Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reports that a group of Ukrainian deputies are promoting the idea for Ukraine to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Russian officials have criticized such a move.

ECONOMY & OIL

The full text of the Rouhani administration’s budget for the new (Iranian) calendar year has been published. Iran’s Parliament officially ratified the budget on February 10, 2014.

Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced that with the eventual completion of two large off-shore natural gas platforms, “by the end of next (Iranian calendar) year, Iran’s natural gas production capability will increase to 80 to 100 cubic meters a day.

South Korea's oil imports from Iran doubled in the month of February to 290,714 barrels per day (bpd).

PHOTOS

The Rouhani administration held their first cabinet meeting of the New Year today.

School girls in the village of Nikshahr in the Sistan Baluchestan province receive gifts during an education-related celebration. According to the photographer, this was the first of its kind.

While people are away during the Nowruz holiday, police in the capital Tehran step up patrols to prevent crime.