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Iran@Saban Headlines

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrive for a news conference after talks in Vienna (REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader).

JAVAD ZARIF ON HAMID ABOUTALEBI

On his last day in Vienna, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif addressed the controversy surrounding Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran’s Envoy appointee to the United Nations by saying, “We have told the Americans that we have introduced one of the most experienced, logical, and ambassadorial individuals who has Embassy experience in several countries including Italy, Belgium and Australia. He was also a previous director in Iran’s foreign ministry, and had traveled to New York City in the past, and extremist groups should not be in the position to determine who Iran chooses for the United Nations.  

NUCLEAR

As the last day of the latest round of nuclear talks in Vienna came to a close, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif conducted a joint press conference. "We will now move to the next phase in the negotiations in which we will aim to bridge the gaps in all the key areas and work on the concrete elements of a possible comprehensive agreement," Ashton was quoted as saying. Zarif, who expects to reach an agreement by the July 20 deadline, said that Iran and the P5+1 were in "50 to 60 percent agreement over the deal.” Zarif also sought to address concerns of a final text by saying, “It is our hope that during the next stage (of talks), we will be able to build confidence upon the concerns of the text.” Fars News Agency published a series of photos taken on the last day of talks in Vienna.

On the occasion of National Nuclear Technology Day, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini spoke with officials and scientists of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) in Tehran and said that Iran’s nuclear research and development activities “will never stop,” and that the relationship between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “must be conventional, and not extraordinary.” Khamenei’s website also posted photographs of today’s gathering.

Ayatollah Khamenei’s website has posted a running timeline of all the statement’s that the Supreme Leader has directly or indirectly made over the past 15 years regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Excerpts are provided with hyperlinks to the actual text of each particular speech. The time line begins in December of 1999 with remarks made during a meeting with a group of veterans and the families of martyrs. The last entry is April 7, 2014 in which Khamenei discusses human rights and Iranian nuclear issues.   

Former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili attended a National Nuclear Technology Day event in Isfahan, and made a number of wide ranging comments. Jalili commented on some of Iran’s assets that are frozen in foreign banks and said, “The American’s are posturing over the four billion dollars of (frozen) assets that were released; our (national) budget stands at eight hundred-thousand billion Toman. The Americans think they can impose their demands on us with four billion dollars.” Mehr News published a series of photos of the event in Isfahan.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and lead negotiator Abbas Araghchi has said that Iran “would not negotiate on (the topic of) ballistic missiles.

ECONOMY

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh addressed concerns about rising fuel costs as the second round of subsides are implemented and said, “The cost of gasoline and diesel still has yet to be finalized and there should be no concern among the people as the price increase will be (implemented) gradually.” In addition, “natural gas prices will increase from 55-60 percent overall,  while gas for household usage will increase seven percent, education related usage will increase 20 percent, and industry and government related usage will see a 30 percent increase.”  

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has moved ONGC Videsh, an Indian multinational oil and gas company off of a list of companies known to have energy ties with Iran, but kept parent company ONGC on the list, leaving open the possibility of U.S. sanctions.

The Managing Director of the National Petrochemical Company of Iran, Hossein Shahriari forecasted petrochemical exports in the new Iranian calendar year and explained if Iran is able to take advantage in financing and development projects, “and if the sanctions are reduced, petrochemical exports will increase and are forecasted to reach $12 billion dollars.”

Ahmed Ali  al-Mukhaini, the former assistant secretary-general for the Shura Council in Oman, has written an editorial in Al-Monitor arguing that the “Gulf states should form regional bloc with Iran.”

PHOTOS

During the high-profile wake of the father of former President Mohammed Khatami’s wife, athletes, politicians, and activists, made their presence felt at the Ghadir mosque in Tehran.   

On the National Nuclear Technology Day, outspoken Tehran University political science professor Sadegh Zibakalam, attended a debate titled, “An Inalienable Right” at Ferdowsi University along a former director general of Iran’s foreign ministry and a former Iranian ambassador to the Soviet Union.