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Iran Headlines: Zarif Grilled by Parliament, Shell Owes Iran 2.3 Billion, & Latest Labor Report

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami gestures as he addresses the State Duma lower house of parliament in Moscow (REUTERS).

POLITICS

In an extensive interview with Fars News Agency, former Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi discusses his rocky tenure as Intel minister under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and criticizes former President Mohammed Khatami by saying he “had a leadership role in the sedition of 2009.”

Political opposition website Kalame writes that during Tehran MP Ali Motahari’s visit to the University of Qazvin, audience members chanted “Ya Hussein Mir Hussein,” in support of opposition leader Mir Hussein Mousavi. Motahari was quoted as saying, “These house arrests have no justification to continue and should come to an end as soon as possible.” ISNA posted a set of photos of the event depicting students holding signs in support of Mousavi.  

Fars News Agency reports that Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif attended an open session of Parliament today where he answered questions on a number of topics including Holocaust denial, in which he said that “he will not allow the Zionist project of making Iran a security threat to be realized in name of Holocaust denial.” Fars News also posted a set of photographs of Zarif defending himself in Parliament.  

According to reformist Shargh Daily, Hassan Khomeini was not allowed to speak or make an appearance at a conference on the personality of his late grandfather, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, due to “extremist vigilantes that gathered in front of university to prevent him from entering and speaking.”  Shargh Daily notes that this is not the first time this has happened, and that this trend began after 2009.  

ECONOMY & ENERGY

Mehr News Agency reports that Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh commissioned  a working group from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to negotiate a resolution with British petroleum giant Shell regarding a previous debt of 2.3 billion dollars, “but after a few meetings both sides were not able to reach a resolution.”  Mehr News also notes that Iran and Poland have signed “an interim economic partnership agreement,” which stipulates that “both parties will develop mutually beneficial economic ties in a number of sectors, in accordance with national laws.”

Khabar Online writes that according to the Department of Labor’s latest statistical report on Iran’s labor market, “83 percent of employees don’t like their job.” Additionally, “40 percent (of those surveyed) believe that cronyism hinders them from finding work that they are interested in.”

SOCIETY & CULTURE

ISNA reports that the deputy director of secondary education at the Education Ministry announced that (in order for students to focus on their studies) “this year student exams will start earlier than usual and will end right before the World Cup in Brazil begins.”

IRNA posts a conversation between outspoken professor of political science at Tehran University, Sadegh Zibakalam, and prominent female publisher and writer Shahla Lahiji. The two discuss censorship, freedom of expression, and President Hassan Rouhani’s recent calls for a more open atmosphere for Iranian writers and publishers.  

PHOTOS

Iran’s national weightlifting team trains at the Azadi Sport Complex in preparation for the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea.

Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh attends the 19th annual International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran.  

Motorcycle riders showcase their skills as they participate in an unofficial street exhibition.