While speaking to a large group of teachers in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stressed the importance of public education in Iranian culture and society. Khamenei’s personal website posted a video clip of today’s event as well as the full text of his speech.
President Hassan Rouhani toured the Ilam Province in western Iran today. ISNA quoted Rouhani praising the sacrifice of the people of Ilam by saying, “During the eight-year holy defense (Iran-Iraq war) against the invaders, the people of Ilam stood tall.” Rouhani also assured the people of Ilam that “the province will witness positive economic developments in the near future.” Fars News Agency quoted Rouhani saying that “investors around the globe have shifted their attention to Iran,” and that the Rouhani administration “plans on investing over seventy billion dollars in Iran’s petrochemical industry.” Fars News also posted photos of Rouhani’s motorcade during the tour.
In an editorial in the hardline daily Kayhan, writer Mohammad Imani argues the “important nuances” between three distinct political groups in Iranian politics; the Rouhani administration, the administration’s critics, and the conservative Principalist faction.”
ISNA reports that during day three of expert-level nuclear talks in New York City, Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi called for “restrictions and discriminatory policies towards the uses of Iran’s peaceful nuclear facilities to be eliminated.” Najafi cited Iran’s inalienable in regards to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and criticized “restrictions on the transfer of nuclear equipment to developing countries (such as Iran) under the pretext of it being ‘sensitive’.”
ECONOMY & ENERGY
In an interview with Mehr News Agency, Azizollah Ramezani, the director of International affairs at the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGEC) said that “Iran is currently in talks with four European Union countries to export natural gas to Europe through routes in Turkey.” Ramezani also pointed out the need for an “annual investment of four billion dollars in order to develop Iran’s natural gas industry.”
According to reformist newspaper Etemaad, the former minister of roads and transportation under President Mohammad Khatami, Ahmad Khorram, was quoted as saying that due to sanctions “Iran has lost $460 billion dollars over the past three years.”
SOCIAL & CULTURAL
Rasa News Agency posted a video of hardline cleric Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi expressing his concern regarding the fashion trends of Iranian youth. Shirazi criticizes “young Muslims that wear western style clothing,” and cites specifically the form fitting nature of western style clothing as well as certain colors, calling it a “cultural invasion.”
In an interview with Sobhtoos, Ali Fallahian, a former intelligence minister in the Rafsanjani administration said, “President Rouhani needs to take seriously the (Supreme Leader’s) slogan for the New Year; a culture of resistance.” He continued, “President Rouhani, who believes in a culture of resistance, (should know) that unblocking Facebook is not compatible with the concerns of the Supreme Leader’s slogan.”
Tasnim News Agency reports that in an unveiling ceremony of the book entitled "The Persian language in Afghanistan," head of the Principalist faction in Parliament and acting President of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said, “The shared language and cultural bonds between Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Iran is a great asset for our nation.” Adel continued, “For any nation, cultural strength and power always supersedes weapons of war. We three nations share a common language and this showcases our cultural strength.”
Conservative men and women gather in Fatemi Square in Tehran to protest the deterioration of modesty and female hejab culture.
Builders compete in a “spaghetti-structure” national tournament in the city of Hamedan.
ISNA and Mehr News Agency both posted a series of photos from the 27th annual Tehran International Book Fair.