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Iran Headlines: Kurds and ISIS in Iraq, Nuclear Talks Continue, and Natural Gas Production

Mehdi Army fighters march during military-style training in Najaf, Iraq.



Mehr News reports that while speaking in Najaf, the head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, Ammar al-Hakim emphasized, “Anyone who has betrayed Iraq and its people should be punished.”

Hard line Resalat News reports, “A group of Basiji writers and artists are ready to travel to Iraq and defend Shia holy sites.”

According to hard line Kayhan, Iraqi military forces made gains in the city of Tal Afar and reportedly killed a number of ISIS militants and upon further examination of their corpses, “their faces revealed them to be of Chechnyan descent.” The article also claims that Iraqi forces “discovered and seized Israeli weapons and Saudi Arabian telecommunications equipment.”

While speaking to Fars News Agency officials, Middle Eastern affairs expert Sadollah Zarei said, “Iraq is the center point that binds the Arabic, Persian and Turkish Islamic world, and historically has always been a prominent and special place in Shiism.” He added, “When the Americans pulled out, Iraqi Sunnis were dissatisfied with the current situation after having been in power for so long. The Kurds of Iraq sought to protect themselves from this conflict and fought to pursue their own interests and profit (from the situation).”


According to Fars News Agency, nuclear talks on day three of the fifth round of negotiations were “slow but consultations were ongoing.” In addition Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told reporters, “Although the drafting of the agreement text has begun, there are still some basic differences.”

Hard line Raja News criticizes a statement made by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi this week during nuclear talks in which he said, “Iran doesn’t expect all sanctions to be dropped at once.” Raja News asks, “When did the policy of ‘dropping all sanctions’ change into ‘partially dropping sanctions?’”


Reformist Etemaad covers the comments of Hadi Khamenei, the reformist brother of Iran’s Supreme Leader regarding domestic political strife. “The ultimate solution to our economic problems would be societal solidarity…one of the main issues is the arrests of political activists and political prisoners.  This siege should be lifted and their rights restored,” said Khamenei.

According to Mehr News Agency, Iran’s Minister of Justice Mostafa Pourmohammadi commented on the status and case of billionaire sanctions buster Babak Zanjani who remains in jail on fraud charges.  “The prosecutors are taking this case seriously and are actively auditing Zanjani’s property holdings.”

The managing director of Fars News Agency spoke to provincial news directors and said, “If the sedition (and protests following the 2009 presidential election) transpired in any other country, that country’s (system) would have collapsed.”

Mehr News Agency reports that while speaking to a group of Islamic scholars, Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor-in-chief of the hard line newspaper Kayhan said, “Some people claim that the Supreme Leader won’t allow Iran to have a relationship with the United States, but in actuality if the Supreme Leader wasn’t guiding us, there would be nothing left of the revolution.”


According to ISNA, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh attended a joint session in Parliament today and said, “Energy contractors have promised us that natural gas production in phases 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18 in the South Pars natural gas field will reach more than 100 million cubic meters this year.”

Mehr News Agency reports that Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh has issued orders to terminate as well as suspend until further notice, contracts that were signed by Iran’s former Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second term as president.


ISNA reports that Iranˈs Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi said, “Since its inception in 1991, the Bureau of Women's Affairs has only been stereotypical and symbolic in functionality.” Molaverdi emphasized, “The (Rouhani) administration seeks policies to reform and make fundamental changes in the functionality of the Bureau of Women's Affairs.”


Iranian and P5+1 representatives on the sidelines during day three of nuclear talks this week in Vienna, Austria.

The last day of wrestling tryouts in order to select Iran’s national freestyle and Greco wrestling teams were held in Qazvin.