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Iran Headlines: Turkey’s Role in Iraq, Assembly of Experts Convene, and Population Growth

An Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighter holds a flag and a weapon in Mosul, Iraq.

ISIS IN IRAQ

After today’s cabinet meeting, Mehr News Agency reports that Rouhani administration spokesperson Mohammad Nobakht said, “Iran’s National Security Council is set discuss the relationship between ISIS and Baathists as it relates to Iraq’s neighboring states.”

Fars News Agency interviewed Ahmed al-Sharifi, an Iraqi strategic affairs expert on the security situation inside Iraq. Sharifi explained, “ISIS has no power.” He added, “The group takes advantage of corrupt military commanders… poor political and military actions have caused cracks (in Iraq’s system) and have given ISIS an opportunity to exploit those weaknesses.”

Khabar Online reports that Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said, “It’s clear that these terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan want nothing to do with actual governance, rather these Takfifi terrorists only seek anarchy in these countries and represent themselves as enemies of democracy.”

In a hard line Kayhan editorial entitled, “Turkey has lost in Iraq,” the writer questions “Turkey’s puzzling role in the Iraq crisis and regional developments such as Syria.”

Mehr News Agency reports that non-ISIS affiliated Sunni leaders in Iraq “have traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan (to speak with Kurdish officials) with the intent on deciding what their next move in the crisis will be.” According Mehr, “Some of the Sunni leaders will discuss the possibility of joining forces with ISIS.”

NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS

After today’s cabinet meeting, Fars News Agency quoted Rouhani administration spokesperson Mohammad Nobakht as saying “the fifth installment of unfrozen oil assets has already been released and will be in our possession in a day or two.”

POLITICS

ISNA reports that an Assembly of Experts committee meeting was held today in which the former head of Iran’s Judiciary, and current member of Iran’s Guardian Council Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi chaired the meeting. Current chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani remains hospitalized after suffering a stroke in early June.

Reformist Shargh News reports that the son of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mehdi Hashemi said, “I have returned to Iran to stay (for good).” Hashemi returned to Iran from Great Britain in 2012 to answer charges of inciting unrest.

ECONOMY

ISNA reports, “It is still unclear whether Iran and Turkey will be able to reach an agreement on a natural gas deal.” Turkey is seeking to reduce the cost of importing Iranian natural gas.

According Mehr News Agency, “Iran’s GDP growth rate for the third quarter (September 22, 2013 through November 22, 2013) including oil revenue stood at negative 4.2 percent,” while the GDP growth rate excluding oil saw an increase of 3.3 percent.”

POPULATION GROWTH

In an interview with ISNA, Sociologist Dr. Amir Mohammad Harirchi warned that the current policies which aim to increase the population rate “will backfire.” Harirchi referred to the recently approved ban on vasectomies and said, “Figures currently show that five percent of abortions in Iran are performed in unsanitary conditions. In addition, 15 to 20 percent of these abortions result in incomplete abortions which results in the child having a disability.” He also pointed out that the vasectomy ban will only result in “wealthy people traveling outside the country to perform the operation.”

Mehr News Agency reports according to Iran’s Red Crescent Society, “There are three million infertile couples inside the country.”

PHOTOS

Assembly of Experts committee meeting chaired by Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, as current chairman Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani remains hospitalized.

Iranian males play at a water park in Deful in Khuzestan Province.

President Hassan Rouhani convenes over his administration’s weekly cabinet meeting.