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Iran Headlines: Rouhani Leading Friday Prayers, Russian Oil Deal, and Fuel Exports to Afghanistan

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference at a hotel after the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit, in Shanghai (REUTERS/Carlos Barria).

ROUHANI LEADING FRIDAY PRAYERS

President Hassan Rouhani’s media advisor Mohammad Reza Sadegh sidestepped a question posed by a Fars News Agency reporter regarding rumors that President Rouhani might lead Friday prayers at Tehran University. “The most important duty of the president is his executive responsibilities, and I don’t see the need to answer such a question at this time,” said Sadegh.

According to Tasnim News Agency, Seyed Reza Akrami, head of the Presidential Cultural Council also commented on reports of President Rouhani possibly leading Friday prayers. “I had no idea that people were making such baseless claims. Instead of sitting around with nothing to do, these people (who start such rumors) should do something beneficial for society.”

POLITICS

In an interview with ISNA, Sadegh Kharazi, Iran’s former ambassador to France said, “The days of extremism and radical movements are over with; we must be realistic, make pragmatic decisions, and communicate in a rational manner.”

According to ISNA, President Hassan Rouhani traveled to the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province and during a speech was quoted as saying, “Iran’s foreign policy today is not like what it was in the past. Iran was able to take back seven billion dollars of its (frozen oil) assets from the claws of the oppressors, and this strengthens our future steps.”

Looking ahead to the 2016 parliamentary elections, a Fars News Agency report examines the widely reported possible “triangular political alliance” between the head of Iran’s Expediency Council Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president Mohammed Khatami, and Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, adviser to the Supreme Leader. With Nateq-Nouri’s recent admission that he won’t be a candidate in the 2016 parliamentary elections, the report argues that possible replacements for Nateq-Nouri could include former  interior minister Abdollah Nouri, as well as the Secretary General of the Association of Combatant Clerics Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha.

ECONOMY AND ENERGY

Mehr News Agency reported that Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Ali Majedi commented on the latest reports of a landmark oil-for-goods deal with Russia. According to Majedi, “Talks with Russia are continuing, but a final decision has yet to be made.”

In an interview with Khabar Online, Ahmad Roosta, business professor at Shahid Beheshti University suggested that “good days are ahead for Iranian manufacturers and entrepreneurs,” and that “steps are being taken to pull Iran’s economy out of the recession.”

Reformist Shargh Daily reported that Iran's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia warned, “Over the past two years, Iranian’s purchasing power has declined by 20 percent.”

According to Mehr News Agency, Abbas Kazemi, Iran's deputy oil minister confirmed that Iran has been conducting negotiations regarding exporting fuel to its neighbors and added, “The first shipment of liquid fuel bound for Afghanistan has been delivered.”

JASON REZAIAN

Hard line Vatan Emrooz today published its second article in as many days on the July 22 arrest and detention of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two other dual-nationals. Today’s article asked if “spies can receive consular services,” and asked Deputy Foreign Minister for Consulate Affairs Hassan Ghashghavi about regulations regarding consular services for dual (Iranian-American) nationals. Ghashghavi admitted to not knowing any details of the case but said, “We don’t allow any foreign country to interfere in our domestic affairs regarding Iranian citizens, and the (U.S. State Department's) assertion that if someone holds an (American) passport they should somehow receive consular services or be released is unacceptable.”

PHOTOS

Iran and China’s national wushu teams (mixed martial arts) compete in Tehran.

President Hassan Rouhani traveled to the southwestern Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province

The Rouhani administration set up a communication network for the citizens of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province a day before the president’s trip in order to provide them an opportunity to report their grievances, and provide suggestions for the administration.