LATEST: Ahmadinejad in Live Interview on State TV on Sunday Night

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Iranian officials and media continue to pound the drumbeat that all is well with the Islamic Republic’s energy production and exports.

On Thursday, both Press TV and Fars lied about sales to India, converting the reality of a 60% fall in the last year to a 21% increase.

This morning, Press TV headlines an assurance by Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi on Iran’s massive oil and gas field, “South Pars Development Continues Despite Bans”.

South Pars projects have been crippled since 2010 by the pull-out of investment by major foreign companies, including from Russia, China, Spain, the Netherlands, and France.

An extended interview with Minister of Oil Qassemi last week: “US-Led Sanctions Contribute to Iran’s Progress”

Press TV also proclaims, from an Iranian official, “Iran to Launch Largest Floating Oil Storage Terminal in Persian Gulf“, and it continues to promote an alternative “truth” on the Indian situation: “Iran Offers India Sovereign Guarantee for Oil Shipments“.

Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

Ahmadinejad in Live Interview on State TV on Sunday Night

An advisor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the outgoing President will give a live interview on State TV on Sunday night after the 9 p.m. news.

“The president will discuss actions taken during the 9th and 10th administrations such as launching satellites into space, law enforcement, targeted subsidies, and the will of the Iranian people,” Mohammad Shaykhan said.

Labor Official: Ahmadinejad Legacy is “Millions of Unemployed”

The Secretary of the Tabriz House of Labor, Kareem Sadeghzadeh, has said the legacy of the Ahmadinejad Government “will be millions of unemployed people and negative growth in the economy”.

Sadeghzadeh advised President-elect Hassan Rouhani to choose someone to lead the Department of Labor who is “popular with the people, experienced, and stays away from the game of politics….This way he can effectively communicate with the people.”

Political Prisoner Watch: Baha’i Member Freed

Manizheh Nasrolahi, one of hundreds of members of the Baha’i faith imprisoned in Iran, has been released after serving her 3 1/2-year sentence.

Tehran Friday Prayers Criticize EU Designation of Hezbollah as Terrorist Organisation

Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi took to the podium for Tehran Friday Prayers today to condemn the European Union’s recent decision to designate Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organisation.

Sedighi questioned why the EU was targeting Hezbollah, which he described as being defensive in nature, and not blacklisting Israel or the exiled Iranian opposition group, the Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization.

He also accused the United States and Israel of being responsible for the recent coup in Egypt that toppled former president Mohamed Morsi.

Iraq PM: “Iran Interested to Direct Talks with US”

Michael Gordon at the New York Times reports that Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, has informed US officials that Iran is “interested in direct talks with the United States” on its nuclear programme.

The article claims that during a meeting with the American ambassador in Baghdad in early July, Maliki relayed a message from Iranian officials, including confidants of the Supreme Leader, that incoming president Hassan Rouhani would be open to serious discussions with the US. Maliki also suggested that Iraq would be willing to facilitate such negotiations.

Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman, reiterated the Obama administration’s view on direct talks, stating “As we have repeatedly said, we are open to direct talks with Iran in order to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”

However, this is not particularly dramatic news as Iranian press and officials, up to and including the Supreme Leader, having been publicly indicating since February that Iran is open to direct talks with the US.

Russian President Putin’s August Visit to Tehran in Doubt

Sources at the Foreign Ministry have denied reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Iran in August, according to Fars News.

Reports in the Russian media on Wednesday said that Putin will visit Tehran for president-elect Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration ceremony, as well as to discuss bilateral ties.

However, an anonymous source at the Foreign Ministry told Fars News, “At present, the issue of Russian President Mr. Putin’s visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran is not on agenda,” an informed source at the Iranian embassy in Moscow told FNA on Thursday.

The source added, “According to the preliminary agreements, the first meeting between the Iranian and Russian presidents is due to be held on the sidelines of the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads-of-state summit in Bishkek in September.”

When asked about the visit, Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov responded, “I can’t confirm it yet.”

US: Medicine To Iran Not Subject to Sanctions

The US Treasury Department issued an advisory on Thursday that exports of medicine to Iran are not subject to
, expanding the list of medical devices that can be sold to Iran without a license.

However, the advisory does not establish an authorized channel for transactions between the US and non-sanctioned Iranian banks, reducing the chances that the directive will substantially boost US sales of food and medicine.

The Islamic Republic has condemned American sanctions for the effect on Iranian patients who need drugs and medical supplies.