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Amid the crisis of Iran’s energy sector, with sharply-reduced oil exports and a withdrawal of investment from oil and gas projects, we often feature the contrasting All-Is-Well propaganda of State media. Last month, for example, there was the assurance of Oil Minister Rustam Qassemi that “US-Led Sanctions Contribute to Iran’s Progress” and Press TV’s flat-out lie about Indian oil purchases from Tehran.

This morning, however, there is a flicker of truth in Press TV’s declaration, “South Korea’s Iran Oil Imports up 38% in July“.

Reuters, using data from the Korea Customs Service, reported on Thursday that South Korea imported 815,447 tonnes of crude from Iran last month, up 38% from a year ago in the first rise in 2013.

Seoul’s purchases of Iranian oil in June-July rose 12% — compared to January-May — to 165,933 barrels per day.

That increase was part of a Iranian recovery in exports in July to 1.16 million bpd, compared to figures earlier this year of below 800,000 bpd.

Press TV does not note, however, that the good news is relative — Iran’s exports are still far below the 2.2 million bpd at the start of 2012, and production has declined about 35% to 2.6 million bpd — and could be short-lived.

Only five countries, including China and South Korea, are still buying Iranian crude, and Seoul will have to reduce its purchases soon or face the loss of a waiver from US financial penalties.

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Culture Minister Cautious Over Censorship

Asked by reporters about censorship on Saturday, new Culture Minister Ali Jannati was cautious: “I will investigate the problems and processes and will think about the censorship issue. I have to point out that there will be no censorship for individuals.”

Jannati continued:

We must get a bit acquainted with the situations here, since I have been away from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for years. So, tasks will be defined and announced according to policies and with the priorities of the government of insight and hope. Naturally policies will be different from those of the previous term. We will mention them gradually in different artistic, cinematic, and other activities gradually.

We will try to prevent and reduce as much as we can some of those cumbersome rules.

Rouhani: Foreign Policy of “No Slogans” While “Retaining Principles”

President Rouhani said on Saturday that Iranians elected him to move away from the aggressive style of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

We don’t have the right to use foreign policy to chant slogans or clap. Foreign policy is not where one can speak or take a position without paying attention. People in the June 14 elections declared that they want a new foreign policy.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of his new Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Rouhani said:

Reconsidering foreign policy doesn’t mean a change in principles because principles remain unchanged. But change in the methods, performance and tactics, which are the demands of the people, must be carried out.

Rouhani Appoints Reformist Najafi, Blocked as Education Minister, as VP

President Rouhani has wasted no time in hitting back at MPs who blocked his nominee for Minister of Education, Mohammad Ali Najafi — he named the reformist, who was criticised by hard-liners for his links to “sedition” as advisor to the 2009 Presidential campaign of detained opposition Mehdi Karroubi, as Vice President.

Rouhani’s office announced the appointment, which does not require Parliamentary confirmation, on Twitter:

And that’s not all. Rouhani has appointed another reformist to head the Ministry of Science and Higher Education after his nominee was rejected on Thursday.

Former President Ahmadinejad Attends 1st Expediency Council Meeting

Best Friends Forever? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles with former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who chairs the Expediency Council, at the meeting this morning.

It was Ahmadinejad’s first political appearance since he left the Presidency earlier this month.