LATEST: Vice President — Ahmadinejad Government Shrank Economy by 5.4% in 2012/13

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Iranian media continue to focus on the Syrian conflict, or rather putting out propaganda lines on the situation.

Some of the dramatic claims are based on reality, as in Press TV’s declaration, “Takfiris kill Shia Drivers Execution-Style in Syria: Video”.

[EA posted the video of the execution of three truck drivers by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham on Sasturday.]

Press TV also draws on Western media to declare, “Turkey Used for Arms Transfer Into Syria“.

Some claims are a bit more far-fetched. Fars News Agency tries to connect Saudi Arabia — increasingly a target of its criticism — to British intelligence services: “Saudi Prince Bandar Meets MI6 Chief on Syria“:

At the meeting, the Saudi intelligence chief briefed Sawers on Riyadh’s latest moves on Syria, including the supply of over 400 tons of weapons to the militants in Syria via Turkey,” an informed source, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of his information, told FNA.

“We have made the Syrian army engage in a civil war and of course this strategic mission could not be accomplished without your (MI6) cooperation,” the source quoted Prince Bandar as saying during the meeting.

Fars also features, “Iranian MP: Russia to Support Damascus in Possible War“, and Sunday’s declaration of the head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, that the military is “monitoring the enemy’s moves”.

Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

VP: Ahmadinejad Government Shrank Economy by 5.4% in 2012/13

Mohammad Bagher Noubakht, the Vice President for strategic planning, has declared that the Iranian economy shrank 5.4% between March 2012 and March 2013.

The announcement is the latest in a series of criticisms by the Rouhani Government of its predecessor over management of economic affairs.

Supreme Leader: “Takfiri Terror Attacks Will Lap Up Their Own Supporters”

Mohammad Bagher Noubakht, vice president of strategic planning and monitoring, announced that economic growth in 1391, according to the Center for Statistics,

Supreme Leader: “Takfiri Terror Attacks Will Lap Up Their Own Supporters”

Following Monday’s meeting between Omani leader Sultan Qaboos, President Rouhani. and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei’s office published a series of tweets, including this image showing the three leaders and a semi-comprehensible legend:

Takfiris’ Terrorist Attacks In The Region Will Lap Up Their Own Supporters

The Supreme Leader’s Office then segued into a criticism of Israel:

Next, Khamenei’s office called for a ban on weapons of mass destruction:

New Oil Minister Starts By Dismissing China from South Pars Project

New Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh, seeking to raise Iran’s energy production and complete long-delayed phases of the giant South Pars gas field, has acted quickly.

Iran’s Petropars Company has formally ejected the China National Petroleum Corporation from Phase 11 of South Pars, signing a $5 billion contract with the National Iranian Oil Company to implement the development.

Iran signed a $4.7-billion contract with CNPC in 2009, replacing France’s Total, which had pulled out of the project.

In December 2012, Iran warned it would cancel its contract with China because of CNPC delays in work.

Phase 11 is projected to yield 2 billion cubic feet of sour gas and 80,000 barrels of as condensates per day — currently Iran produces only 300 million cubic meters per day of gas from all of South Pars.

Picture: Foreign Minister Zarif Meets UN Official Feltman on Syria and Regional Issues

Jeffrey Feltman, a high-ranking United Nations official and former US Assistant Undersecretary of State, is meeting Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran on Monday:

Photograph: President Rouhani Hosts Sultan Qaboos of Oman

President Rouhani’s “engagement” of Gulf States has begun — a photograph of him hosting Sultan Qaboos of Oman today:


And with the Supreme Leader:

Ayatollah Khamenei was not as effusive about “engagement”, at least according to Fars News:

The main reason behind the status quo in the region is interference from outside the region.

Unfortunately, a Takfiri group has been formed with the support of certain regional states which is in conflict with all Muslim groups, but supporters of this stream should know that this fire will burn them too.

Video: Sunni Separatist Insurgent Group Claims Gunfight With IRGC In Sistan-Baluchestan

Claimed footage posted by media activists on behalf of Sistan-Baluchestan Sunni separatist insurgent group Harakat Ansar Iran (HAI) purports to show the group’s fighters engaged in a gunfight with Iranian security forces in the Sunni-dominated southeastern province.

According to the text accompanying the video:

A gunfight erupted between the Mujahideen of Harakat Ansar Iran and the Revolutionary Guards on 24/08/2013 at Maghrib time after the brothers ambushed their patrol.

The gunfight lasted approximately 10 minutes before the army retreated at the hands of the Mujahideen and the cowards can be seen running away at 00:35, 02:09, & 02:15 in the video. Alhamdulilah it was estimated that 3 – 4 of their soldiers were killed and alhamdulilah none of the brothers were injured.

The video does not give a location for the alleged incident.

The group has carried out a number of terror attacks against Iranian targets, mostly in the port city of Chabahar.

HAI has until now rarely if ever posted video footage of their operations, though media activists associated with the group have created and posted propaganda videos.

Rouhani Appoints New Head of Central Bank

The Rouhani Government has appointed Valiollah Seif as the new Governor of the Central Bank.

Seif has been the Managing Director of Karafarin Bank and Chairman of the Board of Future Bank B.S.C., and has held senior positions with other Iranian financial institutions.

He replaces Mahmoud Bahmani, who was beset by frequent criticism — amid difficulties over currency and foreign reserves — during his five years in office.

He replaces Mas