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In a slow period for Iranian domestic politics, the lead story this weekend is Tehran’s continuing campaign — following last week’s signal from President Rouhani — for the US to “get serious” about nuclear discussions.

That injunction comes with a definition: complementing Rouhani’s declaration that sanctions were doing nothing more than harming the Iranian people, Iranian MPs are calling on Washington to ease financial measures as a sign of goodwill.

Esmail Kowsari, a leading member of Parliament’s National Security Commission, said, “Once the United States exhibits a confidence-building and realistic behavior, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take a proper decision concerning talks with the US.”

He continued, “Therefore, no decision can be made about negotiations with the United States unless such a change of behavior is displayed by Americans.”

Iranian media also features the Commission’s Mansour Haqiqatpour:

Unfortunately, the US behavior is totally hypocritical and dishonest and the country is pursuing an inappropriate diplomatic trend with regard to establishing relations with Iran….

To talk with Iran, the Americans should renounce their paradoxical behavior and also avoid adopting stances in bad temper so that the process of talks between the two countries can be shaped based on realities.

Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

Rouhani Appoints 1st Woman to Cabinet

President Rouhani has finally appointed the first woman in his cabinet — Elham Amin-Zadeh is Vice President for Legal Affairs.

Like Rouhani, Amin-Zadeh earned her Ph.D. from a university in Glasgow in Scotland.

Iran Subverting Latin America — With University Courses in Islam!

Joby Warrick of the Washington Post publishes a long, scary — and at time unintentionally hilarious — “exclusive” of Tehran’s menace to the Western Hemisphere, “With Lure of Religious Classes, Iran Seeks to Recruit Latin Americans”.

Warrick’s innuendo, hyperbole, leaps of supposed logic, and near-panic deserve a full entry, but here’s a snippet:

Regional experts say such “soft power” initiatives are mainly political, intended in particular to strengthen Tehran’s foothold in countries such as Venezuela and Ecuador, which share similar anti-American views. But in some cases, Iranian officials have sought to enlist Latin Americans for espionage and even hacking operations targeting U.S. computer systems, according to U.S. and Latin American law-enforcement and intelligence officials.

How did Warrick get this dramatic, US-threatening story — a note on his main source, a claimed student at the university in Tehran: “Carlos travelled to the United States in 2012, after strangers with Middle Eastern features asked for him at his parents’ home in Mexico.”

Oh, and tucked away in the article is this sentence, “The State Department spends millions of dollars annually on officially sponsored U.S. travel for foreign students as well as budding journalists, politicians and civic leaders.”

Zimbabwe Denies “Secret” Not-So-Secret Uranium Deal With Tehran

More on the dramatic claim of the London Times of a “secret” deal for Zimbabwe to provide Iran with uranium — so secret that the Zimbabwean Deputy Mining Minister spoke about it….

Zimbabwean Mining Minister Obert Mpofu has rejected the reports:

We are free to trade with any country but my ministry has not signed an agreement about uranium with Tehran.

It is fiction and usual wishful thinking of the Western media. Why would we have a secret deal when we are a free country.

Zimbabwean Deputy Mining Minister Gift Chimanikire later denied his quotes in the Times, and the State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation also disputed the claim.