Rouhani Defends His Administration’s Approach to Nuclear and Economic Issues

President Rouhani defended his administration’s approach to nuclear negotiations and the economy on Monday.

Rouhani told MPS, that “Despite the massive complexity of negotiations, we hope to slowly reduce sanctions and not allow new sanctions to be added and then move in a direction such that sanctions are completely removed. Of course the work is difficult and complicated, but the government’s will is firm in this matter.”

He urged critics to be patient, noting “[I]t has been two and a half months since the administration began its work and there is no opportunity yet to reach criticism. It is best for [MPs] to allow it to work for between six months and a year before criticizing the administration.”

Rouhani also announced his plan to reduce inflation from 40% to 34-35% by the end of the Persian year [in mid-March].

He added, “When we took control of the administration, economic growth was negative 5.8%. We are now attempting to reduce that number this year to negative three, then zero next year, and afterwards economic growth becomes positive.”

(Hat tip: Iran Tracker)

Senior Nuclear Negotiator Welcomes Supreme Leader’s Support

National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member Ebrahim Agha Mohammadi echoed the Supreme Leader’s call for support for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team.

Mohammadi declared, “Nuclear negotiations are undertaken with the protection and guidance of the Supreme Leader. So our pessimism must not be towards the team of Iranian negotiators, but towards the Western side.”

“All of the political leaders, institutions, and currents must protect the nuclear negotiators in order to achieve the desired results in this negotiations,” he added.

He also commented on the 34th anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran, saying “The 13 Aban ceremony must be held like in past years and must not be a ceremony that creates extremism.”

Press TV appeared to be backing the negotiations too, highlighting the comments of Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, deputy speaker of parliament, that the majlis supports the “powerful and efficient” diplomatic apparatus of the Islamic Republic.

All is Well: Tehran To Export Gas to Oman and Pakistan

As sanctions continue to hit Iran’s oil exports, Minister of Oil Bijan Zanganeh has declared that Tehran is prepared to export gas to Oman and Pakistan.

Zanganeh stated “On the basis of our understanding with Oman’s minister of oil, we will reach an agreement by the end of the year or beginning of the coming year. Although we have not negotiated the price of gas in the new agreement, we have agreed that we will first transfer the gas to Oman, and then look to sell and market it to the region from that country.”

He added, “Currently Iran has the desired capacity to produce and export gas…. In the case Pakistan accelerates construction of a pipeline, Iran is prepared to deliver gas to that country.”

Tehran Calls on Pakistan to Extradite Jaish ul-Adl Members

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has called on Pakistan to extradite those involved in the recent attack in the border region of Saravan in Sistan-Baluchistan, which killed fourteen Iranian border guards.

Meanwhile, Javad Karimi of Parliament’s National Security Commission accused American and Pakistani intelligence services of directing the Sunni insurgent group responsible for the Saravan attack, Jaish ul-Adl.

Karimi claimed, “The key point in this case is the role that US spy agencies play by means of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in conducting such terrorist attacks. This issue has been confirmed in the meeting between representatives of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and members of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.”

He added, “The direct affiliation of these groups to US spy agencies and the ISI’s control over such terrorist outfits have been authenticated.”