LATEST: Look Who’s Back? Ex-President Ahmadinejad at Expediency Council Today

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Photo Spotlight: PR of the Day — Rouhani Takes A Hike

Speaking on National Student Day on Saturday, President Rouhani has linked Iran’s economic future to success with the US and other powers in nuclear talks.

Addressing students at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, Rouhani spoke of a “historical day” dating to Iran’s Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century. He then commented on the present:

The Rouhani Government entered office in August facing an inflation rate of more than 40%, a gap of tens of billions of dollars in the Government budget, problems with investment and production, and uncertainty over Iran’s currency.

While criticizing his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for mismanagement, the President has also sought to ease the burden of sanctions through an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.

An interim six-month deal, reached in Geneva on November 24, unfreezes about $8 billion of Iranian assets and promises relief from barriers to finance, trade, and oil exports.

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Look Who’s Back? Ex-President Ahmadinejad at Expediency Council Today

Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a meeting of the Expediency Council today, but he didn’t look too thrilled about it:

Reading Rouhani’s Praise of Iconic — and Suspect? — Figures in National Student Day Speech

The Iranian blogger Pedestrian picked up a brief but interesting passage in President Rouhani’s address to Tehran university students:

Taleqani, who died several months after the Islamic Revolution, was a founding member of the Freedom Movement of Iran — an organization later repressed by authorities, especially after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.

Ali Shariati, one of the leading Iranian intellectuals in the 20th century, emphasized Shia Islam’s fight for social justice. Mehdi

Bazargan, an academic who became Iran’s first Prime Minister after the Revolution, resigned on November 4, 1979, over the student takeover of the US Embassy.

Deputy Oil Minister: Nuclear Deal Will Spur Exports

Deputy Oil Minister Ali Majedi has expressed optimism after the November 24 interim nuclear deal, claiming a “reliable market” will spur exports and international investment in Iran:

Based on this deal…our customers will be able to purchase oil from Iran without any anxiety and they will not have to look for alternatives to Iran crude oil….

No new sanctions will be slapped on Iran’s oil industry in the coming six months and our customers can clinch term contracts with Iran instead of spot oil consignments purchased from National Iranian Oil Company.

Majedi said that the Joint Agreement with the 5+1 Power had lifted restrictions on insurance, a major cause of the halving of exports in 2012.

Based on the Action Plan signed between Iran and P5+1 , the European Union’s insurance sanctions against oil tankers carrying Iran’s oil have been lifted so crude oil exports will be done more easily, at lower costs and within the framework of international regulations.

Students Call on Rouhani to Open Up Culture, Free Political Prisoners

President Rouhani’s speech on National Student Day has been far from a one-way event. Some in the audience at a Tehran University pressed him to make good on campaign promises to relax censorship and free detainees:

Others objected to relaxation of the restrictions on opposition leaders, prompting the President to seek middle ground:

Rouhani then said, “We should create an environment that not only discourages people from leaving, but also encourages those who have left to come back.”