LATEST: Central Bank — Economy Shrank 1.9% in 2013-2014

After the Supreme Leader’s condemnation on Wednesday of “useless” talks with the US, Iranian media is relatively quiet on the subject this morning; however, there are some ripples pointing to likely problems with the resumption of nuclear discussions with the Americans and the other 5+1 Powers.

Fars features the declaration of Kazem Sajjadpour, a long-time senior diplomat, who claims the US is led in the nuclear discussions by Israel and regional powers hostile to Iran: “It has become clear that the US government is indeed following decisions made by the Zionist lobby and certain Arab states.”

Sajjadpour called on Washington to “reconsider its approach towards Tehran and accept Iran as an independent and powerful country”.

Only last week high-level Iranian officials had met US counterparts to discuss the resumption of the talks, which adjourned on July 18, and President Rouhani told critics of the process to “go to hell”.

The Supreme Leader’s speech on Wednesday to ambassadors put a large question mark over the discussions, even as he nominally supported the Government’s pursuit of negotiations. He declared, “This was a valuable experience to learn that talks with US have absolutely no effect on reducing their hostility and are useless.”

See Iran Daily, August 14: Has the Supreme Leader Damned the Nuclear Talks?

So far President Rouhani and his inner circle have offered no response to the criticism, apart from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s assurance, “We don’t see any power as a superpower.”

Central Bank: Economy Shrank 1.9% in 2013-2014

The Central Bank has reported that Iran’s economy shrank 1.9% between March 2013 and March 2014.

The Rouhani Government has said that it is bringing the Islamic Republic out of decline during the Ahmadinejad administration from 2005 to 2013, with GDP falling almost 6% in 2012-2013.

The International Monetary Fund offered some hope earlier this month, projecting a 1.5% growth rate in Iran in 2014.