News about the nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers was in limbo on Tuesday, following the Sunday-Monday discussions in Oman including Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
No details were released of the discussions. Iran’s lead negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, gave the closest statement to a meaningful update: “Discussions were very useful. But we are not still in a position to say that we have made progress. It’s yet to be done in the coming days.”
On Tuesday, Zarif put out another holding statement, as political directors of the Iran and the 5+1 Powers met in Oman: “Iran is seriously after the resolution of the artificial nuclear crisis and has entered negotiation with absolute good will.”
Meanwhile, Iranian State outlet Press TV, which had been downbeat on Monday, recovered some optimism on Tuesday through the statements of foreign observers: “Nuclear Deal within reach: Oman” and “Russia ‘Optimistic’ About Nuclear Talks“.
Iran and the 5+1 Powers are scheduled to meet in a plenary session in Vienna on November 18, six days before interim arrangements over Tehran’s nuclear program expire.
Rouhani Advisor: We Are Powerless to End House Arrests of Opposition Leaders
President Rouhani’s advisor Ali Younesi has admitted that the administration is powerless to free the 45-month house arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi: “We can only try to lay grounds for their release.”
Younesi, speaking on the sidelines of the Media Fair in Tehran, criticized some hardliners who have demanded that the arrests should not ended: “They want to keep the atmosphere inflamed.”
During his campaign, President Rouhani committed himself to ending the house arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi — both candidates in the disputed 2009 Presidential election — and Mousavi’s wife and prominent academic and activist Rahnavard.
A leading MP, Ali Motahari, has criticized the administration’s failure to act decisively and threatened to bring Rouhani to Parliament for an explanation.
Rouhani Advisor: “No Clue” to Perpetrators of Acid Attacks Against Women in Isfahan
President Rouhani’s advisor on women’s affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, said on Wednesday that there has been no progress in investigations of this autumn’s acid attacks on women in Isfahan.
Molaverdi told reporters that the reports of Interior, Intelligence and Justice Ministers to Rouhani offer “no clues” to the perpetrators.
Several women were attacked in Isfahan in central Iran in September and October. The incidents, just before Parliament passed draft legislation protecting those who challenge “un-Islamic” dress and behavior, sparked mass public protests in Isfahan and Tehran.
Iranian officials had announced that they had detained about 10 men for questioning and that arrests were imminent. However, they later said that the attacks were the isolated actions of one unidentified individual.
3 Months After Helping Force Iraqi PM al-Maliki Out, Regime Hosts Him in Tehran
Three months after withdrawing support from embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki — a factor in his departure from office — the Iranian regime is giving him VIP treatment in Tehran.
Al-Maliki, now one of Iraq’s Vice Presidents, has been received by senior officials such as Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani.
On Tuesday, he had an audience with President Rouhani, who put out a statement praising the Iraqi people and army for “resistance” to the Islamic State and implicitly criticizing US-led military intervention in support of Baghdad:
Today, the regional nations are facing extremism, violence and terrorism on the one hand, and the crash in oil prices on the other, but we are hoping that together we will be able to tackle these problems….
Iran will continue its unconditional support for Iraq in combating terrorism, and we hope to soon witness the liberation of Iraq from any corrupt agents operating at the whim of some great powers only seeking to cause discord and bloodshed in the region.