LATEST: A Perfect Storm for the Supreme Leader’s US Propaganda: Ferguson, Iraq, and Torture

President Rouhani appeared to betray his worries over the Iranian economy on Wednesday, as he set aside his normally-measured demeanor for a sharp attack on other countries over the fall in global oil prices.

After the weekly Cabinet session, Rouhani told the press, “The fall in oil prices was a plot against regional people and Muslims and certain countries are the beneficiaries of such an act.”

Analysts estimate that the Iranian Government needed about $140/barrel in oil revenues — given the 40% fall in Iran’s crude exports, amid US-led sanctions, since 2012 — for a balanced budget. The Rouhani Government based its 2014-2015 budget on a price of $100/barrel.

However, that baseline has collapsed in recent months, with the global oil price almost halving since June to sink to about to about $65/barrel. The Government’s 2015-2016 budget, presented to Parliament this week, rests on an oil price of $70/barrel.

Rouhani did not explain how — given that the budget increases spending in 2015-2016 — he was going to cover the shortfall from the dropping oil price. However, he spoke generally of rising incomes from non-oil products, and the Government is hoping for a 22% boost in tax revenues. In addition, it is trying to buffer the shock of the lower oil price with an official devaluation of about 8% in the Iranian Rial’s exchange rate against the US dollar.

On the surface, Rouhani and his officials are relying on the defiant line of the Supreme Leader’s “resistance economy”, promoted since 2012 as a way to beat back the pressure of the sanctions and internal economic difficulties. First Vice President, Eshagh Jahangiri, maintained on Tuesday that the “resistance economy” could withstand a further fall of the oil price to $40/barrel.

Rouhani also promoted the resistance economy on Wednesday, while continuing his assault on the unnamed foreign powers: “Absolutely, people will show reaction to such a plot and the countries masterminding such a scheme should know that they would make the world of Islam more hateful towards them.”

He maintained that the Government budget will be viable because of non-oil revenues, and he indicated that costs would be cut by handing over “half-finished development projects” to the private sector.

A Perfect Storm for the Supreme Leader’s US Propaganda: Ferguson, Iraq, and Torture

The Supreme Leader’s office has been celebrating an ideal moment for propaganda against the US, denouncing the Americans over domestic issues as well as foreign policy and holding up an America which hypocritically proclaims human rights but then tramples on them.

On Wednesday, Khamenei’s office marked the release of the Senate report on torture during the Bush Administration by connecting it with the US occupation and abuses in Iraq and this autumn’s unrest over the killing of an unarmed African-American teenage by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri:

Iranian Media Shows Regime Split over “Carrot v. Stick” on Renewed Relations with Britain

Iran’s regime-linked media — unwittingly — points to a split over renewing broken relations with Britain.

Press TV gives the positive spin on a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Abolqasem Delfi and the head of the Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group, Richard Bacon:

A top Iranian official has called for closer interaction between Tehran and London to help remove obstacles in the way of bilateral ties….

Delfi urged the two countries to work towards finding a “practical way” to remove hurdles.

Fars News, linked to the Revolutionary Guards, prefers the presentation of Tehran’s warning: “The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said London should avoid seeking excuses and show interaction if it wants rapproachment [sic] with Tehran.”

Formal relations between the two countries were broken after a crowd stormed the British Embassy compound in Tehran in November 2011. Britain responded by closing the Iranian Embassy in London and expelling the diplomatic staff.

The two countries appointed non-resident Ambassadorial envoys in autumn 2013, following a meeting between the British and Iranian Foreign Ministers. There was talk last autumn of the reopening of the Embassies, but this was checked by Iran’s anger over the speech of British Prime Minister David Cameron at the UN General Assembly in September.