Next round of Iran-P5+1 talks test of Western sincerity: Leader

Iran news headlines on Thursday include Iran’s leader condemning west for not offering concessions in talks; Peres remark over Iran sanctions helping but not enough; Pakistani president visiting Iran for pipeline ceremony on 11 March; Iran-Turkmenistan agreement on natural gas barters and Iran arresting political editor of reformist paper.
Iran’s leader condemns West for not making nuclear concessions

Iran’s supreme leader criticized Western powers on Thursday for not offering concessions in talks last week, saying the West was using the nuclear issue as a pretext to impose sanctions and harm the Islamic Republic.

It was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s first reaction to what Iranian officials described as “positive” nuclear talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, during which the P5+1 group of nations offered modest sanctions relief in return for Iran curbing higher grade uranium enrichment.

Peres: Iran sanctions helping, but not enough

At a joint press conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels, Shimon Peres also says Iran at center of human rights violations and international terrorism.

Western sanctions aimed at convincing Iran to give up its nuclear program were having an effect, but were not yet enough, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Thursday.

President Zardari to visit Iran on Monday

President Asif Ali Zardari is to visit Iran to perform ground-breaking of gas pipeline project taking place on Monday.

Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan said at the weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday that several heads of state have also been invited to attend the ceremony.

Iran, Turkmenistan agree on natural gas barters, official says

Iran and Turkmenistan reached an agreement for the Persian Gulf country to export goods to Turkmenistan in exchange for some of the natural gas it purchases from its northern neighbor, a trade official said.

Iran arrests political editor of reformist paper

Iran arrested the managing director and political editor of a pro-reform daily on Wednesday, with the semi-official Fars news agency saying their detentions were linked to the publication of a letter from a former president about media freedom.

With a presidential election three months away, Iran’s clerical leadership appears to be tightening its grip on the media to avoid a repeat of the protests that erupted after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.


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