A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by the AEI Critical Threats Project’s Iran research team.
- Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani criticized EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s meeting with prominent dissidents, equating human rights activists with the “criminal” takfiris who “commit many crimes in oppressed countries.” He called heads of powerful countries “thugs” and said, “If only the Imam of the Age [Twelfth Shi’a Imam Mahdi] would come and decapitate them.” Kashani then emphasized the importance of implementing the “economic resistance” policies.
- Parliament Executive Board member Mohammad Dehghan claimed that “some administration elements” are seeking to polarize the political environment and said, “A current that does not believe in religion and religious values has taken life under the flag of moderation. Their behavior is exactly like the behavior during the eight years of the Reformist era, which was breaking the sanctity of religious values.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Vice Chairman MP Mansour Haghighatpour slammed Ashton’s meeting with prominent human rights activistsandannounced that the foreign and intelligence ministries are “most responsible” for the meeting. Haghighatpour then criticized the UN human rights report on Iran, saying “[UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon feels that Iran is like Ukraine where he can meddle. While he must know that Iran is a strong country and will never permit foreigners to interfere with its destiny.”
- NSFP Parliamentary Commission member MP Ahmad Saleh Jokar announced the formation of a “field investigative” committee to review the recent meetings of EU foreign policy chief Ashton and a European Parliamentary delegation with “elements of the  sedition,” prominent human rights activists.
- Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami announced that the recent meeting of “Westerners” with the “petty and vile seditionists” marks the beginning of the “human rights project” against the Islamic Republic following the nuclear program.
- Supervision on Media Board Secretary Alaeddin Zohourian denied reports that the board has decided to shut down 9 Day and Jahan News media outlets and said, “This report has no validity, although I do not have precise information about it.” 9 Day Managing Director Hojjat al-Eslam Hamid Rasaei stated, “I have heard this matter from credible unofficial sources and no official source has confirmed it yet. [The government] has taken steps on multiple occasions to shut down” the weekly newspaper.
- Religious Minority Affairs Advisor to the President and former Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Yunesi did not confirm,or deny reports on the formation of the Presidential Minorities Directorate.
- President Hassan Rouhani had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Putin invited his Iranian counterpart to participate in a meeting of the Heads of Caspian Sea Littoral States in September. The two also discussed nuclear negotiations, expansion of bilateral relations and recent Ukrainian developments.
- Following yesterday’s meeting between Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh and Russian Federation Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the two sides announced preliminary agreements regarding a new economic and oil agreement. Zanganeh stated, “The memorandum of understanding to expanding cooperation between Tehran and Moscow will be finalized next year.”
- Head of the Special Presidential Inspectorate Office Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri confirmed that the Supreme Leader has been involved in every stage of the negotiations process and said, “The Supreme Leader has permitted negotiations with the P5+1 and no one will negotiate without his permission.”
- Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has met with Parliament economists to discuss strategies on implementing “resistance economy” policies.
- Parliamentary Industries and Mining Commission member MP Mohammad Soleimani announced the formation of the Special Resistance Economy Parliamentary Commission, which will comprise of fifteen MPs. Soleimani announced that the resolution was introduced following this week’s meeting with the Supreme Leader.
- The Supreme Work Council voted to increase the minimum wage by 25% in the next Iranian calendar year, which begins on March 20.
- Five labor associations have sent a letter to the Supreme Leader, appealing what they call increasing “state ownership” of the Social Security Organization and urging him to prevent the organization’s merger with the Health Ministry.
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.