Minister of Trade and Industry acknowledges sanctions “crippling” Iranian economy

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Mehdi Ghazanfari, the Minister of Trade and Industry, has stated in a meeting of the Supreme Provincial Councils that the current sanctions against Iran are different from those of the past and described them as “crippling”.

Ghazanfari also said, “sanctions have pressured the economy of the country and have been an obstacle for our securing its needs, because we haven’t had currency, nor could the Central Bank transfer currency  and nor transport for importing the goods needed by the country”.

In the course of a speech in Isfahan, Hojjat al-Islam Ali Saeidi, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards has said that “the target must be correctly hit and an individual chosen who moves exactly in the path of the 12th Imam, and not [someone] who drags the regime into passivity…a president must be faithful to the Guardianship [of the Jurist] [i.e. Khamenei] and [revolutionary] values, so he can pursue the ideals of the Leadership [i.e. Ayatollah Khamenei] and doesn’t change his table and chair under pressure”.

Saeidi is of course criticizing President Ahmadinejad and claiming he has reneged on his previous positions as a result of pressure, sanctions etc… imposed by the United States and Europe. Ahmadinejad’s statements and comments in which he has expressed Iran’s willingness to talk directly to the United States have repeatedly stirred up controversy within hardline segments of the Islamic Republic establishment.

The influential conservative group, the Society of Combatant Clergy, has issued a statement calling on Iranian politicians to “refrain utterances, decisions and actions which create tension and are divisive”.

Ayatollah Mohammadreza Mahdavi Kani, the current Chairman of the Assembly of Experts, also heads this long-established clerical political organization, and is an influential patron of the Majles’ majority faction.

Hossein Fadai, the Chairman of the Association of Self-Sacrifices of the Islamic Revolution, has said  that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as the Guardian Jurist has the same “right” in the election as groups, movements and candidates.

Fadai made the comments in the course of a meeting of the Association and hardline Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi.

Fadai added, “our duty and charge is to use all of our capacity to mobilize for understanding the desire of the Leader”.

Mehr News reports President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “unexpected” visit to Qom to have a “confidential” meeting with Karam Reza Piriai, the city’s governor. To the consternation of many in the establishment Ahmadinejad replaced the former governor with a perceived ally.

Raja News posts pictures of the public shaming of “trouble makers and thugs” by Iranian police forces.

The conservative website Alef, affiliated to Principalist politician and government critic, Ahmad Tavakkoli, has published an article claiming that 39% of Tehranis watch the UK based BBC Persian service and severely criticizes Iranian state television.

Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani, has written a letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad thanking him for his role in the release of 48 Iranian “pilgrims” who were held hostage in Syrian by opposition forces in that country.

Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, has met with Egypt’s President Morsi in Cairo, reports Khabar Online, close to Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani.

Salehi in his meeting stated, “we strongly disagree with military intervention is Syria”.

The Foreign Minister also stated that “Iran and Egypt can complete one another…The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to put its more than 30 years of experience in the control of the people and country of Egypt”.

Khabar Online also quotes President Morsi as saying, “we and Iran are one soul in two bodies”.