Iran paper defends choice to doctor photo of Ashton with activists

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A hard-line Iranian newspaper has claimed that the erasing of a woman from a photograph of European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton meeting with women activists in Iran was done to avoid accusations of labeling her a “seditionist.” The woman, Gohar Esghi, is the mother of blogger Sattar Beheshti, who died in police custody. Continue reading

Iranian Officials Say Food For Oil Programs Have Expanded

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Gholamhossein Ashraghi, head of public relations for the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said yesterday that “in the continuation of making sanctions ineffective, bartering oil sales for goods and equipment is one of the methods being used to collect payments for oil.” Ashraghi, who is also an adviser to the director of NIOC, said that as far as neutralizing the effects of sanctions, “bartering oil for goods has been one of the most effective methods in this direction. Meanwhile, the NIOC, in cooperating with Iran’s Central Bank, also has other approaches to collect payments.”

In regard to the expansion of the bartering programs, Ashraghi said that “with consideration of the numerous advantages, today, part of our international contracts will be designed and implemented through bartering.” He added that “under present conditions, one of the positive aspects of bartering is that it secures the collection of payments from crude oil. Using this method can diversify foreign trade in the field of the oil industry and based on the plans that were conducted, a significant part of the oil revenues can be acquired through various means.”

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