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Iran Live Coverage: "America is Seeking Revenge"

See also Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Worrying About Syria

2034 GMT: Election Watch. Just as he did in the 2009 Presidential election, candidate and former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaei has put the economy and the Guards' role in it at the center of his campaign.

In an interview on his Tabnak news site, "Economics Is Not Solved By Reading A Couple of Books and Chanting Slogans", Rezaei praised the role of the Revolutionary Guards in building the country. During the 1980s and 1990s, he said, Iran's enemies had sought a cultural and economic war with Tehran --- for that reason the IRGC began its reconstruction program, which included road and dam-building, construction projects, and oil and gas pipelines.

Promoting the Guards' concept of "self-sufficiency jihad" to boost national production amid current challenges, Rezaei said the Islamic Republic needed people to enter the economy to "combat the enemy who is threatening Iran, and who won't even allow us to sell our Iranian oil".


Iranians must "find ways to fight this economic war," Rezaei said. "Iran's enemies are trying in every possible way to blockade and sanction Iran."

1754 GMT: Sanctions Watch. US officials, concerned that Iranian appeals to European courts could loosen sanctions, are urging the European Union to allow judges to examine secret intelligence evidence.

In January, Europe's General Court told EU governments to lift asset freezes from 2010 against Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat.

The court argued the EU has failed to provide sufficient evidence the banks are involved in financing Iran's nuclear programme,

European capitals have said that classified information should not be provided to judges because that could compromise intelligence sources.

A US official said Washington had discussed the issue with European governments and institutions, urging them to explore regulatory solutions that would allow judges to review information in a secure way.

1346 GMT: Americans Will Talk. MP Safar Naimi has told Iran's parliamentary news agency that the American people will come to see reason and recognize Iran's position.

Naimi praised the Supreme Leader's position on talks with the US, saying it was "not a personal stance but a righteous stance against falsehood, of light against darkness".

The MP also remarked positively on Khamenei's recent comments about razing the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa should Israel launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"This stance is the victory of Islam over the infidels," Naimi explained, adding that: "Today Islam is in power, such that if it wills it, it can annihilate the hollow drum of Israel."

1141 GMT: Economy Watch. MP Sharif Hosseini has claimed that China is now paying for 70% of its Iranian oil imports with bartered goods.

1137 GMT: Economy Watch. Khabar Online reports that 90% of Government development projects for 2012/13 were unfinished.

0937 GMT: Food Watch. The Deputy Head of Customs reports that Iran's imports of grains rose 142% between March 2012 and February 2013, raising questions about regime claims that it can be self-sufficient in key agricultural products.

0807 GMT: Election Watch. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a Tehran Friday Prayer Leader, has "clarified" the Supreme Leader's speech for Iranian New Year --- when Ayatollah Khamenei said, "All may participate in the Presidential election", he was not including opponents of the Iranian system.

0717 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (US Front). Fars News, close to the Revolutionary Guards, features the warning of Hossein Sobhaninia, a member of Parliament's Presiding Board, that America is "seeking revenge" on Iran, and that negotiations over the nuclear issue are a "ploy".

Sobhaninia said Washington had never wanted to seek a solution through talks, as he accused the US of being "dishonest" and called on its leaders to "reconsider their methods and behaviour, and not go after sanctions, because currently everything points to the fact that the Americans are not looking to solve the problem with Iran".

He continued, "The Americans have always had a dual policy regarding [the Islamic Republic]. For example, on the one hand we can see that they say they are seeking negotiations, but on the other they tighten sanctions against Iran."

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