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Iran's election campaign dominated by social media

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With the Iranian presidential election only days away, the campaigns of both Rouhani and hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, have launched a social media free-for-all unprecedented in Iranian political history. By far the most popular social media outlet is Telegram, a chat service that is a niche player in most Western countries but has some 20 million users in Iran, according to a report by the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA). “Lack of trust in these organizations [state television] has led to a situation where the youth and the educated try to get news via social media such as Telegram, or Whatsapp and Viber or other available social media services”, Iranian Mostafa Koshki said. In Tehran, shopkeeper Mehdi Shahriyari said he believed that social media provided more accurate information than state television and that was why Iranians were turning to more modern forms of news collection. “In my opinion, social media provides us with more accurate and reliable information”, Shahriyari said. “The range of information available on social media is wider, therefore its better, and it does not support any special person [candidate]. Everyone is supporting their own candidate”. Telegram allows users to set up “channels” to broadcast pictures, videos and other messages to a wide following. For Iranian reformers in particular, that offers a way to get out messages that otherwise would be thwarted by censorship. Iran has a young, tech-savvy population: approximately 60 percent of the population of 80 million is under 30.

Iran-Latin America trade volume nearly $4bn

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The current volume of trade transactions between Iran and Latin American countries stands at nearly $4 billion, but there is more capacity for cooperation, head of the Americas at Iran’s Foreign Ministry said.          Director General for the Americas at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Mohammad Keshavarz-Zadeh, made the remarks on Monday during a review session of opportunities for cooperation between Iran and Latin American countries. He stressed that there is no obstacle to expansion of ties with Latin America and there is a strong political will on the Iranian side for developing relations with that side of the world. In addition to cooperation in mine and mining industries, Iran welcomes expansion of cooperation in the fields of heavy industries, aerospace, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, he added. He stressed that Foreign Ministry will support all Iranian companies wishing to have an active presence in Latin America. According to Keshavarz-zadeh, many problems currently hampering the expansion of relations between Iran and the Latin American countries is due to a lack of knowledge of the existing opportunities and capacities. He added the visits of Foreign Minister Zarif and President Rouhani to various Latin American countries in the past two years indicates Iran’s keen interest in developing ties with these nations. The volume of foreign trade of the Islamic Republic of Iran excluding oil exports in 2016 reached nearly $90 billion, with $43.9 billion in exports and $43.6 in imports.

Rouhani cautioned that any lack of commitment to JCPOA will create pessimism about effectiveness of negotiated solution to disputes. He highlighted the ample opportunities for cooperation between Iran and Luxembourg

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioned on Tuesday, during a meeting with Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn in Tehran, that any lack of commitment to JCPOA will create pessimism about effectiveness of negotiated solution to disputes.“Any measure undermining it (the JCPOA) could make all countries pessimistic and distrustful of effectiveness of negotiations and compromise in the process of resolving regional and international problems” he have said. After this he highlighted the ample opportunities for cooperation between Iran and Luxembourg, referring to “banking and insurance issues” as the key to reinforce the economic relations. Iran can satisfy part of Europe’s demands for energy, and also link Europe to the Indian Ocean and East Asia via a transit route. For his part, the Luxembourgian minister decribed Iran as a great nation in the region, saying his country and the European Union acknowledge “Tehran’s major and influential role” in settlement of regional conflicts.

Rouhani called for EU’s backing for trade between Iran and European banks and companies

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Speaking at a joint press conference with Sweden’s prime minister in Tehran on Saturday, President Rouhani called for EU’s backing for trade between Iran and European banks and companies in order to tap into the post-JCPOA situation for serving the mutual interests of the two sides.Iran and Sweden are determined to restore economic relations to pre-sanctions levels, adding that Tehran counts on the potential of the Export Guarantee Fund and pursues closer banking ties with Sweden to that end. President Rouhani described the Swedish PM’s landmark visit to Iran with a big economic delegation, including representatives of 40 major corporations, as a sign of both countries’ serious resolve to enhance relations, discuss ways to ease tensions in the Middle East, and contribute to regional and international peace and stability. For his part, Stefan Lofven described it as an honor to be the first Swedish prime minister to pay an official visit to Iran.

President Rouhani says Iran is not an international threat

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The President Rouhani said in a cerimony at Theran university “By capitalizing on the dispute over Iran’s nuclear issue, they wanted to persuade others that the Islamic Republic is a threat against security and stability of its neighbors as well as Europe and the global peace”. He added that the country has to let the world realize that Iran is no international threat and that Washington and Tel Aviv are misguiding the world.

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