News / Middle East

Iranian Officials Rule Out Talks With US Amid Economic Troubles

Multimedia

Audio

Top Iranian leaders and officials say they have no intention of conducting negotiations with the United States.  Meanwhile, a strike by merchants appears to be continuing in several Iranian cities.

Although top Iranian leaders say they will not negotiate with the United States, that did not prevent foreign visits with Western officials by Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Muttaqi.  Larijani met with Western parliamentary leaders in Geneva, while Muttaqi addressed an international conference on Afghanistan in Kabul.

In Tehran, Iran's Deputy Parliament Speaker said the United States "humiliated and opposed the Islamic Republic," precluding any "reason for negotiation."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast presented a similar line of reasoning at his weekly press briefing.  Mehmanparast says Washington's pursuit of economic sanctions against Iran, in addition to what he claims is U.S. maltreatment of Iranians, mean there is no real reason to negotiate.

As Iranian media continued to focus on international issues, the economic crisis inside the country appeared to worsen, according to many analysts.

Iranian television showed officials inaugurating new electricity plants and saying more gasoline is available, contrary to scattered reports from inside the country that gas stations are running low on fuel and that electricity brownouts are causing major disruptions.

Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani Sadr, who lives in exile in France, says an intermittent general strike in Tehran's bazaar reportedly began about 10 days ago.  He says the strike began in response to a new 70-percent tax on merchants by the government, and the strike has continued despite major government concessions.

Bani Sadr says the strike is continuing because the country's economic crisis has been exacerbated by the government's bad policies.  The former president says that merchants see a bleak economic future for Iran because of rising prices, lack of investment, lower oil revenues and the elimination of price controls.  All of this, he says, also has been compounded by new economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the U.S.

Analyst Houchang Hassan-Yari of Canada's Royal Military College says Iran's economic situation is compounded by a growing religious opposition to the government.  Pious bazaris, he says, are angry that religious figures they admire are being insulted and marginalized by the government.

"Through the association that the bazaris have with different religious leaders, they see clearly that those leaders are maltreated by the Islamic Republic, and the Islamic Republic is taking distance from the original ideas of the [1979 Islamic] Revolution, and the kind of society that it promised to create," said Hassan-Yari.

Iran's merchants were an important part of the opposition movement that swept Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi from power in 1979.  Abolhassan Bani Sadr, who was Iran's first president after the Islamic Revolution, says the power of the bazaar has diminished since that time, but that that it still carries considerable weight.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More