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Rouhani says Iran's women not second class citizens

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani admitted Sunday that women in his country still face discrimination and cultural barriers but he insisted they are not universally treated as second-class citizens. In a speech marking Women's Day in Iran, Rouhani, seen as a moderate reformer, said more had to be done but that the West did not offer a model that had to be followed. The remarks were followed by confirmation that the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had agreed to pardon or commute the sentences of some women prisoners.

Iran's leader calls for self-reliance in face of sanctions

Iran's supreme leader on Friday sounded a battle cry for self-reliance in the face of international sanctions, saying Iranians should not pin their hopes on a nuclear deal with world powers. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lent his support to nuclear talks that have brought limited sanctions relief, but harbours a deep mistrust of the West, believing it is bent on destroying the Islamic republic.

Khamenei says only a strong Iran can avoid 'oppression'

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday that only a strong nation could avoid being oppressed by foreign powers, as he called for economic and cultural independence. "A nation that is not strong will be oppressed," Khamenei, the country's top decision-maker, said Friday in the northeastern city of Mashhad in an address in honour of the Persian New Year.

Iran's Khamenei reiterates doubts about Holocaust

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday voiced doubts about the existence and scale of the Holocaust, questioning the West's "red lines" on freedom of expression. In Europe, "no one dares to speak of the Holocaust, the crux of which is not clear if it is true, or if it were, how it was," Khamenei said in remarks broadcast live from the northeastern city of Mashhad. Khamenei, Iran's top decision-maker, has repeatedly called Nazi Germany's killing of six million Jews a "myth" and said the historical record has been distorted.

Eyes on economy, Iran greets Persian New Year

Iran marked the Persian New Year, or Nowruz, with a rallying cry from its leaders on Thursday to revive the troubled economy sagging under international sanctions. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a recorded message broadcast on state television, said the time has come with the new year -- 1393 in the Persian calendar -- for the authorities to make a "big push". "The essential issue of the economy is important for the country and the people," said Khamenei, the ultimate authority with final say on all key affairs.

Iran's Khamenei backs nuclear talks but not optimistic

By Mehrdad Balali DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader vowed to continue nuclear talks resuming with world powers on Tuesday despite some reservations, in his strongest sign of support for moderate President Hassan Rouhani's push to resolve the conflict peacefully. Iranian negotiators will hold a second round of talks with the United States and five other world powers aimed at a definitive settlement of the dispute, which led to global economic sanctions against Iran.

Iran's Khamenei says nuclear talks will 'lead nowhere'

Iran's top decision-maker Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday that nuclear talks with world powers would "lead nowhere" but that he was not opposed to them. Iran is due to resume talks on Tuesday in Vienna with the P5+1 group -- Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany -- aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord on its controversial nuclear programme.

Iran's Khamenei says not optimistic about nuclear talks : IRNA

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday he was not optimistic about the nuclear talks with world powers, but was not opposed to them, the official news agency IRNA reported. Speaking on the eve of the talks with world powers in Vienna, Khamenei told a large crowd in Iran's Azerbaijan province: "I have said before that ... I am not optimistic about the talks and it will not lead anywhere, but I am not opposed either." (Reporting by Michelle Moghtader; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Iran's top clergy back Rouhani's nuclear approach

DUBAI (Reuters) - President Hassan Rouhani has secured the backing of senior conservative clerics against hardliners opposed to a nuclear deal reached with major powers, Iran's official news agency IRNA said on Saturday. His first vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, visited clerics in the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom to explain the deal and seek their blessing over "complex foreign policy issues" ahead of talks next month on a long-term accord, IRNA said.

Iran's Rouhani seen on casual hike in the hills

The personal website of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has published pictures of the mid-level cleric hiking in the mountains outside Tehran, his black turban replaced by a baseball cap. The photos, which appeared on the website Friday, came as the recently elected leader has sought to present a friendlier and more moderate image of the Islamic republic, which reached a landmark nuclear deal with the West last month.
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