2050 GMT: Air Fuel Wars. Thomas Erdbrink of The Washington Post reports that Iran has retaliated for the cut-off of refueling of its planes in much of Europe: Tehran has refused to fully supply British Midlands International, the only British airline flying to Iran.
BMI flights are making a short stop en route to Tehran to take on more fuel.
2038 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The one-year prison sentence and 30-year ban from journalism of Jila Bani Yaghoub has been confirmed.
Journalist Amin Madani has been freed.
2035 GMT: Gasoline Admission. MP Cyrus Sazdar, a member of Parliament's Energy Commission, has told Tabnak that domestically-produced gasoline is sub-standard and economically non-profitable.
2025 GMT: Back to Soft War. Rah-e-Sabz has a summary of the statements on the first day of the National Conference on Soft War, including both the wit --- "we have a supportive approach to media" --- and toughness --- "sometimes we have to demonstrate strength" --- of Minister of Culture Mohammad Hosseini.
Radio Zamaneh also features Hosseini's statement.
2020 GMT: A Confession. Ayatollah Vaez Tabassi of the Assembly of Experts and Expediency Council has said that, instead of slogans and promises, the regime should be realistic about subsidy cuts: cash payments to some families may help them for some time but is no long-term solution.
2010 GMT: With a Government Like This, Who Needs Soft War? President Ahmadinejad may have graced the National Conference on Soft War, but he did not open the Press Exhibition today.
Perhaps that is because six major Iranian newspapers --- Alef, Tabnak, Jahan News, Raja News, Asre Iran, and Farda News --- boycotted the exhibit in a joint statement.
The papers are upset with Deputy Minister of Culture Mohammad Ali Ramin, who dismissed the head of the exhibition.
2000 GMT: Another Soft War Conference? No, just a gathering of journalists from 30 exiled media outlets, many of whom continue to work at great risk, in Stockholm last week.
The "Independent Media in Exile” conference included reporters from 14 countries including China, Cuba, Tibet, Uzbekistan, and Iran, who exchanged stories and discuss methods and strategies for handling the difficulties of daily life and dictatorial regimes.
The World Press Freedom Committee organised the event.
1830 GMT: CyberBlock. An interesting note from Jim Sciutto of ABC News, who was in Iran recently to cover the release from detention of Iranian-American businessman Reza Taghavi: Sciutto says Twitter was blocked, making it impossible to get out information until he left the country.
1404 GMT: Kissing and Making Up? Looks like reconcilation is breaking out all across the Iranian establishment....
The "hard-line" newspaper Keyhan apologises to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani: the news that the Supreme Leader said he should take care of the Majlis instead of traveling to Qom was not valid, and we apologise to Larijani and all readers.
And it is reported that state broadcaster IRIB did not allow the President's media advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, to criticise Hashemi Rafsanjani.
1400 GMT: Irony of the Day (Ongoing). Yesterday we noted the call of a leading pro-Government MP for the United Nations to investigate human rights violations in the "West", in particular sending inspectors to France.
Today it is Mohammad Javad Larijani, responsible for "human rights" in Iran's judiciary, giving us our smile, as he says the US is "heavily contaminated" by terrorism, with America imprisoning its citizens indefinitely for security reasons and not informing the judicial system.
1340 GMT: Bad Timing Award. Minister of Energy Majid Namjoo has declared that power bills will only rise by 4000 Toman (about $4). Unfortunately, Khabar Online, which publishes the claim, doesn't believe him.
Even more unfortunately, Mehr claims that electricity bills are already increasing by 265%.
1330 GMT: Microbe Update. No, no, no, you've misunderstood him, declares the website of the Supreme Leader....
It was reported last week that Ayatollah Khamenei, in his speech in Qom, had declared post-election protesters as "microbes" (see our inset picture), but apparently he did not mean to say that all protesters were miniscule germs invading the Iranian system.
Jahan newspaper helpfully explains: foreign media put forth the "microbe" story to neutralise the Supreme Leader's wonderful visit to Qom.
1325 GMT: On the Green Side. Zahra Rahnavard, scholar, activist, and wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has given a lengthy interview to Kalemeh discussing the 2009 election and its afterwath. She warns that a hard-line faction is trying to take over the Government and says that, having prepared herself to face the gallows, she will stand firmly for democratic causes.
1315 GMT: Meanwhile in Qom. The Supreme Leader, meeting scholars, clerics and students of Qom's seminaries yesterday, offered a series of platitudes such as “the main pillar of seminaries is based on knowledge and therefore the seminary should be in conformity with 'knowledge-oriented' requirements.... Free thinking is the result of a knowledge-based mind and prejudice in the field of knowledge is meaningless.”
The seminaries, Khamenei added, should openly face challenging questions.
Yeah, yeah, but what does all of this mean in light of our special analysis this morning, in which Mr Azadi says a deal was cut where the Supreme Leader, to get his meetings with senior clerics, backed away from plans to take over the running of seminaries?
1310 GMT: Soft War Gold Medal. Hate to see it, but for all his "soft war" brilliance, I think President Ahmadinejad got edged out for most creative use of the concept today....
Commander Yahya Rahim Safavi, the Supreme Leader's representative with the Revolutionary Guard, started slowly with a standard outline for a "special organisation", doctrine, and strategies to fight the West's soft warriors. And I can't say I was surprised by his declaration that Iran's soft power lay in its Islamic ideology and culture, topped off by the Supreme Leader's domestic and international influence.
This, however, is inspired, given Iran's current economic tensions: "Confronting subsidy cuts is one of soft war's goals."
1245 GMT: So How's Soft War Going? Lots of excitement from the inaugural National Conference on Soft War at Tehran University.
President Ahmadinejad got everything moving by unveiling "software" and an "encyclopedia" of soft war --- unclear, unfortunately, if these were the tools to wage soft war or to defend against it (and that the President did not give the details on how to order these from abroad).
Ahmadinejad set out his proposal that Iranian institutions, especially universities, had to move beyond Western intellectual notions. Only days after the Ministry of Science and Higher Education announced that 12 branches of humanities at Iranian universities were suspended pending amendment, Ahmadinejad took particular aim at the dangers of Western-led concepts.
But it appears that the President hit a bump with his presentation of "Iranian Islam", as some members of the audience --- perhaps influenced by soft war --- questioned whether Ahmadinejad was putting more emphasis on the former term than the latter. Their response that Islam must take priority over a nation-first concept is similar to the challenge made to the President's Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai earlier this year.
0730 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Economist Mohammad Amin Hadavi was arrested on 15 October. His location is unknown.
0715 GMT: A "Unity" Message for the Government. Asadollah Badamchian, the deputy head of the principlist Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefeh), has said that if the government seeks to restore national unity, opposition should be also heard: “We can listen to dissenting voices. If officials want to impose their views on people and don’t listen to (criticisms), unity is undermined."
Badamchian covered his remarks by citing the Supreme Leader's emphasis on unity and adding that "global arrogance" has always tried to harm that unity between the Iranian nation and government. However, he left his warning, “Unfortunately, some people shout the slogan of unity, but in practice do not keep to their word.”
0705 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Lots of chatter, including amongst EA readers, over former President Hashemi Rafsanjani's speech yesterday to university students.
Rafsanjani's featured statement, at least in the Iranian outlet Mehr: "“Today is the era of explosion of information and the flow of information can not be restricted. The groundwork should be laid in a way that people can use these tools (means of communication) appropriately in order to find the right path." He continued that, if some groups want to impose their viewpoints on other people, they will face people’s resistance.
Rafsanjani, who is head of the Assembly of Experts and of the Expediency Council, also spoke about policies. On the international front, he said officials should seek interaction with other nations while preserving the Islamic system’s principles.
So, as the "Soft War" conference opens at the University of Tehran, is Rafsanjani letting Iranian youth know that the Iranian Government is just putting up a diversion which --- given the nature of communications today --- cannot work in the long term?
0640 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An Iranian activist posts the English translation of the appeal of detained journalist and activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi to international courts to investigate the Supreme Leader.
Tabarzadi, who is asking exiled Iranian attorneys to present his case, contends that Ayatollah Khamenei bears responsibility for the actions of Iran's security forces and judicial system.
0625 GMT: The morning starts with the excitement that President Ahmadinejad and other leading Iranian officials will be venturing to Tehran University to join the inaugural National Conference on Soft War.
Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Reza Hosseini, MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's National Security Commission, and Commander Yahya Rahim Safavi, the Supreme Leader's liaison with the Revolutionary Guard, will also be at today's discussions, which will continue tomorrow with participants like Assembly of Experts representative Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi.
There will be five panels, with focus today on "the mechanisms and pathology of soft war fronts" and tomorrow giving hope for "strategies and solutions".
(No, I have not yet received my invitation.)