2130 GMT: The President's Right-Hand Man. He may be disliked by many, but Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai is still putting about his wise words. Akhbar Rooz reports that books of the thoughts of the aide and Ahmadinejad confidante are being distributed to Government officials.
2120 GMT: Worst Diplomatic Statement of the Week. The Iranian Embassy in Kabul issued a statement on Monday, “Currently 16 fuel tankers are waiting at the Meelk-Dogharon border....for their turn to enter Afghanistan, and will enter Afghanistan's soil during next few days after legal formalities are completed.”
16? Iran is currently holding up to 2500 tankers at the Afghan border.
2035 GMT: Competition Time. A photo of President Ahmadinejad getting a lovely present from the staff of the Islamic Republic News Agency this morning. You supply the caption....
2000 GMT: The Central Bank Dispute. We've been reporting today on the ongoing contest over control of Iran's Central Bank (see 1345 and 1640 GMT). Here's a twist....
Khabar Online reports Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Council, abandoned a speech at a meeting on investment because of the presence of the head of the Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahmani.
The Expediency Council was commanded by the Supreme Leader yesterday to rule on whether the President or Parliament should have control of the Bank, including the selection of the Chairman.
1950 GMT: The Political Way Forward? Khabar Online --- linked to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani --- sets out strategy for "hard-liners". Preventing disintegration seems a most logical recommendation; more interesting to the suggestion of making offers to reformers to return to politics.
1925 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Battle Within Edition). The twists and turns of the President v. judiciary battle over handling detainees (see 1020 GMT) continues. We reported last week that Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, said in a meeting with filmmakers that he and the President did not agree with the six-year sentence handed down on director Jafar Panahi.
The story is circulating again today. So can we expect the President, who always says the judiciary is "independent", to push for a very public absolution of Panahi?
1640 GMT: Parliament v. President (cont.). Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam, a key MP on economic matters, has put a question mark over the claim in Fars (see 1345 GMT) that the Expediency Council will give control of the Central Bank to President Ahmadinejad.
Mesbahi-Moghaddam said the heads of the three branches --- executive, legislative, and judiciary --- will elect the head of the Bank.
1630 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Women's rights activist Farzaneh Mohammadi has been released.
1625 GMT: Modest Claim of Day. President Ahmadinejad, meeting staff of Islamic Republic News Agency, has told them that "the day will come that seven billion people around the world are speaking Persian".
1515 GMT: Subsidy Cut Watch. Iranian officials have confirmed that there will be no rations of gasoline at 1000 rials ($0.10) per litre from Friday.
The Government has made a partial retreat, however, from its planned programme. Motorists can still qualify for 60 litres of "semi-subsidised" gasoline at 4,000 rials ($0.40), after which they have to pay 7,000 rials ($0.70). Taxis working in town can have 300 litres at the rates, and taxi travelling out of town can have 500 litres.
1510 GMT: Cupid is Dead (Again). Reuters is reporting today that Iranian authorities have banned the production of Valentine's Day gifts.
If you think you've seen this story before, you're right --- it was featured on EA two weeks ago.
1455 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An important reminder....
Although Reza Khandan, the husband of imprisoned attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh, was released yesterday after a detention of more than 24 hours, it was on $50,000 bail. He still faces charges of “encouraging public opinion and publishing lies”.
Sotoudeh, detained in September, has been given an 11-year sentence for activities against national security, propaganda against the regime, and failing to wear hijab in a televised interview.
1345 GMT: Parliament v. President. Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Council, has told Fars that President Ahmadinejad will continue to be in control of the Central Bank.
The Parliament had passed legislation taking control from Ahmadinejad, but the Government refused to implement the bill. Yesterday the Supreme Leader, after months of manoeuvres, referred the dispute to the Expediency Council.
1020 GMT: Execution Watch. Yesterday we noted the remarks of Zohreh Elahian, the head of Parliament's Human Rights Commission and an MP close to President Ahmadinejad, that the death sentence on Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned for adultery and complicity in her husband's murder, had been suspended. Elahian added that the suspension was because the family of Ashtiani's husband had offered forgiveness.
A judiciary spokesman has reportedly issued a denial of Elahian's remarks, saying the sentence --- including the possibility of stoning -- is still under review.
A speculative thought: last September there was also a tangled battle between the judiciary and Ahmadinejad. The President, who was about to go on a high-profile visit to the United Nations, wanted a high-profile ceremony for the release of US hiker Sarah Shourd, detained since July 2009. Initially the judiciary held out against any freeing of Shourd; the eventual compromise was a low-key release of the hiker.
Could the President, on the eve of resumed nuclear talks with the West, be seeking another display of clemency in a case which has caught the attention of international media? And could the judiciary be holding out against this once more?
0838 GMT: Execution Watch. The Guardian of London picks up on the hanging of 47 people in Iran in the last three weeks.
0830 GMT: What's In a Name? The Hojatiyeh Association (Anjoman-e Hojjatiyeh) has changed its name to Truth Path (Rah-e Haghighat).
Hojatiyeh, which was founded in 1953, believes "a pure and just government can only exist" with the coming of the 12th, or Hidden, Imam. The organisation was banned in 1986 by Ayatollah Khomeini, but many observers believe that President Ahmadinejad and his advisors are linked to the group.
0825 GMT: Erasing the Martyrs. The mother of Mostafa Karim Beigi, who was killed during the Ashura protests of 27 December 2009, says security forces are trying to replace his gravestone.
Shahnaz Akmali said officials were objecting to the inscriptions "The Innocent Martyr of Ashura" and "The Day of Martyrdom, December 27, 2009, Coinciding with Ashura".
Beigi,26, was slain by a gunshot to the forehead.
0725 GMT: Later this morning, we will post a snapshot --- courtesy of a correspondent for Tehran Bureau --- of how "life goes on" in Tehran 19 months after the disputed Presidential election. It is a wide-ranging glimpse at economic, politics ("lost hope"), culture, academia, and even tourism. Still, it has its omissions.
One of those is the "life goes on" stories of political prisoners. In an effort to ensure that those stories are not lost outside Iran, RAHANA is launching an English-language site to describe the detainees and their cases. The first two of those, student activist Mahdieh Golroo (2-year sentence) and journalist Ahmed Zeidabadi ( 6-year sentence), have been posted. There are several hundred to go.
A few detainees were released on Monday, including two journalists for the reformist Shargh newspaper and the husband of detained attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh. Economist Fariborz Reisdana, who was seized in mid-December because he dared to tell BBC Persian that the subsidy cuts might not work, was also freed on bail. He later spoke to supporters: