2025 GMT: The Nuclear Talks. A spokesman for the European Union's representative for foreign policy, Catherine Ashton, has confirmed that the next round of discussions between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, Germany, France, China, and Russia) will take place on 20-21 January in Istanbul.
1815 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. The daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, Faezeh Hashemi, has visited the family of the detained reformist leader Feizollah Arabsorkhi.
1800 GMT: Karroubi and the Detained Journalist. On Wednesday, Mehdi Karroubi visited the family of detained journalist and activist Emaduddin Baghi. Karroubi expressed regret over the recent arrest of Baghi's son-in-law Ali Maghami and said, "Baghi is a man of faith who has remained true to our social ideals. He has never hesitated to sacrifice for his beliefs and for the reform of our society."
Karroubi added, "The political system should encourage our youth to remain engaged in defining their destiny. This type of action, unfortunately only seeks to weaken hope in society. We must of course never give up on our rights and on our hope to achieve sovereignty."
1745 GMT: Friday Prayer Scorecard. Since Ayatollah Jannati's Friday Prayer sermon in Tehran was rather routine (see 1210 GMT), we offer an extended look at the wise words around the country:
1. "Bad Hejab" (Jannati, Tehran; Alamolhoda, Mashhad; Shabestari, Tabriz)
2. "Girls, Don't Follow Reza Shah", ruler of Iran from 1925 to 1941 who brought in "secular practices" (Tabatabainejad, Isfahan)
3. "Qom is Reserved by Heaven for Islam and Revolution" (Saeedi, Qom)
4. "Killing Nuclear Scientists Shows the Weakness of World Imperialism" (Ghorbani, Rasht)
1740 GMT: Pictures of today's protest by Afghans in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul over Tehran's stoppage of up to 2500 fuel tankers on the Iran-Afghanistan border.
1735 GMT: Execution Watch. RAHANA claims that the Islamic Revolutionary Court has told the family of Jafar Kazemi, arrested on 18 September 2009, that his death sentence "has been referred to the execution branch of the Revolutionary Court and is awaiting confirmation".
Kazemi was kept in solitary confinement for 74 days. A lithographer for academic books and illustrations at Amir Kabir University, he was imprisoned from 1981 to 1990 on charges of affiliation with the People's Mujahedin of Iran.
1725 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Nabiollah Bastan, a member of the Iran Teachers Union, has been arrested.
1315 GMT: The Battle Within. Influential MP Alireza Zakani has alleged that elements within the regime "want to start a new fitna (sedition)" with money from the privatisation of the Iran Khodro automobile company.
An EA correspondent assesses, "The scramble for assets has started within government as sanctions and subsidy cuts bite."
1310 GMT: Corruption Watch. Hojetoleslam Mohammad Reza Mirtajoddini, President Ahmadinejad's liaison for parliamentary affairs, has indicated on television that 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi will be facing corruption charges in court.
Rahimi's file was passed by the judiciary to the Iranian courts last month.
The head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, has maintained pressure with the declaration that those who claim justice forget about it when the judiciary fights corruption.
1210 GMT: Your Friday Prayer Update. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati puts out some familiar points:
1. Bad people, supported by the Americans who spread the red carpet for them", tried to undermine the 2009 Presidential elections.
2. These counter-revolutionaries were defeated on 30 December 2009 by the Iranian people's response to the opposition demonstrations on Ashura.
3. God loves this regime and its supporters.
4. Subsidies cuts are still cut.
And, to give the sermon just a bit of distinction, Jannati added that it was very bad to halt the Asian convoy trying to reach Gaza.
1205 GMT: Girls and Boys. The head of Tehran's Security Police has said any mixed-gender gathering is illegal and will be broken up.
1145 GMT: The Nuclear Talks. Expect to see a lot of posturing from all sides over this news:
The European Union will turn down an offer from Iran to tour its nuclear facilities, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said on Friday: "What I'll be saying is the role of the inspections of nuclear sites is for the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and I do hope Iran will insure that the IAEA is able to go and continue and fulfil its work."
0925 GMT: International Front (Oil Stoppage Edition). Hundreds of Afghans demonstrated outside the Iranian Embassy in Kabul today to protest Tehran's stoppage of up to 2500 fuel tankers on the Afghan border.
Iran claims the fuel is bound for US-led military forces, but Afghan officials say it is for homes, building, and civilian aircraft. Fuel prices have risen by up to 70% since the blockade began.
Meanwhile, problems for the Iranian sale of oil to India escalate. The State Bank of India says it cannot open letters of credit for purchases.
Last month, the Indian Central Bank, in the context of US-led sanctions, suspended payments for oil to Iran from a regional system run by central banks.
Three Iranian crude oil tankers are en route to India's west coast.
0920 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Morteza Haji, Minister of Education in the Khatami Government, has denied yesterday's reports that he has been arrested.
0830 GMT: Books Clubbed. Back to our opening story of the morning....
Here is another reason why bookstores, as well as authors and publishing houses, are facing difficulties, "Iran’s Book Censors Challenge Publishers, Creating Huge Backlog of Titles":
According to government figures, there are about 7,000 publishing firms in Iran today. Even if only 1,000 of those publishers delivers five books a year for approval, that’s 5,000 books a year the censors must wade through....
It’s safe to say that many publishers in Iran produce a lot more than 5 titles a year. Indeed, 70 titles could be 2 years’ worth of titles for a small-to-moderate sized press, meaning that publishers are caught in a sort of impossible situation: you have titles you know you can sell and promote, you’re laying the ground work–you might have even printed thousands of copies already–but the government won’t give you the go-ahead to put them in stores. (So you, dear publicist, are stuck in limbo.)
0720 GMT: Film Corner. An international film festival in Switzerland has invited Iranian film director Jafar Panahi, sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year ban on movie-making and international travel, to serve on its jury.
The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) said it had invited Panahi with Spanish author Jorge Semprun, Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi, actress and director Zabou Breitman, and Swiss filmmaker Jean Stephane Brin.
"In any case, the FIFDH will reserve his seat on the jury," the statement added.
0715 GMT: All-is-Well Alert. We belatedly notice President Ahmadinejad's assurance in a speech in northern Iran on Wednesday, "After the implementation of the subsidy reform plan, people show greater affection and mercy toward each other.”
Ahmadinejad added the many reasons for the success of the plan since it began on 19 December. "Servants of the nation have put time and energy and held meetings every night", there is mutual trust between the nation and the government, and the cuts bring justice and equity.
0710 GMT: Cracking Down on Christians? Following up on the Governor of Tehran Province's declaration that more than 60 Christians had been detained, The Wall Street Journal reviews the current political and legal situation.
0650 GMT: The Clerical Front. Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani has returned to a recurring tension, unresolved by the Supreme Leader's trip to Qom in October, as he declared that government support should not infringe the independence of religious seminaries.
0635 GMT: We open this morning with a report from Karim Khan Street in Tehran. The avenue, like London's Charing Cross Road, has long been noted for its bookstores.
Now, however, the bookstores are closing. Mehr offers a lengthy and evocative report on how, amidst economic conditions, owners are pulling down the shutters.
Meanwhile, the head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, has offered his own thoughts on books, telling an audience of the dangers for Iran's students of "Western" texts in the humanities and social sciences.