See also Iran-Israel Opinion: Why Jerusalem Is Making War Noises br>
Iran Letter: Detained Attorney Sotoudeh to Her Children "You Need Freedom, Rule of Law, & Justice" br>
The Latest from Iran (2 November): Politics in Tehran, Politics in Washington
2135 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. More on the alleged Presidential assault on his rivals from the pro-Ahmadinejad site Dolate Ma --- the President reportedly said he could reveal 10% of his information now and 25% in the future, but it was "not advisable" to disclose the rest.
Ahmadinejad added that the "day of regret is near" and said his foes are going to "apologise for accusing the Government": "The current situation is not normal; we are approaching the final showdown."
As for the current financial scandal, including the $2.6 billion bank embezzlement, the President said "people were dissatisfied" with those who "came barefoot from the south of town [the south of Tehran is the poorer section of the capital] and are billionaires now".
Ahmadinejad continued, "If you allow me to handle them in my way, I will rebuke [the political wrongdoers in 1 month. Even Europe and the US together can't bring the Government to its knees."
And now the sting in the tail, of interest to those who specialise in following the in-fighting in Tehran. Ahmadinejad said, "In 2009 'they' wanted to congratulate the opposition [on victory in the Presidential election]."
And who does Ahmadinejad mean by 'they'? Well, soon after the election, it was claimed --- by the camp of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and later by other politicians --- that Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani had told Mousavi on Election Day that he won the vote. Other reports said the head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, also sent the message.
1555 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. This looks like a sharp attempt by President Ahmadinejad to take the offensive after Tuesday's encounter in Parliament. According to Jahan News, he has said that Iran's judiciary has defamed the Government, including its accusation of fraud against 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, and has failed to prosecute the head of Bank Saderat, who was dismissed over the $2.6 billion bank fraud.
Ahmadinejad reportedly said, "I have told only 10%" of the story about the dubious behaviour of his critics, as he wanted to preserve the Iranian system; however, he warned that he might bring out more details.
1425 GMT: The Plot. Responding to US allegations that the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards was involved in a plan to kill the Saudi Ambassador to Washington, 240 of Iran's MPs have supported a resolution expressing support for the organisation.
1420 GMT: Threats, Threats, More Threats. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has told a news conference, "Let me stress that NATO has no intention whatsoever to intervene in Iran and NATO is not engaged as an alliance in the Iran question. We support of course the international efforts to pursue political and diplomatic solutions to the Iran problem,"
1415 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Ebrahim Yazdi, the Secretary General of Freedom Movement of Iran, told a Revolutionary Court yesterday that he does not recognise its legitimacy, adding that he has never officially been given a written statement of the charges against him
Yazdi, a former Foreign Minister, asserted that since “provisions of neither Sharia nor the law have been observed in the court, any verdict issued by it has no legitimacy". He said he would remain silent and refuse to defend himself and that he has asked his lawyer to follow suit.
Yazdi, in his eighties, was detained for three days after the disputed 2009 Presidential election. He was arrested in December 2009 and released after two months for medical reasons. He was then seized in September 2009 for participating in a Friday mass prayer in Isfahan and held in solitary confinement for three months, followed by another three months in a "safe house" run by the Ministry of Intelligence.
1305 GMT: Writing the Supreme Leader. Filmmaker/journalist Mohammad Reza Nourizad may have been imprisoned for writing letters to Ayatollah Khamenei, but 17 months in detention does not seem to have deterred him.
Released in May, Nourizad has posted his 9th letter to the Supreme Leader, accusing him of being responsible for President Ahmadinejad's "frauds" and for "killings" in the name of the Iranian system.
Masked party-goers celebrated Halloween into the wee hours last weekend. They were decked in Elvis, Herman Cain, and Statue of Liberty costumes, and danced to Gaga's Poker Face as they twirl in flocks of the Black Swan. By all accounts, they're like any American teenagers in AnyTown, USA.
Except they're not. They're Iranian teens, celebrating just a hair's distance out of the watchful eye of the Tehran police.
1250 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mohammad Tavassoli, a senior member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, http://www.twitter.com/persianbanoo" target="_blank">has reportedly been arrested for "signature fraud".
Almost anything goes in this war of nerves. Reasonable citizens, at this point quite worried, should take into consideration that a great deal is happening covertly. At least some of these moves are part of a carefully orchestrated campaign whose purpose is not necessarily an Israeli attack.
It could be a means of sparking a broad diplomatic maneuver to ratchet up sanctions on Iran....
While many people say [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and [Minister of Defense] Barak are conducting sophisticated psychological warfare and don't intend to launch a military operation, top officials, including some in the forum of eight senior ministers, are still afraid.
Ostensibly, Israel is in a win-win situation. If its scare tactics work, the international community will impose paralyzing sanctions on Iran. If the world falls asleep at its post, there are alternatives.
But this is a dangerous game. A few more weeks of tension and one party or another might make a fatal mistake that will drag the region into war.
So far, analysts say, Turkey appears the winner in pushing for secular, democratic outcomes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and especially Syria – even if more by default than by design. And Iran, offering little more than nondemocratic Islamic rule and anti-Western vitriol, at this point appears the loser.
The student activists are already serving terms of between 2 and 9 1/2 years.
An Iranian court has denied bail for journalist Peyman Aref, who was arrested and then re-arrested this week after he visited the grave of Neda Agha Soltan, the woman whose death became a symbol of protest and violence after the 2009 Presidential election.
Aref was released from prison earlier this autumn after serving a one-year sentence and enduring 74 lashes.
0605 GMT: Threats, Threats, More Threats (Domestic Edition). BBC Persian offers a significant article in the coverage of the Minister of Economy's survival of an impeachment effort in Parliament on Tuesday --- the website examines, both on the day and in recent months, President Ahmadinejad's threats to bring out documents exposing the dubious behaviour of members of Parliament and other officials.
0600 GMT: Threats, Threats, More Threats. Let's add this to the list....
"Today Iran's powerful forces are stronger than the past and the alien forces are well aware that any illegal and adventurist action against the Islamic Republic will face a crushing response," Deputy Head of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces for Logistic and Industrial Research, General Mohammad Hejazi, told [Fars News Agency] on Wednesday.
He underlined that Iran is powerful and mighty enough to protect its interests both inside the country and in the Persian Gulf region, and said, "Our forces can powerfully and mightily protect security of Iran's waters and coasts and enemies are well informed of this fact."
Asked about Iran's reaction to enemies' repeated threats against the country, Hejazi said, "The Islamic Republic can well defend its own and the nation's interests and these threats by the world arrogance have no credibility or value to us."
0520 GMT: Threats are part of the daily currency of the exchanges between the Iranian regime and officials in other countries. "They" are planning to attack us; "we" will respond with punishing force; "they" are undermining us (even as their economy/political system/international influence is diminishing); "we" will undermine them.
Yet, even by that standard, Wednesday's rush of chatter was notable. The Israeli regime, rather than dampening the weekend reports of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeking Cabinet consensus for an attack on Tehran, declared that it had test-fired a long-range missile; Western officials fed pliant journalists the line that the next International Atomic Energy Agency report would bring dramatic revelations of Iran's scheming for a militarised nuclear capability; the Supreme Leader spoke of a 100 Western plots of terrorism against Tehran;
And, in a notable shift, British officials were getting in on the act, telling The Guardian (which was also used to spread the line about Iran and the IAEA):
Britain's armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran's nuclear enrichment programme, the Guardian has learned.
The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.
In anticipation of a potential attack, British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air and sea campaign.
The danger, of course, is that these rhetorical games embed themselves as reality. Another "Washington official" might give The Guardian --- apologies for picking on that newspaper, but it deserves examination as the "moderate" voice in the British press --- the essential information that A Washington official familiar with the issue acknowledged the temperature has been rising and that Israel introduced an unpredictable element. He reiterated, however, that "the policy of the Obama administration was to pursue all diplomatic channels, backed by tougher sanctions, and avoid military action", but that is secondary to the blaring headline, "Is the US heading for war with Iran?"
And even though an attack may be unlikely in the near-future, the drumbeat of war talk boxes in those amidst the chatter. The Obama Administration faces a Congress which is now seizing the initiative with the political and economic cudgels of the "Iran Threat Reduction Act"; Israel, beset with a series of regional problems, sets up a strike on Tehran as a possible valve to release the pressure; those in the Iranian regime who might prefer discussion --- and President Ahmadinejad is among them --- are eclipsed by the message of showdown.