1515 GMT: Press Watch. The managing editor of the reformist newspaper Etemaad, Elias Hazrati, has been ordered to pay a fine of 15 million rials (about $1150) for "publishing lies" and "disturbing public opinion".
The authorities suspended Etemaad last month after it published a controversial interview with President Ahmadinejad's media advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.
1445 GMT: Unity Watch. Leading conservative Alireza Zakani, the head of the "United Front" campaign trying to unify conservatives and principlists before March's Parliamentary elections, has said that boundaries must be drawn against the "seditious" and the "deviant current".
1335 GMT: Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Ayatollah Emami Kashani handling the duties today, and he has two messages for the audience. First, he says that President Obama's request for the return of the US drone showed the "arrogance" of America, who should ask forgiveness for its actions.
By the way, he adds, "Can all of you help reduce air pollution in Tehran?"
Seoul stopped short of reducing imports of Iranian crude oil or petrochemical products, saying domestic companies will be alerted about the risks they face because of US sanctions.
The South Korean put 102 Iranian firms and 24 Iranian individuals on a list in September 2010, requiring approval from the Bank of Korea of any currency transactions with those named.
Several students held up pictures of political prisoners, including Ahmad Zeidabadi, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Majid Tavakoli, and held placards denouncing the "fascist media".
Shariatmadari claimed that protesters after the 2009 Presidential election "had insulted Imam Hussein".
0935 GMT: Drone Watch. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has demanded that Afghanistan withdraw permission for the US to fly drone flights over Iran: "“We have called on the Afghan government to seriously pursue the case and under no circumstances let such events happen again as such events will be regarded as unfriendly."
At the same time, Salehi maintained the Foreign Ministry's pullback from any confrontation with London after the 29 November attack on the UK Embassy and Britain's expulsion of Iranian diplomats: “We have no proposal for England, but we believe that we have not severed relations with UK. We regard Majlis decision as the criterion to Tehran-London relations. We do our best to broaden and deepen ties and minimize the political impacts of international issues on Tehran-London ties."
0915 GMT: Culture Watch. The Government may have missed the deadline to submit its 2011/12 Budget to Parliament, but Minister of Culture Mohammad Hosseini has assured that, when it appears, 0.5% of it will be allocated to "Qur'anic activities".
0725 GMT: Currency Watch. The Iranian currency continues to sink, despite the efforts and warnings of the Central Bank: Khabar Online reports that the rial now stands at a record low of 13840:1 vs. the US dollar on the free market.
Only this autumn the Bank and Government were trying to defend an open level of 13000:1 --- the official rate has been about 10750:1 --- but Iranians have continued to put their funds in foreign notes and gold coins.
Khabar Online, the outlet of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, presses the politics, comparing the Ahmadinejad record to that of the Rafsanjani and Khatami administrations.
0715 GMT: The Battle Within. Fars does note the drone story this morning, but only in the context of a far different and more important story.
The website features the comments of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani to students and scholars in Qoms. Larijani offered "accurate information" on the downing of the American aircraft; however, the main thrust of his talk, as portrayed by Fars was to explain that there was no "red line" on prosecution of corruption cases.
Two points here: the language is a direct link to President Ahmadinejad's declaration this summer that there were "red lines" against the challenge to his advisors and ministers. And it is interesting that Fars is still giving big space to Larijani's remarks, 36 hours after they were delivered.
0705 GMT: Oil Watch. State news IRNA chooses some oil-related propaganda for its top story. Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi declares success for Tehran at this week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries, claiming a "great achievement" as OPEC reduced its ceiling for production.
This would be a significant and timely achievement for Iran. The Government needs a high oil price to cover difficulties in funding its budget, and the European Union is looking to Saudi oil so it can impose a ban on Iranian imports.
Unfortunately for Qassemi's line, OPEC countries had already reported that this week's decision was for each country to voluntarily decide its level of production under the current ceiling --- while that did not strike a blow at Tehran through raised output, it is far from the "reduced" claim put out by the Iranian minister.
0610 GMT: A week after Iran's unveiling of the US RQ-170 Sentinel drone, the story continues to resonate in some quarters; however, that is due more to a Western outlet than to regime rhetoric pushing Tehran's strength and American weakness.
The Christian Science Monitor carries an exclusive claiming, from an unnamed engineer working on one of the teams examining the drone, how the aircraft was taken over by Iran's military: "The GPS navigation is the weakest point....By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain."
The blog The Aviationist is still cautious:
Landing a drone, as well as an airplane, with the autopilot on a runway it’s not only a matter of altitude. There are many other things to consider, like the runway heading, the procedure to be followed on approach to avoid specific areas, known obstacles etc.
Maybe the Iranians had identified an airport with the same runway heading, with the same elevation, with no planes interesting runways and taxiways and so on. Still, it’s hard to believe that the Sentinel did not encounter any obstacle and suffered only some (minor) damages on landing.
The Iranian media largely leaves the story behind, however. Only Press TV, the regime's English-language face to the world, presses ahead with an interview with an Iranian political analyst, “If truth be told, the downing of the spy drone has surely delivered a heavy blow to the intelligence apparatus of the CIA and rustled many feathers in Washington". They also lift a headline from the other story on Thursday in the Christian Science Monitor, a historical review of the exploitation of downed US aircraft: "Iran's declarations that it will reverse engineer the US drone that it grounded makes perfect sense as Washington has had its aircraft duplicated before."