2110 GMT: The Battle Within (Literally). More on Tuesday's fight on the floor of Parliament, with the manager of President Ahmadinejad's subsidy cuts, Behrouz Moradi, swinging at an MP....
Moradi, who was expelled by Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani after the fight, reportedly called Parliament a "stable". Larijani has called for the prosecution of the official over the incident.
1650 GMT: Scare Story of the Day. Back to our first two items of the day, as Iranian propaganda leads "Western" media by the nose with naval exercises and the declaration that the Straits of Hormuz can be blocking....
After the latest flourish from an Iranian commander, "Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces,” a spokesperson for the US Fifth Fleet has responded, "The free flow of goods and services through the Strait of Hormuz is vital to regional and global prosperity. Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated."
Analyst Juan Cole is the latest commentator to big up the huffing-and-puffing, "Iranian Navy Menaces Oil Exports from Hormuz".
1627 GMT: Spy Watch. An EA reader points us to the summary in Fars of the first hearing in the trial of Iranian-American Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, accused of trying to infiltrate Iran's intelligence services on behalf of the CIA.
The prosecution is asking for the death penalty for Hekmati, who was reportedly arrested in September.
Government supporters had called for a ban on the House of Cinema because of its support of six documentary makers who were arrested in September of charges of working with BBC Persian.
The House of Cinema, Iran's largest professional organization for filmmakers, was founded in 1987.
1529 GMT: The Battle Within (Literally). Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has called for the criminal prosecution of the manager of Iran's subsidy cuts programme, Behrouz Moradi, over his fight with an MP on the Parliamentary floor on Tuesday.
Moradi took offence at criticism by MP Hossein Hossieni of implementation of the subsidy cuts. Larijani ordered his expulsion from the chamber after the fight.
1520 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. Standard rhetoric from Ayatollah Khamenei today in a meeting with top officials of Iran's Foreign Ministry, with Tehran leading the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa: "The great movement of nations signifies that they are awake, and based on massive and unquestionable realities this awakening enjoys Islamic background."
1220 GMT: Cartoon of the Day. Nikahang Kowsar portrays the Supreme Leader's manipulation of the contest between President Ahmadinejad and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani:
1215 GMT: The Embassy Attack. Looks like the fallout over last month's assault on the British Embassy --- and whoever might have ordered it --- is continuing. An opinion piece in the hard-line Mashregh News says the raid was "idiotic and illegal".
1145 GMT: Sedition Watch. An interesting hint from former Revolutionary Guards commander Saeed Qassemi, that all may not have been well within the Guards just after the 2009 Presidential election --- Qassemi said many commanders, as well as members of seminaries and "insiders", "remained quiet" during the "fitna" (sedition).
1055 GMT: Execution Watch. An Iranian official has backed away from his remark this week that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned for adultery, could be hung rather than stoned.
Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of judiciary for East Azarbaijan Province, said, "In recent days, reports quoting me on the case, especially...on the method of carrying out the sentence against Sakineh Ashtiani were published in abbreviated form and with an incorrect interpretation. This case is following its normal course in line with the law."
Fars had quoted Sharifi as saying he had instructions from the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, "If there are no facilities for stoning according to sharia, it could be changed to hanging."
Ashtiani's death sentence was suspended in July 2010. She is already serving a 10-year prison sentence, commuted from death in 2007, on complicity in the murder of her husband.
1045 GMT: Currency Watch. After its up-and-down fluctuations of the last week, the Iranian rial has shown little movement in the last 48 hours. It stands at 15200:1 vs. the US dollar, just below its record low --- recorded on 21 December, just before the interention of the Central Bank --- of 15390:1.
Meanwhile, an Iranian MP, Nader Ghazipour, has publicly presented the speculation --- also put forth by the Obama Administration --- that the Government and individual officials are profiting from the fall in the rial, trading to take advantage of the 35% difference between the official and free-market rates. Ghazipour also referred to the report, also put forth by the Supreme Audit Court, that the Government has "lost" more than $11 billion in oil revenues.
1005 GMT: Sedition Watch. The regime is in the midst of a major propaganda campaign for 9 Dey (30 December), marking it as the second anniversary of the counter-rally defeating the challenge of the Green Movement. A special report for Parliament on the "sedition" after the June 2009 Presidential election is part of that effort, but it is noteworthy for the politics beyond its propaganda.
Inevitably, in its purported examination of the "internal and external factors" of the effort at a "velvet revolution", the report focuses on US intrigue and the "terrorist" Mujahedin-e Khalq organisation. However, it also labels former President Mohammad Khatami, for his supposed foreign travels to whip up support for Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. It also pays special attention to Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani: according to "intelligence documents", Hashemi had a "leading role" in the efforts at regime change.
0935 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. The President is touring again, telling the people of Ilam in western Iran that Tehran "will not retreat" before the "excesses" of the US.
A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.
Apparently fearful of the expanded sanctions’ possible impact on the already-stressed economy of Iran, the world’s third-largest energy exporter, [1st Vice President Mohammad Reza] Rahimi said, “If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” according to Iran’s official news agency. Iran just began a 10-day naval exercise in the area.
0715 GMT: Forget the tensions between rival camps within the Iranian establishment, building towards March's Parliamentary elections and caught in uncertainty over whether there will be significant participation across the political spectrum. Forget the concerns over unemployment, inflation, a falling currency, and corruption. And definitely forget the political prisoners.
Just look at the torpedoes.
Press TV, on the fourth of the 10-day drills by Iran's navy headlines and provides a breathless video report of "[test-firing] new classes of domestically-built torpedoes", "sending commanders to sea to attack predetermined targets as well as destroying an enemy submarine, and shooting down a spy drone over the Sea of Oman".
There is also a real-life military incident to highlight: Kurdish insurgents PJAK have killed a Basij militiaman near Baneh in Kurdistan in northwest Iran. The Iranian military claimed that four PJAK members were killed and several wounded.