Men and women wait at a Tehran airport for the Iranian diplomats expelled from Britain --- the personnel were taken away before the crowd could welcome them
See also Iran Music Special: The Basij Militia Rap for Occupy Wall Street
Iran 1st-Hand Special: Basij Student's Account of the Attack on the British Embassy
The Latest from Iran (2 December): After the Embassy, It's Back to the Economy
1935 GMT: Bank Fraud Watch. Gholamreza Asadollahi, the head of Parliament's Article 90 Commission has repeated his claim that the Ministries of Trade, Transport, and Economy, as well as the Privatisation Organisation and Customs are involved in the $2.6 billion bank fraud.
Asadollahi said the Aria Group, at the centre of the fraud, was the import agent for subsidised goods 4 the Ministry of Trade ministry and was involved in an illegal permit for the Shiraz-Bandar Abbas railway with the Ministry of Transport.
Asadollahi also said Aria received illegal permits for privatisation of the National Steel Company, Luristan Automotive, and Railway Services.
1920 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Aftab reports that support payments for higher prices caused by subsidy cuts have not yet been paid this month, even though the 12th day --- today is 12 Azar in Iran --- is usually the deadline.
Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini has assured that the payments will be made within two days.
1910 GMT: Protest Watch. Iran’s largest student organization, Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat, has issued a statement that the student movement should broaden its focus from political issues and pay more attention to labour and academic matters to “explore apolitical activism in universities".
The statement, for Iran’s National Student Day on 7 December, says the approach will “keep student protests alive in universities", amidst the dominant political-security atmosphere in Iran.
The announcement also condemns the “unprecedented severity” of the regime’s human rights violations since the 2009 election, including the stiff sentences handed down to student activists, and asserts that this policy has taken “a heavy toll” on the reputation of the Islamic Republic.
1815 GMT: The Embassy Attacks. A series of signals today that the regime is not only pulling back from confrontation with Britain but is trying to cover up any responsibility for Tuesday's attack on the UK Embassy.
Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi has offered some paternal advice to youth: "Don't trespass against the law, don't act without the Supreme Leader's orders, we need calm ahead of elections", which are due in March for Parliament.
Makarem Shirazi, who had called the raid "illegal and costly" in his Friday Prayer, continues, "It is very likely some intrusive elements were sent into the embassy to join students and to destroy property to incite the propaganda of the West."
So is this a caution from the Ayatollah that "spontaneous" protesters went too far? Or is it, as an EA correspondent assesses, "the first official attempt to whitewash the role of the Supreme Leader".
Meanwhile, Digarban features comments from three Basij members, all condemning the demolition of the Embassy as being contrary to the order of velayat-e faqih (clerical supremacy) and harmful for the government. The three argue that the Basij Students Association has "lost face" in the incident.
Earlier we noted the complaint of a Hizbollah student of Elm-o-Sanat University, "We were deceived in the embassy attack, and had orders from the Supreme Leader to leave it immediately." That blog entry has now been removed.
1810 GMT: Press Watch. Thanks to Josh Shahryar for keeping an eye on the LiveBlog through the afternoon.
Maziar Bahari, the Canadian-Iranian journalist who was detained for more than three months after the 2009 Presidential election, has said the verdict of Britain's regulator Ofcom, fining Iran's Press TV £100,000, is a chance for other victims like condemned prisoner Sakineh Ashtiani to sue the State outlet.
Press TV was fined over the broadcast of an interview, obtained "under duress", of Bahari when he was in prison. The channel has also featured documentaries with Ashtiani's "confession" to adultery and complicity in the murder of her husband.
Iran’s Minister of Economy Shamsodin Hosseini told reporters in Tehran today that the government’s subsidy reform program’s monthly cash payouts have been critical in maintaining the purchasing power of nearly 80 percent of the population.
The government hands out an estimated $3.3 billion per month to nearly 73 million citizens, 95 percent of the population, or $45 per person per month. The payouts are meant to soften the blow of the removal of government subsidies of energy and food products and the resulting rising inflation rate, officially reported at 20 percent.
The handouts are likely to continue as Iran's oil income this year could top $100 billion.
1440 GMT: France is pulling out some of its diplomatic staff from Tehran in the coming days with their families in the wake of the attack on the UK Embassy by Basij students. Several other EU nations have either recalled their ambassadors, closed their embassies temporarily or are considering taking such actions.
The Guardian reported the news from an unidentified source who stressed the embassy will remain open. The UK is closing its embassy, accusing the Iranian government of perpetrating the attack.
1400 GMT: Russia opposes new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin made it clear today in a press conference in that Russia was not interested in any further sanctions against Iran and that his country believes negotiations with Iran could resume. He also called the recent IAEA report on Iran a 'PR exercise' and that the report contained 'very little new information about the various suspicions about Iran's nuclear program'.
1340 GMT: The Embassy Attack. The latest developments....
France has temporarily reduced its embassy staff for "security reasons" while Italy's ambassador has been summoned home.
Iran State news agency IRNA appears to have fabricated a petition, "signed by about 20 academics, journalists, political activists and religious figures", calling on the British Government to restore diplomatic ties with Tehran: "It is not the Iranian government which demonstrated against British foreign policy but ordinary Iranians, understandably enraged by decades of repressive sanctions and threats of military strikes by Israel."
There is no sign of the petition other than on IRNA's English-language service.
IRNA's creativity follows that of Press TV, who re-worked a cautious statement by US Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday to Reuters, "I don't have any indication how and/or if [the attack] was orchestrated But what I do know is that it is another example to the world and the region that these guys are basically a pariah internationally."
Press TV seizes on the first sentence --- deleting the second --- and puts on the headline, "'Anti-UK protest not organized by Iran'".
1120 GMT: The Embassy Attack. In the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, a former member of the Basij militia, Mostafa Ibrahim, claims from "contacts" that the Basiji were summoned to the UK Embassy by the Revolutionary Guards.
1025 GMT: The Embassy Attack. Interesting that the emphasis of Iran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam today is on the 12 people who were arrested during Tuesday's occupation. And it's also interesting that Fars, reported linked to the Revolutionary Guards, features the statement.
Ahmadi Moghaddam and his deputy, Ahmad Reza Radan, have scrambled to protest the police's reputation for maintaining security after the disorder at the Embassy. Almost all of those detained were reportedly released the day after the attack.
1010 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad, who has maintained silence over this week's events around the attack on the British Embassy, spoke instead this morning about Iran's tax system, declaring, "We are determined to make clear the development of a common goal and vision of the Iranian nation as a prosperous society based on the peaks of excellence."
0640 GMT: The Embassy Tit-for-Tat. Iranian diplomats expelled from Britain, with their families, arrived at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport early this morning, where about 150 people were waiting with flower necklaces to greet them.
More interesting, however, was the response of authorities who took the diplomats away through a backdoor before they could be welcomed.
0620 GMT: The British Ambassador to Iran, Dominick Chilcott, back in the UK after Tuesday's attack on his embassy, has spoken to the media about the event. In an interview with the BBC, he said the regime "may feel remorse" over the incident.
Remorse? I'm not sure that is the right word for Iranian officials who have detained thousands of people and whose security forces have killed and wounded hundreds more since the June 2009 Presidential election.
"Intrigue" and "uncertainty" might be more useful labels. It is telling that Chilcott chooses to blame the Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and the head of Parliament's National Security Committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi --- rather than the Supreme Leader or President Ahmadinejad --- pointing to the political contest inside the regime:
The invasion of our two compounds was not unconnected with the resolution passed two days earlier to expel me as the Ambassador. And the instigators of that resolution were the Speaker of the Majlis and the equivalent of their Foreign Affairs Committee. Now both of those people have high ambitions.
Chilcott then puts the black spot on both men. He says that Larijani has the "baggage" within the system of having "wide connections with the West" and adds --- in a pointed revelation from a diplomat --- that "Mr Boroujerdi had only a few days earlier been arrested" over the $2.6 billion bank fraud. He assets, "Both of those people had reasons for re-establishing their revolutionary credentials and standard inside the regime."
One of a series of photographs of the ransacked Embassy: