Former MP Emad Afrough, on State TV, says the people should be able to question and dismiss the Supreme Leader
Rasouli, who has written for Shargh, writes mainly about books and music.
2034 GMT: Justice Watch. Mohammad Seifzadeh, prominent lawyer and one of the founding members of the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, refused to participate in his trial on 11 January 2012, according to his wife and lawyer, Fatemeh Golzar.
Golzar said, “Mr. Seifzadeh believes the Revolutionary Court is unqualified to handle his case. He forwent participation in the trial because of the court’s lack of competence and lack of a jury at his trial -- - which is one of the deficiencies that make this not a fair trial --- and for other, similar reasons."
In November 2010, Seifzadeh was sentenced to nine years in prison --- later reduced to two on appeal --- and a 10-year ban on practicing law, following charges of acting against national security by participating in the establishment of the CDHR.
In spring 2011, the lawyer was detained, charged with “illegal exit” out of the country, and sent to Evin Prison, where he was charged with “collusion and acting against national security” for his writings. These include a letter to former President Mohammad Khatami, former President of Iran; two articles critical of the way amnesty is applied in the law and of the definition of political crimes; and collective statements in prison.
1942 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Khabar Online reports that Parliament has not been convinced by the "too general" answers of Vice Presidents Mohammad Reza Mirtajoddini and Fatemeh Bodaghi and will take a final decision next week on the interrogation of President Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad was supposed to appear before Parliament's National Security Committee last Tuesday but sent representatives because of his tour of Latin America.
1927 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An EA correspondent offers more information on the arrest of journalist, translator, and researcher Parastoo Dokoohaki: "She is a Masters graduate of the University of London, who was acquitted in 2009-2010 on charges related to feminist gatherings in 2006. Her only 'crime' was to run a popular site uploading old iranian magazines."
Reporters Without Borders has expressed "shock" that the Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence of website designer Saeed Malekpour. A Canadian resident who was arrested on 4 October 2008 while visiting his family, Malekpour, 35, was sentenced to death in January 2011 on charges of anti-government agitation and insulting Islam.
The website is also concerned at the continuing arrests of cyber-journalists, including Simien Nematollahi, a contributor to the pro-Sufi website Majzooban, arrested at her Tehran home by intelligence ministry officials on 11 January on a charge of anti-government propaganda, and Mohammad Solimaninya, the head of u24, a social networking website for Iranian professionals.
1757 GMT: Satire of the Day. On Monday morning, Fars reacted to the Best Foreign Film award for A Separation at the Golden Globes by criticising director Ashgar Farhadi for shaking the hand of Angelina Jolie.
Ebrahim Nabavi considers, "How should Farhadi have reacted in a religiously suitable manner?" and gives four alternatives:
1) He should have kicked her in the stomach; br>
2) He should have shaken hands with Brad Pitt; br>
3) He should have covered her hand with a keffiyeh and kissed [Spanish director Pedro] Almodovar; br>
4) He should have bitten her hand.
Salehi was reacting to the Saudi Minister of Oil, who indicated that Riyadh will increase oil production to cover any restrictions on Iranian supplies. The European Union is considering a ban, and the US is pushing Asian states to restricting their imports from Tehran.
Dokoohaki was among the first generation of Iranian bloggers last decade.
1648 GMT: Oil Watch. Confirming our expectation, European Union president Denmark has proposed that EU states launch a full embargo on imports of Iranian crude oil from 1 July, giving a six-month grace period to arrange alternative supplies.
Under the Danish proposal, EU states would have until the end of June to fulfill existing contracts once an embargo is imposed, but would have to cease all imports at the start of July.
The Danes put forward the compromise late on Sunday in an effort to bridge differences between countries such as France, which was seeking only a three-month grace period, and Greece, which was asking for as long as 12 months.
1628 GMT: Claim of the Day. The pro-Ahmadinejad Raha Press asserts that prominent cleric Mehdi Taeb, who is also the brother of a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, has captured the Guards' Intelligence Section to sort out documents and plan attacks on the President and his right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. The site also claims that the Section is training anti-riot forces to attack Ahmadinejad and Rahim-Mashai supporters.
1625 GMT: Arresting the President's Men. Radio Farda reports that President Ahmadinejad's Ali Akbar Javanfekr was given a second one-year prison sentence this week, along with a five-year ban on political activities, because of a comment on his blog calling the news about the reappointment of Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi a media hoax or lie. The court convicted Javanfekr of "insulting the Supreme Leader".
President Ahmadinejad tried to dismiss Moslehi this spring, asserting his authority over the Ministry of Intelligence, but was forced to pull back, reportedly by the Supreme Leader's office. Ahmadinejad boycotted his duties for 11 days in protest.
Javanfekr was also sentenced to one year in prison last autumn, with a three-year ban on media, cultural, and political activities for an edition of his Iran newspaper on women's fashion.
1615 GMT: Marketing Idea of the Day. Last week, we highlighted the story of the Iranian company selling models of the US RQ-170 Sentinel drone, one of which was downed in late November in eastern Iran, whether by mechanical failure or Iranian cyber-warfare.
Good idea, but how to get free advertising for the product?
Tell State media that you are sending one of the models to the Obama Administration, since it formally requested the return of the drone --- the real one, we suspect, not the replica --- in a letter to Tehran last month.
The company intends to sell the models on the Iranian markets for about 70,000 Rials (just over $4).
1610 GMT: Elections Watch. Conservative MP Motahari, who has been stirring Iranian politics with criticisms of "Constitutional dictatorship" (see 0810 GMT), has denied that he and fellow MPs (and Government critics) Hamidreza Katouzian, and Ali Abbaspour have been approved by the Ministry of Interior to run in March's Parliamentary elections. Motahari said he is awaiting the ruling of the Guardian Council.
1600 GMT: Fraud Watch. Back from an academic break to find the Anti-Corruption Commission has given the Central Bank a 7-day ultimatum to forward its list of major debtors who owe 40 trillion Toman (about $23 billion).
Meanwhile, ISNA says new gold coin is now at 730,000 Toman and old gold coin is at 745,000 Toman. Both have increased more than 7% in price since Monday (see 0830 GMT).
ISNA puts the current, unofficial currency rate at 17100 Iranian Rials to 1 US dollar.
1045 GMT: At the Movies. Former President Mohammad Khatami has sent congratulations to director Ashgar Farhadi, whose Nader and Simin: A Separation won Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes Awards on Sunday night.
0900 GMT: Elections All-Is-Well Alert. Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has said that, of those applying to run for March's Parliamentary elections, 14% are reformists, 34% principlists, and 23% independents.
Najjar said nothing about which candidates had been approved, instead making the claim that there would be high participation in the vote.
0850 GMT: Fraud Watch. Keyhan claims that the Aria Group, at the centre of the $2.6 billion bank fraud, bribed several Ministry of Transport managers with 6 billion Toman (about $3.5 million) and paid $2 million to Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the former Chief Executive of Bank Melli who has fled to Canada.
0830 GMT: Currency Watch. With trading in foreign exchange effectively suspended, at least in banks and official exchange offices, attention is turning to the price of gold.
After rises of 2% yesterday, the prices surged to new records this morning with a further 3% increase. Old coin now sells at 710,000 Toman (about $410) and new coin at 700,000 Toman (about $405).
0810 GMT: Another Warning. As the furour over the Alaei warning to the Supreme Leader continues, conservative MP Ali Motahari --- currently banned from March's election, probably because of his criticism of President Ahmadinejad --- has warned that the Islamic Republic is "moving towards a Constitutional dictatorship".
0805 GMT: Elections Watch. Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf has used an interview with Beirut's Daily Star to put out the message that "moderate" conservatives will triumph in March's Parliamentary elections while making implicit and explicit criticisms of his rivals.
Qalibaf said candidates who "maintain rationality and moderation in their discourse will win", continuing, "If I can express it clearly, the next Majlis will be without the excesses and wastage [of the current one]....I do not want to see a Majlis which is a place for factional debates but a Majlis which can guide the nation to progress and development."
And who was being excessive and holding back progress? Qalibaf offered an answer when he spoke about the dispute over funds for the Tehran Metro, "The government owes us $1 billion for the metro expansion scheme" and "another $1 billion for the current budget for this year. I can tell you that a big chunk of it has not been paid."
Qalibaf did refrain from going after the President over the economy, saying that any claimed downturn was largely "psychological".
0745 GMT: The Battle Within. Ayatollah Kazerooni, the Supreme Leader's representative in Karaj and a member of the Assembly of Experts, has said that the "enemy imposed deviant people on diverse offices" in the Iranian system but had failed to stop the Revolution.
0730 GMT: Questioning the Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi has damned the article by former Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Alaei, warning the Supreme Leader about the consequences of repression (sse 0545 GMT): "This piece had more effect than all acts by American enemies and infidels. All must obey the Supreme Leader."
The Media Supervisory Council has reprimanded Etelaat, for publishing the original Alaei article, and Khabar Online, for briefing re-printing it before withdrawing the item.
“I feel so great today,” said Reihan Reihani, 28, a poet. “ ‘A Separation’ is about our daily lives, our daily problems. It shows that we Iranians are not different from ordinary people all over the world.”
On Facebook, blocked by Iran’s government but accessed by many Iranians using special software, people changed their profile pictures to images of Farhadi receiving the Golden Globe.
“My fingers hurt from liking each post about A Separation,” Hooman Hoomani posted. “But I won’t stop.”
0710 GMT: Elections Watch. Looks like the regime needs to get its strategy organised for March's Parliamentary elections....
Groups around the Supreme Leader and opponents of President Ahmadinejad have been keen for reformists to campaign. And, despite the opposition of many leading reformists and opposition figures, MP Mostafa Kavakebian responded by declaring the formation of a "Democratic Front".
On Monday, Kavakebian announced that the first meeting of the Front would take place today. However, he had a significant complaint: of the 168 candidates affiliated with the new group, only 54 have been cleared by the Minister of Interior to stand in March.
0545 GMT: For more than a week, we have noted the escalating attention to an article by former Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Alaei, which used an incident from January 1978 and the analogy of the Shah to implicitly warn the Supreme Leader of the consequences of repressing the Iranian people.
After the regime brought its pressure down on Alaei, with current Guards commanders denouncing him and a crowd surrounding his home, the former commander backed away...partially. He said the media had misinterpreted his historical article as an analogy for contemporary affairs and pledged his loyalty to velayat-e faqih (clerical supremacy). However, nowhere in his revision did he directly refer to Ayatollah Khamanei.
Yesterday, without arousing so much attention --- so far --- another establishment figure dared to take the Supreme Leader down from his pedestal. Former MP Emad Afrough, a former supporter of President Ahmadiejad, said that any member of the Iranian society has the right to question Ayatollah Khamenei. Moreover, if the Supreme Leader could not provide suitable answers, then he should be automatically dismissed.