The Supreme Leader addresses a crowd in northeastern Iran on Saturday
United Nations officials had called for a reprieve for the 10 men and for a general moratorium on executions (see 0701 GMT).
The initial focus of the questions is the currency crisis, with the challenge that the Central Bank did not inject foreign exchange into the market as the Rial sank from 22000:1 to about 40000:1 vs. the US dollar.
The MPs also ask why almost 16,000 luxury cars were imported with subsidsed foreign exchange between March and September and why the Government did not support domestic wheat producers, importing the commodity at a cost of $5.2 billion instead.
The Board of Parliament is considering the petition, which has passed the minimum of 74 MPs for consideration.
1736 GMT: Clerical Intervention. A follow-up to our earlier report (see 0709 GMT) that two reformist clerics, including the Supreme Leader's brother, visited three Grand Ayatollahs in Qom to discuss inflation and attacks on reformists....
After the meeting, Grand Ayatollahs Makarem Shirazi, Safi Golpayegani, and Shobeiri Zanjani advised officials to co-operate and fight inflation as quickly as possible.
1729 GMT: Currency Watch. Minister of Industry Mehdi Ghazanfari has admitted that some importers, after receiving foreign exchange at the Central Bank's "trade room" rate of about 25000 Rials to the US dollar, have sold their goods at a rate of 30000:1 --- effectively turning a 20% profit on the currency margin.
The workers had demonstrated last months over eight months of unpaid wages. They were promised settlement, but only received three months of the arrears.
1708 GMT: Oil Watch. A small piece of good news for Iran amid a bad week for its oil exports (see 1316 GMT)....
India's HMEL, part-owned by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, has taken two shipments of Iranian oil since the start of September. Source say the purchases amounted to 2 million barrels.
1700 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The family of imprisoned human rights activist and blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki says the Tehran prosecutor’s office is refusing to release him for medical treatment, despite the posting of bail of 50 million Toman (about $41,000 at official rate) and a release order.
Ronaghi Maleki, on an earlier bail from a 15-year prison sentence, was arrested in August with other people helping victims of the earthquake in East Azerbaijan. The volunteers were accused of “assembly and collusion against national security goals, threatening public health by distributing unsafe food and disobeying officers".
1506 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mohammad Tavassoli, the first Mayor of Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the Secretary-General of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison and a 5-year ban on political activity.
The 74-year-old Tavassoli was arrested at his home on 3 November, after he joined more than 140 activists in a letter to former President Mohammad Khatami which declared, “There will not be the smallest glimmer of hope for protecting the people’s vote and for holding free, healthy, and fair elections."
1453 GMT: Health Watch. Tejarat reports that, amid sanctions and shortages, 90 medicines are now unavailable. The business newspaper says smuggling and fake medication are rife and comments that rising prices are "salt in the wounds of Iranian patients".
Soltanbaigi was initially given a six-year term in December 2010.
Mohammad Ali Khatibi, Iran's OPEC governor, said the IEA's data was faulty: "Iran's oil exports are the same as previous months and the situation is stable."
Khatibi also denied that the only buyers of Iranian oil were China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Turkey: "The market for Iranian oil is beyond the mentioned countries....We are always exploring new markets but we don't publicize them much because it may be detrimental."
Khatabi offered no details to support his claims.
The IEA's data put Iranian oil exports in September at 860,000 barrels per day, a fall from about 1.1 million bpd in August and more than 60% below the 2011 level of 2.2 million bpd.
Oil production in September was reportedly 2.63 million bpd, a drop of more than 30% from last year.
The Central Bank imposed a rate on the market of 28500:1 almost two weeks ago. Since then, few dollars have been traded by official exchanges.
1053 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. The promotion of Ayatollah Khamenei and his message of Iranian strength continues on the fourth day of his tour in northeastern Iran.
All four of State news agency IRNA's headline stories are devoted to the Supreme Leader's speech hailing the nation's capabilities and vitality of its youth, with production dealing with economic problems:
Our enemies plan to, in their own imagination, create obstacles in the way of this great and determined nation so that these advances [of Iran] don’t come about. But they should be assured and know that, as we have experienced from the first day of the Islamic Revolution until now, our enemies will fail in all their plots and schemes in the future as well.
The Supreme Leader said Iran faces a “major confrontation". but "we do not feel weak. We feel powerful and potent. We know that all these impediments can be removed through endeavour".
1025 GMT: Tough Talk Alert. MP Nader Qazipour has a response to Iraqi and Turkish inspections of airplanes suspected of carrying military equipment to Syria: “American planes fly from Afghanistan to Iraq and from Iraq to Afghanistan across Iran’s air border and we expect the Government to respond in kind to (the Americans".
Iraqi authorities, under pressure from Washington, grounded and inspected an Iranian plane earlier this month. This week a Syrian passenger jet was forced to land by Turkish jet fighters and held for eight hours while cargo was checked.
Naser Mousavi Laregani, a member of Parliament's Economy Committee, has chided the Government: "if the advice of the Imam [Khomenini] and the Supreme Leader had been observed, we would not be selling oil at a low price". The MP also denounced the proliferation of cheap imports as Iran's domestic producers were hindered by Government policies and economic difficulties.
0709 GMT: A Clerical Meeting. Khabar Online reports that reformist clerics Hadi Khamenei, the brother of the Supreme Leader, and Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour visited Grand Ayatollahs in Qom to discuss inflation and attacks on reformists.
"We urge the Iranian authorities to stop the executions of Saeed Sedeghi and 10 other individuals scheduled for Saturday, 13 October," said the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed; on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns; and on torture, Juan E. Mendez.
Sedeghi was sentenced to death on 2 June for drug-related offenses. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says he did not receive a fair trial and was subjected to torture.
Earlier this week, in his latest report on human rights violations in the Islamic Republic, Shaheed pointed to the high level of execution. Amnesty International said on Wednesday that it had counted at least 344 Iranian executions since the start of the year, including 135 executions that have not been formally announced.
The majority of those executed were convicted of drug trafficking.
0655 GMT: CyberWatch. Iran Media Report, in an overview of latest developments in Iranian culture and cyberspace, notes the censorship of the poet Mohammad Ali Sepanlou and the filtering of audio-visual extensions on the Internet:
0645 GMT: While the regime continue to black out economic news, including the state of the Iranian currency, it has been putting out signals over discussions with the "West" about Tehran's nuclear programme.
The challenge is putting those signals together: while the Supreme Leader was denouncing the "war-waging" enemy on Friday, his officials were indicating that they might like to sit down with the "power seekers".
We post an analysis, "The Diplomatic Dance Towards Renewed Nuclear Talks?"