2025 GMT: Oil Watch. Gholamreza Mesbahi Moqaddam, an influential member of Parliament's Economy Committee, has said the State budget for the next Iranian year may assume exports of only 1 million barrels of oil a day, less than half the level of 2011.
"Apparently, the government wants to decrease the 1392 (March 2013-March 2014) state budget's reliance on oil exports to one million barrels a day," Mesbahi Moqaddam said.
Industry data indicated that Iranian exports fell as low as 860,000 barrels per day this summer before rebounding in October to 1.3 million bpd. Last year the Islamic Republic shipped 2.2 million bpd.
1940 GMT: Gaza Watch. Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy political director of Hamas, has said that Tehran must reconsider its support for the Syrian regime if it does not want to alienate Arab public opinion: “Iran’s position in the Arab world, it’s no longer a good position.”
Marzouk added, “It has to address its position, so as not to lose public opinion."
Hamas has relocated its leadership abroad from Damascus to Qatar and Egypt amid the conflict in Syria that began with mass protests against the Assad regime last year.
Marzouk asserted, “Iran asked Hamas to adopt a closer position to Syria. Hamas refused, and this has affected our relationship with Iran.
1731 GMT: A Death in Detention. MP Mehdi Davatgari, Parliament's special representative in the death-in-detention case of blogger Sattar Beheshti, has blamed security forces: "The action taken by the judiciary in Beheshti's case was lawful, but the cyber police's infraction is indisputable".
Beheshti was seized on 30 October from his home and apparently died about 3 November. Iranian officials have offered a changing series of explanations, including "extreme exhaustion" and "shock", but the blogger's family say he was abused during interrogation.
"Unfortunately, the cyber police officers kept the suspect without a court order in a detention facility for one night, which is completely illegal," Davatgari said. "Despite the judges' order to take him to a legal detention center, the cyber police took him to their own detention facility" where Beheshti died.
The MP called for the "resignation or dismissal of the cyber police chief".
1631 GMT: Press Watch. The daily Maghreb has suspended publication while the Press Supervisory Board considers a complaint over a cartoon of President Ahmadinejad on the front page of last Thursday's issue.
The cartoon, “End of Questioning”, marking the suspension of proposals for Parliament to interrogate Ahmadinejad, that showed the President happily tearing up a piece of paper.
The plan was halted after the Supreme Leader used a speech to tell MPs to halt the initiative.
The Ministry of Culture told the Fars News Agency that Maghreb has a history of various violations, and publishing this cartoon “revealed their disregard for national interests and legal duties". The ministry also announced that it will “firmly deal” with this violation as soon as holidays pass for the holy month of Muharram.
1145 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Iranian State media, alongside its campaign for Tehran's prominence in the Gazan conflict, maintains its call for talks with the "West" on Tehran's nuclear programme. Hossein Sobhani-Nia of Parliament's Presiding Board is the latest spokesman to be put forward by Press TV:
The Islamic Republic has always welcomed negotiations and considers them to be useful because the continuation of talks can certainly have positive points for both sides and remove ambiguities.
Up to this stage, we have addressed all questions and ambiguities, but we feel that the Westerners are not seeking full clarity on, or the resolution of, the issue, and seek to prolong the issue and ratcheting up pressure under different pretexts.
1125 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Press TV posts a letter from Alireza Marandi --- prominent MP, former Minister of Health, and President of the Academy of Medical Sciences --- to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon:
I call on you to do your utmost at least for the effective exemption of medicines, medical supplies, and foodstuffs from these unlawful sanctions. Since this type of brutal behavior alongside the successive wars and civil conflicts initiated or supported by these countries have already led to deaths on a daily basis of uncountable innocent people across the region, it is the duty of the United Nations and the global medical community to condemn such acts and to make every effort to stop such aggressive and rogue states from carrying out such atrocious policies against innocent populations.
0955 GMT: Oil Watch. The Wall Street Journal summarises the position with Iran's oil exports to Beijing:
China's imports of Iranian crude oil are down by about one-fifth so far this year, a drop that puts the country in good position to avoid U.S. sanctions and head off a diplomatic row with Washington.
China has repeatedly defended its crude purchases from Iran, telling the U.S. it complies with existing U.N. resolutions. But October data released Wednesday showed Iran crude-oil imports off 23% from a year earlier, to 458,000 barrels a day, continuing a year-long trend.
China's third-largest supplier of crude as recently as last year, after Saudi Arabia and Angola, Iran this year has slipped to No. 4—surpassed by Russia—shipping about 426,000 barrels a day in the first 10 months of the year.
October's import numbers will be the last used by the U.S. State Department in deciding whether Beijing qualifies for a renewal of its waiver from sanctions, which expires Dec. 25. China won the exemption in late June, after the State Department determined that it had "significantly reduced" crude imports from Iran in the first half of the year. Renewal requires continued significant reductions. The State Department says no decision has yet been made.
0855 GMT: Currency Watch. Information on the state of the Iranian Rial is still restricted, but State news agency IRNA puts out its regular announcement of the Rial's "stability" against the US dollar and other foreign currencies.
0715 GMT: Health Watch. Iranian-American analyst Holly Dagres notes another growing health issue in Iran:
0655 GMT: With most of the media's attention on Iran's nuclear programme and the role of Tehran in the Syrian and Gazan conflicts, the US Public Broadcasting Service remembers the issue of the regime's crackdown on dissidents (video at top of entry).
The feature highlights the situation of attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, sentenced to six years for her representation of activists and handling of human rights cases. She is now in the sixth week of a hunger strike, protesting her treatment by prison authorities.
There is one notable omission in the report. PBS shows journalist Jila Bani Yaghoub as she refers to the imprisonment of her husband and fellow journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amoui, serving a three-year sentece. The feature does not mention that Bani Yaghoub was summoned to prison last month to complete a one-year term for her activities.