Supreme Leader to international conference today: "Any notion that the global arrogance, led by the US, may come to terms with Islamic movements is wrong" (see 1445 GMT)
1525 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The Supreme Leader may have closed the door on direct talks with the US (see 1445 GMT), but Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has reiterated that Tehran is seeking a renewal of negotiations with the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia): “Our proposals to the P5+1 are clear and they should respond to us. If they show goodwill, the way is open to talks and to prove their goodwill they can start with the steps we have already said."
Araqchi also noted the scheduled talks on 13 January between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency to define a framework for inspection and supervision.
Demonstrators surrounded the compound last week, alleging that 11 Afghan immigrants had been killed by Iranian security forces.
1451 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi has told a press conference that 28 people have been arrested for "collaborating with satellite channels for counter-revolution", specifically, by advocating the Baha'i religion.
1445 GMT: Nuclear Stalemate Watch. Has the Supreme Leader sent out the coded announcement that Iran is shutting the door on direct talks with the US?
Addressing the International Conference of Muslim University Professors and Islamic Awakening, Ayatollah Khamenei did not directly refer to the nuclear discussions, but he said, "Any notion that the global arrogance, led by the US, may come to terms with Islamic movements is wrong. Wherever Islam and Islamic movements are present, the US will make every effort to eliminate them."
Thomas Erdbrink, the Tehran bureau chief of The New York Times, interprets:
#Iran's Khamenei -in his own way- rules out talks with US: "any notion that the U.S. may come to terms with Islamist movements is wrong."— Thomas Erdbrink (@ThomasErdbrink) December 11, 2012
1005 GMT: The Battle Within. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has criticised the merger of the Ministry for Roads and Urban Planning with the Ministry of Information Technology. Larijani said the “inexpedient” move will weaken the country’s “passive defense” against cyberthreats.
Larijani's pressing concern may be political. The merger meant that Ali Nikzad, an ally of President Ahmadinejad, expanded his current role in Road and Urban Planning to take over the IT portfolio. Nikzad then announced the creation of a new super-ministry, the Ministry for Infrastructural Affairs, which will have to be approved by Parliament.
An Iran-based EA correspondent analyses that Nikzad is being built up, with this Ministerial base, as a possible Presidential candidate in 2013. Specifically, he would be the representative of the Ahmadinejad camp if the President's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, is disqualified from standing by the Guardian Council or by the lack of a Master's degree.
0955 GMT: The House Arrests. Former President Mohammad Khatami has tried another angle in his criticism of the 22-month house arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi --- he says they are harming Iran's international relations and reputation.
0915 GMT: Economic Admission Watch. Gholam Reza Asadollahi, a member of the Parliament's Planning and Budget Commission, has said that 40% of the oil revenues projected for this year’s budget have not been received.
The Parliamentary report claims that the primary reason for the shortfall are sanctions that have limited Iran's oil exports.
A senior Iranian commander says the Americans are confused about the Islamic Republic’s defense power following the country’s success in capturing a US spy drone over the Persian Gulf.
“Americans must know that we have necessary capability to take defensive measures and we advise them not to make any trouble for themselves and for others without any reason,” deputy head of Iran's Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Monday.
He added that Iran is able to identify and intercept any aircraft intruding its borders and sometimes warns them to leave its territory in accordance with international regulations.
The commander noted that Iranian scientists are capable of using various technologies in different areas, particularly in defense and military fields, to defend Iran’s territorial integrity.