Journalist and activist Henghameh Shahidi, serving a six-year sentence for "propaganda" and "actions against national security", speaking to a visitor in Evin Prison
2120 GMT: Claimed footage of Tehran residents chanting "Allahu Akbar (God is Great)" this evening:
2020 GMT: Cyber-Watch. How significant was the regime's tightening grip on the Internet from last Thursday, including the cut-off of services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail?
The Tor Project, which assists users who face surveillance and filtering, offers this image:
2014 GMT: The "Engineers" in Syria. The strangest news of the day concerns the "Iranian soldiers/engineers in Syria" controversy...
The story started more than two weeks ago, when a video surfaced claiming that the al-Farouk brigade of the Free Syrian Army had captured Iranian soldiers in Homs. Quickly, it became obvious that these men matched the description of five engineers and their support staff that the Iranian media said had gone missing in December.
In an interview with Press TV on Monday, Iran’s Consul in Ankara Mohammad-Reza Kharrazi said the seven Iranians, who were abducted while working on a power plant project in the Syrian city of Homs in December and were reportedly released last week, are not in Turkey.
Kharrazi said the Iranian Embassy in Turkey has no information about the whereabouts of the seven Iranians.
(Cross-posted from Syria Live Coverage)
A website has been established for Omide Eslahat (Hope for Reforms). The slate of candidates is headed by Alireza Mahjoub of the Workers House faction.
1748 GMT: Currency Watch. Khabar Online reports that a Special Currency Control Committee has decided to replace the US dollar with the Turkish lira, Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Indian rupee, Russian ruble, and Euro for importers.
1650 GMT: Cyber-Watch. Associated Press reports that "many Iranian web users say their access to foreign email services such as Gmail, Yahoo mail and Hotmail appears to have been restored after a four-day outage".
Mehr has said that more than 30 million people in the country were affected by the blocks.
More "hard-line" and conservative media, including Alef, Asr-e Iran, and Teribon are had criticised the regime's filtering of the Internet.
One reason for the criticism could lie in the impact on business --- AFP reports:
Importers were "angry or desperate" at being cut off from communicating with suppliers abroad, said one source in the trade sector.
Businesses in Tehran were being forced to turn to fax machines and motorbike couriers to send or receive invoices and other documents, the source said.
"I'm waiting for urgent documents to prepare a contract with a Turkish company and my Internet is completely blocked," said the owner of a small Iranian electronic import firm who demanded anonymity.
The Hamshahri daily said the additional restrictions were "provoking disturbances in commercial and scientific exchanges in the country, with evident consequences even for urban traffic and for banking."
1630 GMT: Currency Watch. Iran's volatile currency situation continues --- gold has reportedly dropped about 10% in price today. Old goin cold is at 834,000 Toman (about $440) and new gold coing at 824,000 Toman (about $435).
Iran Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said today that "several disturbers of the currency market" have been arrested.
1622 GMT: Cyber-Watch. Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of the military's civil defence organistation, has said that Tehran's nuclear and industrial facilities suffer periodic cyber-attacks, but he claimed that Iran has the technology to protect itself from the threat.. "Most enemy threats target nuclear energy sites as well as electronic trade and banking operations," said Jalali.
Jalali said that in addition to Stuxnet, which reportedly struck computers at Iranian nuclear facilities in 2010, officials have discovered two other viruses, Stars and Doku, but neither have harmed Iran's nuclear or industrial sites.
"Iranian experts possess adequate knowledge to confront cyber threats. All nuclear facilities in the country are immune from cyber attacks," Jalali said.
1615 GMT: All the President's Men. Iranian media are reporting that a six-month prison sentence has been confirmed for the President's media advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, for "insulting the Supreme Leader" on his personal blog.
Reports at the end of last year said Javanfekr had received a one-year term. He has also been sentenced to a year in prison for a special edition of Iran newspaper, which he edits, on women's fashion.
1605 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Israei Front). Iran's Ambassador to India, Mehdi Nabizadeh, has denied Tehran's involvement in an attack on Israeli diplomats today (see 1415 GMT): "Any terrorist attack is condemned (by Iran) and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official. These accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like previous times."
The website also says Hojatoleslam Mahmoud Alavi, the head of the Resistance (Istadegi) Front, has been rejected by the Guardian Council.
The Resistance Front was formed by Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of the Expediency Council and 2009 Presidential candidate, after the disputed vote.
1415 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Israeli Front). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Iran, "the world's top initiator of terror", is behind attacks on Israeli embassies in India and Georgia today.
Netanyahu claimed that, over the past few months, "we have seen attempts to hurt Israelis in Azerbaijan and in Thailand. All of these incidents were stopped with the help of local [authorities]." He asserted, "Iran and its proxy Hezbollah were behind the attacks."
1407 GMT: Even More Ahmadinejad Watch. Mohsen Rafighdoost, the Minister responsible for the Revolutionary Guards during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, has said that no Government has violated the law as much as the Ahmadinejad administration.
Rafighdoost criticised Parliament for not being able to control the Government, hoping that a future Majlis will be able to do so.
The conservative weekly newspaper Ya Lasarat has ridiculed the Ahmadinejad camp, saying no Government could match the achievement of halving the value of the national currency in only four months.
1357 GMT: James Miller takes the live coverage while Scott Lucas is traveling.
There is breaking news on the international front. The Israeli Prime Minister has accused Iran of backing two attacks on Israeli embassies today, a successful car bombing in India and a failed attempt in Georgia:
Israeli diplomatic missions in India and Georgia have been targeted in bomb attacks linked to the anniversary of the assassination of a Hezbollah militant in Lebanon four years ago.
Two people, including the wife of an Israeli diplomat, were reportedly injured when a device exploded in or near a car with diplomatic plates in Delhi.
In the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, an explosive device found under a car belonging to a man employed as a driver at the Israeli embassy was safely defused.
0915 GMT: More Ahmadinejad Watch. Reformist MP Mohammad Hossein Moghimi has said the main reason for the currency crisis is that the economics team in the Government "thinks more about politics than the economy", obeying the President. He added, "Of course the Parliament is as guilty for not standing against the Government's violation of laws."
MP Moayyad Hussaini Sadr added, "There is a huge profit behind the currency crisis, and probably some of the officials are benefiting from this." He claimed some people connected with the Government were buying foreign currencies "cheap", in the name of manufacturing companies, and then selling the currencies at a higher rate in the unofficial market. Sadr added, "People are the main losers in this economy crisis, and in such a situation, they do not trust the government and its words."
Ahmadinejad Watch. Leading MP Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam has warned the President that legislators are "very serious" about his interrogation, scheduled for next month.
The MP said that if Ahmadinejad for any reason refuses to attend, a Parliamentary group will complain to the judiciary.
Mesbahi Moghaddam said that, according to the Constitution, the president can be dismissed for two reasons: judicial sentencing or lack of adequate political abilities. He said, "I hope we never reach that stage.
Rah-e Sabz claims that the Ph.D. of Farhad Daneshjoo, named by President Ahmadinejad to head the university system is invalid.
The appointment of Daneshjoo, the brother of the Minister of Science and Higher Education, has been resisted by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has been the dominant influence over Islamic Azad since the campuses were launched in the 1990s.
The report says Daneshjoo's certificate from "Westminster University" in 1991 cannot be valid because 1) Westminster was a polytechnic until 1992 and 2) the institution did not have a civil engineering department for his doctorate in "simulation of earthquakes".
Protest Watch. A group of former MPs, now living in exile, have asked Iranians to attend opposition rallies tomorrow. Signatories include Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Ahmad Salamatian, Ismael Gerami Moghaddam, Ali Mazrooei, and Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari.
Owners controlling more than 125 supertankers, including carriers such as the Overseas Shipholding Group and Frontline Ltd. have said they will stop loading oil cargoes from Iran.
OSG, based in New York, said on Thursday that its pool of 45 supertankers from seven owners will no longer go to Iran. Nova Tankers A/S and Frontline, with a combined 93 vessels, said last week they are halting operations.
An European Union decision to cut supplies from Iran from 1 July appears to have been the decisive facotr, as it extended the ban to ship insurance.
“It’s the insurance that’s completed the ban on trading with Iran,” said Per Mansson, the managing director of Norocean Stockholm AB, which handles tanker charters. “Last summer, many countries started to be a little bit tougher, but the insurance is the real trigger.”
OSG’s last loading appears to have been on 28 January from Kharg Island.