See also Iran Snapshot: The World's Worst Pundit Today --- Mr Tucker Carlson br>
Iran Snap Analysis: Nuclear Postures and "War is Coming!" br>
The Latest from Iran (22 February): Rafsanjani Far from Finished?
2134 GMT: A Warning to Ahmadinejad. Prominent cleric Mehdi Taeb, the brother of an important Revoutionary Guards commander, has put out a wide-ranging statement. He said oil sanctions against "impossible" and declared that the Islamic Constancy Front, vying for influence in the Parliamentary elections, has no relation with the "deviant current". That deviant current "has swallowed Satan", and the "2009 fitna (sedition) was one of their invisible actions".
Most interesting, however, was Taeb's message for the President. He said Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, is seeking his downfall, although the Iranian people are too intelligent for this. He continued that "most elites have deserted Ahmadinejad, but most people accept him with Ayatollah Khamenei if not with Rahim-Mashai".
1734 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Tehran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam has assured that those who "disturb" the Parliamentary elections "will be confronted with resolve". He said that in addition to usual personnel, 8500 Basij would guard the vote.
Ahmadi Moghaddam also joined Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the head of the Basij militia, and Revolutionary Guards officials to welcome the "epic participation" of people in the elections.
And 8000 sailors are protesting over unchanged wages for five years and limited social insurance.
1553 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syrian Front). Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Supreme Leader, has said that Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon's Hezbollah are on the side of the Syria regime, defying the U.S. and certain Arab countries who are trying to overthrow it.
Velayati told "cultural elites" of the Revolutionary Guards, “The Islamic Republic will stand against all those who are making efforts against Syria and support the Syrian government,” adding that Russia and China have also joined the supporters of Damascus since they have realized that the “world’s situation is changing”.
Velayati said, "“We have repeatedly recommended the Syrian government to do the necessary reforms," and the Assad regime had acknowledged problems and starting doing this. He claimed support for insurgents is intended to “derail” the Islamic Awakening movement in the region.
1548 GMT: Elections Watch. The opposition Coordinating Council of the Green Path of Hope has asked people to go out on 1 March to inform people to stay away from the Parliamentary elections the next day.
1540 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini have insisted that the Government is ready for a second phase of subsidy cuts, even though Parliament has prohibited changes in energy prices.
Government officials have said for more than two months that the second phase is "imminent".
1445 GMT: Corruption Watch. An intriguing statement from head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani, "We all know that fighting the financial corruption is very challenging, especially if this corruption is connected to the Government." He said that some people, instead of thanking the judiciary, are accusing it of falsely and temporarily pursuing the recent financial corruption, trying before the Parliamentary elections to divert people’s minds from the main people responsible for the fraud.
1435 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Vice President Mohammad Reza Mirtajoddini, has said on television, "When I was in the Parliament, I too thought that the Parliament is at the top of affairs, but when I moved into the Government, my view changed and I see that the Constitution says after the Leader, the most important official is the 'President'."
The Baztabemroz website, linked to Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, has a different view. It claims that before the 2009 Presidential election, Ahmadinejad, facing protests and criticism, paid 4 billion Toman (now about $2.1 million) to the people of Khorramshahr in western Iran.
Today, we see that the behaviour of the regime and its policies have made even you complain about the country's situation. We are now asking: 'Two years ago, after the election, did a lot of people NOT say what you are saying now>=? Were they not treated very harshly and a lot of them sent to prison? Are our prisons not full of the people who protested against the policy and behaviour of the State media, Revolutionary Guards, Basij, the Guardian Council, and Ahmadinejad? Are not the protesters and critics accused of seeking regime change in Iran?".
1100 GMT: Elections Watch. As campaigning opens, a series of manoeuvres by the competing factions....
The principlist Unity Front has announced its priorities in social affairs, the economy, academics, national security and foreign policy, agriculture, culture, energy, law and justice, the villages, and Parliament. At the same time, the Front has avoided any reference to the political in-fighting that has dominated Iranian affairs over the last year.
The "Voice of the Nation", made up of candidates excluded by the United Front and other principlists, has published a list of 14 candidates. The 15 names of the Democracy Front, consisting of former and current reformists, as well as the "breakaway" principlists Ali Abbaspour, Hamidreza Katouzian, and Ali Motahari, are similar to those of Voice of the Nation.
At a Voice of the Nation press conference, Ali Motahari said, “We have no organisational relationship with Hashemi Rafsanjani but we respect him....The relationship of the Supreme Leader and Hashemi Rafsanjani is a 50-year friendship which will not be cut off easily”.
Motahari then declared, "I have said several times that both Ahmadinejad and the Green Movement leader are guilty of fitna (sedition).”
Motahari's ally Ali Abbaspour added, “Ahmadinejad always has isunderstandings....He forgot that his TV debates was the cause of the problems after the election....He talks of law but he violates Parliament's laws. He talks about the Supreme Leader but he interferes in other people's jobs where the Supreme Leader is responsible.
Tabnak confirms the news that, to prevent the controversy (and, arguably, enthusiasm) prompted by the televised debates before the 2009 Presidential elections, candidates are prohibited from appearing in TV discussions this year.
0805 GMT: Justice Watch. Saeed Tajik, the regime supporter, who publicly harassed Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been sentenced to eight months in prison and 50 lashes.
In the February 2011 incident, Tajik and others accosted Hashemi and called her a "whore", threatening her with violence and chanting "Death to Rafsanjani":
CPJ cites 42 journalists in prison and 18 forced into exile. Our partner Arshama3's Blog cites 92 reporters and bloggers who are behind bars.
0725 GMT: War Watch. Russia warned Israel on Wednesday against an attack on Iran. Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the press, "Of course any possible military scenario against Iran will be catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international relations."
Gatilov continued, "I hope Israel understands all these consequences...and they should also consider the consequences of such action for themselves. I hope a realistic approach will prevail, along with a sensible assessment."
0650 GMT: While my preference is to keep Iran Live Coverage focused on the significant developments inside the country, from Parliamentary elections to political in-fighting to the situation of political prisoners, we are forced this morning to begin elsewhere. The combination of Iran's posturing towards the International Atomic Energy Agency, the defiant performance of the Supreme Leader, and the heated chatter in the US leads us to the snap analysis, "Nuclear Postures and 'War is Coming!'"