2025 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. It looks like the regime is getting seriously worried about the Syrian situation, and in particular the prospect of significant intervention by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has declared, "It is time to punish imperial, Arab, and foreign countries who interfere in Syria." Gholam-Reza Karami, a member of Parliament's Defence Subcommittee, warns Riyadh that its defeat in Syria "is certain".
Over the weekend, Dehghan criticised the appointment of Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi as head of the Social Security Fund. Mortazavi was Tehran Prosecutor General at the time of the abuse and killing of detainees at the Kahrizak centre in summer 2009, amidst protests over the disputed Presidential election.
Now Dehghan is among MPs calling for the impeachment of Minister of Labour Abdolreza Sheikholeslami: "This person does not deserve to hold any post and should not be in key and important positions."
Responding to reports that President Ahmadinejad has sent a message to Parliament that he will appoint Mortazavi as the acting minister if Sheikholeslami is impeached, Dehghan said threats will not prevent MPS from carrying out their "legal duties".
Dehghan also said that the Government is trying to evade responsibility for the currency crisis and to divert attention from the $2.6 billion bank fraud. He said that the administration's decision to start implementing the second phase of the subsidy reform plan will trigger further inflation.
You write, “Far from being just another episode in the "female ninja" PR saga, yesterday's presentation by State media was the set-up to shut down most of the non-Iranian journalists still working in Tehran” --- but as far as I know, there were no foreign journalists left at Reuters. The last one left a month or so ago (nothing to do with authorities).
Same goes for AFP, who only has two foreign journalists working here. The rest are Iranian --- and paradoxically enough, several of them are former Press TV employees, at least in the case of AFP).
0850 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi claims Iran has “accurate information” that the US and Israel are behind explosions conducted by “armed groups” in Syria, blaming Arab countries for accepting the subversion:
The Americans and the Zionists are attempting to exploit the movement of Islamic renaissance in the region by using some agents in Syria. Unfortunately, some regional countries, which think the wave of Islamic renaissance will reach them, went along with the Americans and the Zionists without realising it.
0835 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Continuing the PR effort to show Iranian strength before nuclear talks start 13 April in Turkey, State news agency IRNA features an interview with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
Salehi sees an "American withdrawal" and "Washington's long retreat" in the face of Iranian solidarity, citing the US exemptions from sanctions for 10 European countries and Japan over their imports of Iranian oil.
Salehi does not explain that the waivers were granted as the 11 countries established they had significantly reduced their supplies of crude from Iran since the start of the year.
Taghipour said a local data center, search engine and domestic e-mail service are being completed.
Iranian officials have said they will set up a national Internet search engine by 2012, replacing access to sites such as Yahoo! and Google.
The estimate is only one of a series of gloomy pieces about the economy in Aftab, far from a radical Iranian outlet. The website ponders that inflation --- officially declared to be 21% --- may in fact at least 50% this spring and summer.
You will not find these stories from State news agency IRNA. It prefers the re-assurance that a new field in South Pars, one of the world's largest reservoirs of oil and gas, will be operational this year.
Development of South Pars has been hindered since 2009 by a withdrawal of foreign investment and technology.
IRNA's lead story this morning is also oil-morning on the international front. Once again, it puts out the insistence --- this time from a former President of China's National Energy Administration of China --- that Beijing's oil imports from Iran are not under the command of any other country and China will act only according to its needs.
IRNA does not mention that, despite this public line, China has almost halved its imports of Iranian oil since January.