2040 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. President Ahmadinejad has used the set-piece of a visit from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to put out the line of Tehran's close relations with Baghdad in a challenge to the West and Israel:
If Tehran and Baghdad are powerful and dignified, there will be no place in the region for the enemies of nations, including the US and the Zionist regime. “The hegemonic powers that have been slapped by the two nations are trying to keep countries like Iran and Iraq weak in order to bring the entire region under their domination and control by creating dissention and sowing discord.
2010 GMT: Spin Watch. An instructive story about how Iranian State media re-packages economic news to find the "positive"....
Earlier today (see 1257 GMT) we reported the finding of the International Monetary Fund that Iran's inflation rate in 2011 was twice that of other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Well, although that story was in Iran's Aftab News, you won't find it in Fars or State outlets IRNA and Press TV. Instead, IRNA features a message from Tehran to the IMF:
Iran as one of the co-founders of International Monetary Found expects a supportive role from this organization, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Mahmoud Bahmani said here on Friday.
Bahmani made the remark in a meeting with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.
Fars has almost the exact same story.
Now watch as today's Press TV, citing Fars, suddenly turns the story, "Iran Economic Reforms Positive, Constructive: IMF Chief":
Managing director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the economic reforms carried out by the Iranian government in recent years, especially the Subsidy Reform Plan, have been positive and constructive.
In a meeting with Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Mahmoud Bahmani on the sidelines of semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington, Christine Lagarde expressed hope that Western sanctions against Iran's central bank would be lifted.
Lagarde also indicated her concern about the fluctuations in global oil prices and their impact on the world economic growth.
We can find no record anywhere of Lagarde making these alleged remarks.
2000 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. Ayatollah Khamenei has told Army commanders that Iran is at the centre of a movement challenging those countries who have dominated the region: “After seeping into the minds and bodies of Muslim nations for more than three decades, this very important movement has now surfaced in the form of a concentrated power, whose results are the developments in Egypt and some other countries."
The Supreme Leader said the "bullying powers" were hostile toward the Islamic Republic because it is a source of inspiration for the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.
1644 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Hossein Nikkhah, a campaigner for 2009 Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been released after serving a six-month sentence. He is still banned from political activity for five years.
1637 GMT: Economy Watch. The reformist newspaper Shargh reports that dairy prices have risen almost 35% in the last three months.
But it's not just reformists worrying about inflation --- a cartoonist with Fars, the site affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, has a cow pondering, "Let's see how much my products cost today!":
Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi said the next hearing in the case, which has 32 defendants, will be next week.
1257 GMT: Economy Watch. In mid-2011, the International Monetary Fund, fed information by regime officials,put out a series of glowing reports about Iran's economic prospects.
Not on this occasion --- an IMF report notes that Iran's inflation is twice as high as that of other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
1234 GMT: So Much for a Lull in the Politics. Parliament has approved a measure, by a 148-53 margin, that the President can be interrogaed and possible impeached if he fails to answer more than six questions satisfactorily.
1225 GMT: Economy Watch. Khabar Online, linked to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, challenges, "Are economic data true?" The website claims that senior clerics, MPs, the Iranian people, and even some government officials doubt the validity of the Central Bank's statistics such as a 21.5% inflation rate.
And a representative of Iran's manufacturers has confronted President Ahmadinejad's claims that he has produced jobs, saying two million positions have been "destroyed" in the last year.
Kayhan did not explain how Karroubi escaped the strict house arrest that has confined him to an apartment since February 2011.
1205 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. As 4 May's second round of Parliamentary elections nears, MPs are putting out statements that legislators will all get along. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar has reassured that reformists in the last two Parliaments are not "seditionists", while Mohammad Hassan Abutorabifard has said that the conservative/principlist Unity Front will "create a powerful Majlis".
0805 GMT: Economy Watch. Commenting on Khabar Online, analyst Ali Pakzad has said that prices will not fall if sanctions are lifted. He claimed people's mistrust in the Government's economic policies had triggered a foreigh exchange crisis and unbalanced monetary policy has spurred inflation.
0755 GMT: Repression Watch. As we post the separate feature, "The Repression, Abuse, and Execution of Iranian Kurds", we get news of the regime's crackdown on another community....
Seventeen Gonabadi Dervishes have been formally charged with moharebeh (enmity against God), a charge which can carry the death penalty). They are also accused of being "corruption agents on earth" and carrying illegal firearms.
0645 GMT: The War Against the BBC. The regime has continued its propaganda and pressure on BBC Persian. After arrests, harassment, and intimidation --- with Revolutionary Guards' press conferences and a State TV documentary claiming to expose the BBC "spy ring" --- Iranian media are naming others who they claim are British agents and displaying BBC application forms as proof.
0640 GMT: Claim of the Day. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the aerospace division of the Revolutionary Guards, has announced that Iran has begun construction of a working duplicate of the American RQ-170 surveillance drone.
Last November a RQ-170 crashed --- the US said because of mechanical failure, the Iranians said because of downing by cyber-warfare --- in eastern Iran. Tehran subsequently displayed what they claimed was the drone, largely intact.
0635 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Yesterday we reported that Narges Mohammadi of the Center for Defenders of Human Rights had been summoned to serve a six-year prison sentence, handed down for "propaganda against the regime". Rah-e Sabz adds that Mohammadi was arrested in Zanjan when she did not report to the Ministry of Intelligence.
An EA correspondent wonders if the seizing of Mohammadi is retaliation for a recent interview with the Voice of America in which her husband, Taghi Rahmani, criticised the regime.
0620 GMT: It has been a slow weekend for news from Iran. This morning's headline in the State outlet IRNA is a declaration from the Minister of Cooperatives that 18 million hectares of cultivated land will create jobs. Press TV goes farther with no stories at all, apart from condolences to Pakistan over the death of 127 people in a plane crash outside Islamabad.
Interestingly, neither website features the meeting of the Expediency Council, the body which periodically gathers to discuss developments in legislation and Government action, and the purported reconciliation of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani --- the head of the Council --- with President Ahmadinejad.
Mehr trumpeted the return of Ahmadinejad to the Council after a three-year boycott of its sessions and featured a photograph of his shared smile with Rafsanjani. However, as we wondered if the political kissing and making up was real, analyst Meir Javadanfar offered another explanation: Ahmadinejad had been ordered by the Supreme Leader to go to the Council and display that all is now well.