"Naqi", the song that led to an Ayatollah's call for the death of rapper Shahin Najafi (see 0620 and 1200 GMT)
2035 GMT: At the Book Fair. The next level of censorship at the 25th Tehran International Book Fair....
After at least 11 publishers were banned from the exhibition, another six booths have been shut down for inappropriate displays. Two reportedly had posters of Nashr Cheshmeh, one of the banned publishers. Another had a posted of the famous Persian king Cyrus.
1720 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Nothing distinctive in the President's speech during his promotional tour in northeastern Iran (see 1400 GMT)....
Speaking in Rashtkhvar, Ahmadinejad says the West should drop its “bullying” stance: “If the Iranian nation makes up its mind to do something, all devils and ill-wishers of the world cannot make them backtrack on their resolve."
The President continued that worship of the Devil, wealth, power, or worldly whims instead of God was the root cause of all human problems: “If the world powers worship the Almighty God, they will not make stockpiles of nuclear and chemical arsenals and will not try to occupy other territories.
Najafi said Naqi, the 10th Imam of Shi'a, was a "historic person" and denounced a ban on any type of reaction to religion other than praise. He said this type of restriction was the "main reason for current probs with arts in Iran".
1640 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Not just another Friday Prayer but a signal of Iranian sincerity in the nuclear talks?
Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani used the sermon to highlight a supposed fatwa from the Supreme Leader, “The Islamic Republic is not seeking nuclear weapons", adding that US and European claims of such an intention by Iran "do not apply": "The Islamic Republic is a faithful and honest establishment and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution has announced that we consider [building] atomic weapons to be haram (forbidden by Islam).”
Ayatollah Khamenei's verbal statement, which appears not to exist as a written fatwa (religious decree), dates from 2005. However, it has taken on resonance since 22 February, when he said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons “a grave sin” and described the proliferation of nuclear weapons as “senseless, destructive and dangerous".
The statement was reportedly used by brokers, such as Turkey, to persuade Washington to resume discussions, along with the rest of the 5+1 Powers (Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia), with Iran on 14 April in Istanbul.
1400 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. The pro-Ahmadinejad State news agency IRNA is trying to ease the President's difficulties with lots of glowing coverage of his trip to Khorasan Province in the northeast. The homepage features a headline article, another story, and a photo gallery.
1300 GMT: Denial of the Day. The Expediency Council, chaired by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has dismissed rumours that Rafsanjani met former President Mohammad Khatami to discuss possibilities for the 2013 Presidential election.
1200 GMT: Death to the Rapper Watch. There is some confusion about the report of a fatwa by Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani calling for the death of Shahin Najafi over the rapper's song "Naqi" (see 0620 GMT).
EA sources say Safi Golpayegani's edict was issued 18 days ago while Najafi's song was only released this week. So unless the Ayatollah had advance knowledge of "Naqi", which critics say insults Shi'a's 10th Imam, Fars is making up the story that the cleric has specifically denounced Najafi.
1105 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Hassan Rohani, former chief nuclear negotiator for Tehran, recounts his first meeting with a new President (translation by Iran Tracker of the American Enterprise Institute):
The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] Board of Directors meeting was scheduled for August 9, 2005. Mr. Ahmadinejad called me two days prior to the meeting and asked me to come to the President's Office.
He asked, "Why does the agency want to have an extraordinary meeting?" I said that they wanted to investigate the inauguration of Isfahan [facility]. He said, "The agency has no right to do so. We have done nothing wrong. You should call [IAEA Director-General Mohamed] El Baradei."
I said the director could not decide on everything. The members of the Board of Directors are the ambassadors of 35 countries whose decision is based on the report of the director-general.
It was discussed that the agency is under Western influence. He asked, "Why is the agency under their influence?" I said that that they finance the greater part of the budget of the agency and that they influence the member countries.
He asked, "What is the annual budget of the agency?' I said that I did not know, but perhaps a few hundred million dollars. He said: "Call El Baradei right away and tell him that we will cover the entire budget of the agency."
I responded that the agency would not accept it. There are rules for that. Second, we do not have the right to do such a thing. If we desire to give aid to anyone it should pass the Parliament.
He said,"This is none of your business!"
I said it is not how things are done and that I would not do such a thing: "If you insist you can call El Baradei yourself."
0945 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Grand Ayatollahs Mousavi Ardebili and Sane'i have expressed regret over the imprisonment of human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who was summoned last month to serve a six-year prison center.
The two clerics passed on their concern in a call to the grandmother of Mohammadi's children. Mohammadi's Taghi Rahmani, under threat of arrest in Iran, is in Paris.
Grand Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani has already denounced the detention of Mohammadi.
0845 GMT: Sanctions Watch. David Cohen, the US Treasury's Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, has said that Washington will be watching Iran's efforts to find an alternative payment system to that of its Central Bank, which is under pressure from American sanctions trying to block Tehran's transactions.
"It's fair to say that we are going to be very skeptical about efforts to develop alternative payment methods," Cohen said. "Our presumption going in is anyone buying oil from Iran is ultimately paying the central bank of Iran, even if there is some intermediary step."
However, the approval was only in principle, without a defined level of expenditure, and more than a third of the 290 MPs were absent.
0748 GMT: Ahmadinejad (Backing Down) Watch. We noted yesterday that President Ahmadinejad had been chastised by the Guardian Council for writing an "unconstitutional" letter protesting a bill for supervision of Iran's MPs.
Well, an Iranian site reports that Ahmadinejad has now signed the measure, reportedly supported by the Supreme Leader's office.
I am concerned by reports of the sentencing of Iranian lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah to nine years in prison. Dadkhah appears to have been targeted because of his efforts to defend the rights of political and human rights activists in Iran, including Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who was sentenced to death in 2010 for apostasy. The UK has already called for Pastor Nadarkhani's sentence to be overturned. Recent reports that two Iranians were arrested in Tehran in April for observing the Christian faith only add to our concern about the appalling human rights record of the Iranian Government.
These cases are an all too frequent reminder that Iran continues to repress its own citizens' rights to freedom of expression and religion. I call on the Iranian Government to overturn both Dadkhah and Pastor Nadarkhani's unjust sentences and stop the harassment of individuals on the basis of their religious beliefs.
0645 GMT: Cartoon of the Day. Maya Neyestani portrays detained husband-and-wife journalists Masoud Bastani and Mahsa Amrabadi --- Bastani is serving a six-year sentence, while Amrabadi was summoned on Wednesday for a two-year term:
0635 GMT: The House Arrests. As opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard enter their 15th month of strict house arrest, Kalemeh notes that the couple have not seen their daughters in two months and that pressure is continuing on the family.
The edict was issued after Najafi released the song “Naqi" (hear the music at top of entry), provoking criticism in Iran that the lyrics were offensive to Shi'a's 10th Imam.
Najafi, 31, an underground artist in Iran who is now in Germany, has been banned by the authorities from performing in the country.
The rapper has said that he did not intend to insult Shi'a's Imams.
The Cologne Police have said they will protect Najafi.
0520 GMT: As we catch up today with news from Iran, we begin with a snap analysis, "Isolating Ahmadinejad": "Next year, he could be yesterday's man. The more interesting question, however, is whether he already is."