1605 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Laura Rozen adds valuable detail to our news and analysis of the nuclear talks in Baghdad. She describes how there nearly was no agreement to another meeting in Moscow --- some of the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia) were pushing for a harder line than others on the language to be offered to the Iranians in a statement summarising Baghdad's discussions and looking to the future.
In the end, the European Union's Catherine Ashton, the lead negotiator for the 5+1, worked out a compromise text. In her press conference at the end of the meetings, she said, "Significant gaps remain" between Iran and the 5+1, but there was enough common ground for another round of talks.
Ashton reportedly used the Iraqi hosts and the Chinese and Russian delegations to ensure the acceptance of the Iranians, who proposed Astana in Kazakhstan, Beijing, or Moscow as the next venue.
1355 GMT: From Defector to Hero to Prison. Shahram Amiri, a scientist in Iran's nuclear programme who defected and then "re-defected" to a hero's welcome from the regime, has reportedly been sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years in exile.
A discussion on the US Public Broadcasting System in 2010 about the Amiri case:
1155 GMT: Nuclear Spin Watch. We noted earlier that both US and Iranian outlets, rather than dealing with the substance of the International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report, were putting out preferred messages (see 0610 GMT).
It looks like the Institute for Science and International Security, the think tank prominent for its declarations of Iran's threat, is getting in on the act. Using the Associated Press, it declares, "Iran has significantly stepped up its output of low-enriched uranium and total production in the last five years would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons if refined much further."
The ISIS, or at least the AP summary, does not note the flaw in its warning, namely the assumption "if refined further" --- the IAEA declared in its report that there was no evidence that Iran's uranium was being diverted to a military programme.
1119 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Deputy Commander of the Revolutionry Guards, has declared, "Today, there is no base in the region lying outside the reach of the Iranian missiles."
1115 GMT: Currency Watch. The Iranian Diplomacy website claims that a three-year-old foreign exchange deal with China has been uncovered, in which the Islamic Republic left oil income to Beijing in exchange for lines of credit to buy Chinese goods.
The 12th hearing in the trial is scheduled for Sunday in Tehran.
0650 GMT: Nuclear Spin Watch. Journalist Barbara Slavin cuts through the propaganda (see 0610 GMT) to get to the essence of the International Atomic Energy Agency's report: "Nuclear Monitors in Iran Detect ‘Unalarming’ Enrichment".
0610 GMT: We open this morning with an analysis linking the nuclear discussions with economic issues, "Propaganda, Negotiations, and the Economic Ties That Bind".
And this is not the only case of reality and rhetoric this morning. On Friday, the latest International Atomic Energy report on Iran's nuclear programme was posted. The conclusion is a brief re-statement of the IAEA's position in recent years --- while there is no evidence of Tehran's diversion of uranium to a militarised effort, the Agency would like wider access to Iranian facilities, confirmed by the Islamic Republic's accession to the Additional Protocol of the Safeguards Agreement regulating inspections:
While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, as Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.
Progress was made on a structured approach to clarifying the issues outlined in the Annex to the Director General’s November 2011 report. The Director General invites Iran to expedite final agreement on the structured approach, as agreed with Mr Jalili, in Tehran on 21 May 2012, and urges Iran to engage the Agency on the substance of the issues as soon as possible, including by providing early access to the Parchin [military] site.
This, however, did not necessarily fit the preferred narratives of media outlets in the US and the Iran. So the Associated Press, fed by "diplomats", decided to put out the scary story that Iran had enriched some uranium to 27%, beyond the 20% level that Tehran has claimed. The problem for the attempt at scariness was that 1) the 27% figure could be explained by technical aspects of the process, rather than malicious intent and so 2) the AP's implication of an Iranian push for military weapons capability was unsupported.
Meanwhile, Iran's Press TV sets out the mirror image, "IAEA Report Says No Diversion in Iranian Nuclear Program", omitting all other passages, including the call for more inspections and safeguards.