See also Iran Feature: Celebration and Censorship --- At the Tehran International Book Fair br>
Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Journalists and Students in Prison, Workers' Day Cancelled, & More br>
The Latest from Iran (2 May): Books and Politics
The Constancy Front has been the rival of the Unity Front, the main faction seeking to represent conservatives and principlists.
2115 GMT: Clerical Intervention. Ayatollah Dastgheib has challenged the regime's definition of "mohareb", those who commit "war against God". Dastgheib said the mohareb were those who "confront people with arms", not those who criticise rulers.
Dastgheib added tht all clerics should ask officials to release political prisoners. He said opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, in their 15th month under strict house arrest, "have just demanded that the Qur'an and Constitution should be observed".
2040 GMT: Parliament v. President. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has maintained pressure on the President, after Ahmadinejad reportedly presented the second phase of his subsidy cuts to a Parliamentary committee. Larijani said that, according to the Arbitration Council, the Government's support payments for the cuts can only be made with Majlis approval.
1500 GMT: Book Corner. Back from a media break to find an item complementing today's feature, ". Kalemeh publishes a document setting out "subversive" books banned by the Islamic Republic --- the who's who list of authors includes Iranians such as H, and Abdolkarim Soroush and foreign writers such as Paulo Coelho.
1130 GMT: Defiance of the Day. Declaring that advertisements for foreign goods are a "betrayal of the nation", Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the head of the Basij has written, "I pray everyday sanctions get more extensive."
1125 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Back from a break to find that, according to MP Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, President Ahmadinejad has asked a Parliamentary committee to approve the second phase of his subsidy cuts plan. Trying to counter criticism that the Government does not have the finances to back up the scheme, Ahmadinejad said there is $35 billion in the National Development Fund.
0703 GMT: Economy Watch. Yahya Al-e Eshaq, director of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and Industry director, has said, "Prices in the market are not normal... the rising prices and profiteering has angered both the people and the authorities. The government has earmarked $24 billion [reportedly to support imports needed by producers] to correct the price structure."
Economist Mohammad Khosh-Chehreh claims purchasing power has been reduced by 50%.
0655 GMT: Elections Watch. A curious statement from the Nadaie Daroun website on the day before the second round of Parliamentary elections: "Participation in the elections in which the candidates are the most corrupt ones is not a duty."
The Iran watchers at the American Enterprise Institute label Nadaie Daroun as pro-Ahmadinejad.
0650 GMT: Cartoon of the Day. Nikahang Kowsar on censorship and self-censorship:
Iran's oil output has reached its lowest level in 20 years, independent data showed Wednesday, as the impact of sanctions dramatically deepens.
The output decline underscores how pressure on Iran is increasingly hurting the country's coffers—-with oil and gas normally accounting for more than half of its export revenue.
According to Vienna-based JBC Energy GmbH, Iran's crude output fell to 3.2 million barrels a day in April, down 150,000 barrels a day in two months. That level hadn't been hit since the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war in 1990.
China, Iran's largest customer, has cut purchases by more than half. Japan, another major buyer, has reduced imports by 36%. And even in India, which the Islamic Republic has touted as increasing its shipments, the two largest importers will slash the Iranian supply by at least 15% --- significantly, at the request of the government in Delhi.