2045 GMT: The Revolutionary Guards Intervene. Forget the election --- this may be the most significant news of the day....
General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, has criticised the Government for not being able to meet the Supreme leader's expectations, saying, "We are hoping to take effective steps toward this goal."
Addressing students at Imam Hussain University, which is overseen by the Guards, he declared, "Whether we want it or not, we have become a model in the world and the people of countries which are facing reforms and changes are looking at us to give them examples to follow."
2035 GMT: Economy Watch. Economist Hussain Raghfar has said that Iranians cannot believe official statistics, having lost trust in Government and the Central Bank. Instead, they "search within their families and friends to find the true inflation and unemployment rate. They look at the number of young people in their families who are working and the everyday prices of necessary goods such as food and vegetables."
Raghfar blamed Government policies for economic problems, "For the past 24 month there have been no policies on controlling inflation." He predicted that, if the second phase of subsidy cuts is implemented, the inflation rate will surge past 100%.
The figure is about half the official claim of participation in the first round on 2 March.
1740 GMT: Elections Watch. The BBC is the latest international outlet to put out the simplistic, misleading summary of the Parliamentary vote, "Iranian President Ahmadinejad in Parliamentary Poll Setback".
This time, the artificial formula for measuring the outcome is, "Mr Ahmadinejad's supporters won only 13 of the 65 seats up for election in Friday's vote....According to final results announced on state TV, Mr Ahmadinejad's main conservative rivals won 41 seats of those contested, while independents won 11."
For an explanation of why this is a distorted interpretation, see our earlier entry (0719 GMT).
1652 GMT: Execution Watch. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, quoting an "informed local source", reports that Kurdish political prisoners Ebrahim Issapour and Sirvan Nejavi in Mahabad have been sentenced to death for mohareb (“enmity against God").
Issapour and Nejavi, arrested last July, have appealed their sentence to the Supreme Court.
According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur’s report in October 2011, 15 Kurdish activists are on death row in Iran for charges relating to national security and espionage, as well as the general charge of mohareb.
In recent years, at least eight Kurdish political prisoners have been hanged.
1650 GMT: Elections Watch. Significantly, the list of notable losers in the Parliamentary contests includes several of the more prominent reformists such as Mostafa Kavakebian --- who tried to declare himself the leader of a new force in the Majlis --- Dariush Ghanbari, Qadratolah Alikhani, and Mohammad Reza Khabbaz. The outcome confirms the reformists, amid the suspension of their best-organised parties and the intimidation and detention of many senior members, as little more than a token group within the Iranian system.
Well-known principlists who failed to hold their seats include Ali Abbaspour and Hamidreza Katoozian, both of whom were notable for their loud criticism of President Ahmadinejad. Omidvar Rezaei, a member of the Board of Parliament, also lost.
1225 GMT: Elections Watch. Fars claims the outcome of the 25 seats in Tehran: 11 for the Unity Front, 8 for the Islamic Constancy Front, 4 for candidates on both the Unity and Constancy lists, and 2 for the "maverick" conservatives of the Voice of the Nation.
An EA correspondent assesses, "The results are close to expectations, with the United Front winning the majority (including their candidates shared with other parties) and the Constancy Front returning Ahmadinejad loyalists such as Hamid Rasaei and Mehdi Koochakzadeh."
The top four candidates in the run-off vote were Bijan Nobaveh of the Steadfastness Front linked to 2009 Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei; Esmail Kowsari, the deputy chairman of Parliament's National Security Committee; and two prominent adversaries of the Government, Ahmad Tavakoli and Ali Motahari.
Parviz Sorouri, another leading Ahmadinejad critic, is a notable loser, although another vocal challenger, Elyas Naderan, did get a seat.
Outside Tehran, Dariush Ghanbari, whe spokesman of the minority reformist Parliamentary faction --- who defied the call of other reformists not to stand --- has lost.
Using two unnamed source and with a lot of extrapolation, AP builds up the spectre of Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, a former head of Iran's judiciary, replacing Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
There are many levels, regarding evidence and analysis, on which the article can be dissected. As a start, Shahroudi having influence among Shi'a communities in Iraq is far different from his launching a coup against Sistani for religious authority. And the Ayatollah's position in the complex social environment is Iraq is not the production of a Tehran-launched plot to assert control over Iraq.
0955 GMT: Elections Watch. Back from a break to find Reuters, whose bureau in Tehran was shut down by the regime last month, struggling with the story of Iran's Parliamentary elections....
The news service presents the campaign as one in which "allies of hardline Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hoped to complete victory over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a conservative increasingly criticised by the clerical elite" --- a distortion on a number of political levels, both in the short- and long-term.
There is some recognition, later in the article, that in fact there is no dominant faction in the Majlis and that there could be complexities, such as elected "independents" coming out for Ahmadinejad. Still, it is notable that, with the staff stripped of their press cards, Reuters is limited in its reporting from Iran and its presentation of "Iran analysts".
The Tehran bureau was forced to close over Reuters' presentation of a story of "female ninjas" in Iran. Its video of women pursuing martial arts briefly carried the misleading headline of "assassins", bring the regime's condemnation and eventual ban on reporting.
0719 GMT: Elections Watch. The superficial --- and misleading headlines are now in the "Western" media: "Ahmadinejad Rivals Cement Hold on Iran Parliament"; "Ahmadinejad Rivals Score in Election". The articles proclaim, "Ahmadinejad's opponents won 20 while the president's supporters got only 8 seats. Independents won 11, according to the state media early Saturday."
1. The leading factions in the campaign, such as the Unity Front, the Islamic Constancy Front, and the Steadfastness Front, are not simply "pro-Ahmadinejad" or "anti-Ahmadinejad".
2. No faction will hold a majority in the next Parliament.
3. Some winning candidates were on the list of both the Unity Front (superficially portrayed as "pro-Supreme Leader") and the Islamic Constancy Front (superficially portrayed as "pro-Ahmadinejad").
4. A large number of independents have won seats. Their loyalties are unknown, although some analysts such as Tehran University's Sadegh Zibakalam, believe the majority may be supporters of the President.
0533 GMT: Elections Watch. Fars has posted the results of Friday's second-round Parliamentary elections, except for Tehran. The outcome is a mix for the leading factions, with none of them taking a large share of the seats.
The head of Iran's Elections Commission, Deputy Minister of Interior Solat Mortazavi, has claimed the turnout was "magnificent". The number in Mehr is less so, with the report of 1.2 million people in Tehran --- less than half the official figure for the first round --- casting a ballot.
0515 GMT: This may be the most notable passage in the Tehran Friday Prayer, delivered by the "hard-line" Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami:
I swear to everything sacred that raising this issue [of rising prices] is talking of a palpable and painful reality, and it should not be called political. We don't want to blame anyone, but this situation is not worthy of the Islamic Republic of Iran....The sources of emulation, the Assembly of the Professors at the Theological Seminary of Qom, and the people are all complaining about the chaotic situation of inflation.
So while putting out the important proviso "Don't blame us" --- or, in Khatami's words, "[this] should not be called political" --- the Ayatollah made the stark declaration of a serious and growing issue for the Iranian people.
He is not alone. For all the political tensions and divisions within the establishment, leaders --- bar the significant exception of President Ahmadinejad --- have been united in recent weeks in their warning of the damage of inflation, officially estimated at 21% but unofficially acknowledged inside and outside Iran to be far higher. The Supreme Leader may have declared in March that this was the "Year of National Production", but he has focused this week on the problem standing in the way.
And despite Khatami's insistence, this is very political. Amid the headlines yesterday about Iran's "glorious" second round in the Parliamentary election, the rippling news was Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani's challenge to Ahmadinejad --- gas prices were about to rise 300%, Larijani said, all for the sake of funding the second round of the Government's subsidy cuts.