1542 GMT: Oil Watch. More on the private manoevures behind US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's public encouragement, in her three-day visit, of India to cut oil imports from Iran....
Four Indian officials have told Bloomberg that supplies will be slashed by 20%, given the prospect of alternative supplies from Saudi Arabia.
The officials said India will lower its purchases to 14 million tons from the 17.5 million metric tons in the year ending 31 March.
1537 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Council, has pointed to a "long haul" negotiating strategy in Iran's forthcoming discussions of its nuclear programme with the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia): "I am optimistic about the outcome of the talks in Baghdad [on 23 May], but I believe there is still a long way [to go]."
Rezaei said the priority was to "build mutual trust" between Tehran and the world powers and asserted that "the lifting of sanctions [on Iran] is a long way" from happening.
1322 GMT: Sanctions Watch. At a joint press conference with her Indian counterpart, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the US was working with India to find alternative crude supplies, while calling on New Delhi to do "even more" to reduce imports from Iran, its second-biggest oil supplier.
Publicly, Indian officials have stepped away from sanctions, but privately Indian refineries have been slashing their purchases. Clinton said, "We commend India for the steps its refineries are taking to reduce imports form Iran and we also have been consulting with India and working with them in some areas on alternative sources of supply."
India's External Affairs Minister S.M Krishna maintained a cautious line, "Iran is a key country for our energy needs, but we have to look at the Iran issue, beyond the issue of energy and trade. In the first place, we have to think about the security and stability in the gulf region."
1259 GMT: Nuclear Watch. ISNA is reporting that a South Korean nuclear expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency has died and another specialist from Slovenia has been wounded in an automobile accident.
The accident was reportedly in Markazi Province near the Arak heavy water production plant.
1253 GMT: CyberWatch. Back from an academic break to wonder if this is a step to the hallowed "national Internet", free of foreign taint....
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Reza Taghipour has written the head of the Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, asking him to instruct banks not send statements to e-mail addresses administered by foreign providers.
Taghipour wrote that banned foreign e-mail providers include Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and MSN. He demanded that banks only accept national e-mail addresses from customers when they open accounts.
The Minister also requested that banks provide access to the Internet for customers to be able to create national e-mail accounts at their premises.
Reuters was following up a Press TV report highlighting women who pursue the martial art of ninjutsu, but it briefly used the word "assassins" in a headline. This became the pretext for the regime to shut down Reuters' bureau in Tehran, demanding that its 11 staff hand in their press cards.
Press TV portrays Monday's session as "the news agency's final defense" at the prosecutor's office before referral to a Tehran court.
0749 GMT: Nuclear Power Watch. The formal launch of Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr, which was supposed to be opened in autumn 2010, has been delayed yet again, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast saying that no exact date can be set.
In a statement on Friday, Russia's Atomstroyexport said that the plant would reach its full capacity on May 23, claiming it is currently at 75% of its nominal capacity of 1000 megawatts.
Late in April, the Governor-General of Bushehr Province said, "The Russian contractor will definitely deliver the power plant by the end of this autumn," while the head of the Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoun Abbasi, had claimed the plant was sending 940 megawatts of electricity to the national power grid.
Cartoonist Nikahang Kowsar portrays the skeleton of President Ahmadinejad declaring next century, "This year it will be inauguarated":
We must believe that we have failed the 33-year test of the Islamic Revolution and the implementation of the promises that we made to the people. This is a fact, albeit bitter. Our bankruptcy began quite sometime ago, as has the time for saying goodbye, goodbye to the Islamic justice that the Revolution promised. So long, human rights that the Revolution promised to the people of Iran and the world. So long, the fallen ideals of the Revolution. We have demonstrated that the religious people and the clerics can lie if they come to power, that they can turn their backs on all the promises that they made, that they can embrace the world['s materialism], despite once speaking against it in the past, that they can oppress, they can loot, they can murder people.
“Every topic me and my friends discuss, whether it’s the latest movie, a trip or our future, ends up with politics,” said Samaneh, 27, who lives with her parents and did not want her family name used out of fear of retribution. “Here our lives are decided by those in power. Our options are more and more limited.”
She emphasized that the issues her generation faced went well beyond the nuclear issue. Iran is grappling with corruption and inflation, and youth unemployment is over 20 percent, according to official figures, but experts say it is probably much higher. Divorce, drug abuse and inequality have risen steadily in the last decade.
“I really don’t see any of these issues being resolved,” Samaneh said, “but at least less foreign pressure, like an end to sanctions, would ease our burden a bit.”
0515 GMT: All the President's Men. Leading critic Ahmad Tavakoli has indicated the fight against Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi will continue, claiming the Administration Court will pursue Mortazavi's "illegal" appointment to head the Social Security Fund.
Tavakoli has also said that Parliament may persist in the effort to impeach Minister of Labor Abdolreza Sheikholeslami this week.
0505 GMT: Oil Watch. The Financial Times reports that Iran is accepting Chinese renminbi for some of the crude oil it supplies to Beijing, amid US sanctions.
Tehran is spending the currency, which is not freely convertible, on goods and services imported from China, its largest oil customer.
Some trade is also in barter. For example, the trading company Zhuhai Zhenrong pays with services such as drilling.
0455 GMT: Analysts contend that the Government's subsidy cuts, launched in December 2010, have significantly contributed to inflation and currency difficulties. Now the second phase, promised by President Ahmadinejad and his allies, is generating political as well as economic conflict.
The highest-profile charge has come from Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, who alleged last Friday that the Government would raise gasoline prices up to three times to cover the costs of the second phase, but he has plenty of charge, including his Parliamentary ally Ahmad Tavakoli.
VOA Persian summarises the latest manoeuvres, with claims that the second phase has been cut in half, and MPs persisting in the call for the Government to "rethink" its approach.