See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- #RememberIran, Arrest of Labour Activists, House of Cinema Closed br>
Iran Audio Analysis: The Moscow Nuclear Talks --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24 br>
Remember Iran: An EA Special --- Three Years Ago Today, The Supreme Leader Draws the Line on Protests br>
Remember Iran Flashback: 19 June 2009 Live Coverage --- The Supreme Leader Declares "The Outcome is Final" br>
The Latest from Iran (18 June): The Nuclear Talks in Moscow
Flame, which mined data, was designed to map Iran’s computer networks and monitor them, sending back a steady stream of intelligence for an ongoing cyberwarfare campaign. That campaign included the Stuxnet virus, which has caused malfunctions in computers linked to Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iranian authorities revealed last month that Flame had been used against computers for the country's oil industry. The Western officials said that was a unilateral Israeli operation of which the US had no knowledge.
Ashton, referring to "difficult, tough, and frank exchanges", said, "It remains clear there are significant gaps between the substance of the two positions." She then set out the next steps: 1) a follow-on technical meeting in Istanbul on 3 July for "clarification" about the 5+1 proposal --- which had been rejected by Iran --- "increase the [5+1] understanding of Iranian response", and "study the issues raised by Iran"; 2) Contact between Helga Schmid and Ali Bagheri, the deputy lead negotiators for the two sides; 3) Contact between Ashton and lead Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili about the next formal meeting of the delegations.
Note that there is no reference in Ashton's statement to Iran's own five-point proposal, let alone a response to it. And there is no mention of the European Union cut-off of imports of Iranian oil from 1 July.
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has also cancelled the unveiling of a replica of the columns of Persepolis, donated by the Iranian Government, on the grounds that the site is not ready.
1312 GMT: Human Rights Watch. Away from the nuclear talks, Britain is trying to maintain pressure on Iran over human rights issues. Alistair Burt, Minister of State in the Foreign Office, has issued a statement:
I am deeply concerned by reports of the re-sentencing of Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani to 13 years in prison following an appeal [see separate EA entry]. Soltani appears to have been targeted because of his efforts to defend the rights of political and human rights activists in Iran.
This case highlights the callous disregard shown by the Iranian Government to its citizens, and to the rule of law. All people have the right to live in freedom and to express their opinions peacefully and freely.
I call on the Iranian Government to overturn Abdolfattah Soltani’s severe and unjust sentence and stop the harassment of individuals campaigning for basic human rights for Iranians.
1303 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The latest from the afternoon session of the talks....
Iran and the 5+1 Powers are discussing a technical meeting to follow today's talks but, according to an Iranian source, are "not on the same track".
Western sources say experts would report back on their analysis of documents about Iran's nuclear programme.
The heads of the Iranian delegation, Saeed Jalili, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov are now in a bilateral meeting.
1159 GMT: Nuclear Watch. A downbeat message from Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor:
During prayer break at fraught #Iran nuclear talks, Iranian diplomat says "it is not good at all"— Scott Peterson (@peterson__scott) June 19, 2012
1118 GMT: Nuclear Watch. A summary of Day 2 of the Moscow talks so far....
The morning started as Day 1 ended, with further discussion between the Iranian and Russian delegations. The plenary between Iran and the 5+1 Powers that followed has yielded no revelations, with an Iranian source merely offering the obvious, "Russia is offering an idea, suggesting Moscow working hard to bridge the gap between the two sides."
Julian Borger of adds, "Western sources at talks confirmed that some new ideas injected to talks but questioned whether Russian ideas or Iranian ideas via Russians."
The afternoon plenary has now begun.
0917 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syrian Front). Iranian State media assert, from "informed sources", that "the Iranian, Russian, Chinese and Syrian armies are due to stage joint amphibious exercises along the Syrian costs in coming weeks".
IRNA and Fars both write that 90,000 ground, air, and sea forces from the four countries, as well as 400 aircraft, 1000 tanks, and air defense and missile units, will take part. They claim that Egypt has agreed to grant passage to 12 Chinese warships through the Suez Canal and that Russian atomic submarines, warships, aircraft carriers, and mine-clearing destroyers will also arrive in Syria.
0911 GMT: Oil Watch. The head of Iran's insurance regulator has asserted that Iranian insurance companies will provide cover for foreign oil tankers after a European Union ban on coverage takes effect on 1 July.
"When international insurance companies began refusing to insure ships carrying Iran's oil, domestic companies formed a consortium to fill that void," Seyed Mohammad Karimi declared.
Fars said there are 24 privately-owned insurance companies in Iran.
0906 GMT: Censorship Watch. Iran Green Voice claims 60 additional websites have been filtered between March and May, while the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has banned two more publishers, Ketab-e Roshan and Academic Sciences (Oloum-e Daneshgahi).
Abdul Rahman Heidari, Taha Heidari, and Jamshid Heidari were detained in April 2011 with their cousin Mansour Heidari and Amir Muawi amid protests against the regime over Ahwazi rights and living conditions.
0645 GMT: Corruption Watch. Bamdad Khabar claims it has a file with 12 letters documenting "land grabs" by head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani and his brother Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior judiciary official, of state property in Varamin in Tehran Province.
The most provocative document purports to be of a senior advisor to the Supreme Leader, Vahid Haghanian, intervening with the Minister of Agriculture in spring 2009 to prevent prosecution of Mohammad Javad Larijani.
0540 GMT: Monday's talks in Moscow between Iran and the 5+1 Powers on Tehran's nuclear programme did not start well, and the signals of an "intense and tough" atmosphere continued throughout the day. Still, there was a glimmer last night of a platform for talks today, as the Russians --- playing the role of broker --- spent Monday night with the Iranian delegation and news of Tehran's five-point proposal emerged.
It is no more than a glimmer, but it appears that Iran --- while clearly rejecting the 5+1's non-starter of an offer --- has put down markers for discussion on the level to which it can enrich uranium, the safeguards of that enrichment, and the easing of US-led sanctions.
Now does the West engage with that five-point proposal or kick it aside, possibly moving towards a breakdown of the talks?
We have a special audio analysis in a separate entry.