1945 GMT: Oil Watch. A South Korean official has said that Iran offered to supply oil to Seoul in its own tankers, after European Union sanctions threatened to cut South Korean purchases of Iranian crude.
South Korean officials indicated earlier this week that Seoul would halt shipments from 1 July because of the lack of insurance cover on tankers. That cover is provided by European companies, who will suspend service as EU sanctions take effect.
1745 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's National Security Committee, has called Turkey’s decisions in the Syrian crisis "hasty" and demanded that Ankara show restraint and patience over the conflict.
Boroujerdi asserted that Turkey should engage in talks with other regional countries to help restore Syria’s stability instead of stoking insecurity.
1735 GMT: Oil Watch. One of the important developments in the last two years has been the withdrawal of foreign companies --- Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian among them --- from investment in Iranian oil and gas fields.
This, however, is not a useful narrative for the domestic audience. So Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi has said, "Making good use of the opportunity of sanctions, indigenous manufacturers are now rapidly replacing large foreign producers and this can contribute to the complete independence of the oil industry from foreigners."
Qassemi declared that the Iranian oil industry is recruiting national rather than foreign contractors in their race towards “100-percent” independence from foreigners.
"We have already equipped our vessels with missiles with a range of 220 kilometres (136 miles) and we hope to introduce missiles with a range of over 300 kilometres (186 miles) soon," Fadavi said. "We could target from our shores all areas in the Persian Gulf region, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman."
1300 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. No przies for guessing the theme of Hojetoleslam Kazem Siddiqi's sermon today --- the cleric declared that US-led sanctions will not disrupt the unity, cohesion, and prosperity of the Islamic Republic.
Siddiqi, in contrast to the concern expressed by other Iranian leaders (see 0550 GMT), was buoyant: “Iran has flourished [despite] sanctions," adding that Western countries must know that their sanctions have backfired and put more pressure on their own people than on Iranians.
Siddiqi also assured the audience that the 5+1 Powers (Britain, China, France, Russia, US, and Germany), were bewildered when confronted with Iran's “wise and logical” approach in the formal nuclear negotiations last week in Moscow.
0705 GMT: Murder Mystery. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has highlighted the case of Fatemeh Bagheri Nejadian Fard, the daughter of a former MP, who was killed in July 2011.
In interviews with Iranian journalists Fereshteh Ghazi and Masih Alinejad, Mohammad Bagher Bagheri Nejadian Fard has said his daughter was murdered by security forces, and he repeated the allegation to the ICHRI:
Fatemeh participated in the post-election protests, but she wasn’t so active to warrant her death. First they told us that she had died of natural causes. Then they told us that she had taken an agricultural pesticide pill, but I believe she was murdered by security forces, but I don’t know why or how. Maybe it was for my reformist views, or because my daughter participated in the post-election events. I have been threatened to keep silent about my daughter’s case. Isn’t this a sign?
Nejadian Fard said Fatemeh's bore signs of beating. He added:
Security forces showed up starting on the day of Fatemeh’s funeral. Later, they showed up to her memorial services [that occurred] one week and 40 days after her death, where they told me that if I continue with what I had been saying, the lives of my other children would also be endangered. They didn’t allow the speaker to talk at the memorial service, either. Then the Security Police contacted our home and asked me why I didn’t keep silent and why I say that the regime has murdered my daughter. Then they went to the Imam of the local mosque who had preached at my daughter’s memorial service and intimidated him, calling him anti-Supreme Leader for speaking at the funeral. Even my friends were threatened at the funeral, so that only a few people dare call our house or socialize with us. Aren’t all these signs that they murdered my daughter and are now threatening us into silence?
0550 GMT: There has been a notable shift in the rhetoric of the regime's leaders this week. For months, they have been assuring that sanctions were not harming Iran's economy and that it would be the "West" who would feel the effects, as the cut-off of Iranian trade and finance was felt in already-damaged economies in the US and Europe.
However, earlier this week, the Supreme Leader acknowledged the effort to undermine the Islamic Republic, even though he claimed that this would be vanquished:
The main aim of the sanctions imposed by arrogant powers is the Iranian people so that the pressure will cause people to become frustrated and separate from the Islamic establishment. However, by God’s grace, they will fail in this conspiracy as they still do not know our people and officials.
Yesterday Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, the hard-line Tehran Friday Prayer leader and member of the Assembly of Experts, went even farther. He effectively conceded the growing threat of inflation as he told his audience, "Don't complain about the increase in prices; that's what the enemy wants."
Perhaps the most telling signal has been on the diplomatic front. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, visiting Cyprus and Kazakhstan, has been appealing to Europe to work with the Islamic Republic on a settlement of the nuclear issue. And then this news emerged on State media:
In a letter addressed to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday, [chief nuclear negotiator Saeed] Jalili said the Islamic Republic of Iran is always ready to contribute to initiatives that facilitate successful talks.
He noted that such talks are only possible in the framework of cooperation, and when they are aimed at winning the trust of the Iranian nation.
Those who replace logic with illegitimate measures must be held accountable for any harm to the talks, the top Iranian negotiator stated.
Translation? Pull back the sanctions that are supposedly not affecting the Iranian economy.
The European Union's cut-off of imports of Iranian oil begins in less than 48 hours.