2010 GMT: Diplomacy Watch. ISNA highlights an interview with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who declares, “The other side has no choice but to come to an agreement with Iran. Otherwise, instead of interaction, the next option will be confrontation, and I don’t believe that any rational mind is after confrontation given the latest developments in the region.”
Salehi urged Iranians to be confident, "We have been subjected to sanctions for the past 33 years “come in addition to previous ones, and it isn’t a problem....[We must] show national unity and have resistance and patience against these sanctions because one has to pay the costs for preserving one’s independence."
Khosravani was sentenced to six years in prison in April 2011 on charges of “assembly and collusion for acting against national security,” and “propagating against the regime".
1650 GMT: All the President's Men. Abbas Ghaffari, spiritual advisor to President Ahmadinejad and Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, has been sentenced to eight years in prison, according to Mashregh News.
Ghaffari was given five years for blasphemy, two years for insulting Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader, and one year for propaganda against the regime, as well as 99 lashes.
At the time of his arrest in May 2011, accusers said Ghaffari was "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds" who had "invoked spirits and djinns".
1433 GMT: Oil Watch. Ibrahim Agha-Mohammadi, a member of Parliament's National Security Committee, has said that the panel has drafted an urgent bill, authorising closure of the Straits of Hormuz to any ship of a country sanctioning Tehran.
Agha-Mohammadi claimed that 100 of the 290 MPs of the Majlis had already signed the measure.
Meanwhile the Government has allocated $14 billion for the development of the energy sector.
The agreement to allocate the fund was signed by the Managing Director of Iran's National Development Fund, Mohammad Reza Farzin, and Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi.
Farzin said that the fund will be allocated for the development of the petrochemical industry, development and completion of refineries, development of downstream oil industries, development of Phases 20-25 of the South Pars oil and gas field, and the development of the upstream sector of the oil industries: "The $14 billion fund can create a remarkable momentum in the oil industry and indicates that despite sanctions there is no problem in the trend of the country's development and production in the oil sector."
Tehran made the offer days before European Union sanctions, withdrawing coverage from the tankers, came into effect.
The source said the use of Iranian-flagged ships to import Iranian oil "is not internationally prohibited". He asserted that if the consultations go well, South Korean oil refiners could resume imports from late this month or early next month.
The US Energy Information Administration reports that Iran's production fell by 180,000 barrels per day to 2.95 million bpd in June, its lowest output since 1989.
Meanwhile, figures indicate output from other countries can cover any shortfall of Iranian crude. A survey of oil companies and officials puts supply from the 12-member OPEC at 31.63 million bpd, only slightly down from April's 31.75 million bpd in April, the highest output since September 2008.
1355 GMT: Economy Watch. The Chief Executive Officer of the automobile manufacturer Pars Khodro has said that production of the Nissan Qashqai has stopped in Iran because of difficulties in importing parts.
Ronaghi Maleki, detained in December 2009, has been serving a 15-year sentence.
0805 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast repeats the line that sanctions hurt the West rather than Tehran: "The US and the EU [European Union] will face intensified financial woes as well as increasing social unrest as a result of their polices."
Mehmanparast also tried the argument, "They should be held accountable for their irresponsible measures which will aggravate the economic crisis in the world, since [energy] security is an indispensable part of the global energy market."
Economy Watch. Mehr documents the economic difficulties for a family of four amid inflation, "even with two people working and optimism about the figures".
The website also quotes a butcher who says his clientele is falling sharply because of the rising prices.
0555 GMT: Currency Watch. So far the Iranian Rial --- which lost more than 10% in value in the days before the latest sanctions --- has not been further shaken by yesterday's European Union suspension of imports of Iranian oil. Indeed, the currency has strengthened more than 1.5% to 19660:1 vs. the US dollar.
Bedeviled by government mismanagement of the economy and international sanctions over its nuclear program, Iran is in the grip of spiraling inflation. Just ask Ali, a fruit vendor in the capital whose business has been slow for months.
People hurried by his lavish displays of red grapes, dark blue figs and ginger last week, with few stopping to make a purchase. “Who in Iran can afford to buy a pineapple costing $15?” he asked. “Nobody.”
But Ali is not complaining, because he is making a killing in his other line of work: currency speculation. “At least the dollars I bought are making a profit for me,” he said....
Some, like Ali the fruit seller, who would not give his full name, exchange their rials for dollars and other foreign currencies as fast as they can. More sophisticated investors invest their cash in land, apartments, art, cars and other assets that will rise in value as the rial plunges.
For those on the losing end, however, every day brings more bad news. The steep price rises are turning visits by Tehran homemakers to their neighborhood supermarkets into nerve-racking experiences, with the price of bread, for example, increasing 16-fold since the withdrawal of state subsidies in 2010.
“My life feels like I’m trying to swim up a waterfall,” said Dariush Namazi, 50, the manager of a bookstore. Having saved for years to buy a small apartment, he has found the value of his savings cut in half by the inflation, and still falling. “I had moved some strokes up the waterfall, but now I fell down and am spinning in the water.”