2030 GMT: Blessing of the Day. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has assured Iranians, "We are facing the harshest sanctions, but they are God's greatest blessing because of all we gain from our resistance to the US."
1730 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Reza Taghavi, the head of the Friday Prayer Leaders' Policymaking Council, has declared, "Iran is now capable of enriching uranium at a 20-percent level, but if [other countries] continue their pressure, we will increase enrichment levels to 56 percent."
1718 GMT: Chicken Watch. Etedaal satirises the current tension over the rising price of chicken --- it envisages the Central Bank announcing four- and six-month "pre-sales" of chicken, with prices to be fixed on a weekly basis.
1715 GMT: Parliament v. President. Conservative MP Abed Fattahi has said that, instead of managing the world, the Government might start with managing the environment issue of Lake Urmia and the rising price of chicken, rectifying the main cause of its poor administration.
Iran has turned over 17 of 45 power plants to the private sector since 2008 and plans to transfer the other 28 with an estimated value of $11.4 billion by March 2013.Prices for 18 of the plants have been set and will be offered in the form of shares or assets, Bahman Allah-Moradi, the administrator for privatisation, said. The value of 10 more stations is being evaluated and will be announced by the end of the summer.
"Despite the foreign search engine's support for the Persian language, we want to launch domestic search engines which support the Persian language intelligently and present a more applicable understanding of the Iranian users' demand and intention," the deputy head of the Information Technology Organization, Ali Asqar Ansari, said. "Operators which will be called 'Fajr' will receive operation license for presenting search engines in Iran."
The regime has often declared that it will establish a "national information network", or Intranet, for the Islamic Republic. According to Mehr, Minister of Communication and Information Technology Reza Taghiipour has said that the plan will be implemented in September.
1445 GMT: Chicken Watch. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has a solution for the rising cost of chicken, "Don't eat it because it is harmful."
1359 GMT: Reformist Watch. Apparently responding to reports of some reformists --- including former President Mohammad Khatami --- are considering participation in the 2013 Presidential election, Hamid Reza Moghaddam-Far, the cultural deputy of the Revolutionary Guards, has said the reformists can return to politics if they "don't abuse the kindness of the regime".
At the same time, Moghaddam-Far challenged any involvement by Khatami, claiming he was a leader of "the 2009 sedition".
1319 GMT: The Battle Within. Fars reports a jab by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, Tehran Friday Prayer leader and member of the Assembly of Experts, at the inner circle of President Ahmadinejad: "I love Iran, but not the deviant Iranian current."
The term "deviant current" usually refers to Presidential advisors such as Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.
1307 GMT: Economy Watch. State media report that the Central Bank will introduce a three-tiered exchange rate system for purchases of different classes of imports.
The Iranian rial has lost nearly half its value on the open market in the last year, significantly raising the cost of imports. That in turn has crippled parts of Iran's industrial and agricultural sectors using foreign inputs for their production.
The the official government exchange rate is 12,260 Rials to the US dollar, a gap of more than 60% from the market rate 19,000 Rials to the dollar. The Cetnarl Bank will provide dollars at the official rate to import "basic goods", and a rate of 15,000 Rials to the dollar for "capital and intermediate goods."
Luxury goods such as "cars and dolls" will still be imported at the market rate.
1257 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Tabnak has denied the rumour, first circulated by Israel National News on Thursday, that Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards, died in Wednesday's bomb that struck the inner circle of the Syrian regime.
State news agency IRNA says Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi and his Syrian counterpart Jassem al-Freij discussed by phone the latest developments in Syria.
1130 GMT: Morality Watch. A snapshot from a Washington Post on the crackdown by security forces on inappropriate dress:
Mostafa, a 46-year-old marketing consultant, described how his 16-year-old daughter was arrested in a crowded shopping mall. “They coaxed her into the police van and told her they just wanted to talk to her,” he explained. “Once she was in the van the whole atmosphere changed and they said things that made her cry.”
After a brief time in custody, his daughter, Banafshe, was released. “Do you know what her response was to the whole episode?” he asked. “She said, ‘Dad, as soon as I finish high school I’m leaving this country forever.’”
1002 GMT: Remembering the Dead. A former MP has claimed that his daughter, Fatemeh Bagherian-Nejad, was abducted and killed by security forces last year after the funeral of long-time political activist Ezzatollah Sahabi.
0957 GMT: Support Your Leader. Digarban claims 6000 praisers have been dispatched throughout the Islamic Republic to explain that sanctions are the cause of inflation and to criticise talks with the US.
0937 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). The conservative Asr-e Iran has broken with other Iranian outlets over coverage of Syria. It criticised the media's "disinformation" and demanded the repatriation of Iranians from the embattled country.
Chiding those who pretended all is well in Damascus, Asr-e Iran used a Persian saying, "The bowl is hotter than the soup."
0928 GMT: Please Be Our Friend. Ever since the fall of the Mubarak regime in February 2011, the Islamic Republic has seen Egypt as a potential ally in re-shaping the Middle East, and the election of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi as President has renewed hope.
Tehran's effort has been beset by problems, however, with Fars reportedly faking an interview with Morsi and the Egyptian President's office denying a report that he was visiting Tehran. This week Morsi made his first Presidential trip to Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic's rival for Middle Eastern influence.
Given this, today's article from Press TV is, well, a bit pleading:
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has expressed hope that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi would attend the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, describing him as one of the principal guests of the event.
Considering that the NAM presidency will be passed on to the Islamic Republic by Egypt, we do hope that President Morsi would attend the summit, said Ramin Mehmanparast Friday in an exclusive interview with the Tehran-based Iran Daily newspaper.
“In any case,” said Mehmanparast, “we have invited Mr. Morsi as one of the most important guests and the president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) has personally invited him to attend the summit in a telephone conversation.”
He further noted that since Egypt has made a move towards a new state of affairs, “it is natural that under such circumstances Mr. Morsi would appear more appealing to the media and the public.”
0735 GMT: Remembering the Dead. The front page of Shargh highlights the memorial service for the three confirmed victims of the abuses in the Kahrizak detention centre after the 2009 Presidential election:
0600 GMT: In the Tehran Friday Prayers, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami's focus was beyond Iran, condemning foreign support of "terrorists" in the Syrian conflict. He denounced Wednesday's bombing in Damascus that killed President Assad's leading officials as "a measure of the sheer spite that the arrogant powers hold against the Syrian regime and nation".
Khatami said “resistance against global devils and extortionists” was the only viable option for the regime and claimed, "Syria is paying for its support for the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah as well as its ties with the Islamic Republic."
More interesting than Khatami's declaration --- be it a show of strength behind Damascus or a show of concern that President Assad's power may be crumbling --- were the words from his fellow Tehran Friday Prayers leader Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi. In his statement --- be it a show of strength for the regime or a show of concern that political and economic criticism may go beyond the Government and reach Ayatollah Khamenei --- he insisted:
Today the whole world envies us for the Supreme Leader as the defender of religion. In Islamic society, the ruler is like qibla [the direction faced by a Muslim during prayer].
Those who don't accept the Supreme Leader, don't accept the rule of God.