See also Iran Feature: The Banning and Detention of Conservative Bloggers br>
Iran Analysis: West To Tehran on Nuclear Issue "Accept Our Demands or No More Talks" br>
The Latest from Iran (2 August): Worrying About Syria
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL.NS), the biggest Indian buyer of Iranian oil, will make a rupee payment on Monday, a company official said.
India is Iran's second-largest oil buyer, but has struggled since the end of 2010 to find ways to pay for the oil amid Western sanctions that blocked arrangements in dollars and Asian currencies.
After months of discussions, Tehran and New Delhi agreed in January for part-payment in rupees. The Indian currency is not internationally convertible, but Iran can use the revenues to buy products from Delhi.
1528 GMT: Scholar Watch. Earlier today (see 0805 GMT) we noted the regime pressure on Iranian academics to withdraw from the biennial conference of the International Society of Iranian Studies in Istanbul, which began yesterday.
An EA correspondent points us to the impact: 11 conference panels --- "The Social Elite, Court Life, and the State in the Safavid Period" to "Electoral Politics in Iran: From Participation to Representation" --- have been cancelled.
1423 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Press TV's summary of the Tehran Friday Prayer is one of the most striking admissions to date of the Islamic Republic's economic problems:
A senior Iranian cleric has called on the people and authorities of Iran to form a united front against the “economic war” waged on the Islamic republic.
“This is the war in which the enemy, having suffered defeat in other wars, is trying to regain its lost face through victory,” Tehran’s interim Friday Prayers leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, said.
He stated that economic problems in Iran have their root in politics, adding that the US seeks to restore its domination of the region by inflicting an economic defeat on Iran.1330 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. A bit more from today's address by Ayatollah Jannati (see 1155 GMT) --- after blaming God for heat, cold, and high prices, he called on all Iranians to mobilise to meet the economic challenge.
1125 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Another, very interesting extract from President Ahmadinejad's speech to university students (see 0720 GMT): "My political opponents say my whole family is against me. They contact my mother & say strange things to her."
The President also defended pro-Ahmadinejad bloggers who have been arrested for criticising his rivals (see separate EA feature).
0805 GMT: Scholar Watch. The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center summarises regime pressure on Iranian academics to withdraw from the biennial conference of the International Society of Iranian Studies in Istanbul.
0755 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Press TV's perspective --- very different from mine (see 0540 GMT) and from that of Laura Rozen --- on Thursday's conversation between Iran's Saeed Jalili and the 5+1's Catherine Ashton:
Jalili pointed to Iran's ‘constructive, effective and innovative attitude’ toward the negotiations and said,” A clear and specific response [from the P5+1] to the Islamic Republic of Iran's sensible ideas is a logical request.”
Ashton, for her part, welcomed Iran's proposed ideas in the recent Tehran-P5+1 talks in Istanbul. She said that she would confer with the P5+1 group on the issue and will announce the conclusion to Jalili within two weeks.
Tony Karon of Time cuts through this presentation: "The [US] Administration’s emphasis is clearly on sanctions rather than diplomacy, having made clear to the Iranians that there’ll be no easing of the most painful pressure until Tehran is willing to heed all demands being put to it — something Iran stresses it has no intention of doing, even if it was willing to consider compromise options."
0735 GMT: Call to Arms. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, has asserted that the Islamic Revolution is in "a very critical and decisive situation" as it spreads fast throughout the world: "We need capable forces".
The declaration came amid pressure on the President --- notably from the judiciary and from conservative political opponents --- to force the resignation of his aide Saeed Mortazavi as head of the Social Security Fund, following a court order for the suspension.
Ahmadinejad also took on his rivals on other fronts. In a marked shift from his offers to Washington on nuclear issues last year, he said "talks with the US are wrong". Regarding the economy, he said shortages are a "minor problem". The bigger one, he asserted, was sustaining "the Revolution's principles": "We must beware of the day when the whole area (Middle East and North Africa) is against us."
0540 GMT: A non-development last night in the nuclear talks between the Islamic Republic and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia) --- the lead Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili and his 5+1 counterpart, Catherine Ashton spoke by phone, their first conversation since the last set of high-level discussions in Moscow in mid-June.
The headline for the press was Ashton's statement, "“I proposed, and Dr Jalili agreed, that we talk again after further reflection at the end of the month," but this is only the public gloss on a Western strategy which is no longer seeking --- if it ever did --- a negotiated compromise with the Islamic Republic. Instead, the US, Britain, France, and probably Germany perceive that Iran may crack under economic pressure to the point of accepting their demands.