Claimed footage of insurgents speaking in front of the 48 Iranians seized in Syria on Saturday --- Tehran says the men are pilgrims, but the Free Syrian Army claims they are members of the Iranian military assisting the Assad regime
The Rial is now approaching its lowest point in a currency crisis that started last autumn.
1345 GMT: CyberWatch. Minister of Communication Reza Taghipour has claimed that the "national Internet", providing alternative services to e-mail and Web providers such as Google and Yahoo!, will be implemented within a month.
Khavari, facing allegations of involvement in a $2.6 billion bank fraud, fled the Islamic Republic for Canada last September. The banker holds both Iranian and Canadian citizeship.
Four men were sentenced to death last week for their role in the fraud, with 35 other defendants receiving lengthy prison sentences.
1146 GMT: The Battle Within. The Revolutionary Guard commander in Yazd in central Iran has said reformists, the Green Movement, and President Ahmadinejad's team "form three points of an unholy triangle".
1058 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). A bit of context to the story of the 48 Iranians seized by insurgents near Damascus on Saturday....
Before reports of the capture emerged, Iranian Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi said the Islamic Republic has not sent any military forces to Syria and the Syrian regime has never asked it to do so.
Vahidi was responding to claims in Israeli media that more than 3,000 Iranian snipers had arrived in Damascus to aid President Assad's forces.
(Cross-posted from Syria Live Coverage)
1025 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Kazem Jalali, a member of Parliiament's National Security Committee, has advised Iranian citizens to refrain from traveling to Syria individually to use formal caravans instead.
Jalali said 48 Iranians seized by insurgents on Saturday --- claimed as pilgrims by Tehran and as members of the Iranian military and military by the Free Syrian Army --- were not in one of the caravans.
Troops of the Al Baraa Brigade of Free Syrian Army said the Iranians are "shabiha (militiamen)...who were on a reconnaissance mission in Damascus".
He continued, "During the investigation, we found that some of them were officers in the Revolutionary Guards."
Abdel Nasser Shmeir, a commander of the Al Baraa Brigade, said later, "They are 48, in addition to an Afghani interpreter," among a 150-strong group sent by Iran for "reconnaissance on the ground".
The five include the Managing Director of Bank Mellat, Ali Divandari.
The Saudi King has called for “extraordinary Islamic solidarity meeting to ensure... unity during this delicate time as the Muslim world faces dangers of fragmentation and sedition,” reported the Saudi Gazette.
0831 GMT: Headline of Day. Press TV's banner for this morning's declaration by the Speaker of Parliament (see 0639 GMT), "Fuelling Fire in Syria Will Wolf Israeli Regime: Larijani".
0759 GMT: Currency Watch. Amid the worries over the Iranian Rial, the head of the Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, has put out yet another statement promising action to solve the problem, with a single rate for foreign exchange in the next days.
The Islamic Republic had five different rates last year before the Central Bank tried and failed to impose a single level at the start of 2012. In recent weeks, there have been more rates introduced for imports.
It is unclear how the rate will deal with the 70% gap between the official rate of 12260:1 for the Rial v. the dollar and the "open-market" rate of 20200:1 --- Bahmani said the rate of 12260:1 will be maintained for only five essential goods.
0731 GMT: Campus Watch. Rah-e Sabz posts a report claiming gender segregation at more than 60 Iranian universities.
0639 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front) Confusion this morning over 48 Iranian men who were abducted on Saturday as they travelled to the Damascus airport --- al-Mayadeen TV said they were released, but an official in the Iranian embassy denied the report.
(Cross-posted from Syria Live Coverage)
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has reportedly asked his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoğlu and Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir Al Thani to intervene.
Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has put out a "severe warning" to the West and the "Zionist" nation to stop interfering in Syria. He told the Majlis, "Several decades ago, America took hundreds of thousands of lives in Hiroshima."
That may be a timely message, as the Ahmadinejad Government faces a significant moral and political choice today. Jomhouri Eslami claims that the Administrative Court has officially published the ruling that Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi must resign as head of the Social Security Fund.
This is a "red line" case for the President, who has defied court orders since last year for the suspension of Mortazavi from his duties, because of his alleged role as Tehran Prosecutor General in the abuses and killings at the Kahrizak detention centre in summer 2009.
After the Court put out its initial ruling last month for Mortazavi's departure from the Fund, 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi defiantly said the aide would not step down. Conservative critics of the Government have warned that Ministers, beginning with the Minister of Labour, will be impeached if the resistance continues.