1955 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. An interesting science lesson from the President today....
After commenting that drought in Iran has occurred because of industrial producton, he found another cause: the "purposeful destruction of clouds over Iran by enemies".
Ahmadinejad also had an annverisary message: while the media fusses about 3000 people killed on 9/11, there is silence on 1 million people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
1632 GMT: Assurance of the Day. Vice President Mohammad Reza Mirtajoddini has claimed that the increase in the price of chicken and milk is not indicative of inflation, which "is calculated on the basis of the price of 360 goods".
Mirtajoddini also took a swipe at Parliament, "The Government has something the Majlis doesn’t, and that’s the approval of the Leader [who signs] the orders of the President."
1612 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (British Front). Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi has appealed to Britain to allow Iranian consular staff back into the United Kingdom for “the sake of human rights".
Tehran wants to re-open its Embassy, closed since December 2011, to provide 350,000 Iranian nationals with consular services. Qashqavi said “at least two formal staff” would issues related to commercial documents or civil services such as marriage and divorce.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office responded, "We will not accept Iranian diplomats in the UK and we take the view that Iran will not protect our diplomats safety."
Britain withdrew its diplomats from Iran in December after a crowd stormed its embassy and residential compound in Tehran. London demanded at the same time that Iranian diplomats leave the United Kingdom.
In July, the two countries agreed that Sweden will handle consular issues related to British nationals living in Iran and that Oman will handle consular issues relating to Iranians living in Britain.
1605 GMT: Trade Watch. Reacting to tightening financial restrictions on Tehran's overseas transactions, Iranian and Pakistani private businessmen and industrialists have agreed to carry out trade in Pakistani rupees.
The agreement was reached on Monday during a meeting in Karachi between delegations led by Chamber of Commerce officials.
1555 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi has assured, "Most oil development projects are under way under conditions of sanctions, and perhaps we have the highest progress in the oil sector."
Iran's export of oil has halved in 2012 to just over 1.1 million barrels per day but Qassemi insisted that the future of the industry was bright, "Previously, we used to import most of the commodities from abroad. We do so to some extent at present as well, but thanks to the sanctions and our own capabilities, we hope that we would be able to manufacture all the [needed] equipment domestically and even become an exporter of equipment.”
Qassemi also said Iran is in talks to sell crude oil to Egypt. A spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Oil had no immediate comment.
After a 5% fall in the opening hours of today, the Iranian Rial has recovered by about 1.25% to 25350:1 vs. the US dollar.
1407 GMT: After the Summit. Iranian political and civil activists have expressed their appreciation to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for his "rational" and "brave" remarks during his visit last month to Tehran for the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The group wrote of disappointment that Ban was not allowed to see the detained opposition figures Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard, as well as former president Mohammad Khatami. However, they continue:
What you did in your three-day stay in Tehran put a meaningful smile on millions of Iranian citizens; citizens who are oppressed and in hardship, who are hurt not only because of a despotic and unaccountable regime but also because of extensive international sanctions, including threats of bombardment and war. You are absolutely right in inviting everyone to have faith in the power of diplomacy and deliberation....
In your meeting with the leader of the state you earnestly called for the “release of opposition leaders, human rights activists, journalists and social activists from prison and you stressed that this would help freedom of speech. You also rightly emphasized that this would make the voice of the Iranian people heard during next year which is when a new president will be elected. You stressed that it is only right that Iran cooperate with the UN’s human rights bodies, particularly the Special Rapporteur, and strengthen them. You reminded everyone that the United Nations and the international community are completely supportive of the long standing efforts of the Iranian people to strengthen democracy and human rights, and mentioned that the first human rights charter was created by Cyrus 2,500 years ago.
The activists urged Ban "to do everything in your power to end the violation of human rights by the Iranian government, uphold free elections, suspend economic sanctions and prevent a military attack on our country", as they were "confident that such efforts are supported by the widest social groups in Iran”.
1400 GMT: The Battle Within. Inspector General Mostafa Pourmohammadi, an increasingly vocal critic of the Ahmadinejad Government, has replied to the accusation of 1st Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi that he is corrupt: "The 21 billion Toman (about $17 million) I received as Minister of Interior were government loans I gave to others."
1145 GMT: Currency Watch. Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghaddam, the chair of the Parliament Planning and Budget Committee, has added his voice to accusations that the Central Bank has withheld foreign currency at official rate from importers for the last three weeks.
US dollars and other currencies are twice as expensive on the open market, amid the plummeting of the Iranian Rial, compared to the official rate.
"Unfortunately the government has made the biggest mistake in history by not injecting dollars to answer the demand of the foreign exchange market," Mesbahi-Moghaddam said. "From three weeks ago the central bank has stopped supplying dollars. The halt in the supply of dollars has caused a sharp increase in their price in the market."
Mehr first carried the story of the block on currency last week, quoting an importer who said key goods were stuck in customs because of the lack of subsidised dollars.
1015 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, has pressed Iran to grant IAEA inspectors access "without further delay" to the Parchin military site, to investigate whether a high-explosives container has been used for tests linked to the development of nuclear weapons.
Amano told a meeting of the 35-nation governing board of the IAEA that Iran said in a letter last month that the allegation was "baseless", but he continued, "The activities observed further strengthen our assessment that it is necessary to have access to the location at Parchin without further delay in order to obtain the required clarifications."
A meeting between senior IAEA and Iranian officials just over two weeks ago failed to reach agreement, both on general provisions of inspection and supervision of nuclear facilities and of the specific issue of access to Parchin. Iranian authorities have expressed concern over the possible leak of information from the military site to Western and Israeli intelligence services.
"This is frustrating ... We consider it essential for Iran to engage with us without further delay on the substance of our concerns," Amano said today. "Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to ... conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."
0923 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). The Foreign Ministry has said that Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian is on his way to Cairo to join officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for a "contact group" meeting on the Syria conflict.
Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, "Iran's participation in this meeting is within the framework of solving the Syrian crisis and to listening to the Egyptian proposal. Iran will use this opportunity to provide its views, in addition to those of the other countries to this group."
On Sunday, State media quoted Abdollahian as saying, in a meeting with a Chinese counterpart, “Iran's support for the Syrian people and Bashar al-Assad’s reforms within the context of the resistance front will continue."
Abdollahian continued, “The victory of the Syrian nation has become evident....Syria has taken strong steps in the path of fighting terrorism."
The Rial has lost more than 18% against the dollar in just over 48 hours.
0717 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Detained senior reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, in a letter brought out of Evin Prison, has put 10 questions to the "hard-line" Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi over the difference between absolute dictatorship and an authoritarian clerical regime. Topics include "democracy", the meida, and attitudes to dissent and peaceful protests.
0700 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. So what was President Ahmadinejad's reaction to the falling currency and the criticism of his Government over economic problems? He opened a phase of the Gorgan railway project on Sunday.
0630 GMT: Nuclear Front. Yesterday we opened with the analysis that there is no prospect of renewed high-level discussions between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) on Tehran's nuclear programme, primarily because Washington and the Europeans have little interest in negotiations unless Iran signals concessions in advance.
A senior official of the Foreign Ministry, Mostafa Dolatyar, indicated on Sunday that this is also the Islamic Republic's assessment, telling a seminar in Moscow: "The United States and its allies have adopted hostile approaches and unconstructive positions in the past years, thereby killing the chance of obtaining any agreement."
0620 GMT: We begin this morning with a snap analysis on "The Currency Crisis", as we watch for further developments and the political effects.
The leading currency website Mesghal has yet to update Sunday's closing figure of 24450 Rials to the US dollar, a fall of more than 12% in value since the start of Saturday trading on the open market.
State media, meanwhile, has no news on the situation, preferring to announce that the South Pars oil field will start production in March 2013 and to headline "Iran, China Tied in World Peace Quest". State news agency IRNA prefers the announcement that the Government will provide low-interest loans to farmers affected by last month's earthquake in East Azerbaijan Province, and the good-news claim that water and electricity capacity has increased.