1653 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Relatives of political prisoners born in the Iranian month of Shahrivar (August/September) gather to celebrate their birthdays:
1558 GMT: Loyalty Watch. Ali Saeedi, the Supreme Leader’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards, has given the solution for all problems for Iranians: "[By] strengthening the people’s acceptance of guardianship [of the Leader], they will remain immune from harm”.
1551 GMT: Elections Watch. Former President Mohammad Khatami has said, “A spirited election without the release of political prisoners and the release of [opposition figures Mir Hossein] Mousavi and [Mehdi] Karroubi from house arrest, is not possible."
Khatami said before the 2012 Parliamentary vote that participation should be conditional on the release of political prisoners, as well as free and fair elections and adherence to the Constitution, but he never called for a boycott of the vote and eventually cast his ballot.
1545 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The 5+1 Powers (US, UK, Germany, France, Russia, and China) have tabled a draft resolution for the International Atomic Energy Agency which criticises Iran for defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions to suspend uranium enrichment, refusal to allow IAEA inspectors into the Parchin military base, and suspected removal of evidence of nuclear weapons research.
The resolution stops short of a referral of Iran to the Security Council.
The draft text also warns Israel in two separate paragraphs that the diplomatic process should be supported.
1530 GMT: Currency Watch. There has been no change today in Mesghal's posted rate of the Iranian Rial at 24520:1 vs. the US dollar.
Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini has reiterated the line against Government intervention, expressed in a closed-door session of Parliament on Tuesday, in a televised interview: “At no time in the country’s history has the Central Bank had today’s level of currency reserves, but our emphasis and politics is not to use the currency reserves on present needs”.
Hosseini said that once order is re-established in the market, more foreign currency will be made available for non-luxury goods.
That statement may indicate that the Bank will continues its freeze, reportedly imposed three weeks ago, on foreign currency for importers. The suspension has led to the hold-up of goods at Iranian ports.
1250 GMT: The Battle Within. The newspaper Iran, close to President Ahmadinejad, has continued the fight with Inspector General Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, one of a number of former Ministers who has called for a power-sharing arrangement to take authority from the President.
Two days after the name of Pourmohammadi’s recently-deceased assistant was reportedly mentioned in the $2.6 billion embezzlement case, Iran accused the Inspector of Gemera; of profiting from bulldozers imported from Dubai and buses from China.
On another front, the conservative site Baztab Emrouz attacks Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the "hard-line" Kayhan, claiming his family are in Europe and North America "living on public funds".
1100 GMT: Oil Watch. Different figures have been posted today about the state of Iran's oil exports, but all point to a continuing reduction of at least 50% from last year.
Analysts Dan Gerber of Petro-Logistics, which tracks tanker movements, said exports had fallen to under 1 million barrels per day in recent weeks.
The International Energy Agency said exports of Iranian oil inched up to 1.1 million bpd in August, from less than 1m b/d in July.
Some leading customers, such as Japan, cut their purchases entirely in January amid tightening US and European Union sanctions, although reports indicate that shipments have resumed to Japan, South Korea, and India as Iran tries to replace insurance coverage on tankers that had been provided by European companies. At one point earlier this year, Iran was said to be storing up to 40 million barrels of crude oil and condensates, but Gerber said the volume had now fallen to around 15 million barrels.
Iran exported an average of 2.2 million bpd in 2011.
0715 GMT: Economy Watch. In contrast to the silence in State media about economic issues, Khabar Online --- linked to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani --- reports on Tuesday's closed-door meeting in Parliament with Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini about the currency crisis.
Hosseini said that the refusal to put foreign exchange into the currency market was not his Ministry's decision and that he had no knowledge about the deliberations.
The Central Bank has been criticised by MPs and businessmen for its apparent refusal to release foreign currency to importers for the last three weeks, leading to goods being held up in Iranian ports.
0655 GMT: Nuclear Watch. On Tuesday, we noted with some scepticism an Associated Press report, fed by unnamed "diplomats", of "new and significant intelligence over the past month that Iran has moved further toward the ability to build a nuclear weapon". The article claimed, "Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of an atomic warhead through a series of computer models that it ran sometime within the past three years", but we could find no reference to those models in the latest assessment of the International Atomic Energy Agency on 30 August.
Greg Thielmann and Kelsey Davenport, in a closely-argued analysis for the Arms Control Association, consider the AP article, the IAEA's reports, and wider context to conclude, "Evidence of computer modeling that could have taken place more than two years ago is far from the threshold of proof that is necessary to say that Iran has developed a rapid breakout nuclear capacity. Nor does it suggest that Iran has crossed a U.S. “red line” that could prompt a resort to military force."
0625 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). There are widely diverging reports on the first meeting in Cairo among the new four-nation "contact group" on the Syrian conflict.
Fars reports that "Iran voiced agreement with the general points stated in the Egyptian initiative", which also includes Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Egyptian officials, however, are leaking news of an effort by President Mohamed Morsi to get the Islamic Republic to end its support for Syria's President Assad:
Morsi offered a package of incentives for Tehran to end its support of Assad, the officials said.
Cairo would agree to restore full diplomatic ties, a significant diplomatic prize for Iran given that Egypt is the most populous Arab nation and a regional powerhouse. Morsi would also mediate to improve relations between Iran and conservative Gulf Arab nations that have long viewed Shiite Iran with suspicion and whose fears of the Persian nation have deepened because of Iran's disputed nuclear program.
Also, Morsi offered a "safe exit" for Assad, his family and members of his inner circle.
And yet another report, from AFP, highlights Iran's strategy to expand the contact group by bringing in Iraq and Venezuela.
0610 GMT: The Iranian economy may be in the middle of rising inflation, widespread unemployment, declining production amid escalating imports, sharply reduced oil revenues, and a falling currency, but there is really no need to mention this --- at least on State media outlets like IRNA and Press TV.
Both sites prefer to feature President Ahmadinejad's meeting with the head of the Chinese Congress on Tuesday, with IRNA putting out Ahmadinejad's rhetoric exalting close relations and Press TV empahsising Wu Bangguo's statement that that the Islamic Republic's “right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy must be respected”.
The only economic story on the homepages of the sites is Press TV's feel-good declaration by the Ministry of Energy, "Iran's Electricity Exports to Neighboring Countries up 46%".