See also Iran Interview: Middle Class Suffers, But Regime Will Take "Fair Package Deal" on Nuclear Program --- Iranian Analyst br>
The Latest from Iran (15 September): The Failure of the Regime's Anti-US Diversion?
1725 GMT: Currency Watch. Revolutionary Guards Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, in addition to his pointed comments on Libya, Syria, and the US/Israel, intervened in domestic affairs in his news conference: he announced that the Guards will confront "troublemakers" in the currency market at the request of President Ahmadinejad.
The currency website Mesghal is posting a near-unchanged Rial on the open market at 24420:1 vs. the US dollar, but the opposition site Peyke Iran claims the rate is 24700:1 with old gold coin soaring to 955,000 Tomans (about $780 at official rate; $390 at open-market rate).
1425 GMT: Cartoon of the Day. As senior reformist Mohammad Reza Tabesh says,"We are waiting for a green light from the Government" to participate in the 2013 Presidential election, Nikahang Kowsar has a not-so-flattering portrait of former President Mohammad Khatami and his wavering stance over the vote:
1415 GMT: Legal Threat of the Day. Javad Mohammadi, the deputy head of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, has claimed that Iran can sue President Obama over the US-produced film, "The Innocence of Muslims", which has fed demonstrations throughout North Africa and the Middle East: “A complaint could be filed with US courts against Obama for his violation of articles 18 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) calling for respect of faiths. Article 18 and 27 of the ICCPR, adopted by the United Nations, stipulate that the religion and the rights of the minorities should be respected."
1353 GMT: Smuggling Watch. A new high (or low) point in the escalating problem of smuggling --- the Governor of Bandar Abbas Province in southern Iran has announced the discovery of a 10-kilometre (6-mile) illegal pipeline.
1350 GMT: All the President's Men. A climb-down by the Government? The general manager of the Administrative Court claims the Minister of Labour has cancelled the appointment of Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi as head of the Social Security Fund.
The Court has demanded for months that Mortazavi, appointed last winter, should step down because of allegations of his role --- as Tehran Prosecutor General --- in the abuse and killing of detainees after the 2009 Presidential election; however, President Ahmadinejad has refused the order.
1335 GMT: Economy Watch --- Nothing to Say. Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini has replied to the demand of MP Elyas Naderan for a statement on the economic situation: "I am not responsible for foreign exchange and the budget, so I will not answer questions."
Meanwhile, Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, the chair of Parliament's Economy Committee, has claimed that it was President Ahmadinejad --- not the Central Bank --- who has halted distribution of foreign currency at official exchange rates to importers, holding up goods in Iranian ports for almost a month.
Foreign currency is half as expensive at official rates as it is on the open market.
Goudarzi, a prominent member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters and winner of the 2010 National Press Club award for Freedom of the Press, was arrested on 31 July 2011. He was released on 100 million Toman (about $82,000) bail after eight months in prison.
1305 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Don't believe the shipping data, the traders, energy analysts, and international media --- Iran is still the second-largest oil producer in Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
That's the message of Iran’s representative to OPEC, Seyyed Mohammad Ali Khatibi: "Data provided by Reuters are not accurate at all. The news agency’s data about increasing or reducing crude export are completely wrong. This news outlet presents data based on political objectives."
Reuters and other outlets reported, from OPEC's August market report, that Iraqi production reached 3.079 million barrels in July, placing it second behind Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile Iran’s output declined by 700,000 bpd to 2.817 million bpd, its lowest level since 1992.
Iran produced about 3.5 million bpd in 2011. Its exports have halved this year, falling to about 1.1 million bpd.
Jafari, in his confirmation that the Quds Force was active in both Syria and Lebanon to provide "counsel", declared that Iran was "proud of defending Syria, a member of the resistance" against Israel; however, "it does not mean that we have a military presence there".
Jafari reiterated that any attack on Iran would bring retaliation in the Strait of Hormuz and against US military bases as well as Israel: "This is a declared policy by Iran that if war occurs in the region and the Islamic republic is involved, it is natural that the Strait of Hormuz as well as the energy (market) will face difficulties."
Jafari continued, "The U.S. has many vulnerabilities around Iran, and its bases are within range of the Guards' missiles. We have other capabilities as well, particularly when it comes to the support of Muslims for the Islamic Republic."
Meanwhile, the commander assured, "Nothing of Israel would be left."
1005 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). In a wide-ranging interview, Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari has indicated that some members of the Quds Force, the elite Guards unit, are present in Syria as part of the Guard's "support for the oppressed nations, particularly Muslims".
Jafari said, however, that the aid was "intellectual and economic", not military.
1000 GMT: The Embassy Attacks. Finally, a regime official has criticised Tuesday's killing of the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, amid demonstrations over a US-produced film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad.
Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said the movie had "affected the feelings of Muslims and the only thing they could do was to take the protest to the Embassy", but anger did not give licence to attack and slay diplomats.
0600 GMT: First, the regime brought out the rhetoric for the controversy over the US-produced film "The Innocence of Muslims" --- denouncing the movie but offering no condolences for the deaths from the attacks at and near American embassies --- culminating in the Supreme Leader's statement on Thursday.
Then it sponsored the protests, mobilising a few hundred students in front of the Swiss Embassy on Thursday and then trying --- but generally failing --- to stage a large show after Tehran Friday Prayers.
And now it tries to keep attention on the film and the "enemies" with threats. Yadollah Javani, the head of the Political Bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, said Saturday that Muslim countries should "make the US and Israel pay dearly" for the insult to Islam. He called on them to halt the sale of oil and to "stop buying goods produced by the US or the Zionist regime, which will pose major challenges to the Western economy."