President Ahmadinejad and military commanders review Friday's parade in Tehran
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The Latest from Iran (21 September): Worrying about Inflation
Fars reports that, of Ahmadinejad's 160-member entourage, 20 have had visas denied --- another Iranian outlet says 60 did not receive visas in time for the trip --- and two of these are Ministers.
The Ministers are not named, but Fars identifies two members of Ahmadinejad's staff --- Mohammad Shaikhan, in charge of communications and information, and Mohammad Jafar Behdad, in charge of political affairs.
It was Bastani's first leave since he was detained weeks after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.
1246 GMT: War Not Diplomacy Watch. It looks like the top commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, has undermined Iranian diplomacy --- for example, on the Syrian crisis and on Tehran's nuclear programme --- as his declaration of an "inevitable" war with Israeli grab international headlines. Reuters quotes Jafari's comments at a military exhibition, drawing from the Iranian Students News Agency:
A war will occur, but it's not clear where or when it will be. Israel seeks war with us, but it's not clear when the war will occur. Right now they see war as the only method of confrontation.
A war will occur, but it's not clear where or when it will be. Israel seeks war with us, but it's not clear when the war will occur.
Right now they see war as the only method of confrontation.
Jafari concluded, "If they (Israel) start something, they will be destroyed and it will be the end of the story for them."
1027 GMT: Fashion Watch. Gholam Reza Khajesarvi, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, has said that a scheme for compulsory uniform for female students is ready for eight universities in Tehran and five elsewhere in Iran. Female students will have a choice between a chador or a manteau and maghnaeh (habit-like headscarf).
1020 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. The top commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, has said a war on Iran "will eventually happen", although the time and location is unknown. He warned that the attack will lead to the obliteration of the Israeli regime.
1011 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Aftab reports that the President is travelling to New York for this week's session of the United Nations General Assembly with "only" 100 people, as the visa applications of 60 others were rejected or delayed.
0956 GMT: A Political Prisoner Writes His Son. Activist Amir Khosrow Dalirsani --- arrested during the Ashura demonstrations of December 2009 and sentenced to four years in prison --- has written his son Erfan as he goes to school for the first time:
Today, I await impatiently your entry into the land of my dreams, hoping that you will enter my world of hopes and ideals through reading and writing that may answer your many questions.
I hope you my understand why your father was not ready to sacrifice his pride and ideals to be near you, and why he preferred resistance for a better future for you and other children of this land is more important than being at your side.
0716 GMT: Foundations Watch. Mashregh News claims that several prominent cultural foundations, including Bonyad Shaheed, Al-Zahra Community, and the Khomeini Institute, have had their funds halted or reduced.
0710 GMT: Transport Watch. The opposition website Kalemeh claims a project for a subway in the southern city of Ahwaz has been shut down because of a lack of capital, with workers put on forced leave.
0700 GMT: Oil Watch. Writing for Tehran Bureau, Matthew Reed surveys the oil situation --- with Iranian exports falling to just over 1 million barrels per day, from a 2011 level of 2.2 million bpd --- and summarises:
July was the worst month for Iran but exports should rise by the end of September now that new shipping arrangements are being smoothed out. Exports will probably settle into the 1.2-1.4 million b/d range for the remainder of 2012, after briefly falling below one million b/d. In today's prices, a loss of one million b/d amounts to $110 million every day --- and more than $3 billion every month.
0550 GMT: The regime put on a military show on Friday for the start of the "Sacred Work of Defense", marking the 32nd anniversary of the Iran-Iraq War. There was a parade, the standard statements of defiance, aimed at "enemies" such as the US and Israel, and a new, homemade anti-aircraft system.
However, the significant story was away from the ceremony, as the military tried to take back a statement made on Sunday by the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari. The Guards' commander for public relations said that Jafari's declaration that the Quds Force --- the elite unit of the Guards --- was giving "counsel" to the Syrian regime had been distorted by the "abuse" and "manipulation" of foreign media.
Ramezan Sharif insisted that Jafari's reference to "intellectual and advisory assistance, and transfer of experiences to Syria" was merely part of the Islamic Republic's systme of "military attaches in fifteen countries of the world".
Interpretation? Jafari's statement, as we noted throughout this week, has undermined the effort of other Iranian actors, notably the Foreign Ministry, to put Iran at the top table of negotiations on the Syrian crisis. It has exposed the Islamic Republic's line decrying "foreign intervention" as the root of the problem as hypocrisy. So somehow, amid all the parades of this week, the admission that Iran's military elite is helping the Assad regime wage its battle has to be swept away.