See also Syria and Iran Feature: 2130 Civilian Prisoners To Be Released in Exchange for 48 Iranian "Pilgrims" br>
Iran Audio Feature: How Serious is the Oil Crisis? --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24 br>
Tuesday's Iran Live Coverage: The Regime Admits the Oil Squeeze
2055 GMT: Engineering Elections Watch. Back to our opening story....
The Supreme Leader's representative, Ali Saeedi, may have set off a political storm with his remark that it is the duty of the Revolutionary Guards to "engineer" the elections --- even if the Guards tried to soften that comment by saying it referred only to ensuring security for the vote.
That's because President Ahmadinejad chose to run with the possibility of inappropriate intervention by the Guards: "Whoever wants to manage people's votes will be managed by the people."
A Guards spokesman responded that the President's remark was "astonishing".
1955 GMT: The House Arrests. Leading conservative politician Habibollah Asgarouladi has pulled back on his recent statements that detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi are not "seditionists".
Asgarouladi had said that the problem was that Mousavi and Karroubi were surrounded by seditious elements, but he told Mehr, in an interview published today, "I never said [they] are not seditionists, I said they are not at the top of the sedition."
Asgarouladi continued, "I've said clearly that they stood against the establishment and the people, and they have to be held responsible."
The politician's initial comments raised speculation that the regime might lift the 23-month house arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi, both candidates in the disputed 2009 Presidential election.
1930 GMT: President v. Parliament. Reports are circulating that President Ahmadinejad will visit Parliament next Wednesday in an attempt to revive the second phase of his subsidy cuts programme.
Parliament acted last month to block the long-delayed phase permanently, but Ahmadinejad --- who introduced the controversial programme in December 2010 --- has met with ministers over the past week in an attempt to implement the initiative.
Barzani did not give details in a Tuesday press conference, saying only that he delivered Iranian messages to his party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
The Bushehr facility was taken off-line in November because of unspecified technical issues.
Bushehr was launched, after years of delays, in autumn 2010. After months of claims, Iranian officials assured last August that the plant's full unit was 100% operational.
The younger Karroubi was punished for giving interviews to foreign media about the abuse and killing of protesters at the Kahrizak detention centre in summer 2009.
1541 GMT: Health Watch (Irony Edition). The Government may not be released funds for imports of vital drugs and medical supplies at home, but it is making up for that by helping out abroad....
While the Iranian Central Bank was criticised by the Minister of Health --- later fired --- for refusing to released $2 billion, the Iranian Embassy in Damascus has given medical equipment worth about $425,000 to the Assad regime.
Syria's Deputy Minister of Health Raef Yasin thanked Iran for its "vital role in supporting the health sector in Syria, particularly in light of the unjust sanctions imposed on it".
1021 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, the head of Parliament's Economy Committee, has said that President Ahmadinejad can visit the Majlis to make his case for a second phase of subsidy cuts, but the MP added this will make no difference: "Inflation will rise and we will have to import workers from abroad."
Shahryari said the Ministry of Health, has a 4.5 trillion Toman (about $3.75 million at official rate) budget deficit, but the Government refuses to pay the money owed.
0826 GMT: Elections Watch. Conservative MP Ali Motahari, a frequent critic of the Government, offers a re-assurance amid a meeting with former President Hashemi Rafsanjani: "Calling for free elections in June does not mean that we think the election of 2009 was rigged."
The Government and Central Bank suspended the open market in currency exchange in October after the Rial lost 70% of its value and neared 40000:1. A special "trade room" and injection of foreign reserves bolstered the currency to about 27000:1, but it slipped again in December.
0624 GMT: Smog Watch. Alef follows up the story of air pollution in and around Tehran with a note about the one of the claimed causes, the burning of low-quality petrol by cars. The site asks, "Why don't laboratories publish analyses of gasoline? The labs we asked are prohibited from printing the data."
0547 GMT: Media Watch. The "battle within" heats up, as State network INN has jabbed at Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari --- he is "a mock khodi (man of influence), prejudiced, wjtb a complex, bad, and wrong understanding".
0530 GMT: On Tuesday, five months before the Presidential election, the regime launched its Bring Out the Vote campaign. The Supreme Leader himself took the stage to declare that Iranians must participate to defeat the country's enemies, who had tried to interfere in the 2009 Presidential election.
But what about the claim --- the one that brought hundreds of thousands of his Iranians onto the streets --- that it was the regime that interfered by ensuring a victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? The Supreme Leader assured:
It is evident and clear that elections should be free. Were more than the 30 elections in the last three decades not free? In which country are elections freer than Iran?
The Supreme Leader's representatives bolstered the message. Ali Saeedi, his liaison with the Revolutionary Guards, said that --- as the Americans were waging a "proxy war" against the Islamic Republic --- it was the duty of the Guards to "engineer the election".
The Revolutonary Guards put out a clarifying statement. By "engineer", Saeedi meant "providing security" for the vote. Unfortunately, some Iranian media, "regardless of their professional responsibility" to counter the foreign challenge, had distorted his words.