The Supreme Leader at the funeral of Revolutionary Guards personnel killed in a Saturday explosion
Entries in Ahmad Khatami (19)
Iranians demonstrate on the 32nd anniversary of the takeover of the US Embassy
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2120 GMT: Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Another angle on Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami's address to the faithful (see 1515 GMT), as Fars picks up the warning to the Bahraini and Saudi regimes: "With these crimes, you will have the fate of Qaddafi and the treacherous Saddam."
But, in the end, today's message came back to America: "The US administration has never seen such days of humiliation."
2050 GMT: Economy Watch. Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam, a leading MP on economic affairs, has warned that people will spend part of their support payments for subsidy cuts to buy foreign currencies, which are rising in value against the Iranian currency.
An EA correspondent analyses, "There is much chatter about people buying dollars because of fear of more sanctions and a worsening economy."
1930 GMT: Bank Fraud Watch. Is this an easing of the political situation over the $2.6 billion bank fraud? Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi has said that there is no evidence linking the "deviant current" --- the label for the advisors around President Ahmadinejad --- to the embezzlement.
1900 GMT: All the President's Men (Nip-and-Tuck Edition). I'm not sure if this is news, but it is definitely testimony to the sniping inside the Iranian establishment.
Fars claims that the President's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, undergoing treatment for cornea dryness, has also had cosmetic surgery to lift his eyelids.
1520 GMT: Allah and Politics. Mehr claims a newly-appointed governor in Sari Province in northern Iran has been dismissed after officials asked for guidance from God through divination.
The Ministry of Interior had appointed Ali Babaei Karnami as late last month but he was dismissed Tuesday as a formal inauguration was being organised.
“Since divination showed a bad result, we preferred to look for another choice,” current Governor Ali Akbar Tahaei said.
Tahaei said he had named a replacement and added, "Karnami should not be irritated for not taking up the post because I’ll need him to serve at a provincial municipality posting.”
Supporters of the Supreme Leader and of President Ahmadinejad clashed earlier this month over the appointment of a governor for Fars Province.
1740 GMT: Parliament v. President. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has sent his 4th letter in two days to President Ahmadinejad, claiming 14 additional infringements of the law by the Government.
1710 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. So Mr. President, what about the staff from your office arrested as sorcerers and exorcists?
Ahmadinejad replied to the question at his press conference today, "Let's just think about Government service."
He continued, again without reference to any sorcerers, "The Government is on track under the guidance of the Supreme Leader."
However, Ahmadinejad acknowledged, with reference to advisors like Abbas Amirafar, the head of Friday Prayers in his office, and Abbas Ghaffari, the alleged sorcerer, "They arrested those people. Good for them."
Now it was time to move on: "They should let us continue our job. The Government is seeking for nothing rather than serving the people and fulfilling the revolutionary aims." He refused to answer further questions, "Our position at the moment is to stay silent. An inspiring unity silence."
2130 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch (Cyber Edition). Another pro-Ahmadinejad website, Aeen News, has been filtered inside Iran.
The blocking of the recently-established Aeen follows the filtering of several other sites supporting the President.
2110 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Parliament has struck, during President Ahmadinejad's absence, by limiting the Government's subsidy cuts.
The Majlis cut the estimated savings from $59 billion to $28 billion. Legislators claimed the subsidy cuts would escalate inflation, especially through prices for food and energy.
There were no immediate comments from the office of the President.
1855 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? Khabar Online reports that President Ahmadinejad and the Cabinet have cancelled a trip to Qom scheduled for this week.
1815 GMT: The Battle Within. Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, a senior advisor to the President, has denied reports of his resignation.
1702 GMT: Budget Watch. Parliament approved the 2011/12 budget by a vote of 149-61 today.
That would appear to be a breakthrough after months of stalemate; however, there were still signs of tension. The 149 "yes" votes were only just over half of the 290-member Majlis, as there were nine abstentions and 71 absences.
Some of those who were absent were pro-Ahmadinejad MPs. The reason for their protest is not yet clear.
2040 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kalemeh reports that detained activist Fakhrossadat Mohtashamipour is in a coma after a hunger strike and has been transferred to hospital.
Mohtashamipour, the wife of imprisoned reformist leader Mostafa Tajzadeh, had said she would fast if she was not allowed to visit her husband.
2030 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update --- An Update. Well, I guess I owe Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami an apology --- while he was making a grand tour of Egypt-Libya-Yemen-Bahrain to blame the West for distortions, manipulations, and general evil, he did have a chat with the faithful about the situation in Iran today.
Khatami took his lead from the Supreme Leader's 2011 theme of "economic jihad" to declare there would be economic growth, a narrowed gap between those with high and low incomes, and a one-digit unemployment rate.
The Ayatollah assured that Iran would have 8% economic growth rate in the 5th 5-Year Plan (2010-2015), even though that plan has not been passed by Parliament, and said officials of the country have had successful projects for employment.
But he still didn't mention Syria.
1820 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has more on the case of Parvin Tajik (see 1140 GMT), given a 1 1/2-year sentence for speaking to foreign media about her brother, detained journalist Abdolreza Tajik.
The Tajik family had written in July that Abdolreza had been "dishonoured" in prison.
1740 GMT: Lost in Translation. Press TV clarifies confusion over the Iranian presentation of its war-crime exercises (see 1118 GMT):
Spokesman for the "Modafean Aseman Velayat 3," (Defenders of Velayat Skies) drill General Hamid Arjangi said earlier on Wednesday that Iranian forces have identified the mock (emphasis added) intrusion of six "unknown planes" into the country's airspace.
As part of the drill, we had six reports about the intrusion of six unknown planes into the country's space [on Tuesday], Arjangi said, adding that in every six cases the planes were forced to lift off and interception operations were carried out, Fars News Agency reported.
However, The Washington Post, Associated Press and AFP among other Western media outles, reported that Iran's armed forces intercepted six "unknown planes" that intruded into the country's airspace during aerial defense maneuvers, citing Fars News Agency as the source.