We already knew about the US effort to persuade Japan and South Korea to reduce their supply of oil from Iran. What is striking now is the inclusion of China. Officially, Beijing is taking the firm stance that it will not agree to any stiffened sanctions. We have suspected that, behind the scenes, the Chinese might be more accommodating to a reduction of their imports from the Islamic Republic. The New York Times observes, "This weekend [China's] prime minister, Wen Jiabao, will begin a five-day visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, perhaps to explore the prospect of increased energy imports."
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2119 GMT: The Tehran Bomb. Fars reports that the Ministry of Interior refused permits for "student" protests, condemning the death of scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, in front of the British, German, and French Embassies today.
Khazali has been seized three times since the 2009 Presidential election.
UPDATE 1210 GMT: An EA correspondent offers a vital addition to the analysis:
I think that caution should be applied on the theme of whether Ahmadi Rostan was a nuclear scientist or not. His links with the technical aspects of the nuclear programme are much clearer than, for example, those of Masoud Ali-Mohammadi [the scientist killed in January 2010 in a similar manner to yesterday's bombing]. His scientific curriculum fully fits the crucial gas stage of the uranium conversion and, according to Mehr, he was questioned recently by IAEA inspectors, who in turn are accused of making him known to the US and Israeli intelligence communities.
Unless the IAEA just questioned him to understand his procurement activities, there must have been valid technical reasons for them doing so, hence the label "nuclear scientist", which after all is a rather generic one. What Ahmadi was not was professor or even lecturer of any substantial level --- he wouldn't have been able to hold such a position with only a bachelor's degree.<
EA reader "M. Zand" (see Comments) points us in a similar direction, noting an article by Somayeh Soltani at Tehran Emrooz, "What was Engineer Ahmadi’s project?":
It is said that Martyr Ahmadi Roshan through a joint project was in particular working with polymer membranes to separate gases. To enrich Uranium, one uses polymer membranes such that Uranium is turned into Uranium hexafluoride gas, and then this gas is filtered through polymer membrane. With this Uranium 235 is filtered through polymer membrane and therefore enriched to Uranium 238.
Expect a lot more media sound and some fury today over Wednesday's car bomb in Tehran, in which a motorcyclist killed Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan and his driver by attaching an explosive to their automobile.
2107 GMT: A Message for the Supreme Leader? Former Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Alaei has spoken about the uprising of 9 January 1978 in Qom, suggesting that others should learn from the Shah's experience.
After the uprising, the Shah's security forces put political opponents under house arrest and shot dissenters, but of course this ultimately failed preserve the monarch's throne.
So who are the "others" whom Alaei thinks should learn from the historical example?