Now the important question: is this chest-thumping merely a complement to the talk and manoeuvres for discussions with the US and the 5+1 Powers on Iran's nuclear programme? Is it the indication that Tehran is stepping away from negotiations? Or does it point to a continuing battle within the regime, with the Revolutionary Guards' commanders trying to win over Supreme Leader and quash the efforts of others --- not only the diplomats, but also politicians like the Larijani brothers --- for the discussions with Washington?
Entries in Yahya Rahim Safavi (12)
Thursday's protest in front of the Swiss Embassy, which represents US interests, in Tehran
The agreement was signed in Lahore between representatives of Iranian and Pakistani Chambers of Commerce.http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1695745
1555 GMT: Currency Watch. The website Pana claims that foreign exchange traders are using wireless devices at Istanbul Square in Tehran to sell dollars and that, despite threats to shut down "illegal" vendors, the Central Bank is not intervening.
Pana says the traders are getting up to 28000 Rials per dollar, higher than the 23880:1 to 25000:1 posted by Iranian media on Thursday.
1935 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Deputy Minister of Industry Mohammad Ali Zeyghami has assured that Iran's warehouses are full of goods, people should not worry, and imports are backed by Central Bank currency.
1925 GMT: Friday Prayer with a Twist. Lots of Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari's Friday Prayer in Tabriz was the standard rhetoric, for example, the President's South American tour and Occupy Wall Street weakening the US, but he had a twist for the crowd: he harshly attacked the Central Bank for the currency turmoil.
Ashgar Farhadi's Nader and Simin: A Separation wins Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe Awards last night --- in his acceptance speech, Farhadi says simply, "Iran is truly a loving people"
2103 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Mohsen Qamsari, the head of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, has insisted that Iran is maintaining the sale of oil to Asian countries despite US pressure for tightened sanctions.
Qamsari said, "The one-year contract with Korean companies to buy our oil has been renewed since the last two months."
Earlier this month, officials said refiners in South Korea --- which buys about 10% of its crude from Iran --- were looking for alternatives.
Asked whether Japan had reduced its oil imports from Iran, Qamsari said, "It is not true. The time for renewal of contracts with the Japanese is around March and they are buying 240,000 barrels from us per day."
The official also denied any problems doing business with India, even though there have been problems over payment arrangements for more than a year.
Graffiti of the Day. "The Greens Are Awake and Alert"
And Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf has struck a note of defiance: 400 new metro carriages will run until the end of year, even though the Government has ordered banks not to cooperate with the Metro.
Claimed footage, posted yesterday, of a recent strike by workers in Tabriz in northwest Iran
2045 GMT: The Lesser-of-Two-Evils Watch. Kayhan editor Hossei Shariatmadari, criticising the Green Movement for saying the Iranian system should apologise to the people, has remarked, "We would rather bribe the US than the people."
2035 GMT: Elections Watch. Solat Mortazavi, the head of Iran’s Elections Headquarters, has repeated that two leading reformist organizations, the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, will not be allowed to field candidates in March's Parliamentary elections.
Mortazavi told a workshop for provincial elections officials that the Supreme Leader has instructed officials to ensure that the “enemy” does not turn the elections into a challenge to the Islamic Republic. He said individual reformists are not barred from the elections so long as the Guardian Council declares them eligible.
The two reformist organisations were dissolved by court order last year. Many of their members have been arrested and given long prison sentences.
1955 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. The Supreme Leader's military advisor, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, assures, "The IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] control the identity and destination of every US warship which intends to pass through the Strait of Hormuz. "And Americans fully respond to the IRGC's telecommunications center with complete answers.".
An estimated 40% of the world's oil supply passes through the Straits of Hormuz, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.
Rahim Safavi also said that air defences protecting Israel were "inefficient" against Iran's arsenal: "“These missile shields which they have deployed in Turkey, occupied Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cannot hit all our missiles. They may hit some of our missiles, but the number of our missiles is so large that they will not be able to target our missiles."
1635 GMT: Press Release of the Day. And, as it's slow, let's give some airtime to General Yahya Rahim Safavi, senior military advisor to the Supreme Leader: “The US and Zionists are desperately seeking to rein in, restrict, replace...or take control of some of these revolutions” in the Middle East and North Africa.
Rahim Safavi, whose brother has told Western diplomats of the "political coup" of the 2009 Presidential election from the Supreme Leader's office, said the "West" started a “division of labour” system with France tasked to help bring Western-supported individuals to power through the National Transitional Council. He declared the US was seeking to infiltrate Egypt's Parliamentary Presidential balllots and interfere in the proposed changes to Egypt's Constitution.
Safavi urged Libyans and Egyptians to prevent this foreign interference, adding that the US was about to lose its political position in the region and said Israel was also facing a difficult situation.
Moving to Central Asia, Safavi said that terrorist groups in Afghanistan were linked to "Western hegemony", but the US would suffer the same fate as the former Soviet Union and finally leave the country after a humiliating defeat.
2115 GMT: The House Arrests. A further note on the statement from 130 clerics calling for the release of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi and Fatemeh Karroubi from house arrest (see 1810 GMT)....
Most of the signatories are followers of the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, the former heir-apparent to Ayatollah Khomeini who was ostracised and then put under house arrest by the regime from the late 1980s. Ahmad Montazeri, the Grand Ayatollah's son and one of the signatores, called upon Iranian leaders to implement reforms "before it is too late".
2045 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Baha'i Edition). Security forces have shut down a science and research centre operated by the Bahai’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) at Iran’s Open University and arrested at least 12 staff and faculty members.
1900 GMT: Another Khamenei Journey to Qom. The Supreme Leader has made another trip --- his fifth since October --- to Qom, visiting several Ayatollahs. He prayed for Ayatolalh Ansari Shirazi, who is ill, and spent an hour with Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi.
Most important seems to be Khamenei's discussion with Ayatollah Ostadi about the religious seminaries (Howzeh). Senior clerics have expressed concern that the regime might move against the "independence" of the seminaries.
1845 GMT: Iranian authorities have arrested Fariba Ebtehaj, the office manager of Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President in the Khatami Administration.
1700 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Saleh Noghrekar, the head of Mir Hossein Mousavi's Justice Committee, has been arrested in a raid on his home. Journalists Maysam Mohamadi and Omid Mohades were also arrested last night.