It is clear that there is a relatively small group of decision makers inside Iran. They are in both political and commercial relationships, and if we can create a sanctions track that targets those who actually make the decisions, we think that is a smarter way to do sanctions. But all that is yet to be decided upon.
That's not a breakthrough declaration, only a holding one. The White House does not want the sweeping sanctions proposed by Congress and will go for a "targeted" approach. It's just not clear who is being targeted with what.
1945 GMT: Journalist Mohammad Reza Nourbakhsh has been sentenced to three years in jail by an appeals court for participating in rallies on 15 June. Nourbakhsh was originally given a six-year prison term.
1940 GMT: Beaten in Detention. Kalemeh claims Mehdi Mahmoudian, a senior member of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been beaten by the authorities in Evin Prison.
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1935 GMT: The Detained. Back from an academic break to find that an Iranian activist has posted the names of 156 people arrested between the religious days of Tasoa and Ashura (26-27 December) and 9 January.
1635 GMT: Spinning Rafsanjani. Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaking as chairman of the Expediency Council, has made another general call for reconcilation.
Press TV portrays this as "the Iranian nation should follow the rule of the law and avoid taking extrajudicial measures as not to obstruct the path of justice". While this could be applied as an injunction to both the opposition and Government forces, the state outlet puts the emphasis is on following the guidance of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic: "If [this is] obeyed, balance will return to the society and there will be no room left for frictions. Foreign enemies have clung to the current state of affairs in the country as it is apparent in their tone."
The website also tries to rebut the claim, made by Rafsanjani's brother this weekend, that the former President has been pressured into silence. Instead, it claimed that "Rafsanjani rejected the notion and said he was always trying to resolve the problems away from media hype".
1615 GMT: Those Wacky Leveretts. They may have had their pro-Government, anti-Green movement opinion, published in The New York Times, shredded by analyst after analyst, but that doesn't stop Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett from returning to their defence of the regime.
On their website, the Leveretts crudely twist a Wall Street Journal article (which was considered in an EA analysis yesterday on the US policy on sanctions, Iran's nuclear programme, and a "rights-first" approach) into "THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION MOVES TOWARD REGIME CHANGE IN ITS IRAN POLICY". They select and crop quotes, to the point of distortion, but this is their sleight-of-hand claim:
Buying into the proposition that the Islamic Republic is imploding has the effect of driving the policy argument toward support for “regime change” in Tehran.
Umm, no. There is a difference between analysis --- in this case, evaluating the internal difficulties in the Iranian regime --- and advocacy. It's the "is-ought" difference, one which should be picked up by an undergraduate student, let alone a supposed foreign-policy expert: noting that something "is" happening is not the same as declaring it "ought" to happen.
The Leveretts are not undergraduate students, so they know what they are doing. By putting out this claim, "whether President Obama and his advisers want to call their policy “regime change”, that is precisely the direction in which they are moving", they will buttress the propaganda line of the Iranian Government that the opposition can all be attributed to "foreign instigation". (I heard this declaration loud and clear in two presentations, including one by an academic who works with the Leveretts, at the Beirut conference I attended last week.)
Since the survival of the Iranian regime rests in part on making that allegation stick, and since the Leveretts support the quest for that survival, let's just recognise this piece for what it is: an "ought" piece of advocacy rather than an "is" contribution to analysis.
(P.S. to Flynt and Hillary: Throwing in a picture of Senator Joseph Lieberman, who is calling for a "rights-based" approach to sanctions, with Ahmad Chalabi of Iraq "regime change" infamy, is a really nice touch.)
1505 GMT: Today's Fist-Shaker. It's Iran Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie making an appearance to tell Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi that it's time for measures against "elements behind the recent sedition....It is expected that the demands ... that those who were leading the post-election sedition are put on trial, are met."
1500 GMT: The "Reformist" Push. Former President Mohammad Khatami has put out his own statement, following that of Mehdi Karroubi, calling for an end to the "extreme violence" and dialogue over political, social, and economic issues.
1455 GMT: A Day for Analyses. Not sure why, but a lot of information seems to be falling into place today. The latest topic is Iran's nuclear manoeuvres with "the West" --- we've got an exclusive on Tehran's latest attempt to keep the discussions going.
1340 GMT: Waving Sticks. EA readers have offered comments considering the reasons for this weekend's declaration by General David Petraeus, the head of the US military's Central Command, that all military options are open in contingency plans for Iran (see yesterday's updates).
For the Iranian Government, however, there is a simple reading. The Foreign Ministry spokesman declared today, "[Petraeus'] comments are thoughtless and it is better that any statement made in this regard take a constructive approach."
1315 GMT: The Karroubi Statement (see 1150 GMT). Reuters has picked up on Mehdi Karroubi's declaration with takeaway quotes such as....
[I am] prepared for any disaster.....Some are thinking that they can block the reform course by closing down newspapers and putting reformers in jail ... but I remain firm in the path that I have chosen....I announce that such threats will not frighten me and will not weaken me in this path.
Agence France Presse has a shorter but similar article. Inexplicably, both Reuters and AFP miss the even more important part of Karroubi's statement, the 5-point proposal for resolution.
1200 GMT: We've posted a special analysis, based on latest developments and speech, of the battles within the Iranian regime. The conclusion? This will only be resolved "when someone stabs Ahmadinejad in the back".
1150 GMT: Karroubi's "5-Point" Plan. First it was Mir Hossein Mousavi with a 5-point post-Ashura proposal for political resolution; now it's Mehdi Karroubi.
Karroubi has written an open letter proposing 1) admission by Government officials of injustices; 2) adherence to the values of the Islamic Revolution through guarantees such as freedom of the press and legal rights; 3) adherence to non-violence for reform and acceptance of the Supreme Leader; 4) acceptance of criticism and an end to violence against those who dissent; 5) a national debate so Iranian people can make a free and informed decision about the way forward for the country.
1145 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports that 56 professors at Elm-o-Sanat University in Tehran have written in support of students, asking that they are able to take examinations without fear of disciplinary action over protests.
The intervention follows an open letter by almost 90 professors at Tehran University to the Supreme Leader, asking for a cessation of violence against demonstrations.
1130 GMT: The "Incomplete" Detainees Report. Parallelling and extending the "reformist" criticism that the Parliament report on detainee abuse is incomplete, Ayande News --- which is far from reformist --- is claiming that Iranian state media have not given a full account of the report and its discussion in the Majlis. Ayande even asks whether those responsible for the abuses at Kahrizak Prison are also responsible for output on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
1110 GMT: Foreign Presence. The Government's overseas push is in Syria, as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visits Damascus. No significant news has come out of the talks so far.
0920 GMT: No major news this morning, but a lot of individual developments with deeper meanings this weekend. The Supreme Leader's speech, President Ahmadinejad's appearance in Parliament, the arrest of the Mothers of Mourning and their supporters in Laleh Park, the Parliamentary report on the abuse of detainees: all have gotten headline coverage, but the intra-regime tensions that they reveal have yet to be analysed, if recognised. We'll make a start on that analysis later today.
Meanwhile, Josh Shahryar and Mike Dunn have special analyses trying to put away the recent mis-information on #IranElection, Twitter, and security. Shahryar offers final words of reply to Will Heaven, the blogger for The Daily Telegraph who tried to blame "Twitterati" for endangering the Iranian people, while Dunn separates myth from reality over "Deep Packet Inspection".