Until recently, both Tehran and Jerusalem saw the health care debate as an item that could significantly weaken Obama's standing at home, which in turn would reduce his leverage abroad. They were hoping that a defeat would force Obama to focus on his troubles at home.
I'll check with Ali Yenidunya on the Israeli angle, but I have seen nothing to indicate that the Iranian Government was counting on the health care issue to limit and even damage the US President.
1525 GMT: Jailing Persian Cats. On the same day that we noted the drama-posing-as-documentary No Time for Persian Cats, its storyline of Iranians trying to evade the authorities to play music comes true: underground rap artist Sasi Mankan has been arrested.
Just trying to learn more about Mankan, but here's a sample of his music:
NEW Iran: A View from the Labour Front (Rahnema)
NEW Iran’s Nukes: False Alarm Journalism (Sick)
Iran’s Nukes: The Dangerous News of The New York Times
The Latest from Iran (28 March): Dealing with Exaggerations
1300 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. RAHANA claims that children's rights activist Maryam Zia Movahed, detained since 31 December, has been moved to a clinic in Evin Prison after starting a hunger strike on 17 March.
Peyke Iran writes that Azeri journalist and human rights activist Shahnaz Gholami has been given a prison sentence of eight years in absentia by a Tabriz court. Gholami is currently in Turkey and seeking asylum. The site also claims that Abdolreza Qanbari, a teacher from Pakdasht, has been sentenced to death for "mohareb" (war against God).
Rah-e-Sabz has published the names of 41 detained human rights activists.
1230 GMT: Parliament v. President. There's a sharp analysis by Hamid Takapu in Rah-e-Sabz of the debate over subsidy cuts since 2008. Takapu argues that the sword of a referendum, demanded by the President on his current proposals, could cut two ways: a successful challenge could reduce Parliament to a symbolic body (Takapu uses the analogy of the Russian Duma) but it could also strike Ahmadinejad if people ask for referendums on bigger issues.
0950 GMT: Labour Watch. We've posted a lengthy extract from an interview with Saeed Rahnema, a labour activist in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, analysing the state of the labour movement and, more broadly, of activism in the post-election conflict.
0655 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Professor Seyed Ahmad Miri of the Islamic Iran Participation Front has been arrested in Babol, while journalist Sasan Aghaei and women's rights activist Somaiyeh Farid have been released on bail.
0615 GMT: We begin this morning with a series of dubious attempts to claim authority in and about Iran. The New York Times' claimed reporting on the Iranian nuclear programme, which we criticised yesterday, is taken apart further by Gary Sick.
Inside Iran, President Ahmadinejad continued his campaign to overturn the Parliament's decision on his subsidy reforms and spending plan, using a marker and whiteboard to provide the truth to journalists. He thus proved beyond doubt that this will be another year of prosperity and "huge victories" for Iran.
The problem for the President is that not everyone believes him. While his supporter Mohammad Karim Shahrzad has challenged one of Ahmadinejad's leading Parliamentary critics, Ahmad Tavakoli, to a televised debate, legislator Seyed Reza Akrami says the President has taken an oath to implement the law and thus the decision of the Parliament.