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Entries in Iranian Labor News Agency (3)


The Latest from Iran (24 October): Resurgence at the Fair?

NEW Iran: Football's Going Green (with the help of Press TV)
NEW Iran: The Karroubi Effect
NEW Iran: Karroubi Statement on Events at Iran Media Fair
NEW Video: Karroubi & Crowd at Iran Media Fair (23 October)
Reading Afghanistan and Iran: Scott Lucas on “The Beautiful Truth” Radio

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KARROUBI MEDIA FAIR 21935 GMT: A Note from the Media Fair. As the rumors and discussion continue over the events and protests of the week, another incident, reported by the Iranian Labor News Agency and passed on by an EA correspondent:
A stand for the "Wave of Law" website (a deliberate twist of the term "Green Wave") was dismantled at the press exhibition in Tehran for collecting signatures for a petition seeking a complaint against Mir Hosein Moussavi. The stand faced reluctance from exhibition visitors.

Permission to set up the stand for this new website was given in circumstances in which eligible applicants had been refused. Warnings from the organizers of the Tehran Press Fair were instrumental in the stand's ejection.

1920 GMT: The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has intervened again with an open letter to the former prosecutor of Tehran, judges, Revolutionary Guard, and the Ministry of Intelligence:
We do not open this letter with “greetings”, as it is a symbol of all that you and your colleagues have denied us and those like us....The mass assault of the agents of the former Tehran prosecutor on the central office of the Participation Front, the election headquarters, and newspapers as well as the mass arrest of the members of the Participation Front, other political, and media activists happened not long ago, and the wave of arrests still continue.

This time you and your colleagues have created a new wonder. Thirty years after the establishment of the “Islamic” system, you silenced the “O God! O God!” prayer in the throats of this nation’s sons and daughters and the innocent families of [political] prisoners by your weapons and handcuffs. We remind you of this because it is the duty of every Muslim to stop their religious brothers and sisters from committing bad deeds that we hope are not being committed deliberately and knowingly but rather unintentionally and under pressure.

Before it is too late come to your senses and don’t be the tools of oppression for the tyrant masters of power. Someday that God willing is coming and is not too far away, they will be too caught up as the results of their words and actions to be able to help you.

1715 GMT: We haven't forgotten you. It is just a relatively quiet period in Iran, and we're heading out to catch up with friends and colleagues. Back later to round up the day's events.

1530 GMT: Saturday Football Story. Looks like the Green wave has made it into a photo of the Iran national team on the Press TV website --- see separate entry.

1455 GMT: The Curious Development with the Nuclear Deal. Something very strange is happening as the Iranian Government deliberates whether to accept the Vienna proposal on uranium enrichment.

Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani has now come out against the agreement, declaring, "Westerners are insisting to go in a direction that speaks of cheating and are imposing some things on us. They are saying we will give you the 20 percent [enriched uranium] fuel for the Tehran reactor only if you give us your enriched uranium. I see no link between these two things."

Larijani's remarks follow those of the Deputy Speaker, Mohammad Reza Bahonar. Neither have had a role in the current negotiations with the "5+1" powers, although Larijani was the former head of Iran's nuclear programme.

So is Larijani, like Bahonar, just staking out some Parliamentary autonomy over whether the deal goes through (and, if so, why)? Or is he reflecting the views of the Supreme Leader, whose endorsement is required for the agreement to proceed?

1430 GMT: For almost two hours, rumours have been racing that Mohammad Khatami and/or Mir Hossein Mousavi have been at the Iran Media Fair this afternoon. The Iranian Labor News Agency was even reporting that Khatami was inside the Mossalla, where the Fair is taking place, before removing the article.

Latest rumours include that Mousavi approached the Fair but did not enter on the advice of security and that one man disguised as Khatami was arrested.

1100 GMT: "Western" Media Foolishness. If Iranian media are highlighting their capacity for distortion and misinformation in their coverage of the Karroubi-Media Fair events, their British counterparts are giving them a run for their money with their representation of Iran's position in the uranium enrichment talks (as we predicted at 0845 GMT). The Times proclaims, "Barack Obama's policy on brink of collapse",while The Daily Telegraph --- citing that most reliable of sources, Mr John Bolton --- yells, "Israeli Military Strike More Likely".

1035 GMT: More Other Side of the Story (see 1015 GMT). The strategy of the Islamic Republic News Agency is to use a member of the Parliament's Cultural Commission to argue that Mehdi Karroubi and his supporters planned yesterday's events at the Media Fair as part of their strategy for "overthrow" of the Iranian system.

Fars News, meanwhile, continues to push the story as one of pro-Government crowds confronting Karroubi with the "Death to the hypocrite" chant, to which Karroubi's bodyguards responded by brandishing guns.

1030 GMT: Deaths in Tehran. Iranian state media is reporting six people, including a judge, have been killed in the Iranian capital. The incident, however, appears to be unrelated to post-election conflict and instead stems from a "family dispute".

1015 GMT: The Other Side of the Story. It is illuminating to compare Mehdi Karroubi's account of the Media Fair experience with that from state media. Press TV portrays a balanced reception --- "Former Iranian presidential candidate Karroubi has been met with slogans both in favor of and against himself....The opponents shouted 'Liar, get lost' and 'Death to Monafeq [hypocrite]' while the proponents chanted, 'Long live Karroubi'." There's also a balance in blame for the violence, "The fair turned into a scene of clashes and some booths were damaged after the politician was attacked by a shoe."

No balance or indeed context in the headline, however: "Karroubi's bodyguard fires into air at Tehran fair".

0920 GMT: We've posted the English translation of Mehdi Karroubi's statement on yesterday's events at the Iran Media Fair in a separate entry.

0855 GMT: Responding to Karroubi. In a signal of the interaction of yesterday's events with the growing clerical movement against the regime, Grand Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani talked with Mehdi Karroubi by phone after the incidents at the Media Fair. Bayat-Zanjani expressed his admiration for Karroubi’s resistance in front of obscene and hideous acts, calling him a fighter and a true believer: “The more influential you are, the more they [Ahmadinejad supporters] resist you and these insulting attempts [just] reveal how successful you are.”

0845 GMT: The Enrichment Deal is On. Just to be clear, while there will be much huffing and puffing about devious/manipulative/dangerous Iran today, Tehran's delay in signing the Vienna deal on third-party enrichment is --- for now --- only another step on the path to agreement.

The US signalled that it would allow more time for Iran's decision, while making the necessary tough noises, in a statement by State Department spokesman Ian Kelly:
Obviously we would have preferred to have a response today. We approach this with a sense of urgency. We can stretch things for a few days, and that's really what we're talking about. But we're not going to wait forever.

An EA reader adds that there is also an easing of hostility in the French media on the Iran nuclear issue, with newspapers like Le Monde accepting that Tehran's response will come next week.

0745 GMT: Pedestrian has posted an English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi's remarks on Wednesday to the staff of his Kalemeh Sabz newspaper, which was raided and closed by Government forces on 22 June: "We must not allow the events of the past few months to create pessimism about the revolution."

0725 GMT: Inevitably we are picking up on two major stories this morning.

On the international front, the signs continue that the Iranian regime --- albeit several days after a deadline because of its gamesmanship and the rumblings of its bureaucracy --- will accept the uranium enrichment deal. While it deliberates, the Government has offered another significant concession to the "West"; officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency will arrive in Iran on Saturday to inspect the second uranium enrichment plant at Fordoo near Qom. The visit will last 2-3 days.

However, it is the Mehdi Karroubi story that dominates our initial thoughts this morning. As conversation continues to buzz about his appearance at the Iran Media Fair, the crowd enthusiasm, and the subsequent scuffles, we've posted an analysis of the significance.

The Latest from Iran (17 October): Back to Semi-Normal

The Latest from Iran (18 October): Semi-Normal, Indeed - Khamenei, Bahari, & Hajjarian
Iran: The Great Supreme Leader Health Mystery
Iran: The Supreme Leader Lives --- The Picture (17 October)
Iran: The Daily Show Tribute (Persian and English Versions)
A Brilliant Neo-Con Idea: Crippling Iran to Save It
Iran: A Beginner’s Guide to the Economy, Past and Present
The Latest from Iran (16 October): Rumours and Drama, Khamenei and Karroubi

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IRAN 3 NOV DEMOS 31855 GMT: We're taking a Saturday night off to recharge mental batteries. The discussion board should be buzzing all night, however --- take a look at the sharp-eyed comments on the separate entry about the Supreme Leader's pictures --- and your ideas and thoughts are invaluable to us.

Before we go, an apology. In another prominent entry today, I referred to the Persian language as "Farsi". This, of course, is an error, and I will endeavour not to repeat it. Thanks to readers who gently brought the mistake to my attention.

1850 GMT: The Government Fights On Over Detainees.
Mohammad Reza Mogheyseh, who became the head of the Karroubi-Mousavi special committee investigating prisoner abuse cases after the arrest of Mousavi advisor Alireza Beheshti in September, was taken from his home and detained at 4 a.m. Mogheyseh is a well-known war veteran who has helped amputees and families of the dead.

1810 GMT: Conservative Resurgence Against Ahmadinejad? The high-profile conservative member of Parliament, Ali Motahari, had been quiet recently after repeated complaints about the President during the summer. However, in an interview today he has said that conservatives should admit to the wrongdoings of Ahmadinejad, and considering the facts without prejudice and judging fairly.

Perhaps even more significantly, given talk of the National Unity Plan, Motahari complained that Ahmadinejad supporters are insisting that there should be no national unity unless “leaders of the conspiracy” admit to their mistakes and apologise to the people or even be prosecuted. Motahari insisted those supporters should consider that Ahmadinejad started the “conspiracy” with his remarks during the election campaign and in his “victory” speech. (English summary via Facebook page linked to Mir Hossein Mousavi)

1800 GMT: Reuters is reporting, from Iranian Labor News Agency, that Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari has been released on $300,000 bail.

1740 GMT: We've updated in the separate entry on the photographs of today's reported appearance of the Supreme Leader. Meanwhile, Press TV has brought out an English-language version of the meeting with the President of Senegal, focusing on Khamenei's call for support of "oppressed Palestinians".

1640 GMT: He's Alive! The Supreme Leader's website has poted the first picture of Ayatollah Khameini since the recent rumours of ill health. We've got the details in a separate entry.

1625 GMT: Salaam News reports that the weekly gathering of mothers and family members of victims of post-election violence, held in Laleh Park, was disrupted by police and security forces who used tear gas.

1545 GMT: Mowj-e-Sabz and Rouydad claim that leading reformist politician Saeed Hajjarian has been given a five-year suspended prison sentence after four months in detention. The Iranian judiciary has not yet been confirmed the reports.

1415 GMT: After a four-day break, the English-language Tehran Times is publishing again, with stories such as Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki's warning to his US counterpart Hillary Clinton, "Avoid ‘Useless Slogans’ Used in Bush Era".

1250 GMT: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty posts more details about those recently sentenced to death in Iran, including Hamed Rouhinejad. (Curiously, they report four rather than five condemned.)

1150 GMT: National Unity Plan Alive and Well? After days with little news of the Plan, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar has confirmed that he is on the panel working on the proposal. He told journalists, "Don't rush on reporting details," expressing confidence in the success of the initiative. The article from Aftab News claims that, although Government supporters have been hostile, the majority of Parliament supports the plan.

1140 GMT: A Sign of Conciliation? Tehran's police chief has called for unity and admitted that "the Basij [militia]'s image needs to be repaired". Perhaps most importantly, he has accepted street marches as long as they are peaceful.

The statement follows recent comments by Iran's police chief, Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, that said demonstrations would be tolerated if they were within the law.

1130 GMT: News or Disinformation? Raja News, a fervent opponent of the Green movement, claims that supporters of Ayatollah Dastgheib, an equally vehement critic of the Government, stormed the office of the Friday Prayers committee in Fars Provine and beat a cleric who supports the Supreme Leader. The newspaper also features a statement from the "community and clergy" reiterating the electoral turnout of 85 percent and Ahmadinejad's tally of more than 24 million votes.

0935 GMT: Fars News, on its English-language site, has reiterated the denial by "Iran's diplomatic sources" of the rumours of the Supreme Leader's illness. The article is more shorter than the Farsi-language "analysis" posted on Friday (see yesterday's updates), linking the rumours to a Western campaign for velvet revolution.

Significantly, Fars refuses to note that it was an Iranian website, Peiknet, that posted the first report of Ayatollah Khamenei's health problems, instead pinning the rumour on a long-time bogeyman, Michael Ledeen. And, perhaps equally significantly, the denial still comes from relatively low-ranking Iranian officials --- the two are "on record", though not named in this article, are based in Armenia and Belarus.

0730 GMT: Now for the Government's Next Threat. A prosecutor has told the Islamic Republic News Agency that, after "several hundred" complaints from the public, Mir Hossein Mousavi may be brought before the Media Court to be punished.

0640 GMT: Press TV is intent on building up Iran's international stature today --- Iran sends special envoy to resolve crisis in Yemen, Jannati at Friday Prayers declares "Western powers have finally realized they cannot have the final say on Tehran's nuclear issue", Iran calls for war crimes trial of Israeli leaders. However, it does stray from this line for one economic story of note: "Iran's drug companies are facing a financial crisis due to unpaid debts of more than $300 million".

0625 GMT: A much quieter day so far. The chatter about the Supreme Leader's health has eased, and after a flurry of back-and-forth challenges between the Government, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mir Hossein Mousavi, no one has made any moves (though, if past experience is a guide, the battling could pick up this afternoon).

While life and politics can never be labelled normal in Iran after 12 June, there is a semblance of steady-as-she-goes today. Still, as a reader reminds us, even "semi-normal" qualified. Five post-election detainees remain on death row pending their appeals; a "deeply troubled" United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has now spoken on the issue through a report to the General Assembly: “The handling by authorities of the protests that followed has raised concerns about respect for freedom of expression, assembly and association, the use of force in policing demonstrations and the treatment of and due process afforded to detainees."

The Latest from Iran (1 October): From Geneva to "Unity"?

Iran: Mousavi Meeting with Reformists (30 September)
Iran: Karroubi Letter to Rafsanjani (27 September)
Iran Top-Secret: The President’s Gmail Account
Iran’s Nuclear Programme: Obama Backs Himself into a Corner
UPDATED Iran: So What’s This “National Unity Plan”?
The Latest from Iran (30 September): Confusion

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CHESSBOARD GREEN1955 GMT: How to Claim Victory. The Times of London slaps the headline, "Iran bows to sanctions pressure to allow inspectors", on its summary of the Geneva talks. Hmm.... There's nothing in the article to suggest an Iranian concession to a meaningful sanctions threat, and having been up-close-and-personal with Press TV tonight, trust me, the Iranians aren't bowing. Posturing, even swaggering a bit, but not bowing.

1945 GMT: And Now Obama. The President has given his seal of approval to the US line: a "constructive start" but if Iran does not live up to its obligations, US will move to "increase pressure". He signalled that Mohammed El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will soon visit Iran. "Hard work lies ahead."

1935 GMT: The Deal? Meanwhile, the Western media continues to miss the announcement, enthusiastically proclaimed by Press TV, that officials from Iran and the "5+1" powers will have technical talks on 18 September on "third-party enrichment".

A further signal why this is important: "Russia is ready to further enrich Iran’s uranium stocks for use as fuel in a civilian research reactor, depending on approval from the United Nations, a person familiar with the matter said today."

1920 GMT: Hold the Line. As the US Government prepares to consider its position after today's talks, no doubt in a domestic environment with critics screeching "appeasement", Hillary Clinton amplified the American statement (see 1753 GMT):
It was a productive day, but the proof of that has not yet come to fruition, so we’ll wait and continue to press our point of view and see what Iran decides to do....We want to see concrete actions and positive results. And I think that today’s meeting opened the door, but let’s see what happens.

1830 GMT: Another twist in the line of Foreign Minister Mottaki over the revelation of the second enrichment plant. Having put forward the case of four Iranian officials and scientists who have "disappeared" since 2007 (see 1350 GMT), Mottaki told the Council for Foreign Relations, "We think in Pittsburgh President Obama was misled based on wrong information and wrong analysis. The wrong analysis was provided by the British. Wrong information by certain terrorist groups."

It appears that, even though this issue has been overtaken by today's talks, Mottaki's statement points to a wider strategy: blame the British for being "hard-line" while praising the US as "flexible" and willing to negotiate if they are not misled by their partners (see 1710 GMT).

1723 GMT: In contrast to the forceful moves by the Iranians, the US post-talk statement is, well, weak: "[Undersecretary Burns] addressed the need for Iran to take concrete and practical steps that are consistent with its international obligations and that will build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of it program."

1715 GMT: This is already a Huge-Win Day for the Iranian Government, and they're looking to make it bigger. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said that Iran has promised to invite the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit the second enrichment facility near Qom, possibly "in the next couple of weeks". And chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili gets a prime-time platform on CNN with Christiane Amanpour this evening.

1710 GMT: Press TV is positively gushing over today's talks with "progress to some extent". They are noting that there will be not only the renewed high-level talks at the end of the month but a meeting on 18 October to consider "third-party enrichment" of uranium for an Irnaian facility. Interestingly, their correspondent says Britain and France seemed to have a hard line in the talks, but the US was "much more flexible".

1640 GMT: We'll have a full analysis tomorrow on the talks in Geneva but here's a teaser: Crunch Time for Obama?

The Iranians have achieved their primary objective, which is to avoid an immediate condemnation and the threat of sanctions from a "breakdown" of today's discussions. That's why they were so eager to let it be known that another round of talks is planned for the end of October.

But, as we've noted, President Obama will now have to face his domestic critics who will wonder, after his tough talk last week on the "secret nuclear plants", why he is even agreeing to another get-together. The response to that may have been laid out by the lead US official at today's talks, Undersecretary of State William Burns, who told National Public Radio yesterday, “If the talks fail, which I assume they will, because of the Iranians, then I think President Obama will be in a stronger position internationally to argue for stronger sanctions,” and predicted the collapse would occur within a month.

Fair enough. What happens, however, if the Iranians continue to give just enough for the prospect of an agreement but not necessarily a grand resolution by 1 November? Will the US Government collapse the talks just to get the showdown that is being pressed upon Obama?

As I told La Stampa earlier this week, the President is caught between two wings in his Administration. He cannot maintain his balance between them forever.

1610 GMT: Confirmation. Well, the Iranians didn't wait long. The delegation was hardly out the door of the Geneva talks when it informed the Islamic Republic News Agency, "The next round of talks will be held at the end of October."

1515 GMT: And Here's The Spin for The Continuing Talks. A US official is telling journalists in Geneva that the tone has been "civil" but Iran's delegation lacks the "cohesion and confidence" to make a deal.

1510 GMT: Score One for Us Good Guys. We projected that the best result coming out of today's meeting in Geneva would be an agreement to have another meeting. This just in from The Los Angeles Times:
Undersecretary of State William Burns met Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief negotiator, "on the margins" of the nuclear talks this morning, said State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes.

The bilateral session came after Iran and representatives of six great powers convened this morning in a secluded villa on the outskirts of Geneva to try to relieve growing international pressure over Tehran's nuclear program. Burns and Jalil went off as the others ate a seafood buffet lunch, then all of diplomats reconvened in a plenary session and were expected to talk for several more hours this afternoon.

U.S. officials said they expected the session to perhaps lead to another meeting.

1505 GMT: Iranian businessman Bijan Khajehpour was released on bail Wednesday, days after US National Public Radio raised his case in an interview with President Ahmadinejad.

1450 GMT: So Which Congressmen Did Iran's Foreign Minister Meet? Washington TV, drawing from the Islamic Republic News Agency, says that Manouchehr Mottaki was not just seeing the sights in Washington. He met two members of the "Foreign Relations Committee" (presumably in the US Senate). They "asked Mottaki whether Iran would allow access to the [[second enrichment] site, to which he replied that Iran has always cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency and was ready to allow inspectors to visit the site". Mottaki added that Iran would “not give up its rights” under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT], but added that Tehran “has no plans to quit the NPT.”

1350 GMT: Espionage Story of the Day. The Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reports that Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, spekaing with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, has complained about the disappearance of four Iranian officials and scientists, including former Deputy Minister of Defence Alireza Asgari. The newspaper speculates that one of the "kidnapped" quartet may be the source of revelations about Iran's second enrichment facility near Qom.

The story of the missing Iranians has provoked controversy since 2007. Asgari was reported by some sources to have "defected", but Tehran has maintained that he was abducted. Subsequent stories have pointed to an Israeli programme to disrupt Iran's nuclear plans through kidnappings.

1230 GMT: Clerical Movement. Grand Ayatollahs Nasser Makarem-Shirazi and Lotfallah Safi-Golpaygani have met at the latter's house for discussion. It is the first reported meeting of senior clerics after the emergence of a purported "National Unity Plan" and comes a day after Makarem-Shirazi's public call for unity.

1155 GMT: Fars News has posted an article on the morning talks in Geneva, considering subjects and "operational strategies" for the discussions. Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of Iran's National Security Council, led Tehran's delegation in the talks with the "5+1" countries and representatives from the European Union. Under Secretary of State William Burns headed the US team.

1120 GMT: A slow period as we've tended to academic duties. The non-Iranian media is wall-to-wall on the Geneva talks but with precious little to say before a statement is issued after the discussions. Joe Klein of Time takes the Gold Medal for media foolishness with a hot-air "profile", "Ahmadinejad: Iran's Man of Mystery". Its one merit is the irony of Klein's assertion, "The real headline [of meeting Ahmadinejad] was his apparent cluelessness," given that the article is clueless about Iran's nuclear programme, internal politics, and the character of the Iranian President.

The Silver Medal goes to William Broad and David Sanger of The New York Times who, not content with having presented the Administration's portrayal of the "secret nuclear plant" as Qom as Nuclear Bomb Gospel, decide they will write a piece that Iran might have Lots and Lots of such plants. Their evidence? The cryptic words "and others" in a statement from Iran's top nuclear official and, well, that's it really.

0820 GMT: Most Surprising Story of Day (So Far). In contrast to Press TV's "All is Well" story about the reaction to Iran's nuclear programme (0600 GMT), the Iranian Labour News Agency considers the comments of Mohammad El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and headlines, "IAEA chief: Iran should take US offer".

0815 GMT: Telling Half the Story. The New York Times features an article by Michael Slackman on the regional perspective around the talks on Iran's nuclear programme. The piece begins:
As the West raises the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, Arab governments, especially the small, oil-rich nations in the Persian Gulf, are growing increasingly anxious. But they are concerned not only with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran but also with the more immediate threat that Iran will destabilize the region if the West presses too hard, according to diplomats, regional analysts and former government officials.

That seems a balanced assessment of the position of Middle Eastern states. So how does the headline portray this balance?

"Possibility of a Nuclear-Armed Iran Alarms Arabs"

0725 GMT: Reading the Clues for Geneva. CNN is the morning mouthpiece for the White House, repeating without considering the assertions of "three senior U.S. administration officials": "The United States wants a United Nations nuclear watchdog to have unfettered access to Iran’s recently revealed uranium enrichment site." And, if Iran doesn't make the correct response, "then isolation and sanctions are other options": “If it’s not going to succeed then there has to be consequences. They will respond. If not they will pay the price.”

Fox's Major Garrett, bizarrely, converts the same briefing into this lead paragraph: "The United States will not push for sanctions against Iran in Thursday's multilateral talks on its nuclear program in Geneva and is prepared to talk one-on-one with Iranian negotiations if such engagement appears 'useful'."

Those who want to do better than CNN or Fox News can read through the transcript of the State Department's "background briefing". Meanwhile, Reza Aslan cuts through the Administration line and the poor reporting to make the key point, "In short, without a real military option and with no guarantee that sanctions will have any effect, all we are left with—like it or not—is these negotiations"

0620 GMT: What the media is missing, as it is distracted by the Geneva talks, is the significant but still far-from-clear change in Iran's political landscape in the last 48 hours.

All indications are that a plan for political reconciliation --- whether it is in draft or final version --- has been circulating. Yesterday there was the dispute over whether Ayatollah Haeri-Sharazi had branded the plan "a lie", the supporting calls for unity from figures like Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi, and, most importantly, the meeting of Mir Hossein Mousavi with the reformist Parliamentary minority, the Imam Khomeini Line.

Mousavi is clearly working with the notion of a "National Unity Plan", but we're divided here at Enduring America over whether that means Mousavi is reinforcing the Green Wave's challenge to the system or giving up political opposition for a more conciliatory, even accommodating concept of "social movement". Personally, what has disturbed me, putting all the reports together, is the exclusion of Mehdi Karroubi from the process. This feels like a compromise between Mousavi and elements within the regime (to be blunt, Mousavi and Rafsanjani). If true, what that means for the future of President Ahmadinejad is uncertain --- could there even be a vision of a new Government in which Mousavi would have a role? The Supreme Leader, on the other hand, would be in a far stronger position.

We should know more today after Rafsajani and former President Mohammad Khatami meet the Imam Khomeini Line.

0600 GMT: For the world's media, "Iran" will mean little more today than the talks on Tehran's nuclear programme in Geneva. While there are some useful scraps of informaton, most of the coverage relies on generalisations ahead of any meaningful news from Switzerland. Thus, CNN's "IAEA: Iran broke law with nuclear facility" squares off with Press TV's "Exclusive: IAEA letter thanks Iran over notification".

More importantly, almost none of the news outlets are able to read behind the superficial spin from the participating countries. Thus, the emerging picture --- that Washington's high-profile pressure tactics over the "secret nuclear plant" have put the Administration in a corner, as the possibility of significant sanctions recedes --- is missed. So, if Iran does not offer a meaningful concession to US demands today, Obama faces a bigger challenger than Tehran's non-Bomb: the domestic groups who will insist on a punishment that cannot be meted out.