2045 GMT: The US Detainees. Chris Crowstaff of A Safe World for Women, which has campaigned for the three detained US hikers, has just provided a statement to EA:
I have just read reports that Sarah Shourd is to be released on Saturday. While the news fills me with joy, I also ask the Islamic Republic of Iran to be compassionate to her fiancé Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal and release them at the same time.
My heart also goes out to the families of other women imprisoned in Iran and ask the Iranian government to show the same compassion and benevolence to them.
NEW Iran Exclusive: The Escalating Battle With Ahmadinejad
NEW Iran Special: Abdollah Momeni Writes Supreme Leader About His Detention & Torture
NEW Iran Document: Karroubi on the Siege of His Home and of the Iranian People (8 September)
Iran Feature: Re-visiting the 2009 Election (Keshavarz)
Iran Snap Analysis: Who is Running Foreign Policy?
The Latest from Iran (8 September): Sakineh Execution Suspended?
1939 GMT: Hiker Shourd to Be Released? Journalist Christiane Amanpour, quoting the Iranian Mission to the United Nations, says detained American Sarah Shourd will be released soon.
Amanpour asked, "Today or tomorrow?" The delegation replied, "Very soon."
The Iranian spokesperson gave the same message to NBC News and to CNN.
1930 GMT: And on the Foreign Policy Front. Javad Mansouri, the former Iranian ambassador to China and Pakistan, has repeated his criticism of the President's appointment of four special envoys, declaring that Ahmadinejad must retreat or otherwise problems will rise. Mansouri added that Ahmadinejad's actions prove his doubts in Foreign Ministry and show that he wants to take over foreign policy.
I suspect that Mansouri's opinions are not just his own but on behalf of colleagues who are still in the diplomatic service.
1920 GMT: The Battle Within. Over to Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi for today's shot at the Ahmadinejad camp....
Saffar-Harandi, who was ousted as Minister of Culture in last summer's clashes within the Cabinet, tried to get a bit of payback today against Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. Saffar-Harandi said only "disturbed and ill minds" can propagate the "Iranian school", a reference to Rahim-Mashai's recent statement that other countries should follow Iran rather than Islam as a model.
The former Minister added, "We must follow strictly all of the Supreme Leader's words,;unity can only be centred around him."
1645 GMT: The US Detainees. An official at Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has said that one of three US detainees, taken by Iranian forces in July 2009 when they allegedly walked across the Iraq-Iran border, will be released Saturday. This would coincide with Eid al-Fitr, the celebration of the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The official said one of Iran's vice presidents will be present when the detainee is released at 9 a.m. local time.
Another US journalist is reporting that the freed hiker will be Sarah Shourd. Shourd has reportedly been suffering from health problems.
The other two detainees are Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.
1515 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and writer Javad Mahzadeh has been released from detention after 11 months on $40,000 bail.
1255 GMT: Execution (Ashtiani) Watch. The European Union has said that a "suspension" of the death sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, convicted of adultery, is not enough and that the penalty should be commuted.
1020 GMT: Execution (Sakineh) Watch. Sajad Ghaderzadeh, the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, has reacted to yesterday's statement, from the Iranian Foreign Ministry, that the execution of his mother on charges of adultery has been suspended. Ghaderzadeh said, ""We have so far not received an official and legal document on stopping the stoning sentence and execution, we therefore do not accept these claims.They must issue us legal documents in this regard."
The Foreign Ministry's statement said the process of sentencing for Ashtiani's conviction of complicity in the murder of her husband was continuing. Originally, the 43-year-old woman had been condemned to die by stoning on the adultery charge, but the method --- though not the death sentence --- was suspended earlier this summer.
0940 GMT: Exclusive. We have posted what we hope is a very special Iran Special, based on sources inside Iran, "The Escalating Battle With Ahmadinejad".
0840 GMT: Keyhan v. Ahmadinejad. The "hard-line" Keyhan newspaper has had another go at the President's men. It tells readers to beware of "intruders", for their mission is not only terror and bombings.
Who are those intruders? One might cast a glance at Keyhan's dislike of Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.
0830 GMT: Economy Watch. Amidst concerns over imports and their effect of Iranian agriculture, the Ministry of Trade has announced that rice coupons are being re-introduced, with the replacement of the imports by domestic rice.
Seven months into this Iranian year, the budget and statistics for last year still have not been published by the Central Bank and Government. The suspicion is that the data is being withheld because it would reveal high Government debt, unpaid debts to Iranian banks, and a decline in builiding projects.
But never mind, for here is today's All-is-Well Alert. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi says, "Soon we will celebrate all Iranians having a house of their own."
0825 GMT: Parliament v. President. About 100 MPs have signed the demand for impeachment of Minister of Education Haji Babaei. They claim that the ministry is on the verge of collapse, there is mismanagement of the budget, and they note protests against employment policies.
On another front, an olive branch from Alireza Tabesh. He said government representatives had approved changes to the 5th Budget Plan, and it will be approved by the Majlis Coordination Commission after discussion with the chamber of commerce, Strategic Research Centre, and the Audit Court.
Earlier this week, Ahmadinejad's representatives had boycotted a meeting of the Coordination Commission.
0810 GMT: Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. We note another message from the Supreme Leader to the President in Ayatollah Khamenei's speech on Tuesday.
Behind the headline that Iran will defy international sanctions, there was not only a sign of weakness in the Supreme Leader's reference to Iran's "economic downturn". Khamenei also urged a “full, precise, comprehensive and continuous” implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution on privatisation of state companies: “Implementation of this article will resolve most of the problems.”
Those "problems", as noted by key MPs and the Supreme Audit Court, have included the sell-off of the majority of state firms (85% in one estimate) not to the private sector but to consortia including groups within the state, notably the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.
Khamenei called on the government to “properly manage the country’s financial resources” and “improve business atmosphere”, he declared, "Excessive and illogical imports are a big danger.”
0725 GMT: We begin this morning with two features. We have posted the English translation of another statement of defiance from Mehdi Karroubi, commenting on the siege of his home and of the Iranian people and putting the blame at the feet of the Government.
And we have published what we think is an extraordinary letter, as activist Abdollah Momeni, detained since June 2009, tries to tell the Supreme Leader of his detention and torture in Evin Prison.