Two rival factions vied for seats in the Iranian parliament on Friday as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sought to undermine rival President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the U.S. surprised brokers by allowing Iran to purchase 120,000 tons of wheat at the same time tougher sanctions have been put in place by the U.S. and European Union against the Middle Eastern nation.
Here is the latest information available regarding Iran's political tensions.
* The U.S. Agriculture Department sale of 120,000 tons of red winter wheat to Iran will be delivered by May 31. It is not clear how the country will pay for the wheat given monetary sanctions and it is not certain the Treasury Department approved the deal in advance, as required.
* Reformers sat out the polls as the expectation is Khamenei's camp will strengthen its hand politically in advance of future presidential elections.
* Human Rights Watch issued a news release saying arbitrary disqualifications made the elections "grossly unfair." Opposition leaders have been arrested, denied permission to run or chose to boycott the elections.
* Among those opposition leaders under house arrest include Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard.
* A Reuters report indicates Iran has approached Pakistan and India, hoping to secure 1 million tons of wheat. Tehran might be subject to bread shortages and food import shortages as a result of strict sanctions imposed due to concerns that Iran seeks nuclear weapons.
* State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was asked why arranging the five-plus-one meeting with Iran was taking so long, referring to the five permanent security council members and Germany. She noted Iran had one government to coordinate, while the U.S. needed to work with six, "and it's important that that be done right for precisely the reasons that everybody wants to see. If we go forward with this, as the Secretary made clear, we have to ensure, on the one hand it's not a one-meeting wonder, and on the other hand it can't be used as a stalling tactic by the Iranians while they continue to develop."
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.