Iran's 347-billion-dollar budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, finally approved by the Guardian Council in Tehran Tuesday - just days before its scheduled implementation on the Iranian New Year Mar. 21 - appears likely to add to the tensions and uncertainty that have bedeviled the country since the disputed June 2009 elections.
After eight tumultuous months, during which attention from all sides of Iran's political spectrum as well as anxious watchers around the world focused on a series of street clashes between protesters and the government's security forces, an eerie calm has taken hold in Iran.
As Iran nervously awaits the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Feb. 11 - the day that has traditionally drawn the largest public demonstrations - a subtle change in public discourse can be detected.
The confrontation that took place in the streets of several large cities in Iran on the occasion of Ashura has brought the acrimonious political fight among the Islamic Republic's elite into focus in significantly different ways than before.
Although the tumult that has gripped Iran since the contested Jun. 12 election has never abated, two recent occurrences have highlighted the further sharpening of internal conflict and the government's inability to restore stability in the face of creative ways the opposition has learned to use the symbols of the Islamic Republic in order to sustain itself.
With the confirmation of his re-election by Ayatollah Khamenei and his oath of office taken, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will begin his second term facing much steeper challenges than any of Iran’s previous second-term presidents.
With the historical Friday Prayer sermon given by former president and current chair of the Council of Experts and Expediency Discernment Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Jul. 17, and the riposte by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei three days later, lines have been drawn in unprecedented ways in Iran.
Four days after Iran's Jun. 12 election, the country remains in a state of shock and turmoil, attempting to come to grips with what happened.
With the official registration period for candidates over on May 9, the race for Iran’s presidency is entering its final stretch.
Despite recent overtures and the establishment of areas of common interest, Iran’s nuclear programme remains central to its goals in dealing with the U.S.
"We are not satisfied with [U.S. President Barack] Obama's actions since they have not been in line with claims of change - although we are not without hope either."