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President of Israel Speaks on Radio Farda, Sends Iran Dual Message of Praise and Warning

(Prague, Czech Republic -- March 20, 2006) President Moshe Katsav of Israel warned, in an exclusive interview for Radio Farda broadcast March 18, that Iran is becoming more isolated because of what he termed "aggressive and irresponsible steps." In a dual message of warning to the Iranian government and praise for the Iranian people, Katsav also expressed admiration for the beauty and culture of Iran and said he hopes to return one day to visit the land of his birth.

Katsav, born in 1945 in Iran, lived as a child in the city of Yazd. He and his family emigrated to Israel in 1951. He said in the Radio Farda interview that he has "strong sentiments towards Iran," adding "I hope for the day I will be able to visit Iran, since I believe that Iran is one of the most beautiful countries in the world."

Katsav told Radio Farda that he makes a distinction between the Iranian regime and the Iranian people, stating his belief that "the Iranian regime does not express the wishes and values of the Iranian people." According to the Israeli president, who was interviewed by Radio Farda in his office in Jerusalem, "the international community is unwilling to accept the policies of the Iranian regime, which gives financial support to terrorist organizations all over the world, denies the Holocaust and calls for the elimination of the State of Israel, while developing long-range missiles and trying to obtain nuclear weapons." Katsav noted that, unless Iran changes policies, its isolation will increase, which will have a negative impact on the people of Iran. He said, "Iran needs to read the writing on the wall and, instead of acting against the international community, it should try to integrate with it."

An English-language transcript of the interview can be found on the RFE/RL website; audio of the interview can be heard on the Radio Farda website.

Radio Farda, a joint project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA), is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service. Broadcast from Washington and Prague and transmitted to listeners via AM, shortwave and satellite and Internet, it features at least 8 hours of news and current affairs programming daily as well as Western and Persian music aimed at a younger audience. Radio Farda programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's website and at; English-language news about events in Iran can also be found on the RFE/RL website. To learn more about Radio Farda and its coverage of events in Iran, read and subscribe to "Focus on Farda".