Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- September 21, 2006) Topics covered by Radio Farda this past week included the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and speeches there by U.S. President George W. Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; a pending indictment of Ahmadinejad in Canada; press freedom in the wake of the closure of Iran's major reformist newspaper; and the controversy over Pope Benedict XVI's comments about Islam.
>> Radio Farda provided its listeners in Iran extensive coverage of U.S. President George W. Bush's September 19 speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, airing a translation of Bush's remarks that same day and posting the translation to its website (http://www.radiofarda.com/iran_article/2006/9/7153a5e8-e603-46ac-aca4-35d7671160f5.html). In his speech, Bush directly addressed the people in the Middle East, expressing to the Iranian people his respect for their "rich history, vibrant culture and... many contributions to civilization." Radio Farda listeners also heard Bush state that the rulers of Iran have put up the greatest obstacles to a bright future for Iranians by choosing to deny them liberty and using their nation's resources to fund terrorism, fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons.
Radio Farda also reported on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech to the UN General Assembly, in which he accused the U.S and Britain of abusing the UN Security Council to achieve their own ends and claimed, "All our nuclear activities are transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes of IAEA inspectors" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/20/20060920-033000-FRD-program.rm?start=11:00&end=15:04).
>> Radio Farda continued its coverage of the Iranian nuclear standoff, with reports on:
> U.S. President George W. Bush's September 19 remarks, after a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac, stressing that the U.S. and France share the objective of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and the dispute should be resolved through diplomacy (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/19/20060919-173000-FRD-program.rm?start=07:58&end=11:47)
> The decision by Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani to stay away from New York and the United Nations this week and U.S. envoy to the UN John Bolton's September 19 statement that Larijani's absence is an indication that "The discussions with Iran appear to have come to a stop" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/19/20060919-033000-FRD-program.rm?start=07:20&end=10:50)
> U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack's September 19 assertion that Iran was playing for time in the standoff by delaying meetings with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/19/20060919-033000-FRD-program.rm?start=07:20&end=10:50).
>> On September 17, Radio Farda interviewed former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, who is currently preparing an indictment against President Ahmadinejad for inciting to genocide against Israel for what Cotler termed were violations of the United Nations Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Ahmadinejad has in the past described the Holocaust as "a myth" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/17/20060917-093000-FRD-program.rm?start=07:55&end=11:31).
>> Radio Farda reported on September 16 that three Japanese major banks will refrain from doing business with the state-run Bank Saderat Iran, in line with U.S. financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The U.S. Treasury Department had announced earlier that Iran channels funds to Hezbollah in Lebanon through this bank (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/16/20060916-113000-FRD-program.rm?start=03:09&end=05:43; rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/16/20060916-153000-FRD-program.rm?start=20:39&end=25:10).
>> The government closure of Iran's most prominent reformist daily newspaper, Shargh and the reformist monthlies Nameh and Hafez was addressed in Radio Farda interviews on September 15 with Nameh editor-in-chief Majid Tavalai (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/15/20060915-153000-FRD-program.rm?start=15:45&end=19:17) and on September 16 with Reporters Without Borders' spokesman Reza Moini (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/09/16/20060916-033000-FRD-program.rm?start=12:01&end=15:41)
>> In response to the controversy that erupted over Pope Benedict XVI's September 12 speech on Islam, Radio Farda aired interviews on September 18 with Anglo-Indian writer Salman Rushdie (http://www.radiofarda.com/culture_article/2006/9/8cb1306a-a3dc-4cad-b378-002683624c53.html) and on September 19 with moderate Qom clerical scholar Hojatoleslam Mohammed Taqi Fazel-Meybodi (http://www.radiofarda.com/special_article/2006/9/e3239a12-0ebd-4dfe-a879-57c89027cc6a.html).
For more on these and other stories about Iran, please visit:
http://www.radiofarda.com -- Radio Farda's Persian-language website
http://www.rferl.org/reviews/farda.aspx -- "Focus on Farda" bi-weekly review
http://www.rferl.org/reports/iran-report/default.asp -- "RFE/RL Iran Report" weekly analysis
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarchive/country/iran.html -- RFE/RL English-language coverage of Iran
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