Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- November 22, 2006) Radio Farda coverage of events in Iran this past week included a look at the potential for Iran to play a role in stabilizing the situation in Iraq; continuing coverage of Iran's nuclear ambitions;and an eyewitness account of the surprise arrest of Mansour Osanlou, the outspoken leader of Tehran's bus drivers union.
>> Radio Farda aired interviews on November 16 on whether Iran can play a role in establishing security in Iraq. London-based analyst and former Iranian diplomat Mehrdad Khansari told listeners that Iran could potentially be influential in creating stability in Iraq, but as long as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks about destroying Israel and uncertainty exists about whether Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, there will be no trust in any sort of Iranian role. Strayer University Department of General Studies chairman Rasool Nafisi said that it is highly unlikely that the U.S. would let Iran play a role in Iraq, which could open the possibility of Iran extending its influence throughout the Middle East. Mahan Abedin, director of research at the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism, told Radio Farda listeners that there will not be any agreement between Iran and the U.S over Iraq unless the U.S guarantees that it will not attack Iran: "More than anything else, Iran needs security guarantee from the U.S." (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/11/16/20061116-153000-FRD-program.rm?start=04:58&end=09:13).
In an interview that aired on November 21, Mark Fitzpatrick of London's International Institute for Strategic Studies told Radio Farda listeners that Iran and Syria are certainly not able to bring peace and stability to Iraq -- at least not by themselves. What they can do, Fitzpatrick told listeners, is be part of the solution to Iraq's crisis (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/11/21/20061121-133000-FRD-program.rm?start=02:27&end=07:19)
>> Radio Farda aired an interview with Institute for Science and International Security Senior Analyst Jacqueline Shire on November 15 about Iran's nuclear program. During the interview, Shire told listeners that the latest IAEA report shows a continuing status quo in regards to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Shire also said that the international community is concerned about Iran's lack of cooperation with the IAEA in providing more information about its nuclear program -- including its plutonium separation experiments and use of P-1 and P-2 centrifuge program (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/11/15/20061115-203000-FRD-program.rm?start=02:59&end=09:28).
>> An Iranian trade union official gave Radio Farda an eyewitness account of the surprise arrest of Mansour Osanlou, the president of the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran Bus Company on November 19. In an exclusive interview that day, the deputy director of the Syndicate Workers of the Tehran Bus Company, Ebrahim Madadi told Radio Farda listeners that he was with Osanlou at the time of his arrest. According to Madadi, he and Osanlou were driving to the labor office when Osanlou was arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents after getting out of the car to buy newspapers. Madadi told listeners that at least seven agents dragged Osanlou towards their cars and took him away. Madadi said the agents refused to show any identification or provide an arrest warrant. "Mr. Osanlou called for help while he was being arrested," Madadi said, adding: "I went to help him, but the agents beat me. One of them who beat me pulled out his gun and fired a shot in the air. Currently we have no news about Osanlou's fate" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/11/19/20061119-153000-FRD-program.rm?start=14:03&end=18:15).
>> Radio Farda reported on November 19 that Tohid Ghafarzadeh, a student at the Islamic Azad University in Sabzevar was stabbed and killed by a member of the Basij militia while talking to his fiancee in the bus station. Mostafa Sedaghatjoo, a former secretary of the Islamic Students' Association of the Islamic Azad University in Sabzevar, told Radio Farda listeners that the security (harasat) chief of the university said the assailant claimed he had acted in accordance with his religious beliefs (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/11/19/20061119-133000-FRD-program.rm?start=06:10&end=09:02).
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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