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Heard This Week - 12/07/2006

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- December 7, 2006) Radio Farda continued its coverage of events leading up to the Assembly of Experts and municipal elections in Iran next week and provided listeners information about the growing incidence of HIV/AIDS in Iran.

>> The December 1 edition of Radio Farda's weekly "Viewpoints" program offered listeners a debate on the significance of the Assembly of Experts and municipal council elections scheduled to take place in Iran on December 15. Toronto-based political analyst Alireza Haghighi said he believes the Assembly of Experts has not become a significant factor in Iran's power structure because Iran's Constitution is vague about its mandate. Haghighi noted that Iran's Constitution gives the Assembly the authority to dismiss the Supreme Leader, but that no mechanism for accomplishing this is mentioned. Mashhad-based political analyst Mohammad Sadegh Javadi Hesar, a former legislator and director of the banned newspaper "Tous", said the public's participation in the election and the votes they will cast for reformists will show that Iranians want to improve the legal democratic institutions in their country and favor detente and dialogue with the world. Tehran-based political activist and journalist Taghi Rahmani told "Viewpoints" listeners that voters will not go to the polls on December 15, because they no longer trust the reformists: "Reformists made promises, but were not held accountable" (rtsp://

>> As part of its coverage of the upcoming Assembly of Experts and municipal elections, Radio Farda reported that the Tehran Prosecutor's office has warned newspapers caught promoting candidates before the official start of the campaign they will be shut down until after the elections and subject to prosecution if they continue to violate the law. On December 4, Radio Farda broadcast an interview with Committee to Defend Press Freedom spokesman Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, who told listeners that Iranian hardliners are concerned the Iranian electorate may become too energized: "They want the political atmosphere of Iran to be cold, so that people will have no interest in participating in the upcoming municipal council elections; this will allow the conservatives to continue controlling the councils" (

>> Radio Farda reported that, according to the annual report by UNAIDS, the rate of HIV/AIDS infection is growing fast in Iran. Radio Farda broadcast an interview on December 1 with Dr. Hamid Reza Setayesh, the UNAIDS officer in Iran, who said statistics show the number of those infected with the disease has doubled in Iran in the last two years. Setayesh told Radio Farda listeners the best way to fight AIDS is through education, but that HIV/AIDS education in Iranian schools has been ended: "This is a warning bell" (

For more on these and other stories about Iran, please visit: -- Radio Farda's Persian-language website -- "Focus on Farda" bi-weekly review -- "RFE/RL Iran Report" weekly analysis -- RFE/RL English-language coverage of Iran

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