Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC--December 28, 2006) During the last week in December, Radio Farda concentrated its reporting on the continuing human rights abuses in Iran, and new developments in the confrontation between the UN Security Council and Iran over the Iranian government's pursuit of nuclear technology.
>>On December 25, Radio Farda reported that a statement was issued by 11 political figures in Iran stressing that -- in addition to the right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology -- the people of Iran also have other indisputable rights, such as democracy and human rights. Radio Farda aired interviews with several of the signatories of this statement.
Ali Akbar Moinfar, former oil minister of Mehdi Bazargan's provisional government, told Radio Farda that "in the present situation, Iranians' civil rights and other demands are deemed of secondary importance." He added that if people's rights were not being violated, Iran wouldn't face such a challenge in regard to the nuclear issue. Khosrow Seyf, leader of the Iran National Party (Mellat Iran Party) told Radio Farda that the authors of this statement are concerned that Iranians may have to pay a high price for the current policies of the Islamic Republic, which are determined by an elite group in the name of people. Iran National Front Central Committee member Davoud Hermidas Bavand told Radio Farda that, "in the current situation, insisting on Iran's right to nuclear technology may make the country more isolated" (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2006/12/25/f1_activist_nuclear.html).
>> Radio Farda reported on December 27 that Iran's parliament passed a bill obliging the government to review its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in reaction to the UN Security Council resolution of December 23. Radio Farda interviewed National Iranian-American Council president Trita Parsi who told listeners there is still a chance for diplomacy to succeed, but at this stage neither side wants to lose face so the cost of getting to the negotiating table has risen. Parsi said he believes diplomacy is falling victim to provocations, such as the Iranian government's recent conference denying the Holocaust and the continued refusal of the United States to talk with the Iranians directly. Parsi also said, "unilateral sanctions that the United States has quietly put in place over the last couple of months, with a tremendous amount of pressure on international banks not to deal with Iran... are going to be far more effective than the UN sanctions" (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/12/24216A0C-0733-4A15-9486-EFC785B3D6FF.html).
>> Radio Farda covered U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's remarks in the days before the vote in the UN Security Council on the sanctions resolution and after the vote (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2006/12/21/o1_rice_on_resolution_draft.html).
>> On December 23, Radio Farda broadcast an interview with Royal Military College of Canada professor Houshang Hassan-Yari about Iran's potential defiance of the UN resolution and the possibility of a U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Hassan-Yari told Radio Farda listeners, "Considering some of the Iranian officials' words on the nuclear program, including deputy chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Mr. Saeedi, if the military option becomes serious, Iran will go underground with its nuclear activities" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/CH21/2006/12/23/20061223-233000-FRD-program.rm).
>> Radio Farda reported that, according to a December 16 statement issued by the organization Human Rights Activists in Iran, fourteen Christians residing in Rasht, Karaj, and Tehran were arrested on December 10. Radio Farda interviewed Sadegh Naghashkar, the spokesman for Human Rights Activists in Iran who said that these arrests were carried out to "prevent the Christmas and New Year's rituals." Naghashkar also told listeners Ministry of Intelligence agents also confiscated religious books, personal pictures and CDs while arresting these people. The arrested, whose names were included in Radio Farda's report, were reportedly Muslims who had converted to Christianity (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2006/12/17/f4_christian_arresting_iran.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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