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Heard This Week - 02/08/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- February 8, 2007) Radio Farda continued to inform listeners about worldwide opposition to Iran's nuclear efforts; Iranian worries about the potential consequences of the nuclear program; a re-evaluation of Iran's 1979 revolution and continued harassment of regime opponents by the Iranian government.

>> On February 7, Radio Farda reported the remarks of Ambassador Gregory L. Schulte, U.S. Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Munich. Referring to Iran's nuclear ambitions as the "common security challenge" faced by the U.S. and Europe, Schulte contended that the next report by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei will likely have to repeat that the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities can not be verified yet. According to Schulte, "Iran's leaders have a choice. They can continue to move to large-scale enrichment, as Iran's president has defiantly proclaimed. Or Iran's leaders can celebrate their country's nuclear achievements during the "Ten Days of Dawn"--then suspend those of international concern" (

>> "The verbal clash between Tehran and Washington" was the topic of debate on this week's edition of Radio Farda's roundtable program, "Viewpoints." Rutgers University professor Houshang Amirahmadi told listeners that Iran needs to reconsider its foreign policy objectives in order to avoid a military attack from the U.S. Mahan Abedin, director of research at the Center for the Study of Terrorism in London, said that he believes the challenges faced by the U.S. in Iraq make a military attack hard to imagine in the short term. Journalist Hassan Hashemian said that, if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, the possibility exists of military attack (

>> On February 6, following a report on Iranian missile exercises in the Persian Gulf, Radio Farda aired an interview with the US Security Editor for Jane's Information Group, Alex Vatanka who told listeners that these exercises could be meant for three audiences. According to Vatanka, neither the Iranian people nor western governments seem to be the targets of this display -- because the former already know that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) could not withstand a U.S. bombardment for more than a week or two; and the latter do not fear Iran's military power. Vatanka concluded that the exercise was aimed at intimidating the Arabic states of the Persian Gulf, so that they would dissuade the U.S. from launching an attack on Iran (

>> To coincide with annual celebrations of the anniversary of Iran's revolution, Radio Farda launched a program entitled "Iran's Revolution, 28 Years After" that gave listeners a chance to re-evaluate the meaning and implementation of the slogan with which it started: "Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic". For the first part of the program, "Revolution and Social and Moral Values in Iran," Radio Farda interviewed the former Iranian ambassador to the UN, Saeed Rejaei Khorasani; Ataollah Mohajerani, who served as Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance under former President Mohammad Khatami; and political analyst Akbar Karami (

>> Radio Farda, citing the Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA), told listeners on February 4 that two political activists who planned to participate in a conference in the U.S. were barred at the airport from leaving the country. Abdollah Momeni, a postgraduate member of the Office to Consolidate Unity (Daftar-i Tahkim-i Vahdat, or DTV) and prominent dissident academic Hashem Aghajari were stopped before boarding their flight and their passports were confiscated, Aghajari told ILNA (

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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