Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- March 1, 2007) Radio Farda provided listeners and website visitors with analysis of the IAEA's report on Iran's uranium enrichment efforts following the end of the 60-day period granted by the UN Security Council for Iran to stop its enrichment activities. It also featured updates on the sudden and secret opening of the trial of Tehran Bus Company labor union leader Mansour Osanlou.
>> Radio Farda's broadcasts and website on February 22 offered listeners and viewers an interview with U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Gregory Schulte after the end of the 60-day grace period the UN had given Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program. Amb. Schulte told listeners that IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei's report contained "bad news" about Iran's nuclear program--that, after 3 years of investigation, the IAEA cannot certify the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities and that Iran has failed to meet the UN Security Council's requirement to suspend nuclear activities. When asked about the possibility of a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Amb. Schulte told listeners there has been a lot of "chatter" recently by a lot of experts about military action and, as President Bush has said, it is all basically noise. Amb. Schulte stressed to listeners the importance of finding a diplomatic solution: "Iran's security and prosperity will not be ensured by pursuing nuclear weapons; it will be ensured by abiding by international commitments and engaging with international community" (http://tinyurl.com/29rze2).
>> On February 27, Radio Farda aired and posted to its website an interview with Ambassador James Jeffrey, U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs about IAEA Director General ElBaradei's report on Iran's nuclear program. Amb. Jeffrey told listeners that the goal of the U.S. is to see Iran modify its behavior in a number of areas: stop uranium enrichment, join the U.S. at the bargaining table, stop providing weapons and technology to militias in Iraq and to Hezbollah, and stop subjugating its people. Amb. Jeffrey also said, "The offers we put on the table can lead Iran to change its behavior in a specific area to allow us to move forward, because we do not need a confrontation with Iran or with any other countries" (audio at http://tinyurl.com/24hg4t; article at http://tinyurl.com/2yannd).
>> Radio Farda's weekly "Viewpoints" roundtable program on February 24 featured a discussion of Iran's defiance of the UN at the end of the 60-day grace period. Bahaedin Adab, a former member of the Iranian parliament from Kurdestan said that President Ahmadinejad alone is driving the country towards military confrontation. According to Adab, most political parties, especially the reformists, oppose the policy of confrontation. Tehran-based university professor Sadegh Zibakalam, referring to North Korea and Pakistan as backward countries that have developed a complete nuclear fuel cycle, said that Iran should be asking whether uranium enrichment is a cost-effective option for Iran. Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Fellow at and former Iranian parliamentarian Fatemeh Haghighatjoo emphasized the need to encourage negotiation. Mansour Farhang, Iran's Ambassador to the UN under the Provisional Government of Mehdi Bazargan contended that, more than anything else, a pro-peace movement should be established in Iran in order to avoid military confrontation with the U.S. (http://tinyurl.com/2xz668).
>> Radio Farda broadcasts and website informed listeners on February 24 that Mansour Osanlou, the head of the executive committee of the Syndicate of Workers at the Tehran Bus Company was summoned to trial before Branch 14 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court. In an interview, Osanlou told Radio Farda listeners that he had not been informed about the closed court session before the trial. According to Osanlou, the judge warned him and his lawyers against publicizing the details of his case in media, saying that any such acts will be considered as a crime. As a result, Osanlou said, "I cannot go into details, but on the whole, the same two charges in the indictment, that is, 'propaganda against the regime' and 'acting against the national security,' were posed again" (http://tinyurl.com/236nrb).
That same day, Radio Farda aired and posted to its website a report on a rally held by a number of workers in front of the court in support of Osanlou. In an interview with Radio Farda, worker activist Jafar Azimzadeh told listeners "Mansour Osanlou is being tried, allegedly on charges of acting against national security, disrupting public order and organizing an illegal syndicate, when all he has done is defend the rights of workers." Azimzadeh added, "We have gathered here today to demand the annulment of Mr. Osanlou's trial and his unconditional exoneration" (http://tinyurl.com/yvpre6).
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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