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Heard This Week - 03/08/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- March 8, 2007) Radio Farda provided coverage of the arrest of women's rights activists in Tehran and demonstrations by teachers seeking the impeachment of Iran's Education Minister, as well as the presentation of the State Department's annual human rights report and interviews with Senator Jim Webb and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.

>> On March 4, Radio Farda broadcasts and website provided extensive coverage of the arrest of more than 30 women's rights activists involved in a peaceful rally in front of the 6th branch of Tehran's Revolutionary Court to protest the prosecution of five of their colleagues.
Radio Farda broadcast an interview with student activist Payman Aref, who told listeners more than 200 police forces were involved in beating the women activists and arresting them. "The crowd of more than 50 people tried to resist by sitting on the ground and not responding to the beatings. Finally, around 10:00, female police came and the activists were arrested," Aref told Radio Farda (
Radio Farda's website posted reports on statements by the Islamic Iran Participation Front (Mosharekat) and United Republicans of Iran protesting the violence against women activists and calling for their immediate release ( Radio Farda also broadcast interviews with political activist Akbar Ganji (audio at eyewitness Siavosh Rasam (audio at and Human Rights Watch official Hadi Ghaemi (audio at

>> On March 7, the Radio Farda continued its coverage of the arrest of women's rights activists with reports on the deteriorating state of health of some of those arrested. Nima Namdari, the husband of arrested activist Nasrin Afzali told Radio Farda listeners that some of her colleagues are in bad physical condition because of a hunger strike. Namdari also reported that arrested activists Mahnaz Mohammadi, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and Fatemeh Govaraei, who has respiratory problems, are being denied medications to treat their ailments. In addition, Namdari told listeners his wife had said to him that the arrested activists had been undergoing interrogations "from night to morning" (; Radio Farda photo gallery at

>> On March 6, Radio Farda aired and posted to its website live coverage by correspondents at the U.S. State Department of the State Department's "2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices." Listeners were told the report noted the disqualification of more than 1,000 presidential candidates by Iran's Guardians Council, as well as a series of unfair trials, tortures, executions and stonings in the country. In addition, listeners learned the report asserts that the government in Tehran continues to "flout domestic and international calls for responsible government by supporting terrorism movements in Syria and Lebanon" (

>> On March 5, Radio Farda listeners heard a live report from the U.S. Congress just minutes after Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced legislation to prohibit the use of funds for military operations in Iran without congressional authorization. Senator Webb told Radio Farda listeners, "The major function of this legislation is to prevent this administration from commencing unprovoked military activities against Iran without the approval of the Congress." At the same time, Senator Webb refused to take the military option off the table (

>> On March 3, Radio Farda's website reported that Iranian teachers had assembled in front of the Iranian Parliament to demand the impeachment of Education Minister Mahmud Farshidi based on charges of mismanagement and unfulfilled promises (
On March 6, the Radio Farda website reported that thousands of teachers had again gathered in front of the Iranian Parliament to demand the dismissal of Education Ministry Farshidi -- this time illustrating their demands by holding up red cards. The teachers also criticized the lack of coverage of their protest on state-run national TV (; Radio Farda photo gallery at

>> On March 2, Radio Farda aired and posted to its website an exclusive interview with former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. Ambassador Bolton reiterated for listeners "the U.S. position that 'all options are on the table' if Tehran does not cease uranium enrichment as required by the UN Security Council resolution [1737]." Bolton added, "I personally think that the government [in Iran] will continue to pursue nuclear weapons as long as it's in power -- which is one reason why I would like to see regime change in Tehran. I'd like to see a truly democratic government [that is] really reflective of the will of the Iranian people in control in Tehran rather than the current regime" (; English transcript at

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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