Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- April 12, 2007) Radio Farda provided listeners and website visitors coverage of the release of 15 British marines and sailors held by Iran for 12 days for allegedly crossing into Iranian waters; the announcement by Iran's president of the country's ability to produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale; and ongoing tensions between Iran's government and its teachers.
>> During the April 5 edition of its "Midnight Magazine" program, Radio Farda broadcast an interview by former Canadian Ambassador to Iran Kenneth Taylor, on the release of the British marines and sailors detained by Iran. According to Amb. Taylor, no concessions were made and no apologies are necessary. Taylor added, "I see no need whatsoever for gratitude toward the Iranians", because the Iranians confined the British marines and sailors without providing them contact with consular officials. Taylor called the release of the British marines and sailors a "clear and positive indication by the Iranians" saying they understand the nature of diplomacy and are open for further discussions.
During the same program, Radio Farda aired an interview with Khalil Bahramian, the lawyer representing political activists Ahmad Batebi and Akbar Mohammadi. During the interview, Bahramian analyzed the standoff over the detained British marines and sailors from the viewpoint of Iranian law. Bahramian said President Ahmadinejad's "pardon" of the marines and sailors holds no implication for the alleged criminality of the marines' acts. Secondly, Bahramian said Iran's Constitution does not give the chief executive of the country the right to pardon anyone. As for the 12-day detention of the marines and sailors, Bahramian asserted that the Constitution mandates that the accused be informed of the charges against him or her within 24 hours of arrest; otherwise, the Judiciary officials involved should be prosecuted for illegal detention (http://tinyurl.com/2x7245).
>> Radio Farda reported on April 9 that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced, during an appearance at the Natanz nuclear facility, that Iran was now capable of enriching nuclear fuel on an industrial scale. Radio Farda also informed listeners and website visitors that day of comments by Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani, who said this is the time for the West to negotiate and reach agreement with Iran, now that it has completed development of its nuclear fuel cycle (http://tinyurl.com/27a5o4).
Radio Farda included U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack's comments concerning President Ahmadinejad's statement. Calling it "another missed opportunity," McCormack said that Iran has "had numerous opportunities over the past months to take up the offer that's been extended to them of negotiations" and reiterated that the pathway to negotiations remains available to Iran (http://tinyurl.com/yqu5k2).
>> On April 11, Radio Farda reported that Supreme National Security Council Secretary Larijani, in response to doubts expressed by Western observers about Iran's ability to produce nuclear fuel on an industrial level, said that "we don't want to ruin the joy of others. If they are happy, let them be so. If their doubts are true, then why are they concerned and put pressure on the Islamic Republic?" (http://tinyurl.com/22layg).
>> On April 11, Radio Farda cited Iranian media reports concerning the April 7 arrest of 45 teachers in the office of the Teacher's Guild Association (Kanun-e senfi-ye moalleman) in the city of Hamedan. According to the report, judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi announced during a press conference that the Association had engaged in "illegal" activities and sought to distribute unspecified statements. Radio Farda also reported that security agents had searched the homes of Teacher's Guild Association members in Tehran on April 9 and issued summonses demanding these members appear in court (http://tinyurl.com/2xx9av).
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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