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Heard This Week - 06/21/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- June 21, 2007) Radio Farda this week looked at the consequences for Iran of the debate at the IAEA's latest board meeting, reported on the health of a jailed Iranian labor activist, and talked about Iran's role in facilitating conflict in the Middle East with the head of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitor Group.

>> The June 15 edition of the Radio Farda roundtable program "Viewpoints" was devoted to the Iranian nuclear program in the context of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board meeting which ended on June 14. Strayer University sociology professor Rasool Nafisi said that further sanctions against Iran can neither bring this country to the table, nor make it halt its uranium enrichment program. Former Iranian diplomat Mehrdad Khansari, however, said Iran's response will depend on the dimensions of new sanctions. Khansari said Iran currently faces an unprecedented international crisis, as well as a major domestic economic crisis resulting from mismanagement. Further sanctions, according to Khansari, will lead to the two crises becoming intertwined, putting Iran in a very dangerous position. In Nafisi's opinion, a major Middle East arms race will break out if Iran continues its uranium enrichment efforts. Such an arms race will not benefit Iran, Nafisi said, because it will as a result lose its strategic dominance in the region (

>> A June 19 Radio Farda report documented the grave physical condition of jailed labor activist Mahmoud Salehi, who suffers from kidney ailments and has already lost the use of one kidney while in jail, according to his wife, Najibeh. Salehi was arrested in April 2007 in the Kurdistan province city of Saghez, after police summoned him to discuss plans for May Day; Salehi had been arrested in 2004 on charges of participating in a May Day rally. Najibeh Salehi told Radio Farda that her husband needs dialysis treatments, otherwise his other kidney will fail as well. Journalist Massoud Bastani told Radio Farda that Salehi had been taken to hospital on June 17, but then was returned to prison -- on orders from prison officials -- two hours later. "In other words, prison officials did not allow him to receive complete medical treatment," Bastani added. Najibeh Salehi expressed her concern for her husband's safety and asked for more help from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) (

>> Radio Farda aired an interview on June 17 with Bassem Eid, director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitor Group. Eid told Radio Farda that the Iranian government is undoubtedly using Hamas to further its interests in the region, just as it is using Hezbollah in south Lebanon to lead the Middle East into war. Eid said, "I think that they are serving their own interests rather than Palestinians' interests," noting that such interventions, in his opinion, will neither help or liberate Palestinians. "It is time to take things into our own hands and to start fighting on our own... to start building the state with our own hands," Eid told Radio Farda (

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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