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Heard This Week - 02/28/2008

Heard This Week in Iran
on Radio Farda

Radio Farda Gets Ready for Iranian Parliamentary Elections...

Radio Farda has launched two special programs in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran. One, a daily review of election-related news [text in Persian], has been on the air since mid-February and includes interviews on issues such as the vetting process and comparing elections in Iran and other countries. A longer package titled "Elections Under the Magnifying Glass" [text in Persian] is dedicated to analyses of election-related issues such as the history of the parliamentary elections in Iran and includes interviews with activists and analysts in Iran and abroad.

...Enjoys Instant Response to SMS Message Service.

On February 29, Radio Farda started a new service for listeners [text in English], which allows them to send SMS messages from their mobile phones to a number monitored by Radio Farda staff. In the first two hours after the SMS number was broadcast, more than 30 messages were received from listeners -- and 95 percent of those were from inside Iran. Issues addressed include critiques of government policies, news of fresh protests and requests to strengthen Radio Farda's broadcast signal and change its music mix.

U.S. Ambassador Tells Radio Farda Iran's IAEA File To Stay Open...

February 26 -- Pointing to Iran's lack of cooperation with the IAEA, transparency and confidence-building measures, U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Gregory Schulte told Radio Farda [text in Persian] that Iranian leaders are misleading people in Iran by saying that they have been cooperative and Iran's nuclear case is closed: "Here in Vienna, unfortunately, Iran's nuclear file is going to stay very much open."

...U.S. Senator Calls Iran "A Threat," Denies Desire for War in Washington.

February 27 -- Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) told Radio Farda [text in Persian] that "Iran does pose a threat which the U.S. and others should be very concerned about," as it is still seeking nuclear weapons working on its ballistic missiles capabilities. Asked if sanctions will prevent a military attack on Iran, Senator Kyl replied, "I could say almost without question that no one in America wants to engage militarily with Iran."

Radio Farda Examines Plan For Ending Nuclear Dispute...

February 27-- In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda [text in Persian], James Walsh, the co-author with Thomas Pickering and William Luers of a recent article in "The New York Review of Books" titled "A Solution for the US-Iran Nuclear Standoff," elaborated on his "multilateral program" for resolving the nuclear argument.

...Reports on Student Unrest in Shiraz...

February 26 -- Hundreds of students at the University of Shiraz staged a 3-day demonstration, chanting slogans such as "A University is Not a Garrison." A member of the university's Islamic Students Association told Radio Farda [text in Persian] the protest was triggered by the university dean's harassment of student publications and activists as well as the poor condition of campus facilities.

...Interviews Fourth Worker Flogged for May Day Demonstration...

February 27 -- Sadigh Sobhani told Radio Farda [text in Persian / in English], "While they were lashing me, I told them that you are lashing the whole working class... this is an insult to all workers."

...Interviews Sister of Man Executed for Crime Committed as a Minor

February 26 -- The sister of Javad Shojaee, who was executed that day for a murder he allegedly committed at age 16, told Radio Farda [text in Persian]: "We cannot believe it... they kept him for 8 years and then killed him."

RFE/RL Analysis

Activist 'Dynamic Duo' Fight for Human Rights

February 27 -- RFE/RL talks to Taqi Rahmani and Narges Mohammadi, a married couple committed to fighting human rights abuses by Iran's theocratic regime.

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