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Heard This Week - 03/27/2008

Heard This Week In Iran
on Radio Farda

Radio Farda Airs Exclusive Interview with President Bush...
March 19 -- In an interview with Radio Farda conducted on the eve of the Persian New Year, U.S. President George W. Bush said [text in Persian / in English, article in English]: "My only point to the Iranian people is that we want you to be able to realize your sovereign rights. The government has been duplicitous to the world -- very few people trust your government -- and if the government changes its behavior, there's a better way forward for the Iranian people."
...Investigates Worsening Economic Situation...
March 22 -- A UK-based analyst told Radio Farda [article in Persian] that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim in his New Year's message of "considerable developments in Iran's economy in the past year" is contradicted by official statistics published by Iran's Central Bank and Labor Ministry. A second analyst [text in Persian] rejected Ahmadinejad's announcement of a "huge plan for economic reforms," given the lack of such a plan to date and the increasingly strict economic sanctions Iran faces because of its nuclear program.
...Addresses Iran's Nuclear Ambitions in the Wake of UN Sanctions...
March 21 -- A Switzerland-based security analyst told Radio Farda [article in Persian] that proposals by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russia and Saudi Arabia to build an enrichment center in the Middle East or elsewhere outside Iran offer the best solution for the impasse over Iran's nuclear efforts.
...Reports on Protest Against Imprisonment of Labor Activist...
March 25 -- A participant in a rally by 200 people at the main prison in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province to protest the continued detention of labor activist Mahmoud Salehi told Radio Farda [article in Persian] that anti-riot police arrested one protester, holding and beating him for two hours: "We will continue our protests until Salehi is released."
...Examines Worsening Human Rights Situation
March 21 -- Human Rights Watch researcher Hadi Ghaemi told Radio Farda [article in Persian] that a violent, inhumane attitude has strengthened within Iran's judiciary, intelligence and police system: "The only message such attitude sends to the world is that Iran has no commitment or respect for human rights."
March 17 -- In this video briefing, Radio Farda Editorial Director Golnaz Esfandiari says broad patterns emerge from the March 14 voting that suggest President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will have a tougher time with the new parliament than with its predecessor.
March 27 -- As part of its vigorous cultural diplomacy in neighboring countries that share its language, Iran is driving plans for a Persian-language satellite network to broadcast in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. RFE/RL examines whether the region's viewers will tune in to shows tailored to the tastes of the Iranian leadership's arguably radical brand of Islam.

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