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Heard This Week - 04/06/2006

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Prague, Czech Republic -- April 6, 2006) Radio Farda's major stories this week were the earthquakes in Iran and its aftermath, Iran's missile testing and military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, an Amnesty International Report on the torture of Arabs in Khuzestan province, and the spring time change that didn't happen.

>> Since the earthquake struck on March 31, Radio Farda has broadcast more than 25 news reports and interviews on the rescue effort. The series of earthquakes in Iran's western Luristan Province left more than 70 people dead, hundreds injured and 15,000 people homeless. A local journalist gave daily eyewitness reports from the site of the disaster; Radio Farda interviewed experts on seismic assessments and on the rescue efforts and care programs being put in place.

>> The service followed Iran's annual war games that started in the Persian Gulf last week, interviewing independent military analysts in London and broadcasting reaction by senior US and European officials. An April 4, Radio Farda's correspondent in Rome gained an exclusive interview with Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino, who said that, despite its testing of new missiles, Iran is not an imminent nuclear threat. Martino added, however, that the world cannot wait to sustain damage and then react -- "non-intervention does not mean respect for international legality, it means self-mutilation."

>> A Radio Farda broadcast April 6 focused on an Amnesty International report on torture and ill treatment of prisoners of conscience, including detention of pregnant women and children of human rights activists in the city of Ahvaz. Radio Farda translated the report into Farsi and aired it together with exclusive interviews with London-based Amnesty International representatives.

>> On a lighter note earlier in the week, April 3, Radio Farda aired in its Evening News Magazine a report on the absurdities of president Mahmud Ahmadinejad's decision not to implement a time change.
Since 1991, clocks in Iran were turned forward one hour on the first day of spring (March 21), in keeping with similar time changes in Europe and in the U.S. This year, the president's spokesman announced Iran will cancel daylight saving time. At the same time, Iranians were ordered to start work one hour earlier.
Radio Farda aired a report from its Tehran correspondent on the ensuing confusion -- with students missing classes, disrupted services, and people turning up late for work. An exclusive interview with former Information Minister Dariush Homayoon in Geneva, detailed the energy savings and other economic benefits of daylight savings time which he said Iran is now losing, in addition to being at odds with all major industrial nations.

For more on these and other coverage of 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

Radio Farda, a joint project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and
Voice of America (VOA), is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service.
Produced in Washington, D.C. and Prague, Czech Republic and
transmitted to listeners via AM, shortwave and satellite,
Radio Farda features fresh news and information at least twice an hour,
with longer news programming in the morning and the evening.
Radio Farda also broadcasts popular Persian and Western music.

Radio Farda programming is also available via the Internet,
at the service's website
and at