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Heard This Week - 05/11/2006

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Prague, Czech Republic -- May 11, 2006) Radio Farda's major stories this week involved more student protests, an evaluation of Iran as a destination for foreign investment, and more debate on the nuclear enrichment controversy.

>> Radio Farda broadcast four reports during the week on a protest in the northwestern city of Tabriz against interference by religious hardliners that students claim are restricting their basic rights. More than 100 students at Sahand University staged a sit-in on campus, and some went on hunger strike. A female student had to be hospitalized because of medical problems caused by the hunger strike. Radio Farda spoke to an independent journalist in Tabriz who said the incident began when a two-day cultural gathering on May 3-4 was attacked by hardline students who are members of the Basij militia. The Basij students disrupted the gathering, calling it un-Islamic. They objected to a female student hosting the event and another girl playing music. As this issue of "Heard This Week..." goes to press, the protest continues.

>> The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Iran as the riskiest place in the world for foreign investment over the next five years. A number of Iranian parliament deputies have raised concerns about the safety of investment in Iran. Radio Farda broadcaster Saeedeh Hashemi interviewed former parliament member Bahaoddin Adab, who is the president of Iran's Union of Construction Companies. Adab told Radio Farda that the key obstacle to investment in Iran is the lack of judicial protection for investors and entrepreneurs. In the same program, Radio Farda also interviewed Iranian economist Dr. Jamshid Assadi, who said that the Iranian economy is rife with favoritism and "unequal opportunities."

>> On May 10, Radio Farda aired special coverage of a new European initiative through which the EU Three (France, Germany, Great Britain) have again offered Iran a package of concessions in return for suspension of nuclear enrichment activities. A British Foreign Office spokesman, speaking to Radio Farda on condition of anonymity, provided details of the plan. The program also included an interview with former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, who said there is no evidence yet that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and a conversation with Mark Fitzpatrick, Senior Fellow at London's Institute for Strategic Studies, who disagreed with Blix's assessment.

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

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.

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