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Heard This Week - 06/22/2006

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Prague, Czech Republic -- June 22, 2006) Major stories on Radio Farda this week included analysis of the Iranian president's comments on the incentive package to halt nuclear enrichment, a report on the new United Nations Human Rights Council, the launch of a new series on Iran's Constitutional Revolution, and coverage of the Iranian team at the World Cup in Germany.

>> Radio Farda's daily programming on international efforts to induce Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment program featured an in-depth interview June 15 with Ambassador Gregory Schulte, U.S. Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. He spoke about the just-concluded IAEA closed session dealing with Iran. Schulte said that although Iran was claiming widespread support among non-aligned countries for its nuclear stance, most members of the Non-Aligned Movement at the IAEA said they have asked Iran to suspend its enrichment program and begin negotiations on the US-EU incentive package. Schulte added that, by accepting the offered package, Iran would take the right path towards security and economic prosperity for Iranian citizens

>> One day before the newly formed UN Human Rights Council convened for the first time in Geneva on June 20, the Iranian government announced that Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi would be one of the members of the Iranian delegation traveling to Geneva to observe the inaugural session. Mortazavi gained notoriety in recent years as a result of allegations of involvement in a long list of human rights violations, including closing pro-reform and independent publications, imprisoning opposition figures and journalists and involvement in the death in prison of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi.
Radio Farda aired a special package June 19 with experts commenting on the issue. Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, spokesman of the Society for the Defense of Press Freedom in Iran said that by sending Mortazavi to the session, the Iranian government was making a mockery of human rights. Abdolkarim Lahidji, vice-president of the International Human Rights Federation in Paris told Radio Farda that human rights organizations had filed charges against Mortazavi, but were later informed by Swiss police that he could not be arrested because of diplomatic immunity. Reza Moini of Reporters Without Borders in Paris said, in a Radio Farda interview, that human rights groups are protesting Mortazavi's participation, while Hadi Qaemi of Human Rights Watch in New York told Radio Farda that including Mortazavi in the Iranian delegation clearly showed the Islamic Republic's disdain for human rights.

>> One hundred years ago, Iran experienced a turning point in its political history with the August 1906 establishment of a constitutional monarchy and parliament, after five years of turbulence and unrest. To mark the anniversary and beginning of political modernism in Iran, Radio Farda launched a new, 10-part weekly series of programs called "Constitutional Revolution Centenary." The series will feature interviews with historians and experts analyzing the social roots of the movement, looking at the achievements of the Constitutional Revolution and debating the obstacles faced by the modernizing activists of the time, including a key issue that remains unresolved -- the conflict between tradition and reform in Iran. The series opened June 19 with an overview of the events of 1905-1911 during a conversation with Tehran-based historian and author Gholamhossein Mirzasaleh, who spoke about the social, political and economic conditions that led to the revolt against the absolute rule of the shahs.

>> Radio Farda's sports correspondent at the World Cup in Germany reported live from all three matches played by Iran's soccer team -- including the team's final one against Angola on June 21. Special World Cup coverage on Radio Farda included an interview with sports analyst Habib Rowshanzadeh after the Iran-Portugal match June 17. In addition, a large part of Radio Farda's weekly youth magazine "Fresh Look" on June 17 was devoted to the World Cup. Farda broadcasters Farin Assemi and Kayvan Hosseini, who attended Iran's matches, spoke about the experience and what it was like to stand with cheering fans. Radio Farda also aired interviews with a young Farsi-speaking Pole and Czech about the joys and sorrows of the World Cup -- Poland was the first team to exit the Cup, while the Czechs won their first match and lost the second.

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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