Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Prague, Czech Republic -- August 3, 2006) Major stories for Radio Farda this week were U.S. statements on the UN Security Council Resolution on Iran's nuclear enrichment activities, reporting on the war between Israel and Hezbollah and the death in prison of a well-known Iranian student activist.
>> Radio Farda provided extensive coverage of Washington's reaction to the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution giving Iran till the end of this month to halt its uranium-enrichment program or face sanctions. U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack told Radio Farda listeners, in an interview aired July 31, that the UN resolution reflects U.S. expectations and expressed hope that Iran will act in accord with it. McCormack said Iran lacks support for its current position and must now choose between isolation and negotiation. (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/20060731-2030FRD.rm?start=04:22&end=07:00)
During another, in-depth interview prior to the UN vote on July 31, Ambassador Gregory Schulte, the U.S. representative on the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) explained to Radio Farda listeners the main points of the UN Security Council resolution. Schulte also noted that, "by ignoring international concerns, the leadership in Tehran is harming and isolating Iran and its people," and that "the leadership of Iran can still choose a positive path that would bring real benefit to the Iranian people" (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/07/166b3a20-28a4-423d-8dc5-fe08ccdf602a.html).
>> Radio Farda correspondents in Jerusalem and Cairo continued to file reports several times a day, to bring fresh information to listeners on the fighting in southern Lebanon, the refugee situation, U.S. and other views on both sides of the conflict and diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis. Radio Farda aired an interview August 2 with Iranian Middle East expert Hossein Shahidi, a former BBC staffer and assistant professor at the American University of Beirut now in London, who told listeners that Iran and Syria should be included in negotiations to end the crisis.
>> The death in the infamous Evin prison of political prisoner Akbar Mohammadi, one of the leaders of the 1999 pro-democracy student protests, was a big story in Iran as well as diaspora. As soon as prison administrators confirmed the July 31 announcement of his death by the Student Committee of Human Rights Reporters of Iran, Radio Farda assembled a rich program featuring exclusive interviews with Mohammadi's relatives, friends, his lawyer, other Iranian dissidents and human rights representatives.
Mohammadi's sister, Nasrin told Radio Farda her brother died in prison "after 7 years of suffering and torture" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/20060731-2030FRD.rm?start=10:20&end=13:33). His brother Reza Mohammadi, who lives in Ankara, voiced suspicions about the circumstances of his brother's death and forced medical treatment by prison authorities. A friend of Mohammadi's in Tehran, who identified himself as Morad Moallem, told Radio Farda that prison authorities tried forcibly to feed Mohammadi in the prison infirmary, where he was kept in restraints with hands and legs tied to the bed. One of his lawyers in Tehran, Nemat Ahmadi told Radio Farda that Akbar Mohammadi had expressed determination to continue his hunger strike "until the end," while a second, Khalil Bahramian, told Radio Farda on August 1 that he felt he could have convinced Mohammadi to end the hunger strike, but authorities kept him from seeing his client (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/20060801-1730FRD.rm?start=06:52&end=11:42).
Dissident journalist Akbar Ganji said the death of the 36 year-old Mohammadi during a hunger strike shows that, "in our country, one has to pay with one's life for thinking freely" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/20060731-2030FRD.rm?start=13:41&end=19:15). Abdolkarim Lahidji, vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues in Paris, told Radio Farda that the Iranian government and judiciary bear responsibility for Mohammadi's death and called for an investigation. Sadeq Naghashkar, a spokesman for Iran political prisoners in Amsterdam, said in a Radio Farda interview that Mohammadi's death was a warning to the world how the Islamic Republic deals with prisoners of conscience.
For more on these and other stories about Iran, please visit:
http://www.radiofarda.com -- Radio Farda's Persian-language website
http://www.rferl.org/reviews/farda.aspx -- "Focus on Farda" bi-weekly review
http://www.rferl.org/reports/iran-report/default.asp -- "RFE/RL Iran Report" weekly analysis
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarchive/country/iran.html -- RFE/RL English-language coverage of Iran
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