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Heard This Week - 10/26/2006

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- October 26, 2006) Radio Farda continued its coverage of Iran' nuclear ambitions with interviews with prominent experts such as David Albright; human rights issues such as press freedom, death by stoning and retaliation against student activists; and the growing numbers of girls running away from home in Iran and into a life of homelessness and prostitution.

>> On October 19, Radio Farda interviewed David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) on the impact of North Korea's nuclear crisis on Iran's nuclear ambitions. Albright told Radio Farda listeners that "Iran could be emboldened by this... the sanctions imposed on North Korea are not that stringent. So, if the sanctions for a nuclear test are like that, then the sanctions on Iran will be even less, more than likely." Albright added, "I think the lesson Iran is learning -- and this is a sad lesson -- is that North Korea probably feels some assurance it won't be attacked because it has nuclear weapons. And Iran probably feels more vulnerable without nuclear weapons than with nuclear weapons" (

>> Radio Farda reported on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's October 21 statement that his country would oppose any effort to use the UN Security Council to promote a change of regime in Iran. In this regard, Radio Farda on October 22 interviewed Royal Military College of Canada international relations professor Houshang Hassanyari, who said that Russia, as a country that lost its power and status in the world, is now trying to retrieve its position and that Iran is making this possible (

>> On the sidelines of the Prague Energy Forum--organized by RFE/RL in partnership with the Warsaw-based Institute for Eastern Studies--Radio Farda interviewed several participants including U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna (UNVIE) spokesman Matthew Boland. During the interview, Boland told listeners that, "The international community has called on Iran to suspend their enrichment and reprocessing activities, because the international community has lost confidence in the peaceful nature of their program... if they [Iran's leaders] suspend their enrichment and reprocessing activities, then the U.S., Europeans, Russia, and China have a generous package of incentives that would allow Iran to have a peaceful nuclear energy program" (

>> Radio Farda informed listeners on October 19 that Human Rights Watch has called on Iran to immediately revoke restrictions that are keeping student activists from attending universities. Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division told Radio Farda that this policy represents a blatant attack on freedom of expression and an individual's right to an education (

>> Reporters Without Borders spokesman Reza Moini told Radio Farda on October 19 that any excuse will do in Iran to prevent journalists from expressing themselves. Moini told Radio Farda listeners, "When they arrest a journalist and then free him on heavy bail -- but he can be sent back to prison any time -- how can he work?" (

>> Radio Farda reported on October 19 that the number of runaway girls--some as young as 9--has increased in Tehran and Iran's provinces, especially in religious cities like Qom and Mashhad. Listeners learned that a special unit of female police officers has been created in Mashhad to deal with these girls, who gather near that city's shrine of Imam Reza. According to the report, many of these girls sleep in the open and some have taken to prostitution (

>> On October 21, listeners heard a Radio Farda interview with regular contributor human-rights activist Mehrangiz Kar. Kar discussed how adultery is dealt with in Iran, in light of recent reports about death sentences handed down against Iranian women in accordance with religious law that calls for convicted adulterers to be executed by stoning. Kar told Radio Farda listeners that when such sentences are handed down, only the act of adultery is considered--ignoring Iran's challenging economic conditions and the fact that some girls and women are compelled to commit adultery as a result of poverty (

>> On October 23, Radio Farda provided listeners information on the just-released annual report by Reporters Without Borders on press freedom in the world, which again named Iran as one of the worst violators of press freedom. Radio Farda also told listeners that Reporters Without Borders reported that Iran remains "the Middle East's biggest prison for journalists and bloggers" and named Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei among the 33 worst predators of press freedom worldwide (

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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