Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- November 2, 2006) Radio Farda continued its reporting on Iran's nuclear ambitions with coverage of U.S. State Department commentary on the draft UN resolution and analysis of the Iranian government's latest claims concerning uranium enrichment; looked into the Iranian government's ongoing crackdown on the publication of books, newspapers and periodicals it does not approve of; reported on renewed efforts to cleanse Iranian universities of "secular and liberal" academics; and told listeners about Iran's first drug treatment facility for women.
>> Radio Farda listeners on October 26 heard a report on State Department spokesman Sean McCormack's comments on the draft UN resolution concerning Iran's nuclear program at that day's daily press briefing: "We're going to get a Chapter 7, Article 41 resolution... it'll be a good, strong resolution." Responding to a Radio Farda question the Bushehr nuclear facility and whether it will be excluded from the resolution, McCormack said, "We don't think that that's going to be an obstacle to getting a resolution" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/10/26/20061026-193000-FRD-program.rm?start=02:36&end=05:47)
>> In response to news reports on October 27 about the Iranian government's claim that a second series of centrifuges has begun to enrich uranium, Radio Farda interviewed Shahram Chubin, director of research at the Geneva Center for Security Policy. Chubin told Radio Farda listeners that "Washington should try to tell the Iranian people that their problem won't be solved through their indisputable right to nuclear energy [as Iranian authorities say], but by the Islamic Republic's attitudes and policies," adding that, "The Iranian people should be convinced that they will pay a high price for the regime's policies" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/10/27/20061027-033000-FRD-program.rm?start=11:56&end=16:15)
>> Radio Farda on October 30 aired an interview with novelist Ali Ashraf Darvishian, about a statement by the Iranian Writers Association protesting severe restrictions on cultural and artistic activities that have been imposed by the Iranian government. Darvishian said that he can "name the titles" of 4,000 books that are currently awaiting permits and some previously published books have now been banned. Darvishian also told Radio Farda listeners that he and others have decided not to submit their books to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for review, to protest the present censorship situation. Darvishian added, "I think that if the protests become more widespread, in the form of a gathering or letters with many signatures, then I think there would be some results" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/10/30/20061030-063000-FRD-program.rm?start=04:03&end=09:03).
In a related story, Radio Farda reported on October 27 that Emadedin Baghi, the journalist who investigated the "chain killings" of dissidents in the late 1990's and has since been an outspoken critic of the death penalty in Iran, has written an open letter to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, asking that a ban on the publication of seven books he has written be lifted (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/10/27/20061027-113000-FRD-program.rm?start=04:12&end=09:22).
>> Radio Farda told listeners on October 30 that the Iranian Journalists' Guild Association had issued a statement protesting the closure of press outlets by the Press Supervisory Board, calling it an extralegal measure. The statement notes that more than 15 publications have been closed during the past year and that judicial proceedings in these cases have been delayed without any legally acceptable justification (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/10/30/20061030-033000-FRD-program.rm?start=13:50&end=17:17).
>> Radio Farda listeners heard a report on October 30 on a new wave of "purges" by the government of so-called secular professors at universities. Among the university professors that have been fired are such prominent academics as Hatam Ghaderi, Hashem Aghajari (sentenced to death in 2002 for apostasy; later commuted), former intelligence official and presidential advisor Saeed Hajjarian and cleric Mohsen Kadivar. Recently, President Ahmadinejad openly criticized the presence of "secular and liberal professors" at universities (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/10/30/20061030-153000-FRD-program.rm?start=18:52&end=20:52).
>> The first drug rehabilitation center specifically for women will soon open in Tehran, according to an October 30 Radio Farda report. Radio Farda told listeners that the average age of drug-addicted women in Iran has dropped to between 15 and 24. In addition, more than one third of women drug addicts are illiterate and are forced into prostitution in order to obtain drugs (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/ch21/2006/10/30/20061030-143000-FRD-program.rm?start=09:33&end=11:43).
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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