Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- January 11, 2007) This week, Radio Farda covered the continuing fallout from the UN Security Council's late-December adoption of a sanctions resolution against Iran over its nuclear program; the imposition of sanctions against the Iranian banking sector over charges that Iran is a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction; and ongoing repression of perceived enemies of the Iranian government.
>> Radio Farda informed listeners on January 9 about Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani's statement that, in response to the sanctions imposed under UN Security Council Resolution 1737, Iran will no longer cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) within the context of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's Supplementary Protocol.
In this regard, Henry Sokolski, the executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center told Radio Farda that Iran's reaction to the sanctions resolution poses another question -- will Iran join North Korea by leaving the IAEA? According to Sokolski, Iran is trying to make its nuclear program as ambiguous as possible, in order to "make the international community worried about such activities" (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/01/09/o2_iran_resolution_nuclear.html).
>> Radio Farda listeners were informed on January 6 of a statement issued by the Islamic Iran Participation Front calling for Iran's return to the negotiation table over its nuclear program. In the statement, the political movement asserts, "instead of adopting policies that build economic prosperity and answer people's demands for a livelihood, the government officially announces they are not afraid of economical sanctions or even war." The Participation Front called for a dialogue with the member-states of the UN Security Council, especially the U.S. (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/01/06/f4_mosharekat_statement_atomic.html).
>> Radio Farda informed listeners on January 9 that, according to Reuters, the U.S. Treasury Department has named Iran's state-owned Sepah Bank as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and banned all transactions between it and U.S. businesses (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/01/09/f5_us_sanction_sepah_bank.html). The next day, Radio Farda informed listeners about a report in The Wall Street Journal, which said Commerzbank, Germany's second-largest bank, had joined other European banks in stopping dollar transactions with Iran (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/01/10/o1_commerzbank_to_end_trade_with_iran.html).
>> Radio Farda reported on January 6 that Hessam Firouzi, the physician treating imprisoned student activist Ahmad Batebi had been arrested and charged with acts against national security. Radio Farda interviewed Dr. Firouzi's wife, Mahta Bordbar who believes that her husband's arrest is related to his medical treatment of Batebi (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/01/07/o1_frirouzi_wife_and_bahramian_interviewed_by_radio_farda.html). Radio Farda also interviewed physician and human rights activist Ramin Ahmadi, who described to listeners his experiences providing medical care during the wars in both Chechnya and Bosnia. Ahmadi told listeners, "It is disgraceful for a regime to arrest a physician for providing medical care for his patient... Even during Milosevic's mass killings, physicians were not arrested" (rtsp://realaudio.rferl.org/CH21/2007/01/08/20070108-203000-FRD-program.rm).
>> Radio Farda reported on January 7 that the Iranian Journalists Union announced journalist Ali Farahbakhsh was arrested after returning from Thailand, where he attended a conference on civil society. Iranian Journalists Union spokesman Mashallah Shamsolvaezin told Radio Farda that Farahbakhsh's relatives were warned against publicizing his detention when he was arrested 40 days ago. According to Shamsolvaezin, "Arresting people on the street or in an airport without prior notice is a kind of abduction." Shamsolvaezin also told listeners that charges have yet to be officially announced by Judiciary officials, but during interrogations conducted just after his return from Thailand, Farahbakhsh was asked about the reason for his participation in the conference (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/01/07/f4_arresting_journalist_iran.html).
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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