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Heard This Week - 01/25/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- January 25, 2007) Radio Farda and its website provided timely and comprehensive coverage of U.S. President George W. Bush's January 23 State of the Union speech, which referenced Iran on several occasions, as well as reactions and commentary from U.S. Senators and Iranian academics in the U.S. Radio Farda also held roundtable discussions about the potential for military intervention over Iran's nuclear enrichment efforts and covered the Iranian government's ongoing mistreatment of government critics, including journalists and webloggers.

>> On January 23, Radio Farda broadcast Iran-related highlights of the State of the Union address as they occurred and offered listeners an extensive report on the speech in its "Morning Magazine" (airing at 11:30PM Washington time / 7:00AM January 24 in Tehran) that included the President's statement, "Many [Shia extremists] are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah -- a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken" (;
Radio Farda also provided its listeners and website viewers with notable quotes from President Bush's previous State of the Union addresses, starting from 2001 (

>> Immediately after the State of the Union address, Radio Farda broadcast an interview with Houshang Amirahmadi, the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. Amirahmadi noted for listeners that, during the speech, President Bush referred to Iran more than Syria or North Korea, especially when talking about the war on terrorism and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (

>> On January 24, Radio Farda aired interviews with both U.S. Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), the Chairman of the Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations, as well as U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), a prominent Republican member of that committee, for their reactions to the President's State of the Union address. When asked if he thought the rhetoric of the speech could isolate Iran, Senator Coleman told Radio Farda listeners, "The problem is real. If you don't deal with the problem then we all have a problem. Iran needs to be isolated if Iran is going to develop nuclear weapons" (

>> Also on January 24, Radio Farda interviewed Strayer University sociology professor Rasool Nafisi about his views concerning President Bush's State of the Union speech. Comparing the President's speech to his past State of the Union addresses, Nafisi told listeners, "It was notable that President Bush mentioned Iran as a country supporting terrorism and making problems for the Middle East as well as the world" (

>> Radio Farda's January 20 "Viewpoints" program featured a roundtable discussion among three experts on the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Iran over Iran's ongoing nuclear enrichment efforts. Houshang Amirahmadi, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University, said that a solution may lie in developing a "normalization dialogue" among nationalists, democrats, reformists, liberals and pragmatists, in place of heightening tensions as the fundamentalists have done. Political activist Mohsen Sazgara said the only effective strategy to prevent such an attack is for parliament, with the cooperation of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to dismiss President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and hold a completely free election. University of Tehran political sociology professor Sadegh Zibakalam said that Iran should return to the Solana-Larijani process of seeking to secure concessions from the West in return for suspending uranium enrichment efforts (

>> On January 22, Radio Farda aired an interview with journalist and weblogger Shahram Rafizadeh, who was imprisoned for 3 months in 2004. Rafizadeh told Radio Farda listeners that, in 2004, he was held in a 1.5-meter by 2-meter solitary confinement cell and tortured. Rafizadeh, who currently resides outside of Iran, protested the closed nature of a trial begun against him and three other colleagues in December 2006, on charges that include helping to establish and being a member of groups actively disrupting the country's security. Rafizadeh told Radio Farda he considered such charges to be baseless and "the outcome of the police-like mentality of the Islamic Republic regime" (

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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