Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- February 15, 2006) Radio Farda covered President Bush's February 14 press conference, opinion in the U.S. Congress concerning developments in U.S. -Iran relations, reaction to a statement by the Iranian Supreme Leader threatening the U.S., a bombing in Iran's southeastern Sistan-va-Baluchistan province, and labor unrest in the northwestern city of Qazvin.
>> Radio Farda told listeners on February 14 that U.S. President George W. Bush stated in a press conference that same day that the Qods Force, an elite unit of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) had provided explosive devices to Iraqi militants. President Bush noted that he did not know whether the weapons were "ordered from the top echelons of government." He stressed that his job is to protect U.S. troops in Iraq. President Bush also emphasized that negotiation with Iran is possible only if it suspends its nuclear program -- "If I thought we could achieve success, I would sit down [with the Iranians]. But I don't think we can achieve success right now." (http://tinyurl.com/2knsgf).
>> On February 12, Radio Farda broadcast interviews with two U.S. Members of Congress on issues related to Iran. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) told Radio Farda, "I am concerned that the President will take unilateral action before all diplomatic avenues have been exhausted," adding that Congress needs to know how close Iran is to a nuclear weapon and that it is very important for the Congress to have an open debate on Iran issues. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) told Radio Farda that he would support a decision by President Bush to attack Iran, if his decision is in the national interest and for the security of the U.S. "I hope it does not come to that. I hope diplomacy solves the problem," Rep. Lamborn added (http://tinyurl.com/3yn8y4)
>> On February 8, Radio Farda quoted a statement by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on state-run television, in which he warned that Iran would respond to any attack on its territory by striking at U.S. interests worldwide (http://tinyurl.com/35sxhj). The next day, Radio Farda broadcast an interview with political analyst Mohsen Sazegara, who called Ayatollah Khamenei's words harsh and intolerant. Sazegara said that Khamenei thinks President Bush's struggles with Congress will prevent any military strike on Iran, adding that Khamenei is under the impression the U.S. is mainly concerned with Iran's involvement in Iraq and that Iran's nuclear program is of secondary importance to the U.S. (http://tinyurl.com/2mngw9).
>> Citing a report by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Radio Farda told listeners that a car bomb killed at least 11 IRGC employees who were being transported by bus to work at 6:50 a.m. on February 14 in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan va Baluchistan Province. Radio Farda broadcast a report by the Fars News Agency stating that Abdulmalik Rigi, leader of the Jundullah group had issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. Radio Farda also interviewed Zahedan-based journalist Mahmoud Barahueenejad about the bombing (http://tinyurl.com/38yvo5).
>> Radio Farda reported on February 10 that 35 workers of Pooshineh Baft factory in Qazvin had gathered in front of President Ahmadinejad's office, to protest unfulfilled promises by the president about the problems at this factory. Moreover, according to Radio Farda, hundreds of workers also blocked the main road through Alborz Industrial City in Qazvin in protest. Radio Farda interviewed Eid-Ali Karimi, worker's representative at Qazvin's Workers House, who said that the situation of workers in Qazvin is very bad and many factories face economic difficulties. Karimi told Radio Farda listeners that this was the seventh time workers have blocked the main road through Alborz Industrial City (http://tinyurl.com/2qfh75).
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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