Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- April 5, 2007) Radio Farda provided listeners and website visitors with comprehensive coverage of the diplomatic moves that led to Iran's release of 15 British sailors and marines, continuing coverage of the standoff over Iran's nuclear program and updates on the fate of four detained women's rights activists.
>> On April 2, Radio Farda's daily "Evening Magazine" program aired an interview with British Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Gapes about seizure and how the standoff could be resolved. Gapes emphasized the importance of the fact that the British and Iranian government were talking and asserted that the "matter will only be resolved by the process of diplomacy." When asked about criticism of the allegedly soft position of Britain and the possibility that Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett's expression of regret concerning the incident could be understood as an apology, Gapes said "Britain has nothing to apologize for."
Radio Farda reported to listeners and website visitors U.S. President George W. Bush's April 3 remarks on Iran's "indefensible" seizure of British sailors and marines, expressing his support for the British government's efforts to solve the issue peacefully and emphasizing that he "strongly supports the Prime Minister's declaration that there should be no quid pro quo when it comes to the hostages" (http://tinyurl.com/3bl476).
On April 4, Radio Farda reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had announced during a news conference that, even though he had every�right to put the British sailors and marines on trial,�the 15 would be pardoned and�released as a gift to Britain�and to the British people. Ahmadinejad had earlier awarded decorations to the commander�of the�Iranian coast guard unit that intercepted the sailors and praised the crew for defending Iran (http://tinyurl.com/3cezra).
To help website viewers and listeners better understand the crisis, Radio Farda posted a time line of the seizure of the British marines (http://tinyurl.com/2cgmze) and aired listener and viewer comments on the crisis (http://tinyurl.com/3d73bf; http://tinyurl.com/2ncvxg).
>> On March 31, Radio Farda's weekly "US-Iran Magazine" broadcast an interview with Ambassador James Jeffrey, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State and Coordinator for Iraq. Ambassador Jeffrey disputed comments by the Iranian Ambassador to the UN, who said the incentive package being offered to help Iran give up its highly controversial nuclear program did not address the issue of enrichment; according to Jeffrey, "the incentive package deals with the issue of enrichment in the sense that it says that Iran can rest assured that the international community will provide the supply the nuclear fuels that Iran needs to run its nuclear industry." On the question of whether the U.S. can trust the government of Iran to change its policy, Jeffrey said, "Could we trust them if they stopped enrichment? Our position has been clear--it is trust, but verify. To verify, we have the IAEA" (http://tinyurl.com/3xr4wz).
>> On April 2, Radio Farda reported the arrests of four women's rights activists--Sara Aminian, her husband Nahid Keshavarz, Mahboubeh Hosseinzadeh and Susan Tahmassebi. A women's rights activist--who did not want to be identified--told Radio Farda listeners they were arrested by security police while collecting signatures for the "One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws against Women" campaign. These same activists had been detained one month previously, while participating in a peaceful assembly in front of a branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Court (http://tinyurl.com/3cjjal).
On April 4, Radio Farda reported that the lawyers for the four women's rights activists arrested on April 2, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Nasrin Sotudeh, had been prevented from entering the Revolutionary Court to defend their clients. In an interview with Radio Farda, Sotudeh said activists Nahid Keshavarz and Mahboubeh Hosseinzadeh were being held in Section 209 of Tehran's Evin Prison (http://tinyurl.com/32b9ut).
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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