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Heard This Week - 05/03/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- May 3, 2007) During the past week, Radio Farda covered breaking news of the arrest of a former senior nuclear negotiator, worker rallies on International Labor Day, an attempt by plainclothes agents to arrest union leader Mansour Osanlou and clashes over what were alleged to be faked student publications distributed at a prominent university in Tehran.

>> Radio Farda cited Iranian media in reporting on an unsanctioned May 1 rally by more than 600 workers at Tehran's Shirudi Stadium to mark International Labor Day. This assembly was held while the Interior Ministry had refused to issue a permit for it. According to the report, Iran's Interior Ministry refused to issue a permit to organizers for the event. Protesters were reported to have chanted slogans criticizing Labor Minister Mohammad Jahromi, including "Incompetent Minister, Resign!", "Government! Parliament! Stop the Slogans and Act!" and "Death to the Oppressor!" (
Radio Farda also interviewed Mansour Osanlou, the president of the Syndicate (Union) of Workers of the Tehran Bus Company about May Day commemorations. Osanlou told Radio Farda that workers in Tabriz carried a coffin through the city, symbolizing the death of labor law in Iran. Jafar Azimzadeh, spokesman and board member of the Union of Unemployed and Dismissed Workers of Iran told Radio Farda that workers marking May Day in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province were attacked by law enforcement personnel with tear gas and batons; several protesters were wounded during the protest while others, including 5 union members were arrested (

>> Also on May 1, Radio Farda reported that Tehran Bus Company union president Mansour Osanlou narrowly escaped arrest by plainclothes agents at a metro station in Tehran following the workers' protest there. During an interview with Radio Farda, Osanlou said three plainclothes agents attacked him, but colleagues started to shout and others came to help Osanlou and kept him from being taken away. Osanlou added, "[Iranian officials] want to put so much pressure on me, to make me leave my dear homeland. During the final stages of [earlier] interrogations, they even offered me a monthly stipend of $10,000 to leave the country -- but I rejected the offer" (

>> Radio Farda reported on April 30 that four student publications were distributed at Tehran's Amir Kabir University containing cartoons of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- and these cartoons have led to unrest on the university campus. According to the Iranian Students News Agency (quoted by Radio Farda), clashes broke out between students affiliated with the pro-government Basij militia--who held a rally to protest the "offensive materials" that had been published--and members of the university's Islamic Students' Association in charge of the publications, who organized a counter-rally to assert that the publications in question were forgeries, distributed in an effort to discredit the magazines (
Radio Farda also interviewed a former Islamic Students' Association member who said that such forged publications are often used to shut down student publications that dare to criticize and put pressure on university managements. An Amir Kabir University student told Radio Farda the publications in question contained an article, titled "No One is Sacred," which was accompanied by a cartoon of the Supreme Leader, an article on high levels of corruption in Qom and an article, titled "Black Crow," which addressed the issue of female dress codes (

>> On April 30, Radio Farda cited the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in its report that former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Musavian had been arrested in Tehran on April 30 on an unspecified security charge. Radio Farda also reported that the daily newspaper "Etemad" reported Musavian had recently criticized the policies of the current team of nuclear negotiators. Musavian was a member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team until 2005 and was known to be a close ally of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (

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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