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Heard This Week - 05/17/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- May 17, 2007) Radio Farda informed listeners and website visitors today about the continuing saga of Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari and Radio Farda correspondent Parnaz Azima and covered the impact on U.S. -Iran relations of the Sharm El-Sheikh conference, as well as the pending ambassador-level discussions between Iran and the U.S. over Iraq.

>> On May 9, Radio Farda covered U.S. Department of State spokesman Sean McCormack's call for Iran to release three Iranian-American women, including Woodrow Wilson International Center scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari and Radio Farda correspondent Parnaz Azima, who have been barred from leaving the country after their passports were seized by authorities while on private visits there (
Radio Farda reported U.S. presidential candidate, Sen. Hillary Clinton's statement of concern over the "inexplicable detention" of Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari in Tehran. Sen. Clinton said "this imprisonment contradicts the very essence of her work, which focuses on ensuring the promise of democracy and freedom to those who live under tyranny." In her statement, Clinton also called on the Iranian government to "end any travel restrictions faced by both Dr. Esfandiari and Ms. Azima" (
On May 15, Radio Farda informed listeners and website visitors that Iranian Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi announced that Dr. Esfandiari faces charges including "acting against national security," that the investigation into her case was continuing and that she would continue to be held at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison (
Radio Farda also covered U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's May 15 comment to journalists in Moscow, that Esfandiari's arrest "underscores the nature of the Iranian regime... It just gives strength to the argument that it's a regime that, in addition to all of the problems it causes internationally, does not treat its people, or in this case a dual citizen, very well" (

>> Radio Farda aired an interview on May 12 with Ambassador James Jeffery, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, during its weekly "U.S.-Iran Magazine" program. Amb. Jeffrey said that, at the Sharm El-Sheikh conference, "The U.S. was able to raise with the Iranian authorities our very grave concerns about the behavior of agents of the Iranian government inside Iraq, destabilizing the security situation there and frankly attacking Coalition and Iraqi security personnel, and Iraqi citizens for that matter." Jeffrey also expressed concern over the arrest of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari and the seizure of RFE/RL journalist Parnaz Azima's passport in Iran (

>> On May 15, Radio Farda broadcast an exclusive interview with EU Secretary General Javier Solana during its "Evening Magazine" program. During the interview, recorded by a Radio Farda correspondent on the sidelines of the recent Sharm El-Sheikh conference on Iraq, Solana said that the negotiations currently underway with Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani have not been easy and the EU do its utmost to overcome any difficulties. Asked about the possibility of a solution given Iran's unwillingness to stop uranium enrichment, Solana said, "That is why we have to keep on talking so we can overcome the situation, because we want a diplomatic solution for the nuclear dossier." Solana also said that, so far, the negotiations have not achieved much (

>> On May 14, Radio Farda aired an interview with Mohammad Reza Jalili of the Geneva-based Centre for Strategic Studies about the upcoming talks between the U.S. and Iran over Iraq. He believed that the U.S. decision to negotiate with Iran shows it understands that the actions of countries like Iran and Syria can have an impact on the implementation of U.S. policy in Iraq. On the other hand, Jalili said, as UN sanctions increase the economic pressure felt by the regime in Tehran, a somewhat-continuous relationship with the U.S. over and about Iraq may also influence other aspects of Iran's relations with the world.

>> Radio Farda reported on May 16 that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei confirmed the Islamic Republic would hold talks with the U.S. about Iraq, to remind Washington of "its duty to provide security there." Khamenei also noted that "Iran's policy of not negotiating and having relations with America remains the same, until the policies of this arrogant government change" (

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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