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Heard This Week - 07/19/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- July 19, 2007) Radio Farda provided listeners updates on the state of Iran's nuclear confrontation with the IAEA and the UN, coverage of the televised alleged "confessions" of detained Iranian-American scholars Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh, and continuing coverage of international efforts to secure the freedom of jailed labor union leader Mansour Osanlou.

* Iranian state-run television broadcast on July 18 what it termed "confessions" by Iranian-American scholars Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh, during a program titled "In the Name of Democracy." In an interview aired on Radio Farda on July 17, Amnesty International researcher for Iran Drewery Dyke considered the broadcast a violation of human rights. Dyke told Radio Farda the arrest of Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh should be seen as part of "a spiral of [human rights] violations [in Iran] that's continuing in an unabated manner." In response to a question about whether the government or judiciary is responsible for detaining and securing confessions from alleged criminals, Dyke said, "under international law, we must hold the government accountable for overall actions of the state" and stressed that the Iranian government must make sure the country lives up to its international human rights commitments (; English transcript at

* Also on July 17, Radio Farda aired an interview with journalist Roozbeh Mirebrahimi, who had also been coerced into making "confessions" on Iranian state-run television in 2004. Mirebrahimi told Radio Farda that the airing of these confessions is Iran's reply to protests by the international community of the arrest of Iranian-American scholars. It is also a message, Mirebrahimi said, to critics of the government in Iran, that the government justifies its repressive actions by linking domestic critics to foreigners. The vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, Abdolkarim Lahiji told Radio Farda that such measures "lack political and legal values," while Mohammad Reza Faghihi, a member of the board of the Tehran-based Committee to Defend Prisoners Rights told Radio Farda that the validity of such confessions cannot be guaranteed: " we don't know under what conditions they were interrogated. It is not [clear] to us" (

* On July 16, Radio Farda posted to its website an interview with former IAEA Deputy Director General Pierre Goldschmidt, on ambiguities concerning Iran's nuclear program. Asked to clarify what nuclear-related activities by Iran since 2003 have been considered suspicious, Goldschmidt told Radio Farda there were indications after 2003 that Iran may be pursuing a nuclear weapon program, including being "in possession of a document, provided by intermediaries, describing the procedures for the casting of enriched and depleted uranium metal into hemispheres related to the fabrication of nuclear weapon components," as reported by IAEA in February 2006. Goldschmidt also said, "If they had no fear that the IAEA could find new indications of so-far undeclared activities, undertaken in particular by the military establishment, why would Iran not fully cooperate with the Agency in order to help it to conclude that there is no undeclared nuclear material and activities in the country?" Goldschmidt stressed to Radio Farda that Iran should comply with the UN Security Council resolutions and immediately open negotiations with the so-called "P5+1" group of nations (five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) on the basis of its June 2006 offer -- which is still valid (

* On July 16, Radio Farda aired an interview with David Cockroft, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) about efforts by international workers' organizations to secure the release of Mansour Osanlou, the President of the Syndicate (Union) of Workers of the Tehran Bus Company. Cockroft told Radio Farda the ITF had set up a solidarity campaign on its web site in support of Osanlou and has sent protest letters to influential authorities in Iran. It has also called upon all its affiliated unions to raise their voice and protest against Osanlou's arrest, he added. Cockroft stressed that the ITF, through the International Labor Organization (ILO) and diplomatic pressure on Iran, is working to secure Osanlou's release: "Never mind international standards, [Osanlou] has not even been treated correctly in accordance with Iranian law" (

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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