Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- August 23, 2007) Radio Farda aired an exclusive interview with Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns; interviewed Iranian political affairs analyst Reza Taghizadeh about Iran's efforts to improve its image over its nuclear enrichment efforts; talked to Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi about her client, Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari; and aired an appeal by the sister of hunger-striking Iranian Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour, condemned to death by the Iranian Judiciary.
� U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns, in an exclusive interview with Radio Farda on August 20, stressed that "a peaceful diplomatic solution" of Iran's nuclear issue remains possible. Burns contended, however, that the UN Security Council should go forward with a new resolution mandating new sanctions against the country, even if Iran is attending meetings with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): "It is not logical at all to reward a country that has held out for so long. To reward a country for answering a few questions, we're going to turn off the sanctions? That�s not possible." According to Burns, the U.S. strategy is a diplomatic one which involves offering negotiations, as well as using economic pressure and financial leverage against the Iranian government. As for its bilateral talks with Iran, Burns contended that the U.S. wants an open and active dialogue on the question of security in Iraq, not other issues. "We are going to judge the Iranians based on whether or not they do the right thing, which will be to fight against the terrorist groups that are in Iraq, including the Shi'a terrorist groups that are attacking both the Iraqi Army as well as American soldiers and others" (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/08/22/interview-burns.html; article in English at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/8/19931C78-39BF-46FE-8852-4D7D959211E5.html).
� During the August 21 edition of Radio Farda's daily "Evening Magazine" program, University of Glasgow professor and Iranian political affairs analyst Reza Taghizadeh told Radio Farda that the recent IAEA-Iran meeting was an effort by the Iranian government to forestall the adoption of a third UN Security Council resolution against Iran. That said, Taghizadeh continued, the talks could prove effective if they lead Iran to fulfill major aspects of the demands made by the IAEA and Security Council -- the most important of which is the suspension of uranium enrichment. According to Taghizadeh, Iran has not shown the slightest tendency towards doing so; as a result, this limited level of cooperation with the IAEA seems unlikely to prevent the Security Council from issuing another resolution against Iran. Taghizadeh also told Radio Farda Iran is interested in maintaining the current situation and that these talks in a way vindicate its policies (audio at http://tinyurl.com/2w3fsu).
� Radio Farda reported on August 21 that Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari, accused by the Iranian government of "acting against the national security," had been released from prison. Radio Farda interviewed Esfandiari's lawyer, Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, who said her client was released on bail of 3 billion rials ($320,000), "after being illegally detained for 3 and one half months." Ebadi added, "I really regret that they held a 68-year-old lady, who is not in very good health, for 3 and a half months in solitary confinement, without any acceptable reason." Ebadi also told Radio Farda that that Esfandiari will be acquitted when her case goes to court.. "[Esfandiari] will be out of prison until the day of the court hearing," Ebadi said, "and I'm sure that she will be acquitted because I'm completely [convinced] of her innocence. The three months she spent in solitary confinement was against the law." (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/08/21/f4_esfandiri-ebadi.html; article in English at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/8/82AB5FE1-09CA-4656-BC66-B010B31600B6.html).
� Radio Farda aired an interview on August 21 with Leili Hassanpour, the sister of Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour who, along with his colleague Hiva Boutimar, has been sentenced to death on charges of "acting against national security." Noting their 40-day long hunger strike, Hassanpour expressed her deep concerns over the health of her brother and Boutimar, noting that, according to their lawyers who recently met with them, both imprisoned journalists are in a critical condition physically and mentally and need immediate medical treatment. Prison officials have done nothing to aid the two, Hassanpour told Radio Farda, who accused the officials of wanting to carry out their executions by allowing them to die gradually by disregarding their critical condition and depriving them of medical treatment. During the interview, Hassanpour asked all humanitarian and international institutions, including Doctors Without Borders and Red Crescent societies worldwide, not to remain silent and send a team of doctors to save the lives of Adnan Hassanpour and Hiva Boutimar (audio at http://tinyurl.com/3bznf8; report in English at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/8/DAD0B350-3E47-42F9-B7EF-D164DC865985.html).
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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