Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda
(Washington, DC -- September 13, 2007) Radio Farda marked the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania by airing interviews with terrorism experts and Iran watchers; followed the debate in Washington over the role Iran is playing in Iraq; looked into Britain's policy concerning Iran's nuclear program and continued to follow the plight of laborers arrested while trying to hold a May Day rally in northwestern Iran.
> On September 11, Radio Farda aired an RFE/RL interview with Magnus Ranstorp, research director at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College about the war on terror. Ranstorp said he believes security improvements in the United States have made it much harder for terrorists to pull off a spectacular strike there, as they did in 2001. With the arrests of Al-Qaeda leaders, "We actually decapitated the ability of Al-Qaeda's operational leadership to at least mount or try to mount large-scale strategic strikes. To that extent, we know better, we have a more [refined] sense of how they make decisions, of what their network looks like," Ranstorp said. Ranstorp said that Britain, with its large population of Muslims, is the key European target for Al-Qaeda, which has become "exponentially much stronger" since 2001 (audio at http://tinyurl.com/2ds8gr; article in English at http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/09/50BAEF11-ADEF-4E44-A63C-5105217E0D6A.html).
> Also on September 11, Radio Farda aired an interview with Strayer University professor Rasool Nafisi, who told listeners he does not think the terrorists are strong enough to uproot the culture of democracy and that the ultimate loser in this struggle will be "destructive thought." As for impact of the attacks on Iran, Nafisi noted that the only people in the Middle East to sympathize with Americans, by lighting candles and walking on streets after the attacks, were Iranians. This shows, Nafisi said, that Iranian culture as such opposes violence, despite the fact that some institutions in the country promote it (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/09/11/f4_11september-results.html).
> U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq told Congress on September 10 that Iran continues to meddle in Iraq. In this regard, Radio Farda interviewed Tehran-based university professor Hassan Hashemian, who said he believes Iran will once again reject the accusation that Iran is interfering in Iraq through its Qods Force. Iran is seeking a confrontation with the U.S., Hashemian said, and has developed a plan to defend the country against U.S. forces in the region, given that the US is said to have a plan for attacking Iran. Hashemian predicted a "bloodbath" if the U.S. pulls its forces out of Iraq (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/09/11/f4_petaeus-Iran-confrontation.html).
> On September 5, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated that the British government will support the third UN resolution against Iran if it refuses to halt its sensitive nuclear activities. In an interview with Radio Farda, British Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Gapes said Brown's words demonstrate Britain's wish to make sure Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons, even if it develops a civilian nuclear power industry. About Iran's claim regarding cooperation with the, Gapes told Radio Farda it was too early to judge whether Iran is truly cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but that the IAEA has not backed Iranian claims that the country has complied with all demands. Radio Farda also aired an interview with former British diplomat in Iran Chris Rundle, who told listeners British policy seeks to both engage with Iran and build a better relationship and achieve compliance with the UN and its resolutions concerning Iran's nuclear program (audio at http://tinyurl.com/yqr68q).
> Ten workers who were arrested while trying to hold a rally on May Day in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, have written a letter to the Iranian Parliament and Judiciary Chief protesting their imprisonment and the lashing sentences imposed on other detainees. In the letter, the workers write, "If the judge insists on carrying out these sentences and you do not intervene, workers will not remain silent and this will more than ever make workers detest the current situation." In a September 11 interview with Radio Farda, Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers of Iran spokesman and board member Jafar Azimzadeh said he hopes that the court will revoke these sentences: "In the 21st century and in a world where slavery no longer rules, one cannot sentence a worker to imprisonment and lashing because he wants to celebrate Labor Day" (http://www.radiofarda.com/Article/2007/09/11/f7_Iran_10workers_Letter.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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