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Heard This Week - 12/20/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- December 20, 2007) This past week Radio Farda reported on the following issues and more:
* A jailed journalist's hunger strike
* The role of Iran's student movement
* Intensifying repression of Iranian dissidents

Coburn Tells Farda Listeners Freedom and Truth Inseparable; Iran Has Neither
December 14 -- During an exclusive interview with Radio Farda [text in Persian], U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) condemned the Iranian government's severe crackdown on workers, women and students, saying "you can't have truth without having freedom and you can't have freedom without truth." The Iranian regime, he said, seeks neither of those. Coburn also told Radio Farda that negotiations should not be allowed to become a propaganda instrument for Iran's leaders to empower themselves and suppress freedom.

Radio Farda Reports on Jailed Journalist's Hunger Strike...
December 16 -- The brother of jailed journalist Abolfazl Abedini, who reported on labor unrest in southern Khuzestan province for media including Radio Farda, told the broadcaster [audio in Persian:] Abedini has begun a hunger strike to protest the charges pressed against him, including "being interviewed by foreign radios."

...Analyses Role of Student Movement...
December 17 -- Guest experts on Radio Farda's weekly roundtable "Viewpoints" debated the challenges faced by Iran's student opposition movement [text in Persian:]. One guest, former Iranian parliamentarian Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, said the lack of political parties in Iran has made students the primary means for expressing political demands.

...Highlights Intensifying Repression of Dissent.
December 18 -- Human Rights Watch Deputy Director Joe Stork told Radio Farda [text in Persian:] that Iran's intolerance of criticism is the reason why students and women's rights activists -- such as the two One Million Signature campaign activists recently charged with "collaboration with an armed dissident group" -- are targeted for repression. On December 14, Radio Farda aired an interview [text in Persian:] with European Parliament member Angelika Beer, who described her meetings with the relatives of detained worker and student activists during a recent trip to Tehran. Beer said repression has increased dramatically and become more intense in Iran since the adoption of UN sanctions.

RFE/RL Analysis

Internet Cafes Shut Down In Drive Against Un-Islamic Behavior
December 18 -- Radio Farda interviews Internet cafe owners and media rights activists in Iran about police raids that have closed at least 25 Internet cafes and caused at least 170 cafe owners to be warned against "using immoral computer games" on computers and for the presence of women without "proper hijab" on the premises. Some Iranian journalists describe the raids as an attempt by the authorities to limit access to a major source of alternative news and information and restrict Iranian's intellectual and social freedom.

For more on these and other stories about Iran, please visit: -- Radio Farda's Persian-language website -- "RFE/RL Iran Report" weekly analysis -- RFE/RL English-language coverage of Iran

Radio Farda, a joint project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and
Voice of America (VOA), is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week news service.