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Heard This Week - 04/17/2008

Heard This Week in Iran
on Radio Farda

Eyewitness Describes Scene of Mosque Explosion

April 13 -- An eyewitness at the scene of an explosion that killed 12 people at a mosque in the city of Shiraz tells Radio Farda [audio in Persian], "it's a bad situation, the number of casualties is worse than the reports on websites. I saw it myself." Another listener described how his relative was killed in the blast. The next day, Iranian media freedom activist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin said the government seeks to minimize reporting on such events in local media in an effort to keep Iran more secure and safe than its neighbors [audio in Persian / text in English].

Nuclear Experts Skeptical Of Iran's Enrichment Announcement

April 12 -- Frank Barnaby of Oxford Research Group said [text in Persian] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement that Iran had installed additional centrifuges for its uranium enrichment effort doesn't mean that it can maintain the centrifuges correctly, keep them running continuously, run them in cascades or handle other technical challenges. On April 9, Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute expressed skepticism about Iran's new claims during an RFE/RL interview [text in English].

Tire Plant Workers Block Highway in Protest

April 12 -- A worker at the Alborz Tire Plant near Tehran said workers threw Molotov cocktails, chanted slogans, and blocked the main highway to protest six months of unpaid wages; anti-riot police and plainclothes agents tried to stop the protest [text in Persian].

Writer Criticizes Book Censorship

April 11-- Iranian publisher Farkhondeh Hajizadeh says Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance treats writers and publishers as convicts [text in Persian].

Experts Discuss Iranian Cabinet Changes

April 12 -- Tehran-based university professor Sadegh Zibakalam, Stockholm University academic Ahmad Alavi and journalist Mehdi Mahdavi-Azad discuss the recent shakeup of Iran's Cabinet of Ministers during Radio Farda's weekly roundtable program "Viewpoints" [audio in Persian].

Economist Expounds on Roots of Inflation

April 12 -- An economist said President Ahmadinejad's efforts to blame Iran's economic woes on sanctions imposed by the international community over the country's nuclear program are beside the point, as the sanctions are a reaction to Ahmadinejad's reckless, illegal foreign policy [audio in Persian].

Appeals Court Overturns Acquittal, Sentences Students to Jail

April 15 -- A student activist at Amir Kabir University reacted to the sentencing of colleagues by an appeals court after they had been acquitted by a lower court by saying the Iranian judiciary has become a means to "settle accounts between the government and its critics," as politics are allowed to influence the outcome of court cases [text in Persian].