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Heard In Iran: Iranians Respond to Obama

President Obama Speaks Directly to Iranian People

March 22 -- Britain's former ambassador to Iran told Radio Farda that President Obama's Norouz message is "the clearest and most credible statement so far of the change in American policy towards Iran - it is now imperative that Iran should respond constructively" [read in Persian]. Radio Farda aired President Obama's message several times and posted the video to its website; RFE/RL also covered the story on its English website.

Iranians Respond to Obama

March 24 -- One Radio Farda listener said, "President Obama took a positive step, yet I don't see any prospect of improved U.S.-Iran relations because the Iranian leaders do not care about the people." Another listener said, "The Supreme Leader does not represent the Iranian people - we respect President Obama" [listen in Persian].

After Blogger's Death, 18 More Arrests

March 20 -- Following the death of an Iranian blogger in prison, the regime has arrested 18 more people for "cyberspace offenses." The arrests were made by Iran's Center for Addressing Organized Cyberspace Offences, a group affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Meanwhile, a London-based analyst told Radio Farda that the IRGC's increasing restrictions on the Internet signifies the gradual militarization of Iran's entire political system [read in Persian].

Public "Has Lost Trust" in Iranian Press

March 20 -- A spokesman for an Iranian press freedom group told Radio Farda that the "Iranian public has somewhat lost their trust in national media and mostly relies on foreign news agencies" [read in Persian].

Crime Rate Rising in Iran

March 23 -- Tehran's police chief said the crime rate has increased ten percent in the last year. Speaking to Radio Farda, a Tehran-based lawyer blamed the increase on inflation, while a sociologist believes that a culture of violence has become institutionalized in Iranian society [listen in Persian].