اردوان نيكنام (پراك)، همايون مجد (واشنگتن)
Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceTuesday, March 05, 2002
- State Department human rights report
- Tehran political group calls for people-to-people talks with the US
- UK Signs Export Guarantee Deal with IRI
- Minimum Wage Deadlock
- Obstacles to Privatization
- Iranians ask Tough Questions on Website
US Releases Annual Human Rights Report
Respect for human rights is essential for political stability, US Secretary of State Powell said, as he released the department's annual report on human rights around the world. It criticized the Islamic Republic of Iran for curbs on speech, political arrests and secret trials, and violent punishments such as public flogging and stoning. Other countries criticized include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Israel and China. The report hails changes in Afghanistan resulting from the war on terrorism, which ended the oppression of the Taliban and freed Afghan women to participate in social life. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
Formerly Anti-US Group Calls for People-to-People Peace Talks with US
* Former Deputy Interior Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh and Feizollah Arab-Sorkhi, high level members of the Islamic leftist group, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, call for direct talks between peace supporters in Iran and the US.
* "This is a sign of changing times," says Mohsen Sazgara, a former government official and publisher of the now-banned reformist paper, Jame'eh (Community) in an interview with RFE/RL. He says such proposals from a group known for its firm anti-US positions, shows an attention to the new realities of the world. The generation that came to power with the Islamic revolution, he says, was brought up in a bi-polar world where anti-imperialism and anti-Americanism were in vogue. "Now," Sazgara adds, "our national interests require purging anti-Americanism from the Islamic Republic's foreign policy."
* Sazgara believes anti-Americanism only helps the "militarist faction" to curb political freedoms and democratization. He says most Iranians support an opposition independent from the two factions of the regime. "People should be allowed to bring to the fore this political force, and I am sure that with the force of the opinion of the majority, one can influence the warmongers on both sides," Sazgara says. (Mehdi Khalaji)
UK Signs Export Guarantee Deal with IRI, Resolves Pre-Revolution Debt
* The British government's Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) signed an agreement with IRI to clear a œ100-million debt owed to UK by the pre-revolution Iranian government and resumes medium-term insurance for UK-Iran trade. Michael Thomas, an adviser on Iranian affairs to UK commerce department tells RFE/RL that the deal would benefit UK firms in trades with Iran. Booths in the UK pavilion at the upcoming Tehran international trade show are already sold-out, Thomas adds. (Shahran Tabari, London)
Why Isn't Khatami Forthcoming, and other tough questions
* The website of the pro-reform Islamic Iran Participation Front (Jebheh-ye Mosharekat-e Iran-e Eslami) provides a forum for popular reformist politicians and journalists to answer questions posted by readers from around the world, reports RFE/RL's Alireza Taheri. Sometimes certain questions remain unanswered, but the fact that they are posted speaks for itself. Asked why President Khatami does not speak with transparency, Majlis MP Mohammad Shakuri-Rad answers that Khatami believes that "talking publicly" about challenges within the government "does not solve anything," adding that "what is clear needs no explanation."
* Asked by another reader if he would leave office if people vote for a secular government, Shakuri-Rad answers "we have no right to impose anything on the people, even if we believe it is right. We have to relinquish power, if people do not want us."
* Other officials and personalities to appear on the website include Khatami adviser and Tehran City Council member Hajjarian, who was a victim of a recent assassination attempt, and the publisher of a series of pro-reform banned newspapers, Hamid-Reza Jalali. (Alireza Taheri)
Deadlock in Negotiations on Minimum Wage
* Three-way talks about minimum wage between labor organizations, employers and IRI's ministry of labor and social affairs have reached a deadlock over the actual rial figure, says Hasan Sadeqi, the head of the organization representing Islamic labor councils from factories across Iran. Sadeqi tells RFE/RL that employees' reps and the government rejected every formula the labor side offered for calculation of the minimum wage. Among these was a figure in today's rials based on the dollar value of the minimum daily wages in 1978. Labor's proposal to base the minimum wage on the price of a basket of twenty protein-rich goods required for a family of five was also rejected. Sadeqi says the problem is not that employers do not agree on the need to increase the minimum wage, but they say, considering the economic recession, they simply do not have the financial resources to meet the workers' demands. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Main Obstacles to Privatization
* President Khatami's notion that political intrigue is a hurdle in the privatization process is only partially true, since the main obstacles to privatization are IRI's own rules and regulations, says RFE/RL's economic commentator, Fereydoun Khavand. Article 44 of the Islamic Republic Constitution, he says, places most of major industries such as banking, oil, steel, telecommunications and utilities in the hands of the government. In the budget bill for the next Iranian year, 64 percent of the entire public expenditure goes to government-owned businesses. (Jamshid Zand)
Tehran to Join International Convention on Children's Rights
* The pressure to pass the bill came from NGO's, says family psychologist Shokuh Nabavi-nezhad in an interview with RFE/RL. She predicts the minimum age for marriage for girls (nine) and child custody regulations after divorce (which give the custody of boys over 2 and girls over 7 to the fathers) will be problem issues when the Guardian Council reviews the bill for final ratification. She also says the families' mindset about child punishment and the issue of child labor will make the implementation of the bill difficult in Iran. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
People Get Sick Drinking Water in Mahshahr
* Two residents of Mahshahr tell RFE/RL that the drinking water is contaminated with obvious germs and worms. Seventeen people were taken to hospital after drinking the water. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Persian Food Festival in China
* The Cultural Attach‚ of the Iranian Embassy in Beijing tells RFE/RL that everybody loves the Iranian kabab and rice dish, chelo kabab. A five-day festival in a Beijing hotel celebrates Iranian cuisine and handicrafts. (Shahram Tehrani, Beijing)
Pop Singer Campaigns against Drug Addiction
* In a benefit concert in Hamburg, pop singer Dariush collects money for NGO's in Iran fighting drug addiction. In an interview with RFE/RL, he talks of his own decades of suffering as a drug addict. (Shahram Mirian, Hamburg)
* Middle East crisis nears all-out war (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Kofi Anan finds Saudi Middle East proposal "useful", as President Mubarak of Egypt visits Washington. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Iraqi foreign minister to meet UN SG. Iraq prepares for a US attack in May. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* American forces in largest ever military operation in Afghanistan. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Pope calls for peace in a letter to world leaders. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* China holds annual national congress. (Shahram Tehrani, Beijing)
* OPEC Secretary fails in his effort to convince Russia of the need to lower oil production in the second half of 2002. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
* Muslim women hail their abortion rights in the 3rd World Congress of Muslim Women, held in Spain's Cordoba. (Ahmad Ra'fat)
* Bahraini women prepare for national and local elections. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Persian Love Stories Series: Zohreh & Manuchehr
* RFE/RL's Sadroddin Elahi begins new series based on Persian classic poet Iraj Mirza's Zohreh and Manuchehr, on the 76th anniversary's of the poet's death. In a forward to the series, RFE/RL's editor says the book is based on the same Greek tale used by Shakespeare in his "Venus and Adonis." (Sadroddin Elahi, Iraj Gorgin)
New Books in Tehran
* In his weekly book review program, Tehran-based writer and RFE/RL book reviewer, Kamran Fani reviews "Iranians and Greeks," a translation by the late historian Ahmad Kasravi of a book by Plutarch; a series of paperbacks on Iran called "What do I Know about Iran;" and a Persian translation of John Kenneth Galbraith's recent book, "A Survey of Modern Economics."
A Survey of Modern Economics
* Galbraith's Persian translator talks about the significance of the book in an interview with RFE/RL. (Nazi Azima)
America Six Months after September 11
* RFE/RL reports on the social and economic situation in the US, six months after the terrorist attack, based on an AP article. (Alireza Taheri)
Homayoun Khorram Plays in Germany
* In an interview with RFE/RL, the prominent Persian composer and songwriter, Homayoun Khorram talks about his concerts in Germany and his new CD's. (Shahram Mirian, Koln)
Interview with Exiled Writer, Shahrnoush Parsipour: A Book, A Writer
* The writer of an important prison memoir, Shahrnoush Parsipour discusses her latest book, Shiva, in an interview with RFE/RL's Bahman Bastani, London
Persian Contemporary Poetry
* Two recently departed contemporary Persian poets, Mehdi Akhavan Sales and Nader Naderpour recite some of their most famous poems.
وزير امورخارجه آمريكا تاكيد كرد كه احترام به حقوق بشر لازمه ثبات سياسي در كشورهاست. در آخرين گزارش وزارت امورخارجه آمريكا درباره موارد نقض حقوق بشر در كشورهاي مختلف جهان، فصلي به تخلفات مقامات جمهوري اسلامي و روحانيون محافظه كار در قوه قضاييه اختصاص داده شده است و حكومت جمهوري اسلامي متهم شده است كه با استفاده از قوه قضاييه، آزادي بيان را در ايران محدود ساخته است و به سركوب آزاديخواهان و اصلاح طلبان و دستگيري و محاكمه هاي غيرعلني ادامه مي دهد. در اين گزارش همچنين مجازات هاي خشونت آميز اسلامي نظير شلاق زدن مردم در ملاء عام، محكوم شده است. وزارت امورخارجه آمريكا در گزارش سالانه خود همچنين نقض حقوق انسان ها در كشورهاي ديگر، از جمله عربستان سعودي، عراق، اسراييل، پاكستان و چين را نيز محكوم مي كند. وزارت امورخارجه آمريكا دگرگوني حكومت افغانستان در اثر عمليات نظامي ضدتروريستي آمريكا را مي ستايد و آن را يك پيروزي براي حقوق بشر توصيف مي كند كه به سركوبگري بي رحمانه عناصر طالبان در اين كشور خاتمه بخشيد و اجازه داد كه زنان افغان بارديگر نقش اجتماعي داشته باشند.