Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceSaturday, July 13, 2002
- US President supports Iran's freedom-seekers
- Russia to complete Bushehr nuclear power plant
- Khatami cabinet rejects Expediency Council supervision plan
- Judiciary proposes alternative punishments to jail
- Russia to cooperate with Iran to save sturgeon species
Bush Calls for Democracy in Iran
In a written statement issued on Friday, President Bush emphasized the need for political change in Iran and said that the Iranian people would have no better friend than the US in their path to freedom and moderation. (Alireza Taheri, Ardavan Niknam)
* The US supports the reform process in Iran and the formation of a more open society in which people would have the right to decide their own future, said the US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. A high level US official told the Washington Post that the US would raise its voice if it believes speaking out would help reform Iran. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* President Bush's statement is the most candid, most serious and the clearest position ever taken by the US against Iran's conservatives and in indirect support of Iran's reformists, says Tehran University political science professor Sadeq Zibakalam. He tells RFE/RL that there is no direct threat against Iran in Bush's statement. But the statement can cut both ways, while it can help reduce the conservatives' pressure on the reformist faction, it would also give those who consider the US an enemy a means to agitate against the reformists. Most important, though, is that Bush's statement masterfully draws a line separating the Iranian people from those who deny them their civil rights. (Alireza Taheri)
* The US president made a clear distinction between the unelected authorities and the Iranian people in his statement today, modifying and improving his Axis of Evil speech, says RFE/RL Persian Service director Steve Fairbanks. The White House blames the conservatives for issues dividing the US and Iran, such as terrorism and the horrible condition of human rights in Iran. Reacting to the recent political developments in Iran, the US president gives encouragement to freedom-seekers in his statement.
Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry Promises to Complete the Bushehr Nuclear Plan
* Russia's atomic energy minister Alexander Rumyantsev said his country would not end its atomic cooperation with Iran despite US pressures, and would complete the Bushehr nuclear power plant. He said US has a right to be concerned, but according to a Russia-Iran agreement all the nuclear waste from the Bushehr plan would be transported to Russia. He said US bought $10 million worth of plutonium from Russia. (Mani Kasravi)
Khatami's Government Rejects the Expediency Council's Supervision
A Khatami cabinet spokesman said today that the government rejected the draft of the Expediency Council's executive directive by which the Council would give itself supreme supervisory powers over the three branches of the government.
* Tehran-based political science professor Ahmad Naqibzadeh says democratic institutions in Iran are deadlocked by the country's management system. Adding to the powers of the Expediency Council would create another institution at the level of the Majles and the executive branch and would further slow down the country's affairs. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
A Judiciary Committee Suggests 25 Alternatives to Jail
A technical committee set up by the judiciary offered 25 alternative punishments to jail sentence, which, if approved by the Majles, would reduce the prison population.
* Tehran-based lawyer Mohammad-Hossein Aghasi says alternatives to jail sentence are unprecedented in Iran. He tells RFE/RL that the alternative punishment can only be applied to common law punishments and crimes for which Islam has no punishment, such as drug trafficking or check bouncing. Considering the miserable state of Iran's prisons, any plan to reduce the population would help, especially since experience proves that long prison sentences for drug traffickers and addicts have not reduced the spread of drug use in the country. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Iranian-born Assistant US Secretary of Commerce on US-Iran Relations
Iranian-born Faryar Shirzad, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration, explained the Bush Administration's trade agenda in a speech Thursday jointly sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce and the Iranian-American Bar Association.
* Shirzad, a lawyer before joining the Bush Administration, says he came to the US as a child with his parents and became a citizen. He tells RFE/RL that a number of factors affect the Administration's decision on US-Iran relations, including Iran's mass destruction weapons programs, terrorism and US sensitivity about the security of the region, particularly in relation to Afghanistan. Shirzad adds that the door to negotiations is open to Iran, but US concerns about these issues would be part of any negotiations. The US always reevaluates its policies towards all nations, and there is always the possibility of a US policy change in case of changes in Iran.
* Washington lawyer Babak Hoghooghi, president of the Iranian-American Bar Association (IABA), says the IABA's goal is to help change the image of US Iranians in the media. He tells RFE/RL that the US Iranian community is one of the highest educated and most prosperous among immigrant communities, but its accomplishments have not yet earned it social status and political influence.
* Senior VP of International Affairs of the US Chamber of Commerce Willard Workman tells RFE/RL that the Chamber opposes any unilateral US sanctions, since they simply do not work. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
Russia Asks Iran's Cooperation to Save Sturgeon
* Deputy Russian prime minister and the chief of Russia's state fishing committee Yevgeny Nazdratenko said Russia would share its new technology to harvest caviar through surgery with Iran in order to save Caspian Sea sturgeon. (Mani Kasravi)
Six Movie Houses Close in Fars Province
Low ticket sales and financial problems were cited by a ministry of culture's provincial director as reasons for the recent closing of six movie houses in the Fars province.
* Prominent filmmaker Pouran Derakhshandeh tells RFE/RL that lack of private sector investment, spread of satellite TV, the boring and repetitive subjects of the Iranian films and the availability of the latest Hollywood movies in the video stores all contributed to the economic decline of the Iranian cinema. Despite the financial problems problems, she adds, Iran ranks 10th in the world in the number of feature films produced per year. Derakhshandeh says censorship prevents directors like her from making films that public would like to watch. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
* US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz visits Turkey to discuss war against terrorism. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* Turkey's resigning foreign minister says his new party will campaign against Prime Minister Ecevit's social democratic party in the upcoming elections. (Alireza Taheri)
* US Secretary of State Colin Powell left unanswered Yasir Arafat's letter on reforms in the Palestinian Authority. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* An 11-member US team arrives in Kabul to investigate the air strike on the wedding party in southern Afghanistan. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
* An al-Qaeda spokesman sends a threatening message to Italy. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* UN Security Council unanimously exempts US personnel from prosecution by the UN international criminal court. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* France closes the Sangaat refugee camp. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* Amid protests from minorities, greens and organizations such as the European Jewish union, Italy begins implementation of its new immigration law. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
ARTS AND IDEAS
New York Magazine (Weekly culture and arts features)
Iranian Youth's Movement of Joy Defies the Islamic Regime
* The "children of the Islamic Republic," or the so-called "third generation," are the most formidable force of change in Iran, says New York-based author Behzad Yaghmaian in an interview with RFE/RL about his latest book, "Social Change in Iran," published by the State University of New York Press. In his book, Yaghmaian mixes political and economic analysis with personal history and eyewitness accounts to chart the widespread defiance of young Iranians to the cultural and social rules enforced by the Islamic Republic. He says the pro-reform association of the universities' student councils (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat), about which we read the most news in the press, is an isolated small group that is shunned by the majority of students who prefer partying and mixing with the opposite sex to joining the pro-government rallies sponsored by the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat. As an antidote to the culture of death and mourning promoted by the regime, the youth have created a culture of love and joy. It will be the children of the Islamic Republic who would bring down the regime and replace it with a democracy. The youth movement, which came out in full force during the 1998 student demonstrations against the police raid on Tehran University dorms, is big and ferocious, but lacks organization and leadership. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
The US Premiere of Taziyeh at Lincoln Center
* New York-based Taziyeh director Mohammad Baqer Ghaffari tells RFE/RL that problems with obtaining US entry visas for Tazaieh performers, which reduced his company of selected Tazieh masters from 28 to 10, delayed rehearsals by a month, forcing him to work day and night at the risk of exhausting the performers before the opening. The Lincoln Center's program, a part of New York Summer Festival, includes three Taziyeh plays, a form of Iranian religious drama dating back to 18th Century, presented for the first time in the US,. A Tazieh performer tells RFE/RL that he hopes the sold-out New York performances in a tent at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park would help bring the two nations closer. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
New Political Thought in Contemporary Iran: Haji Baba-ye Esfahani
* Paris-based political history scholar Javad Tabatabai reviews Mirza Habib Esfahani's translation of James Morier's Haji Baba, which paved the way for a new Persian prose capable of expressing contemporary concepts. (Nazi Azima)عليرضا طاهري (راديوآزادي)، ترجمه متن بيانيه جرج بوش، رئيس جمهوري آمريكا: ما در سراسر تاريخ، قدرت يك انديشه ساده را ديده ايم: به مردم اگر حق انتخاب داده شود، آنها آزادي را برخواهند گزيد.
آنچنانكه در چند روز گذشته شاهد بوده ايم، مردم ايران خواهان همان آزاديها، حقوق بشر و فرصتهاي مردمان ديگر در سراسر جهانند. حكومت ايران بايد به اميدواريهاي مردم ايران توجه كند. در دو دور اخير انتخابات رياست جمهوري و تقريبا در يك دوجين انتخابات پارلماني و محلي، اكثريت عظيم مردم ايران به اصلاحات سياسي و اقتصادي راي دادند. با اين حال، مردم نامنتخبي كه فرمانروايان واقعي ايرانند، به صداي مردم گوش نداده اند. در ايران سياستهاي ويرانگر و سازش ناپذير پا برجاي مانده و در زندگي روزگذر مردم ايران، دگرگونيهاي بسيار ناچيزي پديد آمده است.
دانشجويان، روزنامه نگاران و نمايندگان مجلس ايران به دليل هواداري از اصلاحات يا انتقاد از نظام حاكم همچنان بازداشت مي شوند، زير فشارهاي هراس انگيز جاي مي گيرند و حقوقشان نقض مي شود. نشريات مستقل را در ايران سركوبي مي كنند و دانشجويان و كارآزمودگان ايراني در برابر طيف دوگانه فرصت اشتغال بسيار ناچيز، و محدوديتهاي بسيار در زمينه آزاديهايشان، همچنان جست وجو در پي فرصتهاي اشتغال در خارج را به ياري رساندن در ساختن آينده ايران، در درون خود ايران، ترجيح مي دهند.
همزمان، اعضاي نظام حاكم و خانواده هايشان در حالي كه منافعي نامنصفانه را درو مي كنند، بر سر راه اصلاحات مانع مي تراشند.
ايران سرزميني باستاني و زادگاه فرهنگي سربلند با ميراث غني آموزش و پيشرفت است. بر سر آينده ايران، مردم ايران تصميم خواهند گرفت. هم اكنون مردم ايران درگير پرسش هايي دشوار در باره چگونه ساختن جامعه اي مدرن و درخور قرن بيست و يكم اند كه جامعه يي كه همزمان، هم مسلمان است، هم شكوفا و پيشرو، و هم آزاد.
دوستي ميان مردم ايران و مردم آمريكاسابقه اي ديرينه دارد. مردم ايران همچنانكه به سوي آينده اي برخوردار از آزادي بيشتر و مداراي بيشتر پيش مي روند، دوستي بهتر از ايالات متحده آمريكا نخواهند داشت.
جرج بوش، رئيس جمهوري آمريكا، در بيانيه اي بر ضرورت تغييرات سياسي در ايران تاكيد ورزيد و گفت آمريكا بهترين دوست مردم ايران است. آقاي بوش در بيانيه خود همچنين گفت: «بر سر آينده ايران، مردم ايران تصميم خواهند گرفت. هم اكنون مردم ايران درگير پرسش هايي دشوار در باره چگونه ساختن جامعه اي مدرن و درخور قرن بيست و يكم اند -- جامعه اي كه در عين حال هم مسلمان است، هم شكوفا و پيشرو، هم آزاد.» آقاي بوش افزود: «دوستي ميان مردم ايران و مردم آمريكاسابقه اي ديرينه دارد. مردم ايران همچنانكه به سوي آينده اي برخوردار از آزادي بيشتر و مداراي بيشتر پيش مي روند، دوستي بهتر از ايالات متحده آمريكا نخواهند داشت.