Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiSunday, March 21, 2004
<b>US Supports “Voices of Reform” in the Region: Powell</b>
• The US supports "the voices of reform in this region" with assistance that would be coordinated with other major industrial nations, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Saturday, Speaking after talks with Kuwaiti officials. He assured leaders of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia that “reforms must come from within the region, and with each country examining its own history, its own culture, and its own state of political development.”
<b>US Dismisses Need for Dialogue with Iran</b>
• “I don't think anybody needs to have a conversation with the Iranians,” US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on Friday in a CNN interview, “The Iranians know what our problems are in the relationship,” she added, dismissing the need for dialogue with Iran on nuclear issues. Head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammad ElBaradei had suggested that direct US-Iran talks would settle the Iran nuclear crisis for good.
• Condoleezza Rice's dismissal of talks with Iran was “another example of contradictory and non-coherent stances in the American policy-making apparatus,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Saturday. "The statements made by the American government's national security advisor are primarily intended for domestic consumption," he added.
<b>Israel Arrests Man for Selling Arms to Iran</b>
• Israeli authorities arrested arms dealer Eli Cohen in Tel Aviv after a joint operation with the US Homeland Security Department uncovered Hawk anti-aircraft missiles in a warehouse he operated south of Haifa. The parts' final destination was suspected to have been Iran, the daily <i>Maariv</i> reported.
<b>Political Prisoners' Kin Celebrate New Year at Prison Gate</b>
• Relatives of prominent jailed journalists, political activists and students gathered by at the gate of the Evin prison in Tehran for a public celebration of the traditional New Year, Nowruz. More than 60 families had turnout for the event, and they wished the New Year will bring the long-awaited release of their loved ones, activist <b>Kianoush Sanjari</b>, of the “independent” opposition group the Democratic Front, who was at the gathering, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Early in the morning, an officer told the gathered families that he had orders from Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi to prevent any New Year event at the prison gate, Sanjari says. But when more families arrived for the event, the police did nothing, except filming the gathering, he adds. According to reports received by <b>Radio Farda</b>, special security measures were placed in effect inside the Evin prison, as the families' New Year celebration went on outside. We threw the flowers over the prison wall at the end of the gathering, another participant, Nargess Mohammadi, wife of jailed nationalist-religious activist Taqi Rahmani, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
<b>Former Empress Remembers Bitter and Sweet Memories on Book Tour</b>
• The saddest day of my life was when my husband died in Egypt,” Former Empress <b>Farah Pahlavi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Ms. Pahlavi, who is on a book tour in the US promoting the English version of her memoirs <i>An Enduring Love: My Life With the Shah</i>, adds that on a personal level, the death of her daughter Princess Leyla created a sad, unhealed wound in her heart, as losing a daughter would in the heart of any mother. Politically, she says, the most horrifying for her, as for all Iranians, was Iraq's attack on Iran, “a country to which it did not dare do such a thing when we were there.” As an individual, she adds, “what I have learned over the years is to not keep any bitterness in my heart, to try to always remain hopeful, and to try to understand whatever negativity I see in people.” “I've had twenty years of life as a normal girl, 20 years as the Empress of my country, and 25 years in exile,” she says, “I look at all these as life experiences.” (Ali Sajjadi)
<b>RadioFarda's New Year Coverage</b>
• <b>Radio Farda</b> continues its extensive coverage of the New Year celebrations in various parts of Iran and the world, including a major concert of top Los Angeles-based pop singers in Germany. Those interviewed in various news segments today include Gorgani scholar <b>Assadollah Matufi</b>, who discusses the origins of the New Year tradition, and residents of Yazd, Bushehr and Zahedan, who talk about the New Year traditions and rites in their areas. London-based poet <b>Zhaleh Esfahani</b> reads a poem about the Spring. An Iranian mother made a plate of lentil sprouts for her son who lives in Arizona to help him remember New Year traditions, writes the <i>Arizona Republic</i> in an article about the Persian New Year. (Mahmonir Rahimi, Leyli Arman, Shahram Mirian)
<b>Artist Launches Candles on Balloons in Memory of Bam Earthquake Victims</b>
• In a New Year ceremony at the 2,000-year old Bam citadel, which was ruined by the December 26 earthquake, artist <b>Mohammad Reza Hasheminezhad</b> launched hundreds of candles attached to balloons. Local people gathered, cried, wrote messages and hung pictures to the balloons, he tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
<b>RadioFarda Human Rights and Democracy Roundtable: Role of the NGOs</b>
The role which non-governmental organizations can play in promoting human rights and democracy is the topic of today's RadioFarda Human Rights and Democracy Roundtable.
• <b>Elahe Sharifpour Hicks</b>, formerly of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that she now heads the Iran section of a new organization called Partners for Right, which helps human rights groups in the Middle East.
• <b>Mohammad Sharif</b> member of the society to defend human rights in Iran, says organizations such as Partners for Right can act as a bridge between local groups and international organizations.
• <b>Mohammad Safaifar</b> a member of the society for defense of press freedoms in Iran, says if a foreign institution could act with deep knowledge of a country's political and social conditions, it would be a great help to local human rights organization. (Maryam Ahmadi))
<b>Majles Elections Will Not Change Italy-Iran Relations</b>
• We trust the new conservative majority which found its way into the Majles in the February 20 elections, head of Mediterranean and Middle East affairs of Italy's foreign ministry and former Italian ambassador to Iran Ricardo Sessa, said today in a conference in Naples. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
<b>Mandela to Visit Iran</b>
• All those involved with Human Rights organizations in Iran should contact Nelson Mandela during his upcoming trip to Tehran, <b>Elahe Sharifpour Hicks</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Behruz Nikzat)
كولين پاول، وزير امورخارجه آمريكا تاكيد كرد كه اصلاحات بايد درون منطقه خاورميانه انجام شود و آمريكا قصد تحميل چنين اصلاحاتي را ندارد. اكثر كشورهاي عرب، از جمله كويت، عربستان سعودي و مصر، تلاش آمريكا را تحميل دمكراسي و آزاديخواهي در خاورميانه تلقي كردند. كولين پاول كه محور مذاكرات با مقامات كويت را ايجاد آينده بهتر در منطقه ذكركرد، گفت در منطقه صداي آزاديخواهي به گوش مي رسد و تا زماني كه چنين صداهائي شنيده شود، آمريكا براي كمك حاضر خواهد بود. پاول گفت ما نگران آن هستيم كه كساني كه مي خواهند آزادانه و به طور دمكراتيك عقايد خود را بيان كنند، قادر به انجام آن نيستند. پاول از سوريه خواست نيروهاي خود از لبنان خارج كند و اجازه دهد لبنان از حاكميت كامل برخوردار شود.