Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam Nateghi<b>Friday, December 20, 2002</b>
<b><font size=+1><b>RADIO ADDRESS BY U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH TO THE PEOPLE OF IRAN ON RADIO FARDA</font></b></b>
THE PRESIDENT: I'm pleased to send warm greetings to the people of Iran and to welcome you to the new Radio Farda broadcast. For many years, the United States has helped bring news and cultural broadcasts for a few hours every day to the Iranian people via Radio
Freedom. Yet the Iranian people tell us that more broadcasting is needed, because the unelected few who control the Iranian government continue to place severe restrictions on access to uncensored information. So we are now making our broadcast available to more Iranians by airing news and music and cultural programs nearly 24 hours a day, and we are pleased to continue Voice of America and VOA TV services to Iran.
The people of Iran want to build a freer, more prosperous country for their children, and live in a country that is a full partner in the international community. Iranians also deserve a free press to express themselves to help build an open, democratic and free society.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Iranian people, particularly the families of the many Iranians who are in prison today for daring to express their hopes and dreams for a better future. We continue to stand with the people of Iran in your quest for freedom, prosperity, honest and effective government, judicial due process and the rule of law. And we continue to call on the government of Iran to respect the will of its people and be accountable to them.
As I have said before, if Iran respects its international obligations and embraces freedom and tolerance, it will have no better friend than the United States of America.
Best wishes for a bright future, filled with knowledge, information, and freedom.
<font size=+1><b>Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant's Weapons Capabilities</b></font>
* Army commander brigader General Nasser Mohammadifar said despite US accusations, Iran does not plan to use Bushehr nuclear power plant for military purposes. He added that Iran has no plans to develop weapons of mass destruction. Executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center Henry Sokolski in Washington tells Radio Farda that the reactors in Bushehr nuclear plant can produce weapons-grade plutonium for 60 bombs within 12 months. (Mahtab Farid, Washington)
<font size=+1><b>Deputy Majles Speaker Visits Italy</b></font>
* Deputy Majles speaker and secretary-general of the pro-reform party the Participation Front (Mosharekat) Mohammad-Reza Khatami visited Italy today to promote investment in Iran's energy, water and manufacturing sectors. Italy seeks a share in the $12 billion that Iran has budgeted to spend on development projects during the next fiscal year. Iran-Italy trade reached $3.5 billion last year, 26 percent of Iran's trade with Europe. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
<b><font size=+1>Japanese Consortium to Sign Oil Deal with Iran</font></b>
* A Japanese consortium is close to a buy-back deal worth $2.8 billion with Iran's national oil company to develop Iran's southwestern Azadegan oil field. (Bijan Farhoodi, Washington)
<b><font size=+1>Snow covers Tehran</font></b>
(Mahdieh Javid, Washington)
<b><font size=+1>INS Releases Hundreds of Iranian Detainees on Bail
* The US Immigration and Naturalization Service released scores of Iranians held on immigration violations on bail, but according to Iranian-American bar association's director Keyhan Shakib, the detainees whose bail was set at above $5,000 remained were not released. In interviews with local press, Shakib said INS's own failure to process the cases in time was the cause of the arrests. Hundreds of Iranians were arrested at INS offices in Southern California last Tuesday after they went to register in compliance with the new justice department policy. The policy calls for annual registration of all males above 16 visiting the US from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan. Iranian-American charities announced that they would make funds available to bail out needy Iranians. (Homa Sarshar, Los Angeles)
<b><font size=+1>Interior Ministry Bans Political Speech at Mokhtari's Memorial Service</font></b>
* A memorial service planned to honor writer Mohammad Mokhtari, four years after his murder by intelligence ministry agents, was postponed by his family since the interior ministry limited the permit to poetry reading. Mokhtari's son, Siavash, tells Radio Farda that before finding the hall at the association of publishers and booksellers' building, the managers and owners of public spaces were being intimated by a group of unidentified men who forced them to refuse booking their sites for the service. He adds that the service will be postponed until the interior ministry changes the permit. (Siavash Ardalan, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Conservatives Call for Banning Pro-Khatami Party</font></b>
* MP Ahmad Shirzad, a member of the pro-reform party Participation Front (Mosharekat) warned that by calling for banning the party, conservatives are beginning a new round of assault on reformists. Hossein Shariatmadari, the representative of the Supreme Leader in the Keyhan publishing group, and Hamid-Reza Taraqi, a high-ranking member of the conservative party Hey'at Mo'talefeh-ye Eslami, called for purging the government and the Majles of Mosharekat members. Shariatmadari said Mosharakat is doomed to dissolve, since Abbas Abdi, a ranking member of Mosharekat board, is on trial on spying charges. Reformists dismissed these statements as irresponsible, and President Khatami said he does not see any need for purging the Majles and the government since, he considers both to be clean. (Mehdi Khalaji, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Economist on Factional Conflicts in Iran</font></b>
* London weekly <i>the Economist</i> reviews factional conflicts within Iran in two articles. (Fariba Mavedat)
<b><font size=+1>Chamber of Commerce Elections</font></b>
* Critics say the conservative managers of the chamber of commerce and industry are manipulating the chamber's upcoming elections by vetting the candidates to keep the chamber under their control. (Fereydoun Khavand)
<b><font size=+1>AIDS Conference in Tehran</font></b>
* In a conference on AIDS in Tehran today, healthcare ministry's AIDS advisor Bahram Yeganeh said the number of AIDS patients in Iran is fewer than 4,300, nearly 65 percent of whom are addicts who shared syringes. But the World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 31,000 Iranians with HIV. (Golnaz Esfandiari, Prague
<b><font size=+1>Intelligence Ministry Releases Arrested Students</font></b>
* Tehran MP Ali-Akbar Mussavi-Khoeini, head of the Majles prison committee, said intelligence ministry released 6 of students arrested during the December 6 Student Day demonstrations. He added that only 8 of the 38 jailed students were arrested by the intelligence ministry. Also, 120 non-students were arrested on that day by the police. (Mehdi Khalaji, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>World Bank to Invest in Iran</font></b>
* World Bank announced that for the first time since 1974 it will invest in Iran. Former economy minister Alinaqi Alikhani tells Radio Farda that the investments will me made through the International Finance Corporation, which is the investment arm of the World Bank through which the World Bank invests in private enterprises in the developing countries. (Ali Sajjadi, Washington)
پرزيدنت جرج بوش، رئيس جمهوري آمريكا، در پيامي خطاب به مردم ايران آغاز به كار راديو فردا را شادباش گفت. رئيس جمهوري آمريكا گفت: آرزو و دعاي من با مردم ايران، به خصوص با خانواده هاي بسياري است كه امروز به سبب جرات در ابراز اميد ها و آمال خويش براي آينده اي بهتر، زنداني هستند. رئيس جمهوري آمريكا گفت تعداد انگشت شماري افراد نامنتخب كه حكومت ايران را در كنترل دارند، همچنان به اعمال محدوديت هاي شديد بر دستيابي به اطلاعات سانسور نشده ادامه مي دهند.
رئيس جمهوري آمريكا گفت: به همين سبب ما اكنون برنامه هاي راديوئي خود را از طريق پخش اخبار، موسيقي و برنامه هاي فرهنگي 24 ساعت شبانه روز در دسترس ايرانيان هرچه بيشتري قرار مي دهيم.
رئيس جمهوري آمريكا گفت مردم ايران مي خواهند كشوري آزاد تر و مرفه تر را براي فرزندان خود بنا كنند و در كشوري زندگي كنند كه شريك كاملي در جامعه بين المللي باشد. وي افزود: ايرانيان همچنين سزاوار برخورداري از رسانه هاي آزادترند تا به بيان نظرات خود بپردازند و به آنان در ايجاد يك جامعه آزاد، دمكراتيك و باز كمك كند.
پرزيدنت بوش گفت: ما همچنان در كوشش در راه آزادي، رفاه و داشتن دولتي صالح و كارآمد، آئين صحيح دادرسي و حكومت قانون، دركنار شما مردم ايران هستيم و همچنان به دعوت خود از دولت ايران به احترام به اراده مردم خود و پاسخگو بودن در برابر آنان ادامه مي دهيم.
وي گفت: چنانكه ايران به سوي احترام گذاشتن به تعهدات بين المللي و به سوي آينده اي برخوردار از آزادي و مداراي بيشتر روي آورد، دوستي بهتر از ايالات متحده آمريكا نخواهد داشت.