همايون مجد (واشنگن)، سخنراني سناتور جوزف بايدن
Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceThursday, March 14, 2002
- Senator Biden calls for dialogue with Iran
- Majles exempts carpet weavers from labor law protection
- Venerable textile factory cannot meet payroll
- Exclusive interview with Mehrangiz Kar
Biden makes Overture to Iran
* Speaking at an American-Iranian Council conference in Washington on Wednesday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Biden invited Iranian lawmakers to visit the US, and said he is ready to meet with IRI officials anywhere. Biden said better relations with Iran would benefit the US, and He backed the Iranian people in their struggle for democracy, recommending the US permit financial assistance from US NGO's to human rights and democratic movements in Iran, encourage people-to-people contacts, and help Iran join the World Trade Organization. He also recommended helping Iran cope with its refugees and drug smuggling problems. (Homayoun Majd)
Iranian and US Officials Comment on Relations
* While the Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, speaking to members of the Expediency Council still rules out talks with the US and denounces as misguided the reformists who have called for them, Mohsen Armin, a deputy Majles speaker says there has been some contact between the two governments over the years on a number of issues. Meanwhile, President Khatami in Athens asked which is more evil, "Iran, which is calling for dialogue among civilizations, or the US, which is planning nuclear attacks?" (Mina Baharmast)
Guardians Block Budget Bill Over Leader-run Institutions
* With the Majles and the Guardians Council at an impasse over the lack of line items for institutions under the direct supervision of the Leader the budget bill for the Persian year beginning March 20, 2002 was again referred to the Expediency Council, headed by former President Rafsanjani. (Siavash Ardalan)
Majles Ends Labor Law Protection for Carpet Weavers
* Hasan Sadeqi, head of the union of Islamic workers associations, tells RFE/RL that by exempting carpet weavers from the protection of the labor law the Majles is supporting unregulated capitalism. He likens the action to that of the previous, conservative Majles, which exempted employees of workshops with fewer than five workers. But since the post-revolutionary labor law, among the toughest in the world, actually stifles production, it does not necessarily help welfare and social security, Tehran-based economist Habib Chini tells RFE/RL. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Regional Steel Mills to Dump on Iran
* In the aftermath of new US tariffs on steel, regional producers are poised to dump their steel on Iran, now the largest importer of steel in the Third World. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
Desert Deer on Verge of Extinction
* A rare species of desert deer in Fars province has been nearly wiped out by hunters with Jeeps and motorbikes, warns environmental expert Esmail Kahrom in an interview with RFE/RL. (Mina Baharmast)
UNSG Defends Iran
* At a press conference, Kofi Annan said there is no proof linking Iran to intrigue in Afghanistan and the development of weapons of mass destruction. (Jamshid Zand)
Human Rights Watch Reports on Abuses in Iran
* The latest Human Rights Watch report details newspapers closures, arrests of students and political activists, and the prosecution of human rights activists in Iran, says Paris-based human rights activist Abdolkarim Lahiji in an interview with RFE/RL.
Iran Weekly Review
* RFE/RL's contributor from Tehran this week writes about MP's protesting the bugging of their cell phones, the row over minimum wage, the high price and low quality of Iranian-made cars, and a row over an article in an official daily critical of religious mourning rituals.
Factory ready to throw in the towel?
* One of Iran's oldest textile factories is on the verge of bankruptcy, according to Mohammad Barq-e Lameh, a member of the founding family of Barq-e Lameh Towels of Tabriz. The company's 250 workers have not been paid in the past three months, he tells RFE/RL, adding that two revolutionary institutions, the Foundation for the Dispossessed and War Veterans (Bonyad-e Mostazefan va Janbazan) and the National Industries Organization, mismanaged the factory after it was confiscated from the family in 1979. Factory management was replaced 25 times in 23 years and output had decreased from 2,000 kilograms per day to 800 kilograms by the time the confiscated shares were sold to the original owners. Before the revolution, Barq-e-Lameh sold towels in Europe and the US and was a supplier to the Soviet Union's armed forces, he adds. Now because of the recession in Iran, the factory cannot find buyers for its towels. (Jamshid Zand)
Plentiful Bank Notes but Less Buying Power
* Unlike past years, there is no shortage of new notes for those who line up at bank branches to withdraw funds for holiday shopping and traditional New Year's cash gifts, says Tehran-based journalist Fariborz Bayat. However, Bayat tells RFE/RL that persistent inflation means people have less buying power this year. (Shireen Famili)
* US envoy Zinni returns to the Middle East. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Review Arab and Israeli press on Middle East conflict. (Mehdi Khalaji)
* Italian photographer killed by Israeli soldiers in Ramallah. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* As Karzai visits Germany, Canadians lead hunt in eastern Afghanistan for al-Qaida and Taliban elements. (Shireen Famili)
* Karzai meets Putin and Duma speaker. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
* Robert Mugabe wins Zimbabwe election. (Shahran Tabari, London)
* UN Human Rights Commission meets in Geneva, but for the first time in 56 years the US is not present. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
ARTS & IDEAS
Los Angeles Report
* In a special show, RFE/RL's Los Angeles correspondent interviews human rights lawyer and activist Mehrangiz Kar about the abduction and trial of her husband, journalist Siamak Pourzand, 71, in Tehran. Ms. Kar says a report in the official daily "Iran" about her husband's trial made her break her silence over the case. She says Pourzand's trial is the revenge of the conservative faction for his pro-reform activities and his passionate interviews with foreign radios, including RFE/RL. She adds that "confessions" attributed to her husband were made over four months of solitary confinement and psychological pressure. (Fahimeh Barati, Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
Weekly Soccer Show
* Mehrdad Masudi reviews soccer news of the week, answers listeners' questions and announces the names of weekly soccer quiz winners.
سناتور جوزف بايدن، رييس كميسيون روابط خارجي سناي آمريكا در جلسه نوروزي شوراي ايراني آمريكايي American-Iranian Council كه در واشنگتن برگزار شده بود، اظهارداشت آماده است با نمايندگان جمهوري اسلامي ايران ديدار كند و آنها را به واشنگتن دعوت مي كند. بايدن بهبود روابط با ايران را به سود آمريكا دانست. جوزف بايدن گفت: "ما با مردم ايران در شوق به وجود آمدن يك دولت و يك جامعه دمكراتيك همداستان هستيم. ايران جمعيتي جوان دارد و اين جوانان و والدين آنها از انزواي ايران نگران شده اند و خسته هستند و مي خواهند ايران جايگاه بر حق خود را در جامعه بين المللي بدست آورد و با جهاني كه به سرعت دگرگون مي شود همراه شود. آنها خواهان همان نوع آزادي هاي سياسي و اجتماعي هستند كه ديگران از آنها برخوردارند و حق دارند آرمان هاي آنها برآورده شود." سناتور بايدن در بخش ديگري از سخنان خود گفت بخشي از دولت جمهوري اسلامي مي خواهد با ما مذاكره كند اما بخش ديگر ما را زورگو قلمداد مي كند. بايدن گفت: براي كمك به دستيابي مردم ايران به آرمان هاي خود، دولت آمريكا مي تواند كمك مالي موسسات غيردولتي آمريكايي را به فعاليت در جهت دمكراسي و حقوق بشر در ايران آزاد كند. در مورد الحاق ايران به سازمان تجارت جهاني، آوارگان و مواد مخدر به ايران كمك كند و مبادلات مردمي با ايران را تشويق كند.