Reaching Millions of Television Viewers in Iran Each Week
Washington, D.C. – November 5, 2007 . . . Major stories this week included a state of emergency in Pakistan; talks in Ankara between Turkish leaders and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on tensions between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq; a second Iraq Neighbors Conference, this time in Istanbul, and overshadowed by Turkey’s problems with PKK rebels along the border with Iraq; exclusive interviews in Istanbul with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari; a renewed crackdown by Iranian authorities on satellite dish owners in Tehran; the 28th anniversary of the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran; Iran’s foreign and domestic policies paralyzing the country’s economy despite record oil revenue; an interview with Representative John Tierney (D-MA); a National Security Subcommittee hearing on Iran; President Bush urging Congress to renew the Protect America Act; the Iranian government’s ongoing crackdown against student activists; Iran’s Foreign Minister visits Baghdad; an interview with Pentagon advisor Gen. Jack Keane (Retired, US Army) on the IRGC; the poor treatment of Azerbaijani political prisoners; and the emergence of Iran as a key topic for debate among Democratic presidential candidates in the US.
Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, a 1999 coup leader and US ally who had promised to relinquish his army post and become a civilian president this year, declared a state of emergency Saturday night, dashing hopes of a smooth transition to democracy for the nuclear-armed nation. PNN reported on the political crisis in Pakistan from Islamabad and Istanbul, saying dissolution of the constitution could further inflame the country’s Islamic radicals –bringing them, perhaps, a step closer to their goal of having access to Pakistan’s atomic bombs. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who recently returned to Pakistan to seek her old job said, “Instead of moving toward democracy, we’re moving toward greater dictatorship.” Speaking from Jerusalem, Secretary of State of Rice said the United States had no forewarning of Gen. Musharraf’s highly regrettable actions and hoped there was a prompt return to democracy in Pakistan. News and Views reported that police arrested hundreds of opposition leaders and rights activists November 4 following suspension of the constitution and deployment of troops to fight what Gen. Musharraf called “rising Islamic extremism.” PNN quoted Secretary Rice as saying the US would be reviewing its assistance to Pakistan in light of these anti-democratic developments, but cautioned that the US was not going to undermine ongoing counterterrorism programs. Secretary Rice was in Jerusalem to meet with Israeli officials and Palestinian leaders from Fatah, Hamas’s rival faction, to discuss a planned peace conference later this year.
News and Views anchor Setareh Derakshesh and State Department correspondent Ali Farhoodi anchored the show live from Istanbul November 1-November 4, obtaining exclusive interviews with French Foreign Minster Bernard Kouchner and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Both were in town for the Iraqi Neighbors Conference, held at the Çırağan Palace Kempinski, an Ottoman palace restored into a luxury hotel along the shores of the Bosphorus. Mr. Zebari said his government is pleased with Iran’s cooperation in stabilizing Iraq. He characterized the conference as successful and said a follow-up meeting would be taking place in Kuwait. Mr. Zebari also said Iraq was keen to cooperate with Turkey in stopping PKK militants. Mr. Kouchner said that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany are waiting for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report due out in the coming weeks before proceeding with further action against Tehran. The Istanbul meeting brought together the foreign ministers of Iraq’s neighbors, the 5 +1 countries, and the Group of Eight nations. Iraq’s neighbors, among other things, have promised to stop foreign militants from joining Iraq’s insurgency, a pledge the United States says has not been met. . The conference, the second of its kind after a first gathering in Egypt in May, was intended to boost global support for efforts to end the daily bloodshed in Iraq and to address its stability and security challenges. News and Views reported that Iraqi refugees and oil exports were also on the conference’s agenda.
Roundtable with You November 3 focused on the outcome of the Iraq Neighbors Conference with Ali Javanmardi, PNN’s Ankara-based correspondent, and with Arif Keskin of the Center for Strategic Research of Euro-Asia, a Turkish think-thank. Mr. Javanmardi said the Iraqi and Turkish foreign ministers held a joint news conference in which they vowed to cooperate in the fight against terror. Turkey has demanded the US put pressure on Iraq to route the PKK from the border – or send US troops to do the job. Mr. Javanmardi said the Kurds’ fledgling self-rule government in northern Iraq is incapable of sending forces to the rugged border between Turkey and Iraq to dislodge the PKK fighters. He also reported that, “Iran really wanted to play a key role in defusing the PKK-Turkish crisis, but Turkish officials think Washington’s role is more pivotal in this situation, and therefore rebuffed Iran’s attempts to mediate.” Mr. Keskin said the PKK guerrillas and their attacks against Turkish positions dominated the conference that was supposed to have focused exclusively on stabilizing Iraq. He said Turkey wants to be a power player in the region and is deeply alarmed at the possibility of a disintegrated Iraq. “Turkey does not wish to see an independent Kurdish state to its south,” Mr. Keskin said. “Turkey’s position is that if Tehran gets in the middle of this, it would complicate the situation and might cause a schism between Washington and Ankara. The Iranians are not at all pleased about what might come out of the Erdogan-Bush meeting on Monday. They would like to see their role as central, not marginal.”
News and Views reported that skirmishes along the Iraqi-Turkish border – the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has been staging cross border hit-and-run attacks into Turkey from its bases in northern Iraq – and the looming possibility of significant Turkish military action overshadowed the Istanbul meeting. The rebels hope to create an autonomous Kurdish state in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. Before traveling to Istanbul, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stopped in Ankara to meet with her Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan, in a bid to assure Turkey the United States considers the PKK rebels a common enemy. Mr. Babacan said Turkey wants the US to start taking action to help end cross-border attacks from inside Iraq. Ms. Rice also held emergency meetings with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul. Prime Minister Erdogan will continue those discussions with President Bush in Washington today. Mr. Babacan says these talks will be decisive in determining whether Turkey launches attacks into Iraq against the PKK. He said talks with Iraqi government representatives have been unproductive. “Good will is not enough on its own,” Mr. Babacan said. Turkey has amassed 100,000 troops along the northern border in response to PKK attacks that have claimed the lives of dozens of Turkish soldiers. Correspondent Ali Farhoodi reported that President Bush’s special envoy to deal with the PKK, retired Air Force General Joseph Ralston, stepped down several weeks ago over frustration with the US administration’s failure to act against the Kurdish rebels. General Ralston said Turkey may feel it has no choice but to attack the rebels. News and Views talked with Turkish citizens in Istanbul, all of whom attach a great deal of significance to the Bush-Erdogan talks. “Everyone we have spoken to says the PKK-Turkey issue will be dealt with one way or the other during the meeting.”
PNN’s reporters in Istanbul spoke with Iraqi government spokesman Ali Dabbagh November 3. He said it is not necessary for Iran to play a mediating role to ease tension between Iraq and its northern neighbor. He also said violence in Iraq is receding, overall, and credited that to a plea made by Iraq’s prime minister. While visiting Tehran Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged to work with his country’s neighbors to fight terrorism. “We place great importance on our relations with our brother, Turkey.” Mr. al-Maliki said. “We have made a definite decision to close down the offices of the PKK in Iraq. We are taking strong measures.”
Economist Jamshid Assadi, a professor of business and economy at the American University of Paris told Roundtable with You that oil has generated more than $126 billion for Iran’s coffers in the past two years. This amount, he said, is equal to all of Iran’s oil revenues from 1906-1976. With oil now priced at $96 per barrel, revenue will be growing even higher. But Mr. Assadi said the beneficiary of this revenue is not the average Iranian family; instead it is Latin American revolutionaries, Hezbollah, Jihad Islami and Hamas. Contrary to the Washington Post article of October 29 which said Iran is likely to be able to withstand new US sanctions, Mr. Assadi said the economic policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his irresponsible remarks have brought the country to the verge of war and an economic disaster unparalleled in Iran’s history. Mr. Assadi said the importation of sugar from Cuba and cheap shoes from China has decimated Iran’s shoe and sugar industries, causing tens of thousands of workers to be laid off and now unemployed with no protections. Combined with the sanctions – which are impacting industries such as the airline industry, which continues to suffer from a lack of spare parts – Mr. Assadi said Iran will be importing oil less than a decade.
Hassan Mansour, an economics professor at London’s Schiller International University, told News and Views October 30 that additional US sanctions will hurt. “The Iranian government should understand the gravity of the situation and comply with the demands of the UN Security Council,” Mr. Mansour said. “It’s clear that neither side is looking for war to resolve the stand-off. Anything that causes sanctions to have less teeth will make the war scenario more probable.” Mr. Mansour was critical of the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad El-Baradei, for pursuing a separate track of diplomacy with Iran. “IAEA’s role should be about inspections – not cutting separate deals with Tehran. This is clearly beyond its purview.”
In an exclusive interview with PNN, Congressman John Tierney (D-MA), chairman of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee, said the Bush administration should have direct, comprehensive and unconditional talks with Iran. “Offending Russia at the exact time you’re asking for Russia’s cooperation and help with Iran doesn’t make sense. Setting preconditions for talks with Iran is not an invitation to come and deal with this seriously. We have to be willing to sit down directly with people in Iran and start a conversation. We should get behind Secretary Rice. I think it is good that the administration is finally showing high-level interest and sending over high-level officials to get engaged on these issues.” Congressman Tierney also said President Bush should consult Congress before taking any unilateral action against Iran: “We made that mistake in Iraq, in not being firm enough on that.” He acknowledged that there are certainly elements within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who should be singled out, but said he wished the US had not used such a broad brush to say all 125,000 members are [terrorists] when “we may be relying on [those same people] later and hoping they might have a little more moderate view.”
News and Views covered an October 30 hearing held by Congressman Tierney’s National Security Subcommittee on “Iran: Reality, Options and Consequences.” “The reality,” Mr. Tierney said, “is that very few people in Washington understand Iran….Outside of a few people-to-people exchanges and limited opportunities for travel by academics, journalists and Iranian-Americans, there has been little direct contact with Iran. So before we start speculating about the prospects for diplomacy or regime change, or the consequences of a US military attack, let’s take a step back and try to understand who the Iranians really are. This fundamental, common sense approach, unfortunately, was largely missing in the public dialogue leading up to the Iraq war. It will not be missing this time.” Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) said, “This administration must understand that, even though Iran is a rogue state, it is still a country with enormous influence in the Middle East, which we have to deal with one way or another. It is time for us to start talking with Iran – diplomat to diplomat, politician to politician, and person to person.” Kenneth Balen, president of a group called Terror Free Tomorrow, told the subcommittee that 79% of the people his organization polled in Iran said they wanted free elections and normal relations with the outside, with 70% supporting relations with the United States. Karim Sadjadpour, an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the subcommittee, “There still exists strong empirical and anecdotal evidence to support the argument that a majority of Iranians would welcome a normalization of relations with Washington, but the United States has lost considerable political capital on the Iranian street in the aftermath of the Iraq war.”
News and Views reported on Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s news conference in Baghdad October 31. After meeting with his Iraq counterpart, Mr. Mottaki said Iran is willing to hold another round of talk with the United States on the situation in Iraq. But he stressed that Iran expects Iraq to secure the release of five Iranian diplomats detained by US forces in Irbil last January for alleged illegal activities. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino had a quick response: Iran knows what it can do immediately – stop sending foreign fighters into Iraq and attacking US troops and innocent Iraqis.
News and Views interviewed General Jack Keane, a retired four-star general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army. General Keane, who recently returned from Iraq, said that the “troop surge” strategy is working and that security conditions in many provinces have improved. General Keane spoke at length about the involvement of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iraq and the IRGC’s support for terrorists. “The Islamic regime must know that the United States will not tolerate its hegemonic intentions in the region. Our policy is also focused on human rights conditions in other countries. They have to stop the abuse of the Iranian people and aiding terrorism or face the consequences.”
News and Views reported on President Bush’s speech November 1 before the Heritage Foundation in which he pressed Congress to take steps he said are needed to defend the United States from terrorism. Mr. Bush said he wants Congress to pass legislation that will give his government the tools it needs to protect the country from terrorists who, he said, “intend to strike us again.” He urged Congress to renew the Protect America Act, which expires soon. He said that legislation will allow the US to continue monitoring the communications of terrorists overseas. “The terrorists who struck America that September morning intend to strike us again. We know this, because the enemy has told us so,” the president said. “The only way to defeat the terrorists is to advance freedom as the great alternative to radicalism and repression.”
For the first time, an Arab country in the Persian Gulf has openly accused Iran of lying about its controversial nuclear program. PNN’s Ankara-based correspondent Ali Javanmardi appeared on News and Views in Istanbul November 2 to report on Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. Sheikh Salman, who also is head of Bahrain’s Defense Force, said Iran is developing atomic weapons or the capability to do so. The program also reported on Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who met in London with diplomats from the other four permanent Security Council members and Germany to rally support for a tougher track with Iran. Britain and France support new sanctions. Russia and China remain skeptical, and Mr. Burns has urged them to support harsher UN sanctions, saying the two nations are key to a diplomatic solution to the stand-off. Meanwhile, Arab states in the Gulf have come up with a compromise aimed at defusing the crisis between Iran and the West. The plan would be to build a uranium enrichment plant in a neutral country to supply the region’s states, including Iran, with reactor fuel for nuclear energy programs.
News and Views reported that Israel was lobbying China to support tougher sanctions against Tehran. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, speaking at a university in Beijing October 30, said China could play a crucial role in defusing the Iranian nuclear dispute because of its key role in the UN Security Council. “We don’t have time,” she said, “because the crucial point in time is the time in which Iran masters the technology. What is needed is to take action – economic sanctions are effective and this is our expectation from the entire international community.”
Viewer e-mails indicate that Iranian authorities are renewing their crackdown on owners of satellite dishes to stop citizens from watching PNN programs. One sample: “I have to inform you that this morning the so-called police rushed to our apartment and took possession of all our receivers and LMBs. VOA is one of the best resources of news and views. Now the only resource for us is the Internet and the e-mails you send us. And now I’m afraid the Internet will be cut off! Please tell people about this censorship and strangulation.”
November 4 marked the 28th anniversary of the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran. Fifty-two Embassy employees were held captive there for 444 days, ending as Ronald Reagan took the oath of office as the 40th president of the United States, replacing Jimmy Carter, during whose administration the crisis began. PNN prepared a two-part package airing November 4 and 5, with footage of the events which began the dissolution of bilateral relations between the US and Iran for nearly three decades.
News and Views talked with energy specialist Hossein Ebn Yousef November 2 about oil price increases. Mr. Yousef said tensions in the Middle East, climate change and the decreased value of the dollar are responsible for the increased prices. He said OPEC was able to increase production during the last two decades, which helped keep prices in check, but its capability of keeping up at such a level is gone.
Roundtable with You November 2 focused on animal rights in Iran with Bernard Unti, a senior policy adviser and special assistant to the president of the Humane Society of the United States. Last month, Iranian police cracked down on pet owners, saying dogs are unclean, and created a dog prison in Tehran. Mr. Unti said he is delighted to hear of “the removal of certain difficulties imposed by authorities on animals in Iran.” He thanked PNN’s audience for all of the e-mails he received since last month. Historically, he said, Iranians have always protected animals.
From Iran, Roundtable with You featured student leaders from Amir Kabir University and Shiraz University while a former student leader appeared in studio in Washington. Two-hundred and fifty student leaders recently sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon complaining about the regular violation of their human rights by Iranian authorities. Dozens of university students and their teachers have been imprisoned for their activism over the past year. Rashid Esmaili, from Tehran’s Amir Kabir University said five of his fellow students who were just released from prison were not allowed to return to the university out of fear their presence alone would expose their treatment while in captivity. Mr. Esmaili said another 50 students – all activists – have been told to present themselves for questioning by security forces for organizing student protests against President Ahmadinejad. From Shiraz, Ali Tavakoli said the Islamic regime tries to create international crises to distract people’s attention away from domestic persecution and “hide the unpleasant realities of three decades of total failure by the government.” From Washington, Akbar Atri, who was imprisoned in Iran for his activities as a student leader, said university presidents are no longer being elected by the faculties, but are being appointed by government hardliners. “They no longer have higher academic degrees. They just call themselves Doctor.”
VOA political correspondent Jim Malone talked with News and Views about the presidential campaign in the US and how Iran is becoming a central issue in all of the Democratic candidate debates. The candidates held their most recent debate October 30, and Iran was a dominant issue when the topic reverted to foreign policy. Mr. Malone said Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is the only major Democratic candidate to take a hardline position on Iran, adding that this has given her opponents an opportunity to challenge her foreign policy views and credentials. “Other Democratic presidential candidates are advocating a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear crisis and are anxious to set themselves apart from their Republican counterparts, who like Hillary Clinton, are also taking a tough line on Iran.” Mr. Malone said there is a much greater consensus among Republican presidential candidates on Iran. “Their tone is very different. They may disagree with President Bush on the handling of the Iraq war, but generally see eye to eye with him on responding to serious threats to US security in the post 9/11 era.”
Today’s Woman interviewed Fariba Davodi Mohajer, an Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist who received the 2007 annual Human Rights Award from the New York-based human rights group, Human Rights First. Tried in absentia, Ms. Mohajer was sentenced to prison earlier this year for her role in organizing a 2006 peaceful protest demanding equal rights for women as part of the “One Million Signatures” campaign, which demands an end to discriminatory laws against women. She was convicted of violating national security laws and received a four year sentence, but allowed to leave the country. Now living in Washington, DC, she continues to work tirelessly to raise awareness of the laws that treat women like second-class citizens in Iran. She said she hopes to return to Iran in the coming months even though she will face imprisonment. “Both men and women support our campaign for women’s rights,” she told PNN. “We have to create equality among men and women as we move toward a more modern society.”
Psychologist Laila Hashemi talked about domestic violence on Today’s Woman November 1, focusing on violence against women and against children – verbal abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse. Responding to an earlier Today’s Woman program on domestic violence, one viewer wrote, “Thank you so much for talking about violence and women’s rights. When I was in Iran, I had so little understanding of human rights, women’s rights or what could be considered a violation of my rights. Had I known, I could have avoided or stopped it, or at least known it wasn’t my fault. It is crucial to review these rights for women in Iran. Thanks for doing so.” Another Today’s Woman viewer wrote from Dubai with a recommendation on program delivery. “I propose broadcasting the program on the Nilesat satellite,” she wrote. The Nilesat 101 satellite delivers more than 100 digital TV channels as well as radio and multimedia services to more than five million homes in the Middle East.
Fakhteh Zamani is a member of the Azerbaijani minority in Iran, and runs ADAPP – the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran – in Canada, where she currently lives. Ms. Zamani told News and Views November 1 that dozens of Azerbaijani prisoners have been jailed without being charged and have been denied the right to have a lawyer or visiting family members in a new wave of arrests in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. Security forces arrested an Azerbaijani professor at Tabriz University on October 27. A professor of political science and advisor to a student activist group, Mohammad Ali Heydari was the second Azerbaijani professor in a month to be arrested. Ms. Zamani said his whereabouts are unknown and the charges against him are unclear. She said on October 31, security forces arrested a reporter in Azerbaijan, Yacoub Salekinia, and that charges against him and his whereabouts are also unknown. Ms. Zamani said the family members of imprisoned activists have been told not to disclose any information about their loved ones to reporters or human rights organizations.
News and Views reported on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Tehran October 30. Russian news agencies quoted Mr. Lavrov as saying unilateral sanctions against Iran are “not helpful” in efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. He said unilateral sanctions don’t help the “continued collective effort” to solve the problem. Mr. Lavrov, who met with President Ahmadinejad in Tehran Tuesday, was referring to recently announced US measures to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear program.
NewsTalk panelists discussed the impact of US sanctions on Iran (they seem to be working); compared Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs and efforts to close them down (Iran is a threat to the world, they said, while North Korea is not); Iran’s economic relationship with Europe (sanctions hurt Iran’s economy much more than Europe’s – Europe and the US have stronger economic and defense relationships); the position of the IAEA and its chief, Mohamed El-Baradei (Mr. El-Baradei’s upcoming report on Iranian compliance or non-compliance won’t satisfy the US because Iran has not fully responded to all IAEA questions); talk of an impending war with Iran (so far it’s just talk, Iran should stop its provocations); PKK rebels’ cross border attacks into Turkey (the PKK wants an independent Kurdistan, and this is a problem not only for Turkey, but also for Iran, Syria and Iraq); the US is trying to use the EU as leverage to keep Turkey out of Iraq (Turkey wants in, France isn’t too keen on its joining); the 5+1 conference in London (Iran has to be stopped to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East); and on the designation of the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group (the group’s main duty is to protect the regime, not the country).
PNN’s State Department correspondent reported on the October 31 announcement that Undersecretary of Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes is resigning, effective at the end of the year.
Nancy Brinker, former ambassador to Hungary and founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Her Majesty Farah Pahlavi were honored at a fundraiser for the Sibley Cancer Center in Washington, DC on November 3. Today’s Woman interviewed Queen Farah, event organizer Annie Totah, Ambassador Brinker, who was honored for her outstanding achievements in the field of breast cancer research and cure, and Sibley Hospital President and CEO Robert Sloan. The Celebrate of Hope and Progress gala raises more than $1 million dollars annually for Sibley’s Cancer Center, with organizers raising both money and awareness for a cause that affects so many. Today’s Woman focused on breast cancer on October 30 with Dr. Mir Hussein Ganjbaksh, an NIH oncologist, who talked about early awareness and treatment options
Our question of the week was, “Do you think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is the cause all these recent economic sanctions imposed against Iran?” As of November 2, 6,473 people had responded. 72% said yes, 27% said no and 2% had no opinion.
This week’s “On the Record” – Persian News Network’s once-a-week program featuring executive editor Kambiz Mahmoudi as ombudsman – answered three e-mail queries from viewers in Iran. “Who is the ultimate decision maker in PNN?” asked one viewer. “No single person makes the decisions,” Mr. Mahmoudi said. “Managing editors, in adherence to VOA’s charter, make whatever decisions are needed, in consultation with their colleagues. If needed, the managing editor might contact management or vice versa.” “Why was News and Views expanded to two hours?” another viewer asked. “The expanded program allows us to include more news items, more sports items and permits us to replay major stories in the second hour that some viewers might have missed in the first hour.” And to another viewer’s question of “Why do you have special program for women?” Mr. Mahmoudi said, “Our newest show, Today’s Woman, gives viewers the opportunity to chat and express their opinions freely. Men traditionally rule in this part of the world, and women have fought and are still fighting for their rights. Women, particularly those in Iran, deserve a special program.”
PNN profiled the city of Chicago in its programming this week, looking at exhibits on crime scene investigation, genetics and architectural challenges in the future at the Museum of Science and Industry; taking a tour of Millennium Park; visiting the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago and its exhibits of ancient tablets from Persepolis and artifacts from the ancient Iranian city of Rayy. One of the interviews PNN conducted was with Abbas Alizadeh, a Senior Research Associate with the Institute’s Iranian Prehistoric Project. Mr. Alizadeh regularly visits Iran and works with archeology students, introducing them to the latest methods used in the field.
This week’s History Channel segments included a profile of tennis champion Andre Agassi, looking at his extraordinary career on the court, but also showing his compassion and charitable spirit off the court; a profile of Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier, who has inspired generations of African-Americans for his breaking down of racial barriers in film; a two-part profile of Abraham Lincoln, the man often called America’s greatest president, and how his personal experiences intertwined with the most influential political career in US history; and a profile of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and his personal and public struggle with an issue that would come to define part of our history – slavery.
The Persian News Network’s television programming complements our simulcast radio broadcasts and Radio Farda, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, youth-oriented radio program that is a joint project of VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs are also streamed on our website, www.voapnn.com.
PNN’s 7-hour program block opens with Today in Washington, a brief look at the latest news developments in Washington, as well as the content of PNN’s upcoming programs. Then we present cultural programming translated into Farsi from A&E Television Network’s The History Channel. We intersperse 30-minutes of news breaks throughout our original programming, which includes the following shows: Today’s Woman, PNN’s newest program, had its debut September 27, 2007. The one-hour program features influential women from around the world discussing a full spectrum of topics, including social, medical, human rights, legal, sports and business. News and Views, PNN’s existing flagship, is now 2 hours in length, and features live news coverage of the latest headlines from Washington, Iran and across the globe. Roundtable with You is a talk show with expert guests, featuring discussion of current events, politics, popular culture and global health. Viewers and listeners from Iran and around the world participate in the show via phone calls and e-mails.
Late Edition begins with a wrap up of the day’s news and a close look at the day’s top story. Targeted to a younger demographic, the show also features segments on health, technology, sports, entertainment and culture. NewsTalk is a new journalists’ roundtable discussion program that features a news update followed by an examination of the day’s top stories and an in-depth look at issues relating to Iran.