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Persian tv weekly highlights 9/1


Reaching Millions of Television Viewers in Iran Each Week

Washington, D.C. –September 2, 2008… Major stories this week included live coverage from the Democratic National Convention in Denver, an interview with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and breaking news coverage of McCain’s selection of Alaska’s Governor Sara Palin as his running mate.


LIVE COVERAGE FROM DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

News and Views, Aug. 25-28, PNN broadcast live on set from the Democratic National Conventions in Denver for a significant portion of each day and in every PNN show. Anchor Setareh Derakhshesh and correspondents Guita Mirsaeedi and Siamak Deghanpour reported from both the Pepsi Center in Denver and from nearby Invesco field where Senator Obama gave his speech on Thursday night (8/28). The PNN team also interviewed a large number of high profile political leaders and party officials, and also provided impressive highlights and a clear sense of the mood on the floor among the delegates and attendees to the convention.

News and Views, Aug. 25-28, PNN aired a number of centrally produced pieces on the conventions including a history of Denver, and profiles of Michelle Obama, and Democratic Vice Presidential pick Senator Joseph Biden.

News and Views, Aug. 25-28, PNN reporters roamed the convention floor and gathered a number of high profile interviews with some of the leading figures in the Democratic Party and one high
profile Republican.

Highlights included:

• A one-on-one interview with former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who suggested that heading into the convention the Democratic Party was less than unified, and questions Senator Obama’s experience. “I think the reason he's [Obama] slipping in the polls is people are facing more and more his lack of experience. After all,” he said, ”it was Joe Biden who said Barack Obama is not prepared to be president. He selected a running mate who announced on national television that he's not prepared to be president. Senator Hillary Clinton has said the same thing and the American people are coming to the same conclusion…”

• Florida Democrat Senator Bill Nelson called Giuliani’s comments ‘expected’ rhetoric from the Republican Party, and U.S. House Charles Rangel guaranteed the party will be united in November, thanks in part to Senator Hillary Clinton’s rousing Tuesday night speech, where she told her supporters that Barack Obama will represent her issues, and that her supporters should line up behind him.

• Continuing on Senator Clinton’s theme Alabama Congressman Artur Davis told PNN “If you voted for Hillary Clinton, you voted for a candidate who promised to be in the trenches fighting for ordinary people. If you voted for Hillary Clinton, you voted for a candidate who promised to make America a more equal and a better place. Barack Obama's now your candidate.” Representative Davis also spoke about the historic nature of the Obama candidacy saying “"Obviously this week is about change and our country which has struggled with race and racial exclusion for so long is closing an important chapter when Barack Obama stands on that stage... So it's something that will move people all around the world and will move people understand America's history... We still have all kinds of lingering inequalities in the United States. We still have all kinds of outright discrimination in the United States. That Barack Obama can win in spite of that says something about the country's capacity to overcome those inequalities doesn't mean we've overcome them. It says something about our capacity to overcome them."

• New Jersey Governor and former Senator Jon Corzine told PNN the party is more unified than is being reported, saying “I think that tensions are being promoted by our political opponents… I see polls in the battle ground states where he's [Obama] actually widening some of his margins…”

• PNN also interviewed a former Clinton Supporter Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. “I was originally a Hillary supporter” she said, “ now I'm very strong in supporting Barack. People are coming together because it's about the issues. It's about the future of the country.”

• Georgia Congressman John Lewis a leading civil rights leader spoke about the historic nature of an Obama candidacy and presidency saying, “"It is unreal, it is unbelievable but it happened... It is a major step in a long road toward making America a perfect Union... It wouldn't be end of racial discrimination but it would help us move further to end segregation and to end racial discrimination."

• Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich also spoke about the Obama candidacy and Obama’s chances of being the first African American President telling PNN "People accuse me of being overly optimistic and always seeing the glass as half full. But I refuse to believe that in America in the 21st century, that that's going to prevent someone as qualified as Barack Obama from being president. I simply don't accept that. I simply don't believe that. He's going to give a speech on Thursday night before tens of thousands of people, 45 years to the day that Dr. King gave his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

• Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich also spoke to PNN about race as a factor in the November elections saying "In November we're going to unite. Every campaign has an ebb and flow. It's not something that doesn't happen in every campaign. There's ups and downs. The whole question's going to be who's winning in November. No, not at all. If that was true (race as a barrier) he wouldn't win the primary. He won."

• California Congresswoman Dianne Watson said it is Democrats who will win or lose the general election in November. The Democrats goals she said are "To go around to the battleground states and take 'em. I think he'll get a bump out of this convention. Yeah. We got to win now. It's ours to lose. He has the ability to turn people's hearts and heads around. It's a movement.... It's a movement... We got to pick up the undecideds."

• New York Congressman Daniel Payne echoed those sentiments saying the democrats need to get their message out. "I think that he just needs to get out to America. Get his message out. His message is clear. It's for the average American and the failed policies of the Bush administration over the past eight years are disastrous so I just think we have to articulate it. We all have to get out. We all have to make sure that people understand just what he stands for and where he wants to take America."

The team in Denver also secured a number of interviews dealing specifically with foreign policy
and how an Obama presidency would likely affect the face of U.S. international affairs.

• Former Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe said a Barack Obama Administration would usher in a new style regarding Iran. “We've got about 70 days to the elections.” He said, “I don't think much is going to happen until the election is over. We will have a change in the administration. Joe Biden knows national security more than anybody in our country. We will have a new foreign policy and we will talk to Iran.”

• Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick echoed those sentiments telling PNN Within the Obama administration there is an attempt to engage positively with our enemies and friends all around the world. It will be a positive force for the US and the world.

• DCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said it is possible to frame discussions with Iran in a positive way, telling PNN, Where we think we can advance our national security interests by some kind of dialogue, and again, I want to stress, not at the head of state level, but begin to build the opportunity for discussion. It should be explored. After all, in the case of Iran we also had these early discussions that we focused on Iraq; how are we going to deal with Iraq. So, it’s possible to frame these discussions in a way that advances our national security interests.”

• Bobby Kennedy Jr. who was a solid Hillary Clinton supporter during the Democratic campaign quoted his father saying: Of course, we should negotiate with Iran. He went on to quote his uncle John F. Kennedy’s famous line, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

• Michael Dukakis former Massachusetts Governor and Democratic Presidential Candidate in 1988 also said an Obama Administration would talk to Iran. He said, “We should engage Iran. There is no harm in this. We should move forward.”

• Congressman Jose Serrano from New York told PNN that under a Democratic White House, diplomacy might be the watchword. “I think we should talk. Talk to Iran, talk to Russia, talk to Chavez, talk to Cuba. Talk to everybody… I think if you look at the polls, the Iranian people like Americans. The American government doesn't get along with the Iranian government. You can't risk creating a problem where the people like you, because once you invade them, they're not going to like you anymore and we will have one more enemy.”

• New Jersey Congressman Steven Rothman put the ball firmly in the court of the Iranian people telling PNN in the end this is a decision for the Iranian people to make. If they wish to suffer the consequences of madness, of threats and efforts to destroy a sovereign nation, member of the United Nations, the state of Israel, or threaten the West with nuclear weapons or they wish to live in peace and prosperity and economic cooperation with the rest of the world.”

• Virginia Senator Jim Webb who gave his thoughts about the U.S. relationship with Iran saying “We should have the same approach to Iran as we did towards China in the early 70's: China was a nuclear power, a rogue state, they had a war at their frontiers (US/Vietnam), but we found a way to reach out to them, have a dialogue and bring them to the international community.”

• Ted Kaufman, Senator Joseph Biden’s former Chief of Staff and a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors spoke with PNN about Biden and his approach to Iran. He told PNN, “He would be for a much more aggressive multilateral approach towards Iran - Europe, the US and countries in the region. He is for dialogue under the current situation and, carrying on diplomacy. The people of Iran want this as much as we do. Their government may not want it. The people of Iran want their country to move forward and be a part of the international community. Leaders in Iran might unit them against us if we don't talk to them.”

• Kaufman also spoke about Biden’s vision for a tripartite division of Iraq saying, “He still supports this idea and we will have federalism. Biden is for a central government that takes control of the borders with separate regions -Shia, Sunni, Kurd.”

• Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey says the U.S. needs to be strong but open to diplomacy. "What we need to do is to leave every option on the table but that doesn't mean working through those options quickly. We have to have a fully engaged diplomacy but we have to be very tough on Iran and use the U.N. Security Council effectively to keep that pressure on. And if all fails... if all else fails, you can't take any option off the table but we're a long way, I think, from pouring through all those options. I think it can be solved if we're tough and resolute and to have a really focused and engaged diplomacy. They know we mean business when we use economic and other sanctions."

• Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka said the goal should be to avoid conflicts, "“I really believe that before we seriously consider... not working with another country, we need to use all diplomatic skills that we have to make things work between us and another nation. I feel that we should try to avoid any more conflicts for the next few years"

• Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer said diplomacy is the only option for either candidate, saying, "We are a country that don't have a history of attacking other countries unless we've been attacked first. I think that no matter who wins this election: John McCain or Barack Obama, they're going to choose diplomacy first."

• Michigan Senator Car Levin told PNN an Obama candidacy would engage the world in it’s attempt to stall Iran’s nuclear program. "We can't deal with Iran by ourselves. We need the support of the world to contain and to hopefully reverse Iran's move towards nuclear weapons. I think the best hope of doing it without a military solution is if the world is unified against Iran and the way to get the world unified is with an Obama presidency who when he travels around the world is so well received... I don't care if it's an Obama presidency or a McCain candidacy. We want the people of the world to once again to look at America positively."

• New Jersey Congressman Robert Andrews told PNN: "If there's an urgent national priority and diplomacy fails, I think, yeah you have to do something but I don't think diplomacy will fail. I think diplomacy will succeed in building an international coalition that will preclude the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. So I think that skilled diplomacy will produce the desired result."

• Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie said an Obama presidency would engage the American people as well as Iran telling PNN "The challenge now is to get an education to the nation as to what is really involved with Iran. Senator Obama will choose the diplomatic route. We've showed our fist to the world now for eight years. What has it accomplished? Nothing. It has torn the reputation of the United States down. It has caused more division, more warfare, more heartbreak, more terror than anything that we might have imagined when Bush came in. So now is the time for us to reach out to people to understand what they're all about, why they have the views that they do and to see how we can accommodate them. That is the secret of diplomacy that will be the great triumph of the Obama administration. They will reach out, people will respond and when that happens, we're going to see a more peaceful world emerge, a more understanding world. The Obama administration will engage in dialogue not in threats and violence."

• Michigan Congressman John Conyers said this election seems to have capture not only American’s but the world’s attention. He told PNN "Well right now the world is watching this presidential election more than any in the history, in recent history. And so it's absolutely critical that we make the right choice as American voters because all the world is watching and hoping that this November 4th election [illegible] and I think it will... He'll get more votes than anybody else."

• Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said an Obama win would be good for the U.S. internationally. He said "A president Obama means restoration of the US stance in the world. In order to win he needs to emphasize on healthcare crisis and economy."

News and Views, Aug. 25 - News and Views discussed the Role of Superdelagates at the Democratic Convention with VOA PNN political reporter Shayan Samii. He also discussed the importance of drawing pro-Clinton voters into the Obama camp. Samii also discussed the states which Democrats have to focus on, including Colorado, which has voted Republican in the past two elections.

On Friday, August 29 - PNN's Today's Woman broke into normal programming to report Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would join the GOP ticket as Senator John McCain's running mate. Today's Woman reported Palin was the second female Vice Presidential candidate to represent a major American political party, citing former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro's failed 1984 Democratic bid.

Today’s Woman, Aug. 28 - After an in-depth look at the Democratic National Convention in Denver Today’s Woman devoted its remaining time to the 2-year anniversary of the One-Million Signatures Campaign, the Iranian women’s human rights movement. A 5-minute package outlining a chronology of the campaign opened the segment. Outspoken women’s rights activist, Ms. Meihan Roosta, one of the original signatories of the campaign, who currently works with Iranian refugees in Germany, said she believes the campaign is a new way for Iranian women to demand an end to laws that have restricted their civil liberties. She said the campaign has drawn international attention to the plight of women in Iran. Los Angeles resident and fellow signatory, Dr. Nayereh Tohidi, speaking on the telephone, said the campaign must stress changes in Iranian law courts, such as the right of women to divorce and the banning of polygamy. Adding her voice in a pre-taped phone interview from Tehran, Iranian poet and rights activist Simin Behbahani, spoke about the goals yet to be accomplished by the campaign, saying Iranian women have a long way to travel to achieve equality and freedom.

MCCAIN VICE PRESIDENTIAL PICK

News and Views, Aug. 29 - News and Views showed viewers the flavor of a political campaign when they went live to Senator John McCain’s announcement of his vice-presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Governor Palin is the youngest and the first woman ever to be elected governor of Alaska.

PEACE VILLAGE

News and Views, Aug. 28 - PNN profiled a village in Israel where the seemingly impossible has been achieved. The story is about how 75 Israeli and Palestinian families live together, work together and try through dialogue to understand each other. They have American and European sponsors and organize seminars and work shops on peace and coexistence. It’s called the Peace Village and an Egyptian Jewish monk who believed in dialogue and spirituality established it in 1971.

IRAN’S ECONOMY AND INFLATION

NewsTalk, Aug. 26 - PNN spoke with Economist Fereydoun Khavand, and international affairs analyst Sohrab Sobhani, about the Iranian rate of inflation and spoke of recent comments by the Interior Minister Ali Kordan who suggested the government has ZERO influence in creating or manipulating the inflation rate. The guests also discussed recent statements by the Chairman of Iran's Central Bank has stated who has said that 50 billionaires are going to start a new bank with an estimated investment of $200 Billion. Continued shortages of gasoline and electricity are on the rise, and the government continues to blame the sanctions on Iran as the reason for continued difficulties.

IRAQ WAR

News and Views, Aug. 31- PNN’s stringer in Irbil interviewed the Prime Minister
of the Autonomous Kurdish Government in Iraq, Noshirvan Barzani. He said the Iraq constitution was not written comprehensively enough to solve all federation problems. He also said that Kurds want to have significant role in our destiny. He also said that as long the constitution is respected by the central government, Kurds want to remain as a part of Iraq.

IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM

News and Views, Aug. 31- PNN Interviewed Dr. Morteza Anvari Date about the
Iranian nuclear program. He said that currently there is less attention to IRI’s nuclear program due to Georgia/Russia war. He also said that while the U.S. and Russia are in the midst of a diplomatic freeze, Russia is with the West in not being interested in a nuclear Iran. He also said Iranian leaders think of the Russian/U.S. conflict as a diversion allowing them to continue its nuclear program.

HUMAN RIGHTS

NewsTalk, Aug. 25 - PNN contributor Elahe Hicks and Human Rights activist
Ahmad Batebi covered a number of human rights issues on NewsTalk beginning with Iranian Kurdish prisoners who have reportedly started a hunger strike to further protest the despicable treatment they are receiving at the prisons. Ms. Hicks also noted that Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi, a revered cleric in Iran who has been an avid supporter of the separation of church and state in Iran has been spending months in prison, in order to silence his perspective, and his voice; Majority of population in Iran has been turned off not just towards clerics in Iran, but also towards religion and its implications in the society; Human rights as well as women's rights are issues that Iranians are aware of, but sadly, cannot express their differences or their points of view.

Today’s Woman, Aug. 29- Today’s woman interviewed from Tehran, attorney Olia Fard who represents, Behnood Shojaee, one of the minors currently jailed and awaiting execution in Iran. his case is one of the most prominent in the Iranian press and human rights activists around the world are attempting to stay the execution. In addition, the program interviewed PNN human rights expert, contributor Elahe Hicks, live from New York and Iranian sociologist Dr. Mehrdad Darvishpour, a professor at Stockholm University. Ms. Hicks decried the dramatic rise in the execution of minors in Iran, four just as recently as this past Wednesday. She talked about human rights organizations' various statements urging the Iranian judiciary to stop executing minors. Dr. Darvishpour talked about the sociological effects of executions on a population and how it leads to a more violent society.

48 hours, Aug. 31- NY lawyer and Harvard Law grad Kaveh Shahrooz appeared on 48 Hours on Saturday to discuss the twentieth anniversary of the 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners. At the outset, he said that in scale and brutality, the 1988 massacre is unparalleled in contemporary Iranian history. "It is the darkest irony of this very dark episode, that of all its human rights violations the Iranian government has been most successful at keeping the 1988 killings a secret from the international community and from many Iranians," he said. "There is very little public awareness of the 1988 executions. Not only has there been no prosecution of the criminals who orchestrated and carried out that summer's gruesome murders, but the government continues to deny that they even occurred," he added.

This week’s On the Record reviewed the BBG's strategic plan for 2008-2013. Dr. Mahmoudi explained the nature of the strategic plan and BBG's relation with the VOA. As described in the plan, he talked about objective journalism in a climate of extremism and authoritarianism that threatens freedom and democracy. Dr. Mahmoudi emphasized the importance of the programing that BBG would like VOA and the other BBG entities to undertake. Also, he said that improving distribution and use of technology will be part of VOA's plan as recommended by BBG.

PNN’s question of the week: “Do you agree with Ayatollah Khamenei’s assessment of Ahmadinejad’s government as one of the best in the past 100 years?” Out of 10844 respondents, 802 said yes, 9,910 said no, while 132 did not have an opinion.

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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 newsbreaks 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.

PNN INSIDER - VIEWER PERSPECTIVES

Brahimi from Iran writes: While living in Iran for nearly a year, I occasionally watch your program, very much enjoying your shows on various gendered cultural issues in Iran. Particularly, I enjoyed watching last week's show on the topic of sex and gender in Iranian cinema.

Kati writes: Hello, my name is Kati and I am 25 years old. The topics you cover in Today’s Women are very interesting. You have a great program.

Narges writes: Thank you for Today’s Women program. Your program is a big help to enhance women’s right in Iran. Me and my student friends watch the program through the Internet as much as we can.

Ahmad writes: I have a question and a request! Why did you name the program Today’s Women? Do you just want to talk about women issues? My request is to include more male guest and also male perspectives in the show!

Javid from Iran writes: These days the Iranian state media act like the “spokesman” of Russia, and make propaganda about the victories of Russian military. I doubt that the Russian themselves take the same pride as the Iranian officials do about the military achievements of Russia!

Aside from Iran writes: The State-run Television of Iran broadcasts only the news about men-athletes in Olympic games; and women-athletes are forgotten! It appears that in the mind of authorities of Islamic Republic of Iran only men are present in Olympic games!

Montalba, a political prisoner, and Sheila from Tehran writes: Please do not have Ms. Leila Masher in your shows any more. This lady is not, as she claims, human rights advocate. She takes inhumane action, and is a troublemaker for the political prisoners in Iran. Her actions also creates problems for human rights activists in Iran!

Kasha from Tehran writes: Cell phone companies - affiliated with the Iranian Regime – send text message to congratulate the religious celebrations to the Shia’s people of the world only. This means that the authorities assume that only Shia believers are Moslem, and there are not any other Moslem people in the world.

Farad from Abadan writes: Iranian Vice-president has made some statements about friendship between Iranians and Israelis. He was lashed out for such statements. Are we supposed to be always at war and an enemy of nations? Wouldn’t the Lord be happy with the government authorities if they were friends with all nations and made some efforts for the welfare of our people?

Urmazd from Iran writes: I have a message for Mr. Mashaie, Vice-president of Iran: For years you have been – and acted - against the Iranian culture and ancient history. Now you have said “Iranian nation has no enmity against Israelis.’ Your statement has been objected strongly by the clerical and government authorities. Now that you have come to understand the depth of fossilized mind of the clerics you would better come back to your nation and leave the cleric alone.

Abdol from Iran writes: In the pre-Revolution period, more than 80 per cent of the people of Iran used to celebrate the birth of 12th Imam for three days in a row, festooning with illumination and light decoration. However, these days, it is the government, not the people, which celebrates. Is this not an indication that the people do not want this regime?

Elham from Iran writes: The government has decided to give 65 million dollars loan to Sri Lanka to be spent for power supply in its villages. This happens when in Iran there is power outage two hours a day; and the experts have informed that this shortage will continue in winter, and may increase. I wish the government would think about its own nation rather than other nations.

Ahmad from Iran writes: Ahmadinejad claims that his government has stabilized the prices. He thinks that Iranians are deaf and blind. What happens is that the producers and manufacturers, with the government help, have reduced the size of their packages of food and products, and the bakers have reduced the size of bread loaves, but they sell them at the same price as before. This is the way of running a country!
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