Reaching Millions of Television Viewers in Iran Each Week
Washington D.C. – November 9… PNN reported live from Washington, Chicago and the Western state of Arizona as American voters chose Democrat Senator Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th U.S. President and first African American President. PNN’s international coverage included the Secretary of State’s visit to the Middle East for peace talks and the developing story of the impeachment of Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan.
BARACK OBAMA ELECTED AS FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENT
November 4 -- PNN broadcast a special one-hour report on election night and was still on the air to announce that American voters elected the first African American president to serve as the nation’s 44th president. Barack Hussein Obama’s call for change elicited a voter momentum unseen in the United States as a historic number of young voters cast their votes at polling stations nationwide. During President-elect Obama’s speech in Grant Park in Chicago, President-elect Obama looked to the jubilant crowd and said, “This victory belongs to you.” PNN broadcast live Senator John McCain’s concession speech at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix shortly after 11:15 p.m. Eastern standard time (EST). PNN’s special report also featured analysis from Political experts Babak Yektafar and Kourosh Hangafarin.
PNN Special Report November 4 – PNN offered unique voter demographics and minute-by-minute updates to our Farsi viewers. An interactive national map that illustrated individual states as they were called for each candidate helped viewers understand th$e unique election process in the United States. Analysts explained the meaning behind the U.S. election process, focusing on the Electoral College and battleground states across the nation. PNN anchors isolated battleground states on the map and explained the geographical, cultural, and political focus of each to give viewers a better sense of the diversity of the American states. PNN reported that after conquering the state of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Party became increasingly confident of Senator Obama’s chances at victory. Minutes after the state of Virginia voted blue for the first time since 1964, Senator Obama was projected the nation’s 44th president.
News and Views November 4 – PNN went live from Arizona as Senator McCain gave his concession speech shortly after 11:00 p.m. EST from the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. Senator McCain graciously conceded to Senator Obama saying, “My friends, we have — we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.” In his speech, the Republican presidential candidate thanked his supporters, his family, Governor Sarah Palin and his campaign advisors for their efforts over the longest running presidential campaign in U.S. history. In closing, he praised Senator Obama for his historic victory and added that in America, “We never hide from history. We make history.”
News and Views November 5 – Former C-SPAN producer and Washington-based analyst Babak Yektafar joined PNN to discuss the results of the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections. During his analysis of the structure of both presidential campaigns he noted that Sen. Obama’s campaign was especially well organized. He said that President-elect Obama owed his election victory to massive youth participation. He praised Senator McCain’s concession speech. In his opinion, the election of the nation’s first African American president is a reflection of the maturity of American democracy. In closing, Mr. Yektafar stated that President-elect Obama is proof that “America is a place where all things are possible.”
NewsTalk November 7 – PNN broadcast live President-elect Barack Obama’s first speech to the press from Chicago, Illinois. President-elect Obama opened his speech by reporting the sobering statistic that 240,000 jobs were lost in America during the month of October. During his first public address since election night, President-elect 0 Obama said he had spoken to President Bush and that there is a good transition mechanism in place. President-elect. Obama met earlier that morning with members of his Transition Economic Advisory Board to discuss the most immediate challenges facing the economy. One particularly urgent priority mentioned was the extension of unemployment insurance benefits for workers who are unable to find work.. President-elect Obama also touched upon policy options for the auto industry. He closed by saying he does not underestimate the enormity of the task saying, “I know that we will succeed if we put aside partisanship and work together as one nation. And that is what I intend to do.”
WORLD SPEAKS OUT ABOUT THE U.S. ELECTION
News and Views November 5 – Live from Chicago, PNN interviewed over 90 residents who hail from all corners of the world about the election. Chicago residents are thrilled that the city’s “very own Barack Obama” has been elected as the next President. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley expressed his pride in the city of Chicago and its performance during Election Day. Chicago remained under tight security and streets remained closed. One resident expressed his joy, saying “We still cannot believe that MLK’s dream is no longer a dream but has now become real.”
News and Views November 6 – PNN welcomed Dr. Hermidas Bavand, a former professor of political science at Tehran University and currently an official with Iran’s National Front to News and Views. The topic was Iran’s reaction to the election of Senator Obama as the next President of the United States.Dr. Bavand said that as long as U.S.-Iranian relations are not normalized, Tehran would continue to deal with all sorts of challenges on the diplomatic and economic fronts.According to Dr. Bavand, “The landmark election of Obama has raised the level of expectations in the Middle East and specifically in Iran. We hope that Obama makes good on his promise of entering into negotiations with Iran without preconditions and we further hope that Iran on its part moderates its position and meets Washington half-way.”Dr. Bavand believes that the U.S. should take the first steps in diplomatic negotiations and he feels certain that the Iranians will reciprocate with good will gestures.He said that, “Both sides need to reconsider their uncompromising positions in order to resolve all the outstanding issues between them.” When asked the question on whether the normalization of ties between Washington and Tehran would slow down or hamper the work of the democracy activists in Iran, Dr. Bavard said, “We should divorce these two issues from each other.The yearning for democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights will stay at the top of our aspirations regardless of Iran’s foreign affairs.”
48 Hours November 9 – PNN spoke with Dr. Michael Chengini, President and CEO of the Owens Group, an architectural, engineering and construction management firm located in Irvine, California. Dr. Chengini is an Iranian-American businessman who is a strong supporter of the Democratic Party and an active fundraiser. Dr. Chengini held fundraisers for Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator John Edwards, and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Dr. Chengini told PNN “I was attracted to Obama after he gave his keynote speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention. He struck me as someone who is a different breed of politician. I was also very supportive of Hillary Clinton when she ran for senator from New York. But, I threw my support behind Senator Obama because I thought he would make a better president.” Dr. Chengini stated that historically Iranian-Americans were attracted to the GOP but during the Clinton Administration, they gradually changed their party affiliation and become Democrats. The exodus from the GOP was enhanced by the policies of the current administration. Dr. Chengini stated, “President Bush’s eight years in the White House and his misguided policies were the greatest gifts to the Democrats and accelerated the rate of defection from the Republican to the Democratic Party among Iranian-Americans.”When asked about the issues raised during the fundraiser with Senator Obama, Dr. Chengini stated that most of the Q&A session centered on U.S. domestic issues and improving the opportunities and quality of life for Iranian-American and their children in the United States.News and Views concluded by highlighting a new feature on the PNN website, which invites people inside Iran to send a message to President-elect Obama:
Golnar wrote: “Hello. I am Golnar and I am 25 years old. I am Iranian and I know that he [Obama] can establish peace in the world and I hope Iran and the U.S.A. can be friends soon, as I am so happy that Mr. Obama is president of the U.S.A. My family and I love him and we want God to take care of him. We want peace and friendly relations between the U.S.A. and Iran.”
A man from Karaj wrote: “Hi. I'm a 37 years old man from Karaj/Iran. I'm very sorry that Mr. Obama has been elected as the next president of the U.S, because he wants to negotiate with the Islamic regime of Iran. Many people in Iran want that the U.S.A attacks and removes the Islamic regime and I'm one of them, because many people like me live in absolute poverty. I've studied in the university (German language) and I'm skillful at computer science and foreign languages (English and German) and I have certification of tour leadership, but in spite of these skills I can't find a job and because I can't find a job and have a stable salary I'm not married yet and many people are like me in Iran. Mr. Obama should know that the existence of the Islamic regime of Iran depends on the crisis and enmity with the U.S.A and Israel, because the foundation of this regime is based on these three factors. The only way for establishing stability and peace in the Middle East is removing the Islamic regime of Iran. Some people say that the U.S.A couldn't establish democracy in Iraq and it can't establish democracy in Iran by attacking Iran. But they are wrong because of three reasons: 1-The Iranian people are much more educated than Iraqi people. 2-There are Iranian political parties in Iran and outside of Iran, which can control the stability in the future. Parties like: Republicans, Royalists, National Front, and Communist parties 3- And an important reason of instability in Iraq is having a hand in the terrorist activities and in political affairs in Iraq and if this regime is removed, Iraq will be much more stable.”
Reuf wrote: “I congratulate the victory of Mr. Obama; I really hope democracy comes to the Middle East especially for Iran and Iraq and Kurdistan in 4 countries (Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq).”
Hamed wrote: “Hello I'm Hamed from Iran/Mashhad. Me and my family and certainly many of Iranians are happy that Barack Obama elected as the U.S.A. president and we hope that he starts relationship between Iranian and American until we can establish the PEACE in the world ...we hope.”
A woman writes: “Hello. I am Shifteh my husband and I love Obama and I hope he can establish
peace in the world and Iran and U.S.A. can be friend as soon as I am 51 years old and my husband is 63 years old we want Mr. Obama to succeed.”
CANDIDATES BATTLED ACROSS THE U.S. DURING THE LAST CAMPAIGN DAY
News and Views November 3 – The presidential candidates capped a history-making campaign with a dash from Florida through a half-dozen other crucial states as Senator John McCain tried for an upset over Senator Barack Obama. With little sleep, Senator McCain darted through seven swing states Monday, arguing that victory was virtually at hand despite national polls showing otherwise. As the sun set in Las Vegas, Nevada, Senator McCain spoke at a large rally in the hills of Henderson overlooking the Las Vegas strip. Polls showed the six closest states are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio. The campaigns are also running aggressive ground games elsewhere, including Iowa, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Colorado and Virginia. America expects 9 million new voters at the polls Tuesday night. An estimated 130 million voters in all are expected for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections.
WORLD CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA
NewsTalk November 5 – NewsTalk gave viewers an unprecedented look at the mindset of American people. PNN was joined by analyst Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh from London and in studio guest Dr. Mohsen Sazegara. The guests took a look at what the history-making U.S. presidential election from the night before means to the American people and the rest of the world. As messages of congratulations to the new U.S. president poured in from around the world, Dr. Nourizadeh commented that this election exemplified the value of democracy for people who are living under dictatorship in places where the freedom to choose a political candidate is unfeasible. He was quick to add his opinion that President-elect Obama’s administration is unlikely to tolerate Iran’s wish to build an atomic bomb. However, Mr. Nourizadeh was not without criticism in his statement in which he expressed, “Washington always wants to solve the problems between Palestinians and Israelis. Sometimes the way to reach peace is through different methods.” Dr. Sazegara spoke about how the American election was an opportunity for Iranian people to compare Mr. Obama’s historic win after a long campaign with the upcoming Presidential campaign process in Iran. He shared his viewpoint that the freedom of the press in America is one of the essential foundations for democracy.
Today’s Woman November 7 – PNN hosts discussed the world-wide reaction to President-elect Barack Obama’s historic victory with in-studio guest Dr. Masoud Kavoossi. Dr. Kavoossi is a professor at Howard University in Washington D.C. Dr. Kavoossi said he was pleased by the election result. He stated he supports President-elect Obama's diplomatic approach to U.S.-Iranian relations. He believes that conflict can be avoided between the two countries. He commented on the international support the new President will receive from many nations around the world.
OBAMA TO MEET ECONOMIC ADVISORS AFTER GRIM DATA ON JOB LOSS
News and Views November 7 – President-elect Barack Obama prepared to meet his economic advisers on Friday as new U.S. jobless figures underlined the enormity of the task. Mr. Obama will need to stabilize an economy that is shedding jobs quickly. Job losses in October were worse than feared, with employers cutting payrolls by 240,000, according to the U.S. Labor Department. So far this year, 1.2 million U.S. jobs have been lost. The unemployment rate is at 6.5 percent, its highest level since 1994. After two days during which Wall Street stocks plunged around 10 percent before stabilizing on Friday, President-elect Obama and vice president-elect Joe Biden will hear from economists, businessmen and policy experts on how to deal with the worst U.S. financial crisis since the Great Depression. President-elect Obama, who won a sweeping victory in Tuesday's election in part because of his economic promises, has assembled a 17-member transition economic advisory board. President Bush stated, "We face economic challenges that will not pause to let a new President settle in. This will also be America's first wartime presidential transition in four decades. We're in a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us – and they would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people. So over the next 75 days, all of us must ensure that the next President and his team can hit the ground running."
OBAMA NAMES RAHM EMANUEL AS CHIEF OF STAFF
News and Views November 7 – U.S. President-elect Barack Obama chose Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) as his chief of staff on Thursday, spurring Republicans to question why his first key appointment was a Washington insider and fiercely partisan Democrat. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her first public appearance since former rival Senator Barack Obama was elected president, praised his choice for his White House chief of staff, a former top aide to her husband. "President-elect Obama made an excellent choice," she said of Illinois Rep. Emanuel, adding that he "understands both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue." Rep. Emanuel said of his new position, "I made a series of phone calls to both Democratic and Republican leaders to reach out. I've received a lot of calls not only from Democratic colleagues but from Republican colleagues who could not have been nicer."
CONDOLEEZZA RICE ON STATE VISIT TO RAMALLAH TO PURSUE PEACE
News and Views November 6 – PNN reported that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left Washington today for her 19th trip to the Middle East. In her visit to Israel, she will meet with the Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Minister as well. Ms. Rice will also meet with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. U.S. officials have indicated that Ms. Rice’s main priority in Middle East peace talks is to hand over a viable peace plan to her successor. Ms. Rice will also attend a Quartet meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Assistant Secretary of State, Sean McCormack, said that Ms. Rice would have a separate meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as well.
News and Views November 7 – Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that all options are on the table when it comes to dealing with Iran's nuclear program, adding that "the leadership of the free world sees through this, has to acknowledge this and needs to take this into consideration when it plans its steps.” Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni stated, "It is bilateral [negotiations], we need to continue it, we need to find a way to continue it, regardless to the question of timelines or titles or changes of administration in the United States of America." Also on Friday, Ms. Rice traveled to Ramallah in the West Bank to meet Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for talks on the fate of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Ms. Rice said, "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that should be resolved and should be ended, because it will be so important to Palestinians to live in their own state and for Israel to live along side a democratic neighbor who can help to secure the peace." In final reports, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it is revoking Iran's so-called U-turn license that until now has allowed money transfers under certain conditions. Stuart Levey, the U.S. Treasury Department's Undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence said, "Given Iran's conduct, it is necessary to close off even this indirect access."
NewsTalk November 9 – NewsTalk’s panel discussion on international relations included guests from Paris, London, and Jerusalem. Writer and journalist Syrus Amouzgar commented on the amount of disjoint between regional support for the Middle East peace process. He commented that Arab states have not supported Iranian policies. He also pointed out that the Iranian government did not speak out against Russia during ethnic violence in Chechnya. This, in his opinion, shows that Iran’s foreign policy is not consistently tied to religion. Menashe Amir, the Persian service editor-in-Chief of Israel’s Foreign Ministry website, spoke about the recent peace conference in Sharm el Sheikh. It is Mr. Amir’s belief that Iran was not invited to the conference because other regional members believe Iran does not want peace between Palestinians and Israel. London-based political analyst Mehrdad Khonsari stated that the Iranian regime opposes the peace process in the Middle East as part of its larger political plan to emerge as the leader in the region. In his opinion, Islam has little to do with the state’s overall goals.
PNN SET TO EXAMINE THE WORLD OF BLOGGING DIPLOMACY
News and Views November 7 – Starting on November 10, News and Views will begin airing a special series on a new public diplomacy effort from the U.S. State Department. The launch of the Digital Outreach Team will enhance the presence of the U.S. State Department in the online world through what has been coined as “blogging diplomacy.” PNN was given unprecedented access to the team, including an interview with a team member who held a lengthy online chat with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's press advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.
FOREIGN POLICY THOUGHTS ON THE PRESIDENT-ELECT AND IRAN
News and Views November 8 – International analyst Dr. Bahman Aghaii Diba joined PNN to discuss the impact of the new administration on Iran. Dr. Diba expressed his congratulations to President-elect Obama but stated that Iran may be wrong in assuming President-elect Obama would bring changes to U.S. policy towards Iran. Dr. Diba cited President-elect Obama’s first speech as evidence to the contrary. Moving on to Israel, Dr. Diba stated his views on whether U.S. policy towards Israel would change with the new administration. He believes the status quo is likely to continue. However, Dr. Diba believes the new Obama administration would intensify pressure on Iran regarding the breech of human rights. On the topic of sanctions, he believes sanctions will intensify if talks with Iran prove to be fruitless.
Roundtable with You November 6 – PNN was joined by subject matter experts to discuss the ethics of personal responsibility under a dictatorship. Dr. Ladan Boroumand is a Senior Researcher at the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation. Dr. Azar Nafisi is a professor of Literature and History at Johns Hopkins University. During a discussion on personal responsibility for those living under oppressive conditions, the guests spoke about the Iranian regime. Two of the reasons why Iran's 1979 revolution failed to reach its goals were the deficit of thought-provoking philosophies and a lack of knowledge in political culture, Dr. Boroumand stated.The Boroumand Foundation Library has been trying to publish pieces that are related to personal responsibility, understanding totalitarian rule, and ways of removing such conditions from the system. Dr. Boroumand cited evidence from her research which shows that for the Iranian population a set of values is only valid for that specific era and the people are not willing to adapt themselves to a more vibrant future. Dr. Boroumand further mentioned that in a totalitarian regime personal responsibility is only a dream and not an event that has already taken place.Dr. Nafisi also contributed to the discussion by stating that the Islamic Republic of Iran is conveying a message of a totalitarian-leaning dictatorship. In her opinion the regime strives to quiet the voice of dissent, close out free thought, and re-write history regardless of truth. Moreover she noted that the Iranian regime has been using the religion as a shield to incorporate its own philosophies and to convey that to the public, which has no ability to decipher right from wrong on its own. She stated that in the aftermath of the fall of communism the Islamic Republic used that event to showcase its own importance, forgetting the fact that it still has not answered the simple question of the difference between right and wrong.Dr. Nafisi further mentioned that we can only change the society when the citizens are willing to change, and accept responsibility for its own actions whether good or bad.
DISPUTE OVER THE SOVEREIGNTY OF PERSIAN GULF ISLANDS CONTINUES
48 Hours November 8 – Historian Majid Tafreshi joined PNN from London to speak about Iran’s sovereignty claim over three Persian Gulf islands. The dispute over the control of three islands in the Persian Gulf has been a source of tension between Iran and Arab governments in the region. The islands are near the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf, and command shipping lanes along which a great deal of the world's oil is routed. Mr. Tafreshi, who has been able to get access to the recently declassified documents of the British Foreign Office, said that traditionally the islands had been ruled by Sharja, now one of the seven United Arab Emirates. However, under a 1971 agreement with Britain, which was in the process of ending its protectorate over the emirates, the Iranian Government of the Shah was allowed to maintain a military garrison on Abu Musa. Civil administration of the island was divided between Iran and the Emirates when the Emirates became independent in December 1971. Mr. Tafreshi added that the Arab countries now try to exploit the issue of sovereignty over the islands to stoke nationalistic sentiments in order to deflect attention away from the shortcomings of their government. "The three islands have become an integral part of Iran's territorial integrity. No future government will be able to make concession on these islands," he argued. "Iran was willing to go to war with Great Britain in order to establish sovereignty over the islands,” he added. Mr. Tafreshi said that until Iran regains its standing within the international community, this dispute with Arab states would continue to simmer. So far as Bahrain, which was under Iran's sovereignty and later became independent, Mr. Tafreshi said that the Shah had little chance of holding on to Bahrain. “The Shah did not press the Bahrain sovereignty issue because he wished to reinforce his overall position in the Persian Gulf,” he said. In conclusion he added, “It would be a mistake to regard all Iranian leaders as uncaring about Iran's territorial integrity. After all, they fought Iraq for 8 years to defend Iranian soil.”
IRANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER IMPEACHED FOR FALSE CREDENTIALS
News and Views November 4 – In a PNN follow up from October, News and Views learned that Iran’s Interior Minister, Ali Kordan, was impeached. An ex-Iranian minister of Parliament told PNN that the impeachment of Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan is the proper response to his conduct for falsifying his academic credentials. Human rights activist Ghasem Shole Saadi told PNN that this impeachment had detrimental effects on President Ahmadinejad's cabinet's credential. He stated, “When he was introduced to the Parliament, Ahmadinejad had to use all his lobby to get him in the cabinet. He even went too far to say that Ali Khameni has implicitly graced him for the position.” PNN has asked if the general prosecutor can continue to press charges on Mr. Kordan because he has qualified for a dozen governmental positions with his falsified academic credentials. Mr. Shole Saadi stated, “I do not think that the general prosecutor would have any interest to do that because they are in the same page.”
LIVE FROM IRAQ
News and Views November 3 – A new development to the U.S. Strategic Security Agreement was reported by PNN’s live stringer in Iraq. The president of the autonomous Kurdish government in Iraq said that the United States could have bases in northern Iraq if Washington and Baghdad fail to sign the U.S. Strategic Security Agreement. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Iraq would not allow any pact to be signed between the Kurds and the U.S. Mr. al-Maliki said he will negotiate changes in the security pact with Washington DC. The Kurds said the U.S. Strategic Security Agreement would stop Iran, Syria, and Turkey from interfering in Iraq. In other news, Iraq prepared to sign another security agreement with Britain.
News and Views November 4 – PNN reported live from Iraq that political parties and Iraqis had mixed reactions to the U.S. presidential elections. While the Iraqi Prime Minister and Sunni members prefer Senator Obama, the Kurds are pro-McCain. Iraq said it would resume negotiations with U.S. officials about the U.S. Strategic Security Agreement after the U.S. elections. Iraq’s interior minister said security in Iraq has improved tremendously during the past months.
News and Views November 6 – Iraqi officials congratulated President-elect Barack Obama’s historic victory. Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari said he does not expect President-elect Obama to withdraw U.S. troops hastily from Iraq. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq welcomes President-elect Obama’s historic victory and that the Iraqi government has a true desire to work and cooperate with the elected president for the best interest of the two countries. Iraq said it would resume the negotiation with U.S. officials about the U.S. Strategic Security Agreement after the U.S. elections. Reports indicated that the U.S. has agreed to 3 out of the 5 requested changes by the Iraqi government.
News and Views November 9 – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki criticized the Iraqi Constitution and called for changes. The Kurds have expressed concerns about Mr. Al-Maliki’s statements about the Iraqi Constitution. Iraq’s Kurdish lawmaker, Mahmoud Othman, rejected Baghdad’s attempt toward centralism. Baghdad will hold a referendum on the U.S. Strategic Security Agreement, which has increased tension between Iraqi groups.
DOCUMENTARY CONFRONTS SLAYING OF CHRISTIAN BISHOP IN IRAN
Late Edition November 8 – Late Edition focused on the controversial documentary “A Cry from Iran” by director and producer Joseph Hovespian. The film highlights the life and death of Mr. Hovespian’s father. After graduating from cinema studies in England, Mr. Hovsepian moved to California in 2000. Since his arrival in Hollywood, he has worked as a director and producer on different projects for major studios. He has also produced several independent films during his career. Mr. Hovespian introduced his latest film "A Cry from Iran," which takes a critical look at apostasy laws in Iran. An Islamic judge in Iran condemned a zealous Christian convert, Mehdi Dibaj, to death. His crime was apostasy, or leaving Islam for Christianity. Mr. Hovsepian’s father, Bishop Haik Hovsepian, was the leader of the Evangelical Christians of Iran who decided to launch an international campaign to help Mr. Dibaj. The campaign was a success. Mr. Dibaj was saved from execution, but Bishop Hovsepian disappeared shortly thereafter. It was later found that he was murdered by radical groups. His body had been stabbed 26 times. Mr. Hovsepian spoke about how the documentary became a deeply personal story for him saying, “This is another example of human rights abuse in Iran. They killed my father because he tried to save a Muslim who converted to Christianity and this is really sad.” Mr. Hovsepian is looking to continue exploring the subject of apostasy and hopes that the documentary will keep his father's legacy alive.
Also on PNN…
On the Record November 7 – The journey of the first African American President-elect, Senator Barack Obama, was the featured subject. The road to the White House of the nation’s 44th president, who will be inaugurated on January 20, 2009, was highlighted. PNN Ombudsman Kambiz Mahmoudi spoke about how the American people demonstrated that individuals, regardless of their background and race, can achieve their goals if they work hard in this country. To him, the historic election demonstrates how the “Land of Opportunity” is not just a catchphrase but a reality that is very much alive today.
Late Edition November 8 – To complement the historic election of President-elect Obama, Late Edition introduced the book Obamanomics: How Bottom-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics during its weekly book review. Author John Talbott is an ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker and a best selling author of books on the subject of economics and politics. In his most recent book, Mr. Talbott examines President-elect Obama's economic policies and argues that the bottom-up economic prosperity proposed by President-elect Obama is more effective than the tickle-down economic policy practiced by President Bush's administration over the last 8 years. Mr. Talbott said one important reason why people voted for President-elect Obama was because Senator McCain’s policies were too similar to those of the current administration, which have not proven effective in creating jobs and prosperity. Rick Wartzman of the LA Times has criticized the book saying, that the author “presents an overly simple, cartoonish view of the world.” He writes "Barack Obama has a lot to say about how to achieve economic justice in this country. Unfortunately, in trying to help make the case, Talbott doesn't do his chosen candidate any justice whatsoever." Nevertheless, Mr. Talbott believes President-elect Obama will be successful in bringing economic prosperity to Americans through his policies.
Late Edition November 8 – In October the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines are a comprehensive study designed to provide science-based information on the amount and type of physical activity Americans need to stay healthy. This was the first government study of its kind since the last report on fitness and health was released by the U.S. Surgeon General in 1996. New government guidelines provide information on the benefits of physical exercise. PNN spoke with fitness trainers and people on the street to learn more about what the guidelines mean for Americans. An official from the Department of Health and Human Services told PNN, “Physical activity is a very important component of a healthy lifestyle, so we want people to understand that regular physical activity can actually help prevent chronic disease. Seven out of ten deaths here in the U.S. can be attributed to chronic disease and therefore can be attributed to nutrition and lack of regular physical activity.” On that note, PNN urged all Americans to continue to work towards the goal of exercising for at least 30 minutes three times a week.
News and Views November 6 – Human rights activist Elahe Shirafpour-Hicks told PNN that Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi has criticized Iran’s new Islamic penal code, saying that it remains unfair to women. Mrs. Sharifpour-Hicks also stated that the unchanged age of legal responsibility, which deems a boy punishable from the age of 15 and a girl from the age of nine, is drawing worldwide criticism. Several legal aid groups have pointed out that under this penal code, a women's worth is valued at half that of a man’s for legal testimonies in court. "Because of the deliberate policy pursued by Iranian leaders, NGOs- especially women organizations working to promote the rights of women, have been unable to raise awareness among Iranian women as to what their rights are. That's particularly true in Iran's more economically deprived areas," she added. Responding to a question surrounding the recent hanging of a juvenile offender on October 30, 2008, Mrs. Sharifpour-Hicks pointed out, "This was the seventh this year, only two days after Iranian authorities categorically denied that it still executes juveniles." Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning this execution, she added. “Iran is the only country to have executed juvenile offenders so far this year. It also leads all countries of the world in executing juvenile offenders, accounting for more than 80 percent ofsuch executions during the past three years,"
PNN Online November 10 – The PNN online project on the life and achievements of all U.S. Presidents has been posted to the PNN website. On November 5th, the last biography of President-elect Barack Obama was added to the site. The site serves as an educational forum for Iranians to learn more about the history and culture America’s presidents. The project can be found at: http://www.voanews.com/persian/uspresidents.cfm
This week on the History Channel – The History Channel began with the second of a two-part series called “Charles & Anne Lindbergh: Alone Together.” This definitive Biography special took a bird’s eye view of one of the most celebrated yet reviled couples of our time. Next, a special on the sophisticated tools of the rescue trade made up the feature “Rescue Equipment.” Without rescue tools such as global positioning satellites and powerful extraction tools like the ‘Jaws of Life,’ disaster response teams could not save lives during natural disasters. Switching gears, viewers learned about a newsworthy topic of current history in a feature on the New York Stock Exchange. Viewers journeyed back to a time when Wall Street was just a wooden wall, built to hold back Indians, where early traders signed a pact creating the New York Stock Exchange. Finally, an ABC News Production on Hurricane Katrina gave an overview of the build-up and fall-out of the devastating hurricane which destroyed the Gulf city of New Orleans and 65,000 homes along the Gulf Coast.
PNN’s question of the week was “Now that Sen. Obama is the new American President, do you believe the U.S.-Iran relations will improve or deteriorate?” Out of 7,947 respondents, 1,407 or 17 percent said it will get worse, 3,380or 43 percent said it will get better, while 3,160 or 40 percent said it will not change.
The Persian News Network’s television programming complements its radio broadcasts. VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four Iranian households tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs also are streamed on 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 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.
Mahyar from Tehran writes: “The main differences between Iranian and American elections are: First:in Iran the Guardian Council selects the candidates. Second: Khamenei decides what actions and what sort of advertisement the candidates should choose. Third: There is only one week for election campaign. And fourth: The Revolutionary Guard (and other officials) may manipulate the votes.”
Narges from Tehran: “The Regime leaders say they are running the most powerful system of government. So, how come they are afraid of gathering of a few people on the streets? Or, gathering of a few workers who demand their entitlements? Or, are afraid of the one-million signatures campaign? The way they are governing the people indicates their fear from the people.”
Gholamreza from Fars Province writes: “In Iran whoever obeys the Ministry of Information and Revolutionary Guard Corp can win the presidential election. Ahmadinejad is a good example. He is qualified and capableto fill the pockets of Khamenei and military commanders with money.”
Kaveh from Mahabad: “Greetings. The Regime is afraid of unity of people. The government retreated against the protests of Bazaaris (small businessmen) in Isfahan and Tehran, and other places of Iran. This regime must be grounded.”
Diako from Kermanshah: “Patients in Kermanshah who need vital drugs have to beg the black market operatives, and pay higher price for the drug, because they cannot find it in drugstores.
Who is responsible for this?”
Xabat from Mahabad requests: “Greeting. Please broadcast a program, or a report,about “Network Marketing” and the companies related to it. Also do this about “Quest International” (QI) which is very active in Iran. Are their activities legal in Iran? Their activities are against the interest of Iran, anyway.
A male Today’s Woman viewer writes: “Hello to you all at Today’s Woman program. I would like to thank you for broadcasting this daily program. I am one of those men who record the show and watch it together with my family. I record the program if in case my family has not been able to watch it live. Thank you, Yashar.”
Hamidreza from Tehran: “A review of the former presidents of the United States shows that the general foreign policy of that country remains the same regardless which political party comes to power. Therefore, the U.S. approach towards the nuclear program of Iran, as well as other pre-defined “macro-policies” in other parts of the world, will not change.
Anita writes: “When I saw Obama being elected in United States, I felt sorry for my self since we cannot hold free and fair election in Iran. Here we cannot elect the president that we want. I personally would have preferred McCain though. Anyhow, American people have elected Obama and I hope he will be able to make the right decisions with regards to the regime in Iran and America’s internal issues. I always follow your program and I’m very thankful for that.”
A Today’s Woman viewer writes: “I am a 29-year-old girl. I have PhD in Persian Literature. I love each and every one of Today’s Woman hosts and co-host. Here in my house in Iran, I relate to each one of you. Sometimes I continue your discussion here and sometimes I shout loud and praise your excellent comments or arguments during the discussion in Today’s Woman program. Here in Iran we appreciate being able to see people like you, even if you are far away.”
A Dutch viewer writes: “Today, we have to praise and worship the woman who raised President Obama. If it wasn’t for her efforts to raise and guide Obama, he would have not been able to achieve this and be where he is now. Probably he would have been poor and he would have been a second-class citizen. Obama, Gandhi and Mandela, had mothers who raised them well and gave them the right guidance in their life. Thank you, Behrouz.”
Alireza from Tehran writes: “Hello and thank you for the great Today’s Woman program. Have you ever thought about this? Whenever you talk about a woman activist like Esha Momeni, the regime in Iran will put more pressure on her and it would be more difficult for her to get released. Maybe she would have been released by now, but now I do not believe that she can get out and see the color of freedom for a while.”