Reaching Millions of Television Viewers in Iran Each Week
Washington, D.C. (March 9) – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with her Russian and Turkish counterparts this week as each country pledged to step up cooperation on Iran-related issues. In human rights, news of American journalist Roxana Saberi’s February 10th arrest and continued imprisonment in Iran came about as news of another political dissident’s death in an Iranian prison. Also included inside – stunning photos from the first-ever “Iranian Women in Society” photo exhibition sponsored by “Today’s Woman”.
U.S. FOREIGN POLICY EXPERTS URGING TALKS WITH IRAN
News and Views March 5 – A week long debate on how to engage diplomatically with Iran ended in the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Thursday. Former National Security Advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brezezinski testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. strategy in Iran. Both men warned that a proliferation of nuclear programs would pose a far greater threat than Iran actually using such a weapon. They argued there is no reason to believe Iran would enter into nuclear war, which they said would be a "suicidal" act. Mr. Brzezinski proposed having immediate, low-level talks to begin engaging Iran in a non-threatening way, based on Iran's assertion it is not pursuing a nuclear weapon. The former democratic presidential advisor said that would give the U.S. and others the right to ask for reassurances from Iran without being confrontational and provoking Iranian isolationism. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry (D-MA) emphasized that the U.S. is not seeking confrontation with Iran or stuck on the idea of regime change. He said, “We are looking for a possibility of a constructive dialogue based on mutual interest that can begin in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
News and Views March 5 – On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed a high-level international conference on Afghanistan. She suggested that the United Nations would sponsor the conference and a wide range of countries including Pakistan and possibly Iran would attend. Meanwhile, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on “The Role for Congress and the President in War: The Recommendations of the National War Powers Commission.” Witnesses included former secretaries Warren M. Christopher and James A. Baker and former congressional representative Lee H. Hamilton.
News and Views March 2 – Secretary of State Clinton expressed doubt that Iran would respond to the Obama administration's expressions of interest in engaging Tehran on its nuclear pursuits. According to a senior state department official traveling with her, Secretary Clinton made the comment in reaction to her UAE counterpart who expressed concern that the new administration might strike a deal with Iran without fully consulting with all its allies. She reportedly told the UAE official that the U.S. “is under no illusions and our eyes are wide open on Iran".
BRITAIN’S GORDON BROWN SOUNDS WARNING ON IRAN
News and Views March 4 – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged U.S lawmakers to rally the rest of the world in a combined effort to tackle the global economic crisis. Addressing a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Mr. Brown repeated his call for an international restructuring of financial systems. The prime minister said the U.S. and Britain, especially, must avoid protectionism and restore their "faith in the future" with investments in new products, services and technologies to build prosperity, create jobs and reverse the downturn. He said Britain would work "tirelessly" with the U.S. as partners for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. He also addressed Iran, saying the U.S. and Britain have a "shared message" to the Islamic republic to cease its threats and suspend its nuclear program. Mr. Brown is only the fifth British prime minister to speak to both houses of the U.S. Congress. His visit to Washington was aimed at laying the groundwork for the upcoming G-20 meeting in London in April, which will involve representatives from the world's leading developed and emerging economies. Mr. Brown is the first European leader to meet with President Obama since he took office in January.
News and Views March 4 – On the eve of British Prime Minister Brown's speech to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, a key senator called on London to "be more helpful" in confronting Iran. "Great Britain could be more helpful than it has been in support of U.S. policies that would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the Senate's number two Republican, told AFP. He urged Mr. Brown to consider stepping up efforts to restrict banking relationships with Iran, either by helping to punish banks that do business in Iran or those banks that hide business dealings with Iran. British Bank Lloyds TSB recently agreed to pay $350 million to U.S. authorities as the result of an investigation by U.S. authorities of the bank’s violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
AMERICAN JOURNALIST ROXANA SABERI IMPRISONED IN IRAN
News and Views March 4 – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is urging the United Nations to intervene with the government of Iran to secure the immediate release of Roxana Saberi. Ms. Saberi is an American journalist who grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Senator Klobuchar wrote, “I believe that the continued imprisonment of Ms. Saberi is unjustifiable and that the international community must make clear to the government of Iran that systematic oppression of free speech and political dissent will lead only to further isolation." Senator Klobuchar said her office has also been in contact with the U.S. State Department about the matter. The Iranian government has publicly confirmed that the female NPR journalist is being detained under questionable circumstances. According to Iranian officials, she is accused of "illegal" reporting activities after the government revoked her press credentials in 2006. However, according her father, her continuing work as a journalist was conducted with the knowledge and tacit consent of the Iranian government. Ms. Saberi’s arrest coincides with the arrests of dozens of dissidents in advance of national elections scheduled for June. In her letter, Senator Klobuchar suggested that Ms. Saberi’s detention "appears to be unwarranted and in violation of basic human rights standards" and "is part of an alarming series of high-profile arrests of political and religious dissidents by Iranian officials."
News and Views March 2 – PNN spoke with the father of Roxana Saberi, the American journalist who has been detained in Iran since February 10, 2009. Roxana’s father, Reza Saberi, stated that his daughter was only doing cultural reporting and quoting articles that had already appeared in newspapers following the non-renewal of her press credentials by Iranian authorities. Mr. Saberi believes the reason behind his daughter’s arrest stems from the notion that Iran is fearful and suspicious of any reports that may cast the country in a negative light. He says he is very surprised by his daughter’s arrest and believes Iran should have praised his daughter, not punished her for her efforts to promote Iranian culture. He says his daughter loves Iran and he and his wife are very concerned about her whereabouts and her well-being. The Saberi family has contacted the State Department, which is in constant communication with the Swiss Embassy in Tehran.
POLITICAL PRISONER’S DEATH IN IRAN PRISON SPARKS OUTRAGE
News and Views March 7 – Iranian political dissident Amir-Hossein Heshmat Saran has died mysteriously in prison. It is unclear whether he died of a heart ailment or as the result of brain damage. Some reports indicate that he died of a brain hemorrhage. His lawyer relayed the tragic news on Friday to PNN. Mr. Saran was arrested in 2003 for allegedly forming a group known as the National United Front. The Court of Revolution in Karaj sentenced him to eight years imprisonment in the Rajaii Shahr prison. Previously, he was sentenced by another court to eight years incarceration for his participation at a protest gathering in front of the Hotel Laleh in Tehran. The sentences were being served consecutively which resulted in a total of a 16-year prison term. His wife, Elahe Nazjou, told PNN that her husband developed heart problems approximately 18 months ago. She told PNN that he was not allowed to leave prison for treatment despite requests from his family because Iranian authorities believed he would contact journalists and news organizations upon release. During the last five years, he was granted only one leave of absence from prison, which ended when agents arrested him at his home, and transferred him back to prison. According to his lawyer, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, the judiciary power and prison officials of the Islamic Republic are responsible for Mr. Samir’s death because authorities refused to treat his heart ailments by transferring him to a hospital for treatment.
TURKISH JOURNALIST SPEAKS ABOUT HIS INTERVIEW WITH SEC. CLINTON
News and Views March 8 – PNN interviewed Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand of Kanal D TV, who interviewed Secretary of State Clinton yesterday in Ankara. During that interview, Mr. Birand asked about the terms of President Obama’s upcoming visit to Turkey. In addition, he questioned Secretary Clinton regarding the previous U.S. administration’s use of the terminology “moderate Islam” as a descriptive qualifier of Turkey. In response, Secretary Clinton stated, “We’re not going to characterize any country’s religious affiliation. We’re looking for an opportunity to strengthen and deepen our relationship with Turkey.” Switching to human rights, Secretary Clinton spoke of the natural but necessary tension between journalism and politics. This comment was made in response to Mr. Birand’s query as to whether Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan complained about the State Department’s Human Rights Report on Turkey. Secretary Clinton acknowledged that no politician ever likes criticism by the press, however, such criticism is an integral component of a vibrant democracy. In concluding remarks with Mr. Birand, Secretary Clinton briefly touched upon Turkey’s role as both a mediator and a facilitator on issues regarding Pakistan, Palestine and Iran. In PNN’s follow up interview with Mr. Birand, he said that Secretary Clinton’s visit ended six years of dark relations between the U.S. and Turkey and he believes the two countries will work together to expand diplomatic relations and international cooperation on key issues where the U.S. sees Turkey as a regional and global leader. Quoting Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Mr. Birand said, “Turkey and the U.S. continue their cooperation in fighting terrorism.” Quoting Secretary Clinton, Mr. Birand said that the U.S. asked Turkey to engage with its neighbor Iran. On the road to Iran with Turkish President Abdullah Gol, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that Turkey is trying to bridge the differences between the U.S. and Iran.
IRAN’S TOP NEWS STORIES FOR THE WEEK
48 Hours March 8 – London-based journalist Alireza Nourizadeh appeared on 48 Hours to review Iran's top news stories in Iran and the Middle East region. He acknowledged that the diplomatic rupture between Iran and Morocco over Bahrain was expected because Morocco sees itself as occupying a special place in the Muslim world that is in competition with Iran. "Morocco had to adapt a hard-line position because Iran was intent on spreading Shiism in Morocco and other Arab countries. The supreme leader of Iran still nurtures in his mind the role of the Muslim Khalifa as someone who in the near future would rule over all Muslim countries," Mr. Nourizadeh added. Khalifa, an Arabic word, literally means "one who replaces someone else who left or died." However, in the context of Islam, Khalifa denotes a more narrow meaning. The Muslim Khalifa is the successor to the prophet as the political, military, and administrative leader of the Muslims.
Iran's participation in a conference dealing with the situation in Afghanistan is set to take place at the end of March in the Netherlands, according to Mr. Nourizadeh. Iran would use its offer to help stabilize Afghanistan as a bargaining chip in this conference. "They are willing to help NATO countries in Afghanistan so long as they are able to get concessions from the West over their nuclear program," he added. He said that Afghani President Hamed Kharzai has made a serious mistake in entering into negotiations with elements of the Taliban. "There is no such a thing as a moderate Taliban," he added, "They all want to establish a very strict and conservative form of Islamic rule in Afghanistan that would be very repressive toward women."
Newstalk March 8 – Mehrdad Khonsari from the London Research Center in Iranian Affairs and Professor Alireza Haghighi from the Sociology Department at Toronto University appeared as guests to discuss the latest political news from Morocco and Bahrain. Mr. Khonsari suggested the possibility of Arab countries choosing to align more with Israel on issues if Iran continues its nuclear plans. He reiterated Secretary Clinton’s words that Washington will continue to consult with its allies, including Turkey, about Iran. Professor Haghighi described the ways in which President Ahmadinejad’s policy towards the West, especially the U.S., does not build trust between the two countries. He explained why Iran wants to see itself as an equal partner in negotiations with America saying, “Iran has a great role to play in the region and the U.S. should accept that fact. Iran can help America in the security for the region.” The two guests also discussed Morocco’s concerns about the Shiite minority in the North African state because of the possibility that the populations could come under the influence of Iran.
Roundtable March 3 – Viewers participated in the discussion which focused on Secretary Clinton’s off –the- record comment to a key Arab ally, presumably from the UAE, that she is doubtful Iran will respond to calls for dialogue. It is being reported that Under Secretary of State William Burns has suggested to the Russians that if Russia can help convince Iran not to build long-range weapons, the U.S. will stop development of a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
News and Views March 2 – PNN interviewed Iraqi government spokesperson Ali al-Dabagh on Monday, who stressed to PNN that the expansion of Iran-Iraq interests would not interfere with U.S. interests. He said the aim of Iraqi president Jalal Talibani is for the expansion of economic, political and trade relations between the two countries. President Talabani said his country’s relationship with Iran is flourishing. Mr. al Dabagh cited the current close cooperation between the neighboring countries in several arenas as an example. However, he also stated that the Mujahedin must exit Iraq and cited President Talabani’s statements regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s interference in northern Iraq and the shelling of Iraq’s Kurdistan region as evidence that Iran-Iraq relations are not contrary to U.S. policy.
SHOULD IRAN’S NUCLEAR CAPABILITIES BE COMPARED TO PAKISTAN?
Roundtable March 6 – International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) updates on Iran were the focus of t discussion with Jacqueline Shire, a senior analyst at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). Ms. Shire spoke about the technicalities of Iran’s refusal to cooperate with inspections, saying, “Potentially more troubling is Iran's refusal to allow IAEA inspection of nuclear facilities not covered under traditional safeguards, in particular places where centrifuges are manufactured and stored.” According to her, Iranian authorities have repeatedly said that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and those who “accuse” Iran of producing nuclear weapons are just “Zionists who attempt to scratch Islam and to deprive the Islamic Iran from scientific improvements.” Iranian authorities have repeatedly stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no interest in nuclear weapons. Ms. Shire analyzed the words and actions of Pakistan on this very issue. More than two decades ago, on December 1982, before the first Pakistani nuclear weapon test occurred, Pakistani President Gen. Zia-ol Haq said, “I would like to state once again that our ongoing nuclear program has an exclusively peaceful dimension and that Pakistan has neither the means nor, indeed, any desire to manufacture a nuclear device.” In addition, four years
ahead of the test, the so-called Father of the Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, said, “the ‘Islamic bomb’ is a figment of the Zionist mind.” Debate centered on whether or not it is advisable to compare Iran with Pakistan in regards to the nuclear issue.
News and Views March 3 – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced the unrelenting commitment of the U.S. to Israel's security in her meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres today during her first visit to Israel as the top U.S. diplomat. Secretary Clinton said rocket fire from Gaza into Israel must stop, adding that no nation could stand idly by while its territory and people are subjected to rocket attacks. However, a Hamas spokesman stated, “The policy of the American government has not changed in the region and neither has its double standard.” The Hamas spokesman went on to say that the United States does not deal with the Palestinian issue in a balanced way. Secretary Clinton said that she and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni discussed the threat of Iran with an understanding that the goal of both nations is to deter Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Ms. Livni called Iran's ideology an "unsolvable" problem. Meanwhile, in Vienna, IAEA Chief Mohamed El Baradei urged Iran to implement all measures required to build confidence that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature. Gregory Schulte, the U.S. permanent ambassador to the IAEA, expressed the Obama administration's willingness to engage directly with Iran.
News and Views March 2 – On the eve of an IAEA meeting in Vienna, Admiral Mike Mullen told CNN television that Iran has enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb. The IAEA meeting will discuss information on the nuclear programs of Iran, Syria and North Korea. Admiral Mullen, who serves as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed his concerns about what Iran could do with a nuclear weapon. However, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told another television station that Iran is far away from such possibility. A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry today rejected any speculations about Iran building a nuclear bomb soon on the basis of technical limitations. Meanwhile, before departing on her first trip to the Middle East, Secretary of State Clinton told VOA that the Israeli and Palestinian political circumstances would not affect the Obama policy of a two-state solution. The Secretary of State also commented on the possibility of reconciliation between the two Palestinian factions. She reminded viewers that Hamas would have to recognize Israel and abide by previous agreements.
News and Views March 7 – PNN reported that President Obama is scheduled to travel to Turkey within the next month. Secretary of State Clinton made the announcement during her meetings with Turkish leaders in Ankara last week. She met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and her Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan, to discuss regional issues including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Turkey’s relationship with Pakistan, and the fight against terrorism. Yesterday, Secretary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Both diplomats said they would develop a working plan to reach an agreement to reduce the two nations’ nuclear arsenals.
News and Views March 7 – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State Clinton spoke positively, but cautiously, about the ability to find common ground on nuclear arms reductions. Secretary Clinton described their meeting in Geneva on Friday as a “fresh start.” Minister Lavrov stated, “We did not agree on everything, of course, but we agreed to work on every issue,” Some policy makers believe that Russia possesses significant leverage on issues affecting U.S. foreign policy – Iran’s nuclear program and Afghanistan – to cite some examples. International analyst Dr. Bahman Aghaii Diba spoke about Friday’s meeting, which to date is the highest-level meeting yet between the Obama administration and Russia. Dr. Diba was asked by PNN to what extent Russia would cooperate with the U.S. concerning Iran’s nuclear program. He did not seem optimistic, citing Russia’s economic interests in Iran. The U.S. failed to persuade Moscow not to sell long-range, surface-to-air missiles to Iran. Israel was also unsuccessful in lobbying against the sale. Dr. Diba was, however, confident about Secretary Clinton’s recent meeting with Turkish officials, noting the important role Turkey can play in the establishment of peace in the Middle East.
News and Views March 6 – Secretary of State Clinton proposed an international meeting on Afghanistan, inviting Iran to the conference. She called for all neighboring countries and those states strategically involved with Afghanistan to participate in the conference. Secretary Clinton said Tehran was helpful early on in Washington’s efforts in Afghanistan and spoke of the many reasons for Iranians to be interested in cooperating on Afghan-related issues. She suggested that the UN Secretary General open the meeting and that the UN special envoy for Afghanistan chair the proceedings. Acting State Department Spokesman Gordon Doguid said the details of the conference are still being worked out.
News and Views March 3 – PNN reported that $2.4 billion in security assistance for Israel has been appropriated, fulfilling the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel. Also outlined in the budget are $1.5 billion in economic and security assistance for Egypt and $498.5 million in economic and security assistance for Jordan. Meanwhile, congressional representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) expressed her concerns regarding the Obama Administration’s pledge of $900 million in U.S. assistance for Gaza and the Palestinian Authority
News and Views March 3 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Iran titled, “Iranian Political and Nuclear Realities, and U.S. Policy Options.” The hearing was the first in a series of Iran-focused hearings to be held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Meanwhile, included in a $410 billion 2009 spending bill is a provision asking the secretary of state to report on Iran sanctions. If approved, section 7043 of the bill specifies that the secretary of state must submit a report to the committees on appropriations regarding the status of multilateral and bilateral United States sanctions against Iran no later than 180 days after the bill’s approval. The report, which may be submitted in classified form if necessary, shall include a list of all current United States bilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iran. It would also include a list of all United States and foreign registered entities which the secretary of state has reason to believe may be in violation of existing United States bilateral and multilateral sanctions. In addition, it would have a detailed description of United States efforts to enforce sanctions, including a list of all investigations that have resulted in a determination that a sanctions violation has occurred and United States government actions taken pursuant to the determination. In the instances when sanctions were waived or otherwise not imposed against entities that were determined to have violated United States bilateral or multilateral sanctions, the reason in each instance of why action was not taken to sanction the entity; and a description of United States diplomatic efforts to expand bilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iran and strengthen international efforts to enforce existing sanctions.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY OBSERVED BY STUDYING CULTURAL NORMS
48 Hours March 7 – In honor of International Women’s Day, 48 Hours centered on the discussion of women's issues in today's Iran. Guests included anthropologist Fariba Adelkhah and poet Simin Behbahani. Ms. Adelkhah has lived in France since 1977 and her research focuses on the relationships and interplay between social changes and political transformations throughout the second half of 20th century. Simin Behbahani is a prominent Iranian poet and women's rights defender who is affiliated with the One Million Signatures campaign. Dr. Adelkhah began by saying that tribal and cultural norms and traditions are greater obstacles to women's equality than laws in most third world countries. "But this is not limited to just underdeveloped countries. For instance in Switzerland, there are two Swiss cantons where women are not allowed the vote," she said, adding, "In Iran it's not only the women's movement that is under pressure and assault. Other movements such as students and labor movements feel under siege too." Ms. Behbahani said that Iranian women have historically been at the forefront of social change through peaceful means. The activist described the ways in which Iranian women can play the same role again with their One Million Signature Campaign. Dr. Adelkhah said that there are competing centers of power and each has different visions on the role of women in society. Both women agreed that the Islamic veil should be a personal issue and not compulsory. The anthropologist and the activist also believe women should be free to choose their own clothing in general. Dr. Adelkhah concluded by saying that the Iran-Iraq war, which lasted for eight years during the 1980s, helped put women's demands for equality on the backburner and thus stunted the progress of Iranian women.
Today's Woman March 7 – Today’s show was the first of a two-part special commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD). Contributors to the discussion focused on Iran’s neighboring countries including the conditions of Afghan, Tajik, and Kurdish women. In the first segment, Ms. Nayereh Tohidi, professor and chair of the Gender Women's Studies Department at California State University Northridge, focused on the history and origins of International Women’s Day, contending that although women in developed countries have reached many of their goals, it is still important to recognize the obstacles women face at the global level. The next segment included interviews with Ms. Nahid Bahmani, a women’s rights activist based in London; Ms. Shakhzoda Nazarova, a journalist based in Amsterdam; and in-studio guest and women’s rights activist Sonia Frotan. Ms. Frotan focused on the status of women in Afghanistan, comparing the ways in which International Women’s Day celebrations took place before and after the reign of the Taliban. Ms. Bahmani focused on the conditions of Kurdish women, emphasizing the way Kurdish women face both gender and ethnic discrimination. Ms. Nazarova stated that IWD is celebrated extensively in Tajikistan and noted that in Tajikistan the official name of IWD has been changed to International Mother’s Day in an effort to signify the role of women domestically.
MUSIC AND FILM NOTES
Late Edition March 5 – Joining PNN from Irvine, California, Dr. Ahmad Kamron Jabbari appeared on Late Edition. He is the founder and the president of Mazda Publisher in Southern California. This company has traditionally produced quality texts, reference materials, literary works, and general interest books for both researchers and the public at large. Titles touch on a wide variety of topics such as art and architecture, politics, religion, history, language, and culture. Mazda Publishing focuses on what Dr. Jabbari described as “academic examination and the dissemination of knowledge on various aspects of Iranian civilization throughout history.”
Late Edition March 6 – From Berlin, a unique interview for music fans as Behrang Alavi from the band Samavayo appeared on Late Edition. Samavayo is a group of musicians who have played together since their school days in Berlin. “Samavayo is rock, pure and simple,” band front man Behran Alavi said. The group is set to release their first professional album in 2009 and recently won the Coca-Cola Soundwave Discovery Tour. Their single “Wait” is moving up the charts in Germany.
Late Edition March 7 – Film director Joseph Hovsepian joined Late Edition from Los Angeles, California, to talk about his new film. Born in 1973 in Iran, he described his childhood and spoke about how his father’s martyrdom would later influence his interest in spiritual cinema and Christian films. Joseph’s father was a pastor in Iran who was brutally murdered in 1994. He stated, “it was through my father's encouragement that I've been able to fulfill my goals toward my career of sharing of the message of hope to the media.” Mr. Hovespian studied film and cinema in England and moved to southern California because he wanted to be near Hollywood. He later founded his production company in Los Angeles. Mr. Hovespian focused largely on his award-winning film (produced in Austria) "The Tune of Nostalgia,” which depicts the story of an Iranian refugee in Austria who dreams of immigrating to the United States. Mr. Hovespian stated, “This is the story of life, love and hope.”
WEEKLY BOOK REVIEW LOOKS BEHIND “THE HONEYMOON SHIP”
Late Edition March 7 – In response to viewer requests to introduce books published in Iran, Late Edition introduced Nahid Kabiri's new novel "The Honeymoon Ship".
Ms. Kabiri is a writer and translator and was the first Iranian poet selected to participate in the 22nd Annual International Poetry Festival in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently attending a poetry festival in Dubai that runs from March 4 to March 10. Late Edition provided an overview of Ms. Kabiri’s works in which she explores culture and society of Iran. Some of her topics include the portrayal of everyday life and the post-revolutionary experiences of women in society. In the "Honeymoon Ship," she tells the story of a woman in her forties who is dealing with the onset of her second husband's battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, the protagonist is still in love with a famous painter who she met years ago when she was a flight attendant. In “The Honeymoon Ship,” Ms. Kabiri explores the impact of the Islamic Revolution on the lives of everyday people, expressing her criticism of intellectuals, former communists and those who were infatuated with Stalinism.
PHOTO EXHIBITION: IRANIAN WOMEN IN SOCIETY
Today’s Woman March 8 – Photos from the inaugural photo contest “Iranian Women in Society” sponsored by Today’s Woman were exhibited in the Howard Frank Auditorium at the University of Maryland as a sub-section of the Celebration of International Women's Day. The Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland co-sponsored the event. Below are some photos from the exhibition, which featured stunning and varied photographs of women in Iranian society.
This week on the History Channel – The week began with a glimpse into the rugged, sprawling region of southeastern United States that is punctuated by sleepy hollows, impenetrable mountains and river valleys. The land and its people were portrayed in the two-part series, “Hillbillies.” Viewers were able to learn about the rugged mountain men who fought the Indians and helped to settle America’s first frontier. They saw the coalmines, old revival churches, moonshiners and met a fiercely independent breed of mountain people. During the second half of the week, viewers gained insights into the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jerry Garcia and Dwight D. Eisenhower. A&E’s portrait on the wife of President John F. Kennedy centered on her desire to raise her children well and securely, both personal and financial. Her greatest wish in life was to be a good mother to her children. She once said, “If you bungle raising your kids nothing much else matters in life.” She was a woman admired for her beauty, style, glamour, self-control and dignity. Next up, views regarding the wild journey of Jerry Garcia – bandleader and guitarist for the Grateful Dead, which had a cult-like following. The final portrait of the week looked at Dwight D. Eisenhower. A reluctant president, he was a warrior that loved peace. He was born and raised in Kansas and attended West Point. His military career brought him to the position of Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in World War II. Although the special revealed the whole man, Dwight Eisenhower emerges from this telling as an undiminished hero and one of our greatest Americans.
PNN’s question of the week – “Would closer ties between Iraq and Iran help the US-Iran relations improve?” Out of 21,029 respondents – 15,66 or 7 percent said yes – 19,137 or 91 percent said no – while 326 or 2 percent did not have an opinion.
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. One in four Iranian households tune into a VOA program at least once a week. Programs are also 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, featuring influential women from around the world who discuss a full spectrum of social, medical, human rights, legal, sports and business topics. News and Views, PNN’s existing flagship, 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 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.
Fariba Farzan from Tehran writes to VOA: “Dear sirs/ madams: Your programs, compared to BBC, have become tedious. Nobody spends two hours to listen to your news any longer. The Roundtable program has lost its appeal. I ask you: Be honest, if you put yourself in the audience’s shoes, would you watch BBC or VOA? Your Shabahang program (Late Edition) is good, because it is short and sweet, not boring. BBC is adopting your Shabahang. I expect you to make some changes in your programs. Plan something for women, but not like Zan-e Emrooz (Today’s Women) Thanks.”
Mehregan from Tehran comments: “Once again, the Regime has arranged the pretentious election campaign. However, people can no longer be deceived by this ‘democracy show’ which is played by the Regime. There is no competition for the coming election, and this show cannot last for long.”
Sasan from Iran writes: “Iranian media have started to defame the International Court, because the authorities of Iranian regime fear of tomorrow when they receive arrest warrants for the crime they have committed.”
A Today’s Women viewer writes: “I am a steadfast viewer. I always watch Voice of America. One you your best programs is Today’s Woman on Tuesday with Mr. Nabavi. I think by bringing Mr. Nabavi in your program, your viewers have increased. I hope you can increase airtime with Mr. Nabavi.”
Fariborz from Karaj remarks: “Many American analysts believe that the United States should wait until the end of the coming presidential election. However, they should know that “presidency” is only a ceremonial position in Iran, and Khamenei is the one who gives the final voice, and dictates the policies.”
Mahyar from Tehran: “Khamenei’s speech at the Palestinian Conference in Tehran was full of conspicuous lies and insults. Khamenei proposes a referendum for Palestinians, while he does not accept a referendum for his own nation. Khamenei should not recommend something which he himself is not ready to do.”
Mehran from Maragheh writes: “One of the oldest Mithraism temples in Maragheh City, Azabaijan Province is subject to be ruined. The mayor of Maraghe city and the Cultural Heritage Department dump wastes and refuse in the building, laying the ground for destruction of this ancient building, which is said to have been used by the Mithraism followers thousands years ago.”
Maral and Yashar write: “Hello to you all at Today’s Woman. Dear friends, on the occasion of the International Woman’s Day, I wish you happy March 8th. Congratulation to you and thanks for your effort to enlighten [viewers] and to work for the cause of freedom and equality. I hope and dream for the day that all women have equal rights. Thank you very much, Maral, and Yashar from Goldasht in Iran.”
Azari from Ardabil comments: “Having regard to the personal belongings of the late Gandhi, auctioned a few days ago, with those of Iranian Ayatollahs and officials – such as Mahsooli, the Interior Minister – you will find the meaning of ‘justice oriented’ government of Mr. Ahmadinejad.”
Roohangiz asks: “Hello and thank you for the great Today’s Woman program. Would you please produce programs about divorced women in Iran? Would you approach this topic from different angles? One of the angles is this reality that divorced woman have major difficulties to be able to marry again. Another approach is that with regards to the high percentage of divorce among woman; it is seen as a taboo thing. Thank you Roohangiz form Tehran.”