The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) deplores threats by a senior Iranian official against reformist lawmaker Nouradin Pirmoazen, who criticized government actions in the run-up to Iran’s March 14 Parliamentary elections during an exclusive interview with the Voice of America’s Persian News Network.
In the VOA interview broadcast to Iran on March 9, Pirmoazen, an Iranian member of parliament and minority leader, criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy and referred to the disqualification of reformists from running for office as a “political massacre.”
Iranian Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie attacked Pirmoazen on the state-run news agency IRNA saying, “This has definitely been treason and an appalling act.”
“It is absurd and cowardly to call Nouradin Pirmoazen’s statement an act of treason. In fact, the lawmaker and other courageous voices in Iran are simply engaging in the kind of dialogue that characterizes a normal election process, ” said James K. Glassman, Chairman of the BBG, which oversees all non-military U.S. international broadcasting. Glassman noted that, in the interview, Pirmoazen even encouraged Iranians to participate in the elections.
Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Farda’s Persian-language programs have included extensive coverage of the lead-up to the Iranian elections. VOA’s daily coverage has wide-ranging interviews from inside and outside of Iran including examination of the role of the Revolutionary Guard, Guardian Council and the legal restrictions on the elections. A Farda series entitled, “Elections Under the Magnifying Glass” has been dedicated to election-related issues such as the history of parliamentary elections in Iran and includes interviews with activists and analysts in Iran and abroad.
BBG broadcasts reach one in four adult Iranians on a weekly basis. The Voice of America’s Persian News Network broadcasts seven hours daily on television by satellite and online to Iran. Radio Farda also broadcasts in Persian via radio and the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Radio Farda is a joint venture of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America. These organizations are among the entities that broadcast in 60 languages under the direction of the Broadcasting Board of Governors to an overseas audience of 155 million people.
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