Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Iranians in Israel run Radio Radisin, a private, Farsi-language station that tries to build a bridge between Israel and Iran
By Aron Heller, Associated Press / February 7, 2012
By Aron Heller, Associated Press
posted February 7, 2012 at 11:42 am EST
While Israeli leaders are increasingly sounding belligerent warnings of a potential military strike against Iran's nuclear installations, a group of Iranian-Israelis are transmitting a different message.
Radio RADISIN, a private Farsi-language radio station based in Tel Aviv, airs Iranian music, poetry and current affairs shows aiming to spread peace between the Israeli and Iranian people — regardless of who is in power in Tehran.
"We, the people in Israel, are a peaceful nation and not an enemy, or the 'little Satan' as we are described by the Iranian regime," said Shay Amir, the station's 42-year-old CEO, who left Iran for Israel after the 1979 Islamic revolution. "For 32 years, the regime has poisoned its people against Israel. We are here to tell the truth."
Before the revolution, Israel and Iran were close allies. Some 100,000 Jews of Iranian descent live in Israel today, many with fond memories and still strong ties to friends and relatives in their homeland. An estimated 25,000 Jews still live in Iran.
But now Israel considers Iran its most dangerous foe because of the Islamic Republic's support of Palestinian militant groups, its repeated threats to destroy the Jewish state and its nuclear program.
Israel, like the West, believes Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear research program is for peaceful purposes only.
Israeli leaders have repeatedly hinted that they would consider taking military action against Iran if they conclude the international community's current approach of diplomacy and sanctions fails. For the first time in nearly two decades, world leaders are genuinely concerned that an Israeli military attack on Iran could be imminent — an action that many fear might trigger a wider war, terrorism and global economic havoc.
Despite harsh economic sanctions and international pressure, Iran is refusing to abandon its nuclear program, which it insists is for purely civilian purposes like producing electricity and medical isotopes.
RADISIN broadcasts 24 hours a day via the Internet, satellite and cable TV. It says 100,000 listeners tune in daily, including an undisclosed number from Iran, where Internet speeds are slow and many sites, including those of political opposition groups, are blocked.
It's not the only Israeli media directed toward Iran. Israel's state-run radio station has been broadcasting in Farsi for 50 years from a spartan studio off a narrow Jerusalem alleyway.
It too chats with Iranians — via a switchboard in Germany to get around a ban on calls from Iran to the Jewish state. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has even named the "Zionist broadcast" as among those behind civilian unrest in his country.
RADISIN relies mainly on anonymous sponsors and donations and it airs some commercials. It takes calls from Iranian listeners who often criticize the regime in Tehran and express affection for Israel.
For fear of exposing these callers — and having them branded as collaborators by the Iranian regime — the station asked The Associated Press not to record the conversations.
Others in Iran have been less enamored by the Israeli broadcast.
"Twice from Iran, they hacked our website and caused damage, and because of this we decided to switch and air via satellite," said Amir.
|February 8, 2012 Wednesday 15 Shevat 5772 9:43 IST|
|The United States and Israel are in no position to launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities because of their high susceptibility to retaliatory attacks from the Islamic Republic, a senior Iranian military commander said Tuesday.|
Iranian news agency Press TV quoted senior Revolutionary Guard official Brig.-Gen. Masoud Jazayeri as saying that both the US and Israel were aware of Tehran's ability to hurt them with its counterattack and therefore their threats lack credibility.
The Tehran Times quoted Jazayeri as saying that Iran will continue to pursue its objectives without considering, what he referred to as, Washington's policy of "carrot and stick."
The senior Revolutionary Guard official made the comments in response to remarks made by US President Barack Obama on Sunday in which he stated that diplomacy and not military action was the "preferred solution" to the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
The White House announced tough new sanctions on Iran Monday, clamping down on the activity of the country’s Central Bank and those who do business with it.
They are the latest round of sanctions imposed after President Barack Obama signed legislation at the end of the year that ramped up US options for using sanctions to pressure the Iranians to stop their nuclear program.
In an interview with NBC on Sunday Obama emphasized the goal is to resolve this issue diplomatically, while reiterating that he will not take any options off the table.
Asked whether Israel had promised to give advance warning of an attack, Obama declined to reveal the content of diplomatic conversations but said, “We are going to make sure we work in lockstep as we proceed to try to solve this, hopefully diplomatically.”
Questioned on whether he supported such a strike, Obama responded, “I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do. I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on their nuclear weapons program.”Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report.