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Iran TV

Aired June 18, 2003 - 08:36   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: To Tehran right now. Last night, thousands of Iranians drove around university campuses honking their horns and causing traffic jams. It was the eighth straight night of civil disobedience against the country's Islamic fundamentalist government. Iran's leaders blamed the unrest partly on satellite television broadcasts that are coming from outside the country.
In fact, one of those television outlets is called Azadi TV. It's beamed into Iran from a studio in Los Angeles. The station manager, Reza Fazeli, is an Iranian exile, and he's joining us from Southern California this morning.

Mr. Fazeli, good morning. Thanks for being with us.

REZA FAZELI, STATION MANAGER, AZADI TV: Good morning to you, and thanks for having me.

KAGAN: It's a pleasure. Explain this to me. How does a guy in Southern California help to incite government unrest on the other side of the world back in Iran?

FAZELI: Well, if I'm not here they're going to blame someone else. As I said all the time, they don't look for the reason. They -- I mean, they look for the causes. They don't want to find out the reason of democracy in Iran. They don't want to know...

KAGAN: Just explain to us first what Azadi TV is. I understand It's a small television operation in Southern California. How do you actually get your signal into Iran?

FAZELI: We launched by satellite, satellite 5 on United States satellite for Europe and the whole Middle East, and also we are on Internet, And the people are hungry to hear the news, the truth of what is going on outside of Iran, because everything has been censored. They filtered the Internet. They close all the door to them. They have no other option to come to the treat and raise their voice for democracy, for freedom.

KAGAN: You, yourself, you're on the air a couple of hours a day, and part of the program is very free form; it's not scripted. You're taking a lot of e-mail, you're taking a lot of faxes from people you say who are from within Iran, and I think you've got an example or two for us today to share.

FAZELI: That's correct. That's an e-mail that we could forward to you. I have so many faxes with me, which is unfortunately written in Farsi. But, in these I get up to -- within two hours, to five numbers of faxes. I get about 500. But normal day, it's between 200, 250, 150.

It started about eight days ago that we received a call from Tehran, and they were seeking for help, that same thing is going to happen, what happened four years ago. They throw the student (ph) out of the windows and they just killed the people, and we called for the help from the people. Within less than one hour, 5,000 people from Tehran were there, and within eight days, it had spread all over Iran, every major city in Iran is in unrest.

FAZELI: It's amazing what's taking place here. Are you encouraged by what you see, whether it's the people taking to the streets or watching programs that you're producing from Southern California, or writing or fighting back? Are you encouraged by what you see from within your home country?

FAZELI: I am, indeed. But I'm not surprised. Because the people of Iran are trying to do demonstration. They are trying to send their voice out of Iran for 24 years. From the first day the cleric government took over and this kind of dictatorship, they call it republic. There is no republic. Republic of Islamic cannot match together. Islam is what the God says. Republic is what the people says. But they are not the public. They are not Islamic, because they are not doing exactly what Islam said. They are not doing what the Republicans should do.

KAGAN: Mr. Fazeli, will you on the air later today? What's time's your program broadcast, from L.A. time.

FAZELI: Every day, 7:30, 9:30, and these day, I do another two hours in the afternoon, 2:00 to 4:00.

KAGAN: And apparently, there will be a lot of people watching back home in Iran.

Reza Fazeli, thank you.

KAGAN: Go ahead.

FAZELI: We have about more than 20 million viewer, and while I think it gets more and more every day, and with the help of the -- I should thank, really, this time from the Western media for helping us and raising Iranian voice for the world and the people knows what's going on in Iran.

Thank you very much.

KAGAN: The power information is absolutely amazing what it can do today. Reza Fazeli, thank you for joining us, sir. Appreciate your time.

FAZELI: Thank you.


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