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First Iranian President Tells VOA Democracy and Brutality Do Not Go Together

Banisadr made comments during two-hour special program

Washington, D.C., February 12, 2010 – Abolhassan Banisadr, first president of Iran after the Islamic Revolution, told the Voice of America’s (VOA) Persian News Network (PNN) that "lack of freedom in this regime [is the main problem]... they should respect freedom and leave brutality, because democracy and brutality do not go together...."

Banisadr made those comments Thursday, during a two-hour special program that delivered a historical perspective of Iran’s Islamic Revolution on its 31st anniversary. The program examined the promises made by Ayatollah Khomeini and today’s reality, and covered opposition demonstrations in Dubai, Italy, Sweden, Los Angeles, and New York City.

VOA's PNN ( has the largest combined television and radio audience in Iran of all international broadcasters, with nearly 30% of adult Iranians watching a VOA program at least once a week. VOA broadcasts seven hours of television daily, repeated in a 24-hour format, and five hours of radio. Broadcasts are available round-the-clock on the Internet.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

For more information, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail