By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
Live interviews are rare on Iranian state television, for obvious reasons. Going off-script means there's a chance to evade the censors, which give the audience only the version of the news that is approved by authorities.
Yet, live interviews are, indeed, aired on some Iranian news channels, which can lead to problems, as an anchor with the News Network channel experienced recently while interviewing a Kabul-based analyst.
"Lenziran" has posted a video of the interview (in Persian, above). Here is a quick translation of the exchange:
The anchor asks the Afghan analyst in Kabul about the role of countries in the region vis-a-vis Afghanistan.
"Countries in the region, including Pakistan and Iran, don't want a democracy to exist in Afghanistan," says the analyst, who adds that, instead, Iran and Pakistan want to see war and instability in the country.
"[Iran and Pakistan] have had damaging interference in Afghanistan in the past 10 years," says the analyst, who is then interrupted by the anchor.
"Of course, this is your view -- you are right about Pakistan -- but I don't agree with you on Iran," the anchor says.
The anchor, in what seems to be an attempt to shift the topic, asks the analyst about the goals of Karzai's trip to Saudi Arabia.
But the analyst doesn't give up.
"I respect your view about Iran, [yet] Iran doesn't have friendly relations with any of its neighbors," he says. "Iran is the only country in the world that is fully isolated and facing a deep crisis."
Instead of challenging the analyst (who doesn't seem to have heard about Syria), the anchor abruptly ends the interview, cutting off the stubborn analyst in an effort to minimize the damage.
(For more on censorship on Iranian state television, read my interview with a former state TV presenter and producer here.).
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