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Iran Marks the 30th Anniversary of Its Islamic Revolution

Iran has raised concerns among western nations with its nuclear program and recent satellite launch.  Also, Iraq’s elections show strong support for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s coalition. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

Iran is observing the thirtieth anniversary of the country's Islamic revolution with a ten-day celebration that began last Saturday. The nineteen seventy-nine revolution forced Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi out of power and made Ayatollah Khomeini the country's leader. The revolution replaced the country's monarchy with an Islamic religious government. Between two and three million Iranians left the country during and after the revolution.

The revolution was meant to end a repressive rule. Yet pro-democracy reformists say the changes have not brought the freedom and justice for which many had hoped.

The anniversary celebration is called "Ten Days of Dawn." It comes about four months ahead of the nation's presidential elections in June. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is seeking re-election for another four-year term.

Also this week, the country launched its first Iranian-made satellite into space. President Ahmadinejad reportedly called the satellite launch "a message of brotherhood and peace" to the world. But the satellite launch caused international concern.

Western nations are concerned that Iran could use the missile technology to launch a nuclear weapon, which Iran is suspected of building. Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. The United States government said it will use "all elements" of its national power to deal with Iran.

On Wednesday, diplomats from six major powers met in Germany. They discussed steps to take in dealing with Iran and its nuclear program. The representatives from France, Germany, the United States, China, Russia and Britain said they would seek a diplomatic solution. They also urged Iran to honor the United Nations demands to stop enriching uranium and open its nuclear program to international inspectors.

Also this week, early results were announced from provincial elections held in neighboring Iraq. The results from last Saturday's elections show Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's coalition won a strong victory over Shi'ite religious parties. Prime Minister Maliki is Shi'ite. But he has taken action against religious extremist military groups.

Fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces voted for ruling councils. It was the nation's first election since two thousand five. United Nations officials were heavily involved in planning the elections, which took place without any major violence. The elections are being seen as a vote on Mister Maliki's leadership ahead of national parliamentary elections to be held later this year.

In Washington, President Obama said the provincial elections were very important. He said they showed that Iraqis are ready to take over more of their own security.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. Get transcripts and MP3s of our programs, and watch Special English on TV, at I'm Steve Ember.