Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, October 12, 2007

Groups say U.S. Iran democracy funding does more harm than good

A coalition that includes the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and human rights groups urged Congress on Thursday to cut 75 million dollars in funding for democracy promotion in Iran, Agence-France Presse reported the same day.

The activists said the Iranian government sees the U.S. funding as a way to enforce regime change, and the conservative leadership has used it as a pretext for crackdown within the country.

“The money has made all Iranian NGOs targets and put them at great risk,” said Trita Parsi, president of NIAC. “While the Iranian government has not needed a pretext to harass its own population, it would behoove Congress not to provide it with one.”

According to the article, “The group said Iranian authorities arrested four Americans of Iranian descent this year, accusing them of accepting U.S. government grants to promote regime change in Iran.”

In defense of the pro-democracy funding, State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said: “Congress authorized this funding for us to be able to do things like expand radio and television broadcasting into Iran ... to be able to allow (Iranians) to hear subversive things like the truth.”

“I don't think anyone would likely suggest that is a bad idea or something that we should stop,” he added.

The coalition agreed that the expansion of radio and television broadcasting was useful, but said that further budget increases should be put on hold until an evaluation of past programs is completed.

For the full article, click here.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home