Wednesday, February 15, 2006

US to Devote 75 Million Dollars to Promoting Democracy in Iran

Yahoo News:
The US administration will ask Congress for another 75 million dollars to boost democracy in Iran amid growing concern over Tehran's nuclear program, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

She told a Senate committee the money, which amounts to more than a doubling of the funding for pro-democracy activities in Iran, would go to stepped-up radio and television broadcasts and other programs.

"The United States has been at the forefront of nations seeking to take Iran to the UN Security Council on fears that it is seeking nuclear weapons," Rice said in prepared testimony for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"The United States will actively confront the aggressive policies of the Iranian regime," she said. "At the same time, we will work to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy in their country."

A State Department official said the 75 million dollars would be requested as supplemental funding for the 2006 fiscal year, on top of the 60 million dollars already appropriated.

The official, who asked not to be named, said 50 million dollars of the added money would go to expanded radio and television broadcasts into Iran to ensure around-the-clock coverage.

He said 10 million dollars would go to shoring up the work of civil society groups, reformers and political activists trying to promote democracy in the Islamic republic.

Rice said, "This money will enable us to increase our support for democracy and improve our radio broadcasting into Iran, to begin satellite television broadcasts, to increase the contacts between our peoples ... and to bolster our public diplomacy."
This is great news for the people of Iran. Finally the resources to assist them will be there. Now we need to focus on getting the funds to the right people. I will be reporting more on this soon.