Office of the Spokesman
February 15, 2006
Reaching Out to the People of Iran
Released on February 15, 2006
As the Secretary noted in her February 15 Senate testimony, we will work with our friends and allies on a range of measures to reach out to the Iranian people and support their calls for freedom. These will include:
- Empowering Iranian Civil Society: The Administration will spend at least $10 million in FY06 funds to support the cause of freedom in Iran this year. These funds will be used to support political dissidents, labor union leaders and human rights activists. We will also work with NGOs to help build networks of support inside and outside Iran.
- FY06 Supplemental Request: The Administration will request an additional $75 million in its FY06 supplemental request to support:
- Broadcasting to the Iranian People: With $50 million we will significantly increase our television broadcasting ability, establishing a 24 hour/7 days a week broadcast in Farsi into Iran. We will also work to improve our radio transmission capability and tap into satellite technology for both radio and TV transmission into Iran.
- Promoting Iranian Democracy: An additional $15 million will foster participation in the political process and support efforts to expand internet access as a tool for civic organization. Working with NGOs and through organizations such as the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute and National Endowment for Democracy we will support civic education and work to help organize Iranian labor unions and political organizations.
- Scholarships and Fellowships: We will also expand our outreach to young Iranians with $5 million for Iranian student education and international visitors programs designed to build bridges between the people of our two nations.
- Enhancing Communication: We will support internet and other efforts to reach the Iranian public with $5 million in funding for public diplomacy. We will also support the development of independent Farsi television and radio.
- Enabling Action: To enable U.S. and other NGOs to undertake these activities for the Iranian people, inside and outside Iran, the Departments of State and Treasury are working together to secure Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) licenses so that we can make grants to these organizations. New licensing procedures will allow us to move quickly and effectively to support democracy efforts in Iran. We will be announcing more details about the new licensing procedures by the end of this week.
This is just a beginning. As these initial efforts begin to bear fruit, we will build on them to create new opportunities to expand our support for the Iranian people.