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Taken Question
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 3, 2006
Question Taken at October 31, 2006 Daily Press Briefing

Iran Democracy Funding

Question:   How much of the $85 million for democracy promotion in Iran has been spent?

Answer:   The Fiscal Year 2006 budget for democracy programs in Iran consists of a $6.55 million earmark to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for Iran and Syria as part of an overall Department $10 million "soft earmark" (minimum threshold for Iran democracy spending) from the regular FY'06 budget, plus an additional $66.1 million from the FY'06 supplemental budget.

Of the original $10 million from the FY06 Foreign Operations Bill, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) is ready to obligate $4.15 million, while the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) is preparing to obligate $4.5 million through its Office of Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). The awards process for these funds are in their final stage. Both bureaus are waiting for carryover funds to be returned from OMB in order to award the grants. MEPI is currently in the process of awarding another $2.5 million of regular FY'06 funds, for a total Department of State spending of $11.15 million.

The largest portion of the supplemental budget for Iran is the $36.1 million allocated to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) for media programming into Iran , and questions about this funding should be directed to the BBG.

Another $20 million of supplemental funding was allocated to MEPI for additional democracy programs, which has been notified to Congress.

The remaining $10 million of supplemental funding is divided between the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ($5M) and the Bureau of International Information Programs ($5M) for Internet and other interactive programming.

2006/995


Released on October 31, 2006

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