More than two dozen Iranian American and human rights groups have launched an appeal to Congress to reduce or eliminate new financial support of up to $75 million aimed at promoting democracy inside Iran.
The U.S. program, launched in 2006, backfired in its first year, undermining democracy efforts in Iran and leading to wider repression against activists as foreign agents or traitors, the groups said. Among those detained were four Iranian Americans, all charged with “crimes against national security” linked to the U.S. program. A second year of funding will further endanger democracy efforts, the groups added.
“Iranian reformers believe democracy cannot be imported and must be based on indigenous institutions and values. Intended beneficiaries of the funding — human rights advocates, civil society activists and others — uniformly denounce the program,” according to an open letter organized by the National Iranian American Council, the American Conservative Defense Alliance and the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. The letter was signed by 23 other liberal and conservative pro-democracy groups. [complete article]