US cuts funding to Iran opposition

US cuts funding to Iran opposition

In an apparent shift from the Bush administration’s efforts to foster regime change in Iran by financing opposition groups, the Obama White House has all but dismantled the Iran Democracy Fund.

While the move has been criticised by neo-conservatives in the US, it has been welcomed by Iranian human rights and pro-democracy activists.

The controversial program was initiated by the Bush administration in an effort to topple the clerical regime in Tehran by financing Iranian NGOs.

While heralded by some in Washington, reactions in Iran to the program were overwhelmingly negative. [continued…]

Scholar who was held after disputed Iranian election is given at least 12 years

An Iranian-American scholar who was jailed during the protests following Iran’s disputed presidential election has been sentenced to at least 12 years on charges of acting against national security, Iranian state media reported Tuesday.

Kian Tajbaksh, a sociologist and urban planner with a doctorate from Columbia, was arrested July 9 and testified during a mass trial of opposition supporters in August.

American officials have repeatedly called on Tehran to release Mr. Tajbaksh, who was the only American citizen included in the mass show trials that followed Iran’s postelection unrest. He spent four months in prison in 2007 on charges of endangering national security. [continued…]

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