"Iran activists: U.S. ‘democracy’ work backfiring."
“Washington’s latest attempt to foist change on Iran is backfiring — as Iranian democracy advocates had warned,” Time magazine reports.
The Bush administration had trumpeted its $61.1 million democracy program, including Farsi-language broadcasts into Iran, education and cultural exchanges and $20 million worth of support for “civil society, human rights, democratic reform and related outreach” as an important effort.
However, sources tell TIME that several key Iranian reformers had repeatedly warned U.S. officials through back channels that the pro-democracy program was bound to expose them as vulnerable targets for a government crackdown whether they took Washington’s funds or not.
Iranian civil rights activists contacted by TIME say that the cases against the Iranian-Americans have fostered the most repressive atmosphere inside Iran in years, making democracy advocates terrified to work or even speak on the telephone.