February 9, 2006
GO OVER THEIR TURBANS TO THE PEOPLE:
U.S., Britain discuss promoting democracy in Iran (Reuters, Feb 8, 2006)
American and British diplomats held talks this week on ways to promote democracy in Iran amid concern that Tehran is skillfully exploiting a row over it's nuclear ambitions to fan anti-Western hostility, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
The discussions in Washington involved Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is coordinating U.S. policy on Iran, and British diplomats who are serving or have served in Tehran, the officials and diplomats told Reuters. [...]
American and British officials are leaning to the view that the West must create links with Iranians who oppose the Islamic cleric-led government of President Mohammad Ahmadinejad and are receptive to democracy.
"Obviously there is increasing interest both on Capitol Hill and in the administration in seeing what actually could be done to strengthen civil society in Iran," said a British diplomat. [...]
Bush's administration has been divided over just how strongly it should encourage political change in Iran. But in recent weeks it has increased the number of appearances by senior U.S. officials on media, like the BBC Persian service, which broadcast to Iranians.
"There's been a conscious effort to try to speak directly to the Iranian people and explain what is happening" within the international community on Iran, a senior U.S. official told Reuters. Iran's government often blocks foreign broadcasts.
U.S. and European officials said they believe most Iranians are unaware of a proposal put forward by Britain, France and Germany that would provide Iran with economic and political benefits if it abandons weapons-related nuclear activities.
Also on Wednesday, Burns discussed Iran in a closed-door session with the Congressional Working Group on Iran.
Iranians are likely much better informed than these guys assume and probably unmoved by the regime's machinations. You'd think we'd have learned from the end of the Cold War and the testimony of captive peoples that demonstrations in such countres are never real. But why not have the President and or the P.M. go to Iran personally, as Reagan did to Moscow, and meet with and talk to the Iranian people? If the regime resists the idea then call them out and show they're afraid of their own citizenry. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2006 4:22 PM