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Cablegate: Surveying Friendly Countries On Their Iran Civil

VZCZCXRO4501
PP RUEHDIR
DE RUEHC #6354/01 1551440
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041431Z JUN 07
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 7816
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1002
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 5627
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 3434
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 8541
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 3736
RUEHDIR/IRAN RPO DUBAI PRIORITY 0006

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 076354

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM KPAO IR
SUBJECT: SURVEYING FRIENDLY COUNTRIES ON THEIR IRAN CIVIL
SOCIETY AND DEMOCRACY PROGRAMMING

REF: STATE 2659

1. (U) This is an action request; see paragraph 3.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

2. Begin Background.

(U) Through its Freedom Agenda and diplomatic engagement with
like-minded governments and NGOs, the Department is engaging
in programs throughout Iran to promote civil society, respect
for human rights, and freedom of information. Congress
authorized $94.32 million in FY06 to help fund various
programming initiatives in Iran, a number which the
Department expects to increase in future years.

(U) The State Department's Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) budget
allocation for Iran consisted of $28.22 million from the
regular FY06 Foreign Operations Bill, plus an additional
$66.1 million from the FY06 Supplemental Budget, for a total
of $94.32 million in 2006.

(U) The $28.22 million from the regular budget was allocated
as follows: $17.62 million to the Broadcasting Board of
Governors (BBG) for television and radio broadcasting into
Iran; $500,000 for operational and internet outreach costs
for the Department's expanded Iran operations; $100,000 for
renewed people-to-people exchanges with Iran (see more
information below on ECA programs); and a $10 million soft
earmark (minimum spending threshold) for democracy
programming in Iran. On this last item, the Department's
actual democracy programming obligation was $11.15 million
from the regular budget - $4.15 million from the Bureau of
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) plus $7 million from
the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs' Middle East Partnership
Initiative (MEPI).

(U) The $66.1 million supplemental budget was allocated as
follows: $27 million to NEA/MEPI for additional Iran
democracy programs; $36.1 million to the BBG for expanded
broadcasting via Radio Farda and Voice of America Persian
Television; $5 million to the Bureau of Educational and
Cultural Affairs (ECA) for cultural and educational
exchanges; and $5 million to the Bureau of International
Information Policy (IIP) for increased internet access and
presence in Iran, including resources to expand the State
Department's Persian website.

(U) Paralleling but distinct from our democratization
efforts, at President Bush,s direction, we have resumed
people-to-people educational, cultural and professional
exchanges with Iran. ECA is using the $5 million it received
from the FY06 supplemental budget to re-engage the Iranian
people. After a hiatus of more than a quarter century, our
focus is to promote greater mutual understanding, and to
provide Iranians with exposure to U.S. society, institutions
and values. Exchanges began last year and included the
successful visit of a group of Iranian medical professionals
to the U.S. This year we have already had visits by a group
of Iranian artists and a group of disaster relief specialists
participate in these programs. Initially funded with
supplemental monies, future educational and cultural
exchanges with Iran will be supported through ECA,s annual
appropriation.

(U) Given the substantial Iran funding in the FY06
Supplemental Budget, the State Department will not expend
FY07 budget funds on Iran until FY06 funds have been
exhausted. We also expect an increase in Iran funding for
democracy promotion programs in the FY08 budget, which is
currently being negotiated.

(U) The USG's Iran democracy programs aim to develop
democratic values, support human rights, build civil society,
provide the Iranian people with access to unbiased
information; and promote understanding of Western culture.
Projects target influential democratic actors and groups,
including labor, women, and students. Key goals for these
programs include: expanding the reach of Radio Farda by

STATE 00076354 002 OF 002


contracting for another radio transmitter to overcome Iranian
jamming; expanding Voice of America Persian Television to
operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; promoting competitive,
independent, and professional television and radio content
production; utilizing innovative technologies to communicate
with the Iranian people for the development of innovative Web
content (e.g. children's programming), use of SMS, and pod
casting; providing communication tools for activists,
including internet communication and training for
journalists; helping Iranians conduct civic education
campaigns that develop an understanding of rights and
responsibilities under a democracy; supporting human rights
defenders, rule of law, and justice programs; supporting
civil society development and network building, including
independent labor; and supporting efforts to document human
rights abuses by the Iranian regime.

(U) As is the case with our programs in other countries ruled
by repressive regimes, the United States does not make public
the identities of the Iranian democracy activists who elect
to work with us. Our programs are open to all who are
genuinely committed to a peaceful, democratic process in
Iran. Grants are made on the basis of proposals (either
solicited or unsolicited) to conduct projects within the
areas described above. The USG supports well conceived
programs, not particular groups.

End Background.

--------------
ACTION REQUEST
--------------

3. (SBU) Posts are requested to draw from the information on
U.S. democratization efforts outlined above to explain U.S.
activities in Iran and to solicit parallel information about
host country democracy promotion efforts in Iran. This cable
follows a similar Reftel demarche aimed at outlining EU
efforts to promote democratic reform in Iran.

----------
OBJECTIVES
----------

4. (SBU) Begin Objectives.

-- Convey background information regarding US democratization
efforts in Iran, emphasizing that our strategy is to maintain
a consistent message on core democratic values while ensuring
protection for the courageous Iranian men and women working
to advance democratic reform in Iran.

-- Request information about host country government and/or
host country NGO activities in Iran, stressing that we should
coordinate on specific areas of expertise to ensure that our
collective efforts are complementary (not duplicative). If
appropriate, identify possible areas for collaboration.

-- Inquire about safety and security concerns for Iranians
and/or host country nationals working on democracy programs
in Iran. Has the Iranian government taken steps to impede
host country activities in Iran?

End Objectives.

-----------------
POINTS OF CONTACT
-----------------

5. (SBU) POCs for this demarche request are NEA/IDP Dan Baldi
(BaldiDP@state.sgov.gov) and NEA/IR Rob McInturff
(McinturffRA@state.sgov.gov). Please note when responding
that Iran-related reporting cables must use the SIPDIS
caption and the IR country tag.
RICE

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