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Cablegate: Embassy London's Outreach to Democracy Activists

VZCZCXRO8395
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHLO #1287/01 1291050
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081050Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8526
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 0051

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 001287

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR DRL/SEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL IR BM UK
SUBJECT: EMBASSY LONDON'S OUTREACH TO DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS

REF: A) STATE 44903 B) 07 LONDON 03983 C) LONDON 1163
D) E-MAILS 4/25 AND 4/29/08 LONDON (GAYLE)-
NEA/IR STANDAERT/COBERLY E) 2007 STATE
108924 (F) 2007 STATE 88465


1. Summary. In response to the President's democracy
outreach initiative, the Ambassador has led an active Embassy
effort, sustained throughout 2007 and 2008 and primarily with
an Iranian focus, to demonstrate support and build bridges to
democratic activists, including a personal meeting by the
Ambassador with UK-based Iranian activists. End summary.

Iran Focus
----------

2. In response to Department guidance on the President's
outreach initiative (refs e and f), Post chose to take
advantage of the Iranian diaspora presence in London, as well
as the expertise on the community provided by the Post's Iran
Watcher, to target its initial efforts on outreach to Iranian
activists and dissidents. The Ambassador began this effort
by meeting with two prominent Iranian expatriate journalists
whose families had suffered at the hands of the regime in
Tehran, and who have since devoted their professional lives
to writing on the themes of democracy, human rights and
freedom in Iran (ref b). Each of these activists has a wide
readership and electronic-listening audience inside Iran.
Building on the Ambassador's personal engagement, the Embassy
now stays in close contact with these journalists/activists
and frequently consults them on their views.

Iranian Community Outreach
-------------------------

3. Embassy London has also moved forward outreach efforts in
support of Iranian NGOs, both expatriate and within Iran, who
are focused on developing civil society and democratic
networks within Iran. Under the Department's Small Grants
Program, Embassy London submitted a package of NGO- and
university-based proposals (ref c) to promote U.S.-Iran
outreach and proposals for training in several professional
and policy sectors, including journalism and women's rights.
The goal of all the Embassy's proposals is support to
elements and activists promoting freedom and political
transparency in Iran. Embassy London is also working with
nascent international student organizers to develop programs
focused on building democratic understanding in Iran that
also be appropriate under the Small Grants program.

4. Our dialogue with Iranian activists has been two-way:
one Embassy Iran expatriate contact submitted written
proposals on ways in which the Department might further
expand its U.S.-Iran outreach programs, which Embassy has
forwarded to Washington for consideration (ref d). The
Embassy also facilitated the direct submission to Department
of at least one major proposal to promote similar private
sector, freedom-oriented Iran outreach, involving the UK and
Iranian academic sectors, upon which the Embassy will soon
comment in greater detail to the Department.

5. Embassy London has strong working relationships with
human rights organizations and NGOs headquartered in London
and has followed up in particular with these NGOs on how to
support human rights and democracy in Iran. The Iran officer
for one of the UK's largest human rights organizations now
routinely shares information with the Embassy on developments
inside Iran, including information on human rights activists
who are facing deportation or other harassment.

Iran-Focused IVLPs
------------------

6. The Ambassador hosted the five Iranian participants in the
2006 Embassy-generated Iran IVLP for a lunch at the Embassy
to hear their impressions of the program in the United
States, thoughts on U.S.-Iran policy and suggestions on how
to better reach out to democratically-minded people inside
Iran. Embassy continues to work with all of these young
activists.

7. Following up on the success of London's 2006 Iran
International Visitor Leadership Program group visit to the
United States, Embassy was prepared to nominate a similar
group of young Iranians to travel under the 2008 IVLP
program. As Department has allotted no funds for dedicated,
Iran-focused IVLP's in 2008, however, the travel of these
UK-based Iran nominees, who are all young democracy
activists, is now on hold pending possible future
cancellations by other London-originated nominees using the

LONDON 00001287 002 OF 002


Embassy's 2008 IVLP budget.

Pending Outreach to Burmese Dissidents
--------------------------------------

8. Embassy is working to arrange a similar meeting for the
Ambassador or DCM with UK-based Burmese democratic activists
sometime this summer and will coordinate with Department as
plans progress.

Visit London's Classified Website:
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Unit ed_Kingdom
LeBaron

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