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Bloglogue: US Dollars & Democracy in Iran!

Bloglogue’s first issue was about Iran in Media and several bloggers & non bloggers from different countries took part in discussion.

Second issue is about a very hot issue: US 75 million dollars help to promote democracy in Iran.
Five bloggers including two Americans, one Finnish and two Iranians joined this discussion. We are delighted to have one of Shah’s Minister’s contributions, a leading intellectual and non blogger, from Belgium.

We can see people are really divided on this issue and have different approaches to US help to promote democracy. It is very interesting that most contributors have referred frequently to recent US interventions in Iraq, Eastern Europe to support their arguments about US budget to promote democracy in Iran.

1-Useless & Counter Productive: No to an Iranian Ahmad Chalabi!

Dr.Houshang Nahavandi, former Minister of the Shah, leading writer, prestigious French Academy’s prize winner believes that creating a few new radios labelled made in USA not only won’t weakened Islamic Republic but can straighten it. He says US has a lot of information but this information does not help to understand Iranian society. He adds US gets her information from Iranian who got educated in US and working in American governmental institutions. They say to Americans what they want to hear. He concludes Iran does not need Ahmad Chalabi to change! We can read in Persian his interview in Washington Prism.

2-Very Useful: Propaganda against Propaganda

The Spirit of Man a Canada based Iranian blogger considers this help vital to promote freedom & democracy in Iran. In his words:

Iranian people are under constant media brainwashing of a religious regime which is trying to impose its own version of story on the people. Indeed, like I have always said, EDUCATION is one of the major factors to liberate Iran from the rule of tyranny and fortunately VOA TV & Radio Farda services provide this to the ordinary Iranians in a fair manner…. They seem to forget that it was the US support and pressure which helped Ukraine and Georgia to become democratic. And they should remember that no one can talk on behalf of the majority of Iranians. Most Iranians wish to see the clerical establishment to be gone completely and replace that with a democratic and freely elected type of government, be it the constitutional monarchy or a secular republic.”

Ahoo, a US based Iranian, is another blogger who has a positive approach to this project. She writes:

A lot of people in Iran wrongly hold U.S responsible for the revolution. In general a lot of Iranians hold America responsible for what ever goes wrong in Iran! America should spend this money on propaganda. And it better be a strong propaganda. It takes a lot of work to neutralize what Tehran’s regime has done in the past 27 year.”

3- Maybe Positive Maybe Not: Planning Matters

Mary Jones, a US blogger based in Morocco and founder of Demologue, says:

Although I do not believe that the $75 million requested by Secretary Rice to support Iranian dissidents will be effective in speeding the arrival of liberal democracy in Iran, I do agree with the principle behind the funding…..It is my opinion that this method of spreading democracy is ineffective. I cannot think of an instance where American support clearly led to the democratization of a country. In the cases of Russia (which is slipping back into authoritarianism) and Ukraine, American support was only effective because there was a strong native structure pushing for democracy. Thus, I support the idea of giving money directly to credible local activist groups, because I believe that local activists, rather than foreign NGO's, are the most effective force for democracy in any given country.”

Sampsa, a blogger from Finland, shares his opinion with us:

“In the past, US has had little success in propaganda war. People in Afghanistan and Iraq feel that their intelligence is being insulted with news they know is not correct.”

Christian Alexander an American blogger thinks: 1- contrary to Ahoo ( who shared her idea in second section) most Iranians are not anti American; 2- contrary to Spirit of Man he thinks history has shown disadvantages of this kind of help; 3-Positively he thinks that free media can be helpful. Blogger writes:

I think that what is especially important in the case of Iran is the historical role the U.S. has played and how its interactions with the Iranian political system has been used by successive generations of policy makers. For the last several decades the common political war-cry has been one of staunch opposition to imperialism and foreign dominance. Increasingly, it seems that the Islamic regime use of this tactic as a justification for oppression has become worn out. However, misappropriated aid could re-legitimate this accusation and re-invigorate an anti-American form of nationalist sentiment in the population. On a positive note, I think that one can certainly look towards the increase in access to media sources as having a positive effect on the political situation in Iran. Scholars have already noted the liberalizing influence satellite television and Internet access has had, despite attempts by the government to ban or censor both. It seems that the development of media access therefore would be a good use of money.

As we saw different contributors have different readings of history and events. Most consider money can be helpful to support democracy in Iran but according to previous experiences they are not optimistic the way that US government will handle that. Read More

  • http://thespiritofman.blogspot.com Winston

    Like I have always said, unfortunately, majority (more than 90%) of Iranian people have no freaking idea about the US, Israel and their role in the world. Education thru media such as VOA is the best thing.

    Forget LA based media. They are crooks and they are no better than clerics in the first place because they have no idea what democracy is.

    All the majority of Iranian people know is obscured conspiracy theories given to them by their grandfathers and ancestors (that is not even their fault though)! This should be resolved ASAP.

    AND the US government needs to run a true media campaign against the mullahcracy ruling Iran.

    One commenter in a friend’s blog said & I quote here:

    “If we’re serious about this (Democracy in Iran), I say the President [Bush] every Friday at 9 pm address the US populace, focusing on a different topic each week regarding Iran. Broadcast via Radio Farda into Iran. Use the C-130 “Solos” we have to broadcast it on Iranian TV inside Iran with Persian translation. Explain we want the Iranian people to have nuclear power but nuclear weapons. Explain they are being lied to by their government. Hit them with every kind of pressure possible. Everytime the Iranian government kills someone, tell it in the weekly address to the American people. Eventually threaten the Iranian government with a bombing of a government building starting with Khameini’s residence, once a certain threshold is passed. When the Iranian people protest (not the Bassij) get news cameras out there. Really sock it to the government. I guarantee the regime will collapse after this. ”

    You know, that is what the US should do intensively!

    Oh Sigh….

  • Jackaroo

    How can the USA legitimately support democracy when it is itself regarded as undemocratic because of its corruption? George Bush only got in because of the ‘butterfly ballot’, a ballot deliberately constructed to confuse USA voters. Upon this vote being challenged in courts, the courts had already ben stacked in the administration’s favour. Corrupt courts and election official are not a sign of a working democracy!
    Furthermore the USA’s own terrorist organization, the CIA, has murdered many legitimate and democratically elected leaders beccause they were independant of USA imperialist amibitions. Two of these are Jaime Rolodos, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, President of Panamar.
    Now we are to believe that the USA has reformed and now supports democracy and freedom, and is indeed giving money for it? America has unbelievable levels of poverty, yet they give out money to support democracy and expect nothing back? Even after the confirmation of long held knowledge in John Perkin’s “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”?
    The USA aministration is only trying to destabilize the Iranian government to please the anti-arabists inside it and the anti-arabist who donate money to the administraion’s election. Now why would anti-arabist want an unstable Iran? So Israel is able to further consolidate it’s power in the region, the same Israel that is an illegal holder of nuclear weaponary (with the USA’s support) and who bomb defenceless arabs in revenge attacks for ethicalless suicide bombings by a tiny minority of the arab population inside invaded lands.

  • Jack Collins

    The USA governemnt is not an international sheriff. It has no right to under international law, and is in fact an inernational criminal after it’s invasion of Iraq, under false pretenses may I add.
    The USA toppled the old Iranian government, are they going to again make a bloody revolution and topple this one?
    You know, that is what the US does intensively, interfere in sovereign nations!
    Oh Sigh….

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