Does this sound like a good idea? From the front page of the Februay 15, 2006 edition of the Washington Post:
Rice Asks for $75 Million to Increase Pressure on IranOf course, the above proposal came in reaction to the news that Iran is moving ahead with its iranium-enrichment program, not to mention Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's public and strident calls for the annihilation of Israel. Since December of 2006, Iran Watch has been posting solely on the various developments with the mahdi-would-be and the ever-more-alarming rhetoric and events. The log which Iran Watch maintains is not a comforting one!
"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked Congress yesterday to provide $75 million in emergency funding to step up pressure on the Iranian government, including expanding radio and television broadcasts into Iran and promoting internal opposition to the rule of religious leaders.
"The request would substantially boost the money devoted to confronting Iran -- only $10 million is budgeted to support dissidents in 2006 -- and signals a new effort by the Bush administration to persuade other nations to join the United States in a coalition to bolster Iranian activists, halt Iran's funding of terrorism and stem its nuclear ambitions, State Department officials said....
"Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who has called for $100 million to promote democracy in Iran, applauded the initiative as the 'absolutely right move at this point in time'...
"Under the proposed supplemental request for the fiscal 2006 budget, the administration would use $50 million of the new funds to significantly increase Farsi broadcasts into Iran, mainly satellite television broadcasting by the federal government and broadcasts of the U.S.-funded Radio Farda, to build the capacity to broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"An additional $15 million would go to Iranian labor unions, human rights activists and other groups, generally via nongovernmental organizations and democracy groups such as the National Endowment for Democracy. The administration has already budgeted $10 million for such activity but is only just beginning to spend the $3.5 million appropriated in 2005 for this purpose.
"Officials said $5 million will be used to foster Iranian student exchanges -- which have plummeted since the 1979 Iranian Revolution -- and another $5 million will be aimed at reaching the Iranian public through the Internet and building independent Farsi television and radio stations...."
But the United States has previously tried to promote change in Iran. According to the above-cited Washington Post article,
"The Clinton administration, under pressure from Congress, tried to assist such groups in the 1990s, Indyk said, but Iran interpreted the effort as an attempt to overthrow the government and responded by funding a series of terrorist attacks in Israel."Actually, promoting change within Iran may be even more complicated. According to "Renounce the Iranian Hostage Agreement," a February 13, 2006 letter to the editor of the Washington Post,
"In his Jan. 29 op-ed, Robert Kagan said that the United States should be 'supporting liberal and democratic change' for the Iranian population.Is Mr. Daugherty correct? Or do Iranian nukes and proposed genocide trump the Algiers Accords?
"He might be on to something, but the 1981 Algiers Accords for the return of the 52 hostages held by Iran -- agreed to by both President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan -- forbid the United States from 'interfering in the internal affairs of the Iranian government.' Thus, seeking a covert or even overt effort to remove the mullahocracy is against U.S. law.
"This prohibition might be overlooked because it was negotiated under the threat to execute the hostages but for one detail. In 2000 former hostages sought to sue Iran for their captivity through the 1996 Anti-Terrorism Act (bolstered by its 2000 amendment), which gave American victims of state-sponsored terrorism the right to sue in U.S. federal courts the foreign governments that committed those acts of terrorism."
"However, the State and Justice departments, at the direction of President Bush, challenged the former hostages' lawsuit in court on the basis that the accords are 'sacred' agreements and that the 'credibility' of the U.S. government was at stake in following their strictures.
"The U.S. government prevailed on the grounds argument that presidential executive agreements must be obeyed.
"So if the Bush administration wishes to instigate a peaceful regime change in Iran, it should renounce the Algiers Accords.
"But to do so would give former hostages and their families legal remedy to pursue damages against the regime.
"When this president says he 'feels' for U.S. victims of international terrorism, apparently his sympathy doesn't extend to those who were the first victims of state-sponsored terrorism in modern times -- the 52 Americans held and abused by the Iranian regime for 444 days 25 years ago."
WILLIAM J. DAUGHERTY
The writer was a hostage in Iran from 1979 to 1981.