State Dept. Pulls Funding From Iran Human Rights Watchdog Despite Tehran's Vulnerability
The Globe's subheadline at the story's web page is revealing:
US funds dry up for Iran rights watchdog
Obama White House less confrontational
.... But just as the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center was ramping up to investigate abuses of protesters after this summer’s disputed presidential election, the group received word that - for the first time since it was formed - its federal funding request had been denied.
“If there is one time that I expected to get funding, this was it," said Rene Redman, the group’s executive director, who had asked for $2.7 million in funding for the next two years. "I was surprised, because the world was watching human rights violations right there on television."
Many see the sudden, unexplained cutoff of funding as a shift by the Obama administration away from high-profile democracy promotion in Iran ....
Why in the world would we ever want to "promote democracy"? (/sarcasm)
The IHRDC's mission, according to its web site's English home page is to:
- Establish a comprehensive and objective historical record of the human rights situation in Iran since the 1979 revolution, and on the basis of this record, establish responsibility for patterns of human rights abuses;
- Make such record available in an archive that is accessible to the public for research and educational purposes;
- Promote accountability, respect for human rights and the rule of law in Iran; and
- Encourage an informed dialogue on the human rights situation in Iran among scholars and the general public in Iran and abroad.
News consumers can be forgiven if they believe that the protest movement in Iran has died own, because establishment media coverage of events within that country has been virtually non-existent.
Michael Ledeen has been following events in that country closely, and can attest that protests are still plentiful, boisterous -- and possibly game-changing. What he reported on October 1 in the second half of his Pajamas Media post about how the protesters are still bravely holding their own puts an exclamation point on how outrageous the State Department's decision really is:
While he (President Obama) stews, Divine Providence has offered him a miracle: the Iranian regime is on the edge of doom. The events of the past few weeks demonstrate that the Iranian people will no longer accept repression, and the security forces are no longer able to shut down the demonstrations. On “Quds Day,” there were too many people in the streets, and the Revolutionary Guards and Basij could only stand by. This week, there have been student demonstrations on major campuses in Tehran and Shiraz, and nothing was done to shut them down. Every night, millions of Iranians shout “Death to the Dictator” from their rooftops.
If the regime falls, two of Obama’s toughest decisions–and some others as well–will magically improve. Deprived of Tehran’s finances, weapons, intelligence, training camps and safe havens, our enemies in Afghanistan will be weaker, and our chances of success improved. The leader of the opposition Green Path of Hope, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has long said that any government he heads will terminate support for terrorism and open the country’s nuclear facilities to international inspection, thereby ameliorating all three of Obama’s major headaches with Tehran. For extras, Hezbollah–the world’s most effective and murderous terrorist organization–will be gravely weakened, as will Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, which provides much of the territory from which Hezbollah operates. And the mullahs’ new friends in South America will be weakened as well, as will Russia’s ability to forge an international alliance against the United States.
A miracle indeed. And all it requires for fulfillment is an administration that does what any normal American would do in the circumstances: support the democratic opposition in Iran. It does not require any bombs or bullets, nor does it risk the body and soul of any American soldiers. It only requires Obama, Hillary, Dennis Ross, William Burns and the others to call for a free Iran, to begin any negotiation with the mullahs by reading out a long list of political prisoners and insist they be released, to cry out for equal rights for Iranian women, and to appoint a staff at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that will redouble their efforts to bring the real news about their own country to millions of Iranians.
But Obama does not seem to recognize the golden opportunity that has fallen into his lap.
Today's decision shows that the Obama administration and the Clinton State Department aren't only missing the golden opportunity. Instead, they're right on the edge of working to ensure that the democratic opposition fails, signaling to the existing terror-sponsoring regime that there will be no skepticism as to whether it truly represents the Iranian people, and actively demoralizing that regime's opponents.
This should be getting more establishment media attention. Odds are that it won't.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.