Regime Change Part III: Iran

"President Bush and his team have been huddling in closed-door meetings on Iran, summoning scholars for advice, investing in opposition activities, creating an Iran office in Washington and opening listening posts abroad," reports the Washington Post. "Members of the Hoover Institution's board of overseers who met with Bush, Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley two weeks ago emerged with the impression that the administration has shifted to a more robust policy aimed at the Iranian government." The State Department recently created an Iran desk and increased the number of full-time positions on Iran from two to 10. The U.S. Embassy in Dubai, and "other embassies in the vicinity," are also adding staff "to watch Tehran." Voice of America broadcasts into Iran will increase from one to four hours a day by April 2006, with plans to expand to 24 hours.


A [ follow-up article] in the Washington Post reports that Iranian activists have warned "that mere announcement of the U.S. program endangers human rights advocates by tainting them as American agents":

In a case that advocates fear is directly linked to Bush's announcement, the government has jailed two Iranians who traveled outside the country to attend what was billed as a series of workshops on human rights. Two others who attended were interrogated for three days. ...

"This is something we all know, that a way of dealing with human rights activists is to claim they have secret relations with foreign powers," said [human rights lawyer Abdolfattah] Soltani, who co-founded a human rights defense group with Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. "This very much limits our actions. It is very dangerous to our society."