Spreading Democracy, for Shah

"The Bush administration is expanding efforts to influence Iran's internal politics," including increasing aid to exile groups and airing "longer broadcasts criticizing the Iranian government" on Voice of America satellite TV programs. Under secretary of state for political affairs R. Nicholas Burns said the United States is "taking a page from the playbook" on Ukraine and Georgia. In those two countries, "opposition and pro-democracy groups" given U.S. funding "later supported the peaceful overthrow of the governments in power." Through the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. State Department has already spent $500,000 to investigate "human rights, business enterprise and women's rights" in Iran. Over the next year, the State Department will spend $3 million, "for the benefit of Iranians living inside Iran," including on "broadcast activities, Internet programs and 'working with people inside Iran.'"