The Christian Science Monitor’s Scott Peterson, reporting from Istanbul, does a good job of describing the Iranian regime’s efforts to paint two American hostages as enemy agents. But in the course of reporting the story, he repeatedly claims that Bush Administration officials have called for regime change in Iran.
“Confronted with $75 million worth of pro-democracy funding set aside by the US Congress – and frequent rhetoric about regime change – Tehran is taking a page from its old playbook to fight what it sees as a mounting threat to political stability,” according to Mr. Peterson.
Later, he claims that “The Bush administration has spoken frequently of regime change.”
This is false, so far as I know. I do not believe any top administration official–in this or any other administration in the past 28 years–has called for regime change in Iran. Indeed, both secretaries of state, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, have been at pains to say quite explicitly that the United States is not seeking to promote regime change, but rather a change in regime behavior.
As for that $75 million, would that it was going to pro-democracy Iranians. I keep asking the State Department to give me a single example of any money going to such people. Nothing yet. The only groups that are receiving that money–again, to the best of my knowledge– are American organizations (not even Iranian-American groups), some of whom, at least, are hardly qualified to do anything with regard to Iran, let alone get involved in political activism. Alas.
Someone ought to have a hard look at where that money is going.