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U.S. Official Affirms American Support for Democracy in Iran


Elizabeth Cheney, Principal Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, emphasized U.S. support for democracy in Iran during an appearance today on  VOA's Persian TV program Looking Ahead.

Washington, D.C., June 15, 2005 - Elizabeth Cheney, Principal Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, emphasized U.S. support for democracy in Iran during an appearance today on Voice of America's (VOA) Persian TV program Looking Ahead.

Cheney, who is also U.S. Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives, answered questions during a live call-in program broadcast to Iran. In response to a viewer's question about the possibility of better U.S.-Iranian relations, she said that "without very significant changes, the U.S. would not be open to dialogue" with the Iranian government. She reiterated President Bush's support for democracy in Iran and stated that the U.S. "believes in supporting the bravery of the people of Iran."

She said the people of Iran are observing the trend toward democracy in the region and want to be part of it, noting that "good and fair elections" were "the right of every person."

Cheney also responded to several questions about the U.S. position on Iranian Kurds and their rights. Asked about human rights, Cheney said the U.S. would never ignore the issue of human rights in Iran. She said the U.S. strongly supports the rights of all minorities in Iran.

VOA broadcasts several Persian-language TV programs to Iran. News and Views is a daily one-hour television news show broadcast via satellite to audiences in Iran; Roundtable With You is a weekly 90-minute discussion show; and Next Chapter is a weekly 30-minute youth newsmagazine show. In addition, the special TV program Looking Ahead airs live as an occasional two-hour show focusing on the future of democracy and human rights in Iran. VOA's television shows complement VOA Persian's daily radio service and Radio Farda, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, youth-oriented radio program that is a joint project of VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The VOA Persian Service Internet site is at www.VOANews.com/persian.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including English.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 401-7000, or E-Mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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