Washington, D.C., December 23, 2008 - Hundreds of
Iranians, writing to the Voice of America's (VOA) website,
are telling their leaders they want a real democracy that
gives people freedom to choose their government.
Persian News Network (PNN), VOA's Persian-language
programming to Iran, invited TV viewers and website
visitors last week to share views about Iran's leaders.
Nearly 500 people responded, with all but a handful
saying they would like a change in the current regime. The
comments are posted at http://www.voanews.com/persian/shoecomments.cfm
"Our represented officials are not elected in free
elections, and their votes do not determine the outcome of
the government's actions," one person wrote. "Learn a
lesson from history. Your dictatorial rule will soon crumble.
Soften the impression about your crimes by respecting
freedom of expression and conducting free elections," said
another. And this: "My dear country has been occupied by
you all; we would like to be free, so leave our country. We
can not bear you more than this; we will kick you out in
the near future."
"We provided an open and anonymous forum for
Iranians to express their true feelings about their leaders,"
said Alex Belida, PNN's acting director. "With Iran's
presidential elections looming next June, we thought it
would be informative to see what the Iranian people think
of their own leaders."
Iran has been an Islamic republic since 1979 when the
monarchy was overthrown, replaced by conservative
clerical forces who established a theocracy. Ultimate
political authority is vested in Supreme Leader Khamenei,
who is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts.
President Ahmadinejad was inaugurated in 2005 after
conservatives reestablished control over Iran's elected
VOA has the largest combined radio and television
audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one
in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once
a week. PNN broadcasts seven hours a day, repeated for a
full 24 hours.
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 approximately 1,500
hours of news, information, educational, and cultural
programming every week to an estimated worldwide
audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are
produced in 45 languages.
For more information, please call VOA Public
Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail