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VOA Statement in Response to "Axis of Evil" Editorial

Old accusations still untrue

To the question posed in the editorial "Axis of Evil," the managers at VOA's Persian News Network (PNN) work exclusively for the Voice of America and diligently carry out its congressional mandate to provide our audience with accurate, objective and comprehensive news and information.

The Voice of America does not ban stories because they cast the Iranian regime in a negative light. In fact the extensive efforts by the Tehran government to jam our TV and radio programs and block access to our website are a testament to our success in Iran, where despite those government efforts we have a weekly audience estimated at nearly 20% of the adult population.

It is also untrue that VOA refused to air video of the tragic death of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young Iranian woman whose killing became a symbol of opposition to the Iranian regime. To the contrary, VOA's Persian News Network was one of the first international news organizations to show cell phone video of the incident.

While VOA cannot comment on personnel matters involving PNN staff, your allegations of "retaliation" are untrue, as is the often repeated allegation that one of PNN's managing editors is biased toward Iran and is the "son of one of the Iranian mullahs." In fact, this man's father is a former university professor who was forced to retire after the revolution. The TV show Parazit (Static) is a satirical program. Mr. Sajjadi was making fun of this unfounded claim.

Regarding the lawsuit against VOA brought by former Straight Talk news-reader Elham Sataki, the Federal District Court has already denied Ms. Sataki's motion for a temporary restraining order and specifically found that she is "unlikely to succeed on the merits" of her claim.

The Voice of America takes its congressional mandate seriously and the professional journalists here reject the allegation that we are serving any particular point of view, something forbidden by our charter.

For more information about the Voice of America, please visit our website at

VOA's Office of Public Relations can be reached at (202) 203-4959, or by e-mail to