News from FDI

Feb. 19 1997

Senators Urge Clinton to Support Democracy in Iran

Washington,DC - Key United States Senators, including Majority LeaderTrent Lott and Democrat Carl Levin, have called on President Clinton tointensify pressure on the Tehran regime, and to support freedom and multi-partydemocracy in Iran.

The letter to the President was dated Feb. 10 and signed by ten Senators,following the lead of Alfonse D'Amato (R,NY). It was released publiclyon Friday, Feb. 14

The Senators urged the President to craft new measures aimed at endingthe Islamic Republic's support for international terrorism, its massivehuman rights abuses, and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, while drawing" a very clear distinction between the regime and the people of Iran."The President should also "make it very clear in your public commentsabout Iran that U.S. policy is aimed at changing the behavior of the regime,not at penalizing the Iranian people," the Senators wrote.

"We strongly believe that the United States can encourage democratsinside Iran by extending a hand of friendship to the Iranian people. Weurge you to put support for democracy and human rights at the very centerof your Iran policy. A strong, free, and democratic Iran is in America'slong-term strategic interest."

The letter was the first time prominent U.S. politicians have openlycalled on the U.S. government to support to democratic opposition forcesinside Iran. Until now, the administration has insisted that the U.S. acceptedthe Islamic Republic as "a permanent feature" of the politicallandscape of the Middle East. Now the Senate leadership is calling on thePresident to use public diplomacy to promote a secular, democratic andpluralistic alternative to the current regime.

Asked about the Senators' letter at an oil conference yesterday in Washington,former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle urged business leadersto support such a shift in policy. "There is a role for the businesscommunity to urge policies that work instead of just criticizing policiesthat don't work," Perle said. "We need to be thinking more creatively."

FDI fully supports the Senators' approach, and has been advocating justsuch a shift in U.S. policy since its inception. The Senators' letter shouldprovide encouragement to democrats in Iran from all political and ethnicbackgrounds.

The full text of the Senators' letter follows and can also be accessedelectronically from our Internet site.

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private, non-profit corporationregistered in the State of Maryland. Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, ExecutiveDirector. Tel: (301) 946-2918. Fax: (301) 942-5341. FDI materials, includingthe FDI Newswire, are available free-of-charge via the Internet at