Sunday, July 25, 2004

Iran Says U.S. Senators 'Daydream' of Regime Change

Top News Article | Reuters.com: "Iran Says U.S. Senators 'Daydream' of Regime Change
Sun Jul 25, 2004 07:33 AM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday branded as "daydreamers" U.S. senators who have sponsored a bill aimed at toppling Tehran's clerical rulers by supporting opposition groups inside and outside the country.
Republican senators Rick Santorum, representing Pennsylvania, and John Cornyn of Texas introduced the "Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2004" earlier this month.

The bill authorizes the U.S. president to provide $10 million to foreign and domestic Iranian pro-democracy groups such as radio and television networks in order to promote regime change in the Islamic state.

"Those who draft such plans lag behind the times, they live in their daydreams," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference.

"They neither know Iran, nor the Iranian opposition," he said adding that arch-foe Washington had been "plotting against Iran ever since the (1979) Islamic revolution" without success.

While disillusionment with the 25-year-old Islamic revolution is widespread among Iran's disproportionately youthful population, opposition to the ruling establishment is weak and disorganized.

Despite appeals by California-based satellite channels run by Iranian exiles for mass demonstrations last month to mark the fifth anniversary of student protests brutally crushed by security forces, there were no large gatherings in Iran.

Nor were there any mass protests in February when Islamic conservatives fiercely loyal to the country's clerical rulers swept to victory in elections denounced as a sham by reformists allied to moderate President Mohammad Khatami.

Political analysts say exile opposition groups such as supporters of the former monarchy or the Iraq-based People's Mujahideen Organization enjoy negligible support within Iran itself."

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