WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Bush administration is planning to expand its Persian-language satellite-television broadcasts to Iran as part of an initiative to press for democratic reforms in the Islamic Republic, officials say.
As President Bush ponders incentives to encourage Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, Voice of America plans to go from a 30-minute to a four-hour daily news and information broadcast to Iran within the next few months.
“Iran is an information-deprived society, much like the former Soviet Union,” said Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency that oversees international civilian broadcasts including VOA.
“A large percentage (of Iranians) appear to be thirsting for information,” he added. “What we propose to do is exactly what Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and Radio Liberty did in the Cold War, and that is provide a window on the world.”
The new initiative comes as the Bush administration reviews options for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program that range from economic incentives to military action.