US Denies Funding to Iran Human Rights Group
The Obama administration has cut off funding for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center: US cutoff of funding to Iran human rights cause signals shift.
WASHINGTON - For the past five years, researchers in a modest office overlooking the New Haven green have carefully documented cases of assassination and torture of democracy activists in Iran. With more than $3 million in grants from the US State Department, they have pored over thousands of documents and Persian-language press reports and interviewed scores of witnesses and survivors to build dossiers on those they say are Iran’s most infamous human-rights abusers.
But just as the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center was ramping up to investigate abuses of protesters after this summer’s disputed presidential election, the group received word that - for the first time since it was formed - its federal funding request had been denied. “If there is one time that I expected to get funding, this was it,’’ said Rene Redman, the group’s executive director, who had asked for $2.7 million in funding for the next two years. “I was sur prised, because the world was watching human rights violations right there on television.’’
Many see the sudden, unexplained cutoff of funding as a shift by the Obama administration away from high-profile democracy promotion in Iran, which had become a signature issue for President Bush. But the timing has alarmed some on Capitol Hill. …
Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington-based think tank, said, “It is a shock that they did not get funding.’’ A reason, he asserted, may be that “the Obama administration is so focused on engaging Iran that they don’t want this information to get in the way.’’
The State Department said it is keenly focused on human rights in Iran.