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Voice of America Corrupted by Iranian Regime?

Voice of America Corrupted by Iranian Regime?
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This article is a follow-up on a piece I wrote last December. You can read the original story here. 

A group of nearly 100 Iranian dissidents from numerous backgrounds have come together to ask Congress to look into the Iranian ruling regime’s disturbing influence on the taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) news network. 

VOA, which encompasses Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe, was founded in 1942 to spread news to counteract Japanese and Nazi propaganda. The network has since evolved into a more traditional news source, and has a long reputation of unbiased reporting and maintaining America values. 

This is no longer the case. During the election, VOA spouted the same liberal nonsense we saw from CNN, The New York Times, multiple polling sources, and others. 

VOA featured numerous anti-Trump speakers who portrayed newly appointed AG Jeff Sessions and Trump adviser Steve Bannon as “racists,” claimed Trump supporters were unable to see a female in a position of leadership, and insisted that Trump would deliver Syria to Russia.

In December, The Washington Times lambasted VOA as “terminally ill” and claimed it has been transformed into the “Voice of Tehran.” 

Now, “Iranian dissidents are calling on Congress to look into an effort by Iran’s ruling regime to use lobbyists and propaganda to influence American diplomacy,” reports Newsmax. The dissidents argue that VOA’s Persian (PNN) service is doing the regime’s bidding in order to influence US policy. 

“We write to request a congressional hearing on the efforts of Tehran’s theocratic regime to influence US policy and public diplomacy toward Iran,” reads the dissidents’ letter to Congress. “We ask that you launch an investigation into any and all lobbying activities of Iranian-American groups, which ostensibly promote the interests of our community but whose real goal is to undermine long-term US national security interests in Iran and its neighborhood.” 

They site PNN’s “lenient or favorable” attitude towards the regime, calling such behavior “unacceptable and demoralizing” for pro-democracy Iranians. Dissidents include university professors, foreign policy experts, real estate developers, interfaith leaders, human rights activists, and others.  

Peter Kohanloo, president of the Iranian-American Majority, calls the letter a “historic” effort. 

“Never before have so many Iranian-American dissidents of different political persuasion and backgrounds come together to speak with one unified voice,” he said. “This historic letter is a clear and unmistakable message to Tehran that we will no longer tolerate their influence-peddling agenda, which divides our community and demoralizes pro-democracy activists in Iran.” 

The letter comes as the Trump Administration pushes for a tougher approach on Iran following repeated violations of the nuclear deal. The dissidents insist that US officials have been too lenient towards the regime and have ignored its furtive efforts to influence US foreign policy. 

The letter specifically implicates PNN in the regime’s lobbying efforts, noting that its “bloated budget is the largest of all language services under the VOA.” 

VOA has over 40 language services. 

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