In interviews with BBC Persian and VOA Persian, Secretary Clinton announces plans for US "virtual Tehran embassy."

Posted: 29 Oct 2011   Print   Send a link
RFE/RL, 26 Oct 2011, Golnaz Esfandiari: "In her first ever interview with the Persian-language media, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the United States will soon launch a 'virtual Tehran embassy' aimed at connecting with the Iranian people. Clinton made the announcement on Voice of America's (VOA) Persian TV and also in an interview with the BBC's Persian Service. ... Clinton also responded to questions submitted by the Iranian watchers of VOA's 'Parazit' program and the BBC's Persian TV, submitted via YouTube, video, or e-mail. A number of questions focused on U.S. sanctions against the Islamic republic, which Washington and its allies have enacted in response to the country's abysmal human rights record and questionable nuclear program."

State Department, 26 Oct 2011, transcript of Secretary Clinton's interview with Bahman Kalbasi of BBC Persian: "QUESTION: In fact, we have a question from Shada in Tehran. He sent us this question asking about the internet and the filtering that happens. And the question was: Some of these sanctions are making it harder to actually go around these filterings because some of these technologies that are now banned in Iran to be sold in Iran to the public. But also in wider sense, the fact that many people in Iran get their information from satellite television, like BBC Persia, and they’re being jammed. SECRETARY CLINTON: Right. QUESTION: Is there a role that America can play to help – more realistic than a box with a plug into the internet that was talked about, that something more – even more practical can be done to fight this kind of jamming and filtering and blocking? SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And we’re doing it. We’re doing a lot of work to try to come up with technologies that can circumvent the jamming and the interruptions and the tracking that the regime are engaged in right now. We are providing technology, some of which is more effective than others. We are certainly training people, both outside and inside, to be able to use the technology to circumvent. This is one of my highest priorities. I’ve spoken out repeatedly about the right of people to have access to the internet. It is freedom of speech and expression and assembly, values that we think every human being is entitled to. But we have also seen the regime in Iran impose what amounts to an electronic curtain. It’s the 21st century equivalent of the barbed wire and the fences and the dogs that the old Soviet Union used. Because they come at it from the same mentality; they want totalitarian control over what you learn and what you say and even what you think and how you worship, and all the things that go the heart of human dignity and human freedom. So yes, we are doing everything we can. Now, I will quickly add that we’re experimenting. Sometimes we think something will work. It turns out not to work. Sometimes we get maybe a year ahead of the regime’s efforts, and then they catch up, and we have to go back to the drawing boards. But I want to assure your viewers that we are committed to doing everything we can to provide as much communication freedom inside and outside of Iran to people trying to speak out for their rights as possible."

State Department, 26 Oct 2011, transcript of Secretary Clinton's interview with Kambiz Hosseini of VOA Persian News Network "Parazit": "QUESTION: ...as is customary for our show, at the end of the interview, we give our guests some time to talk directly to our audience. That is your camera, and you can directly talk to our fans and our audience in Iran. ... SECRETARY CLINTON: ... We would like to see your regime change."

VOA press release, 26 Oct 2011: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Voice of America’s hit TV show Parazit Wednesday that Iran’s military is becoming increasingly involved in the Iranian economy. In an exclusive interview at the State Department with Parazit host Kambiz Hosseini, Mrs. Clinton said, 'The Quds force and other elements of the security establishment taking financial stakes or taking over certain economic enterprises – that’s part of what I mean about our seeing that there seems to be a moving toward a more military takeover in effect in Iran.'" -- Well, exclusive within USIB. See also VOA News, 26 Oct 2011. With video.