By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer
10 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is asking Congress for $75 million in an emergency spending bill to support U.S. efforts to build democracy in Iran, Bush administration officials said Wednesday.
The money, to be included in a supplemental 2006 budget request the White House is expected to send to Congress as early as this week, will be used for radio and satellite television broadcasting and for programs to help Iranians study abroad, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because Rice had not yet announced the request.
"The United States wishes to reach out to the Iranian people and support their desire to realize their own freedom and to secure their own democratic and human rights. The Iranian people should know that the United States fully supports their aspirations for a freer, better future," Rice was expected to say based on remarks prepared for delivery before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Over the past two years the State Department has invested more than $4 million in "projects that empower Iranian citizens in their call for political and economic liberty, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights" and in the current budget year will invest at least $10 million in such efforts, according to Rice's remarks.
The $75 million is in addition to that money, which Congress already has approved. ...
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