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SECRETARY RICE: MKO, Awful Terrorists

In a roundtable with Arab Print Journalists:

QUESTION: (Inaudible). Madame Secretary, you — a few days ago, you asked for $75 million from Congress to be spent on Iran for democratic changes. What aspect of it — you know, I saw in the papers — you know, it was saying part of this money goes to creation of opposition, as well, in Iran. Could you elaborate on that?

And also, if I may add to these questions, the Iranians are saying, you know, if the U.S. is seriously trying to bring the regime change, for instance, in Iran, how can — be seriously talk — you know, with the rest — these two questions?

SECRETARY RICE:…So, when we say that we will support democracy in Iran, it’s no different than our view of supporting democracy any place else in the world. But it also says that — you said, are we trying to create opposition. I think there is opposition in Iran and the question is, are they going to have a voice. Opposition ought to have a voice. And it’s not opposition that the United States creates; it’s opposition that the Iranian people themselves expressed and we just want to see them have a means to express it.

QUESTION: In the same context, you know, do you consider the Mojahedin Organization as an opposition, for instance, or as a terrorist group or —


QUESTION: Mojahedin, yes.

SECRETARY RICE: MEK? No, MEK is listed as a terrorist group. They were involved in some pretty awful and bloody incidents, including — involving American citizens.

QUESTION: It’s Americans?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. So, MEK, we do not have dealings with, but there are many voices of opposition in Iran. You know, the sad thing is that people say, "Well, Iran is further along than fill in the blank states." But Iran is going in the reverse direction. It’s going in the wrong direction, because a few years ago, there was a Majlis where voices of opposition were actually heard, where people felt that they could speak up. But that has now been all but silenced and so, there is opposition in Iran that is not associated with terrorism. And I think we have an obligation to try to give voice to that opposition.

QUESTION: Thank you.

US State Department


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