A group aimed at assisting Iranians who seek freedom from the cleric-led Islamic regime has been launched in Washington.

The Iran Freedom Foundation, a non-profit educational organization, says it will seek to educate the public about “the dire social, political and economic situation under Iran’s mullahs.”

The IFF was established by American and Iranian scholars, professionals, philanthropists and human rights advocates who believe support by the international community for democratic efforts in Iran is critical.

“We have created the foundation in order to support opposition groups inside Iran,” said Jerome Corsi, IFF spokesman.

Corsi’s upcoming book, “Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians,” will serve as part of the IFF’s information efforts, which will include an interactive website, original news service and multimedia projects.

The IFF says it want to “create an atmosphere in which previously silenced opposition voices can voice their opinions against the repressive regime.”

Iran, under an Islamic regime since the revolution of 1979, recently has come under international scrutiny over the nature of its nuclear enrichment program, which Washington long has alleged is a cover for nuclear weapons production. Iran insists its nuclear program is used to produce alternative energy for its burgeoning population.

Over 70 percent of Iranians are under the age of 30, and while most support democratic reform in the Islamic theocracy, they have very few outlets to express their opinions. The United Nations says Iran has one of the world’s worst human rights records.

As part of a crackdown on opposition voices in 2004, the Iranian mullahs jailed several political dissidents and closed down websites, weblogs and newspapers that expressed views against the government.

Iranians recently staged “monster demonstrations” in 11 provinces and 37 cities in which many thousands were arrested, according to Iran expert Michael Ledeen, writing in National Review Online.

Ledeen, an American Enterprise Institute fellow, said one of his sources in Iran reported more than 30,000 were arrested in one demonstration.

The most dramatic events, he said, took place in Shiraz, where the demonstrators directed a chant toward Washington: “Bush, you told us to rise up, and so we have. Why don’t you act?”

Ledeen noted “the president publicly promised the Iranian people the United States would support them if they acted to win their own freedom, and the Iranians are now calling on Bush to make good on that promise.”



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