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Six Minutes to Freedom
Bush Addresses People of Iran on the Eve of Confrontation
By Nick Grace
January 31, 2006

On the eve of Thursday's emergency UN International Atomic Energy Agency meeting on Iran, President Bush delivered an unusually direct message to the people of Iran in tonight's State of the Union speech. His message, an appeal to Iranians that tuned in via U.S. Government broadcasts, signals a recognition by the White House that further diplomacy with the Iranian regime is futile and that confrontation is not only inevitable but impending.

Standing before a joint session of Congress, Bush said, "(T)onight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran."

His speech was carried live and translated into Farsi on Radio Farda, the U.S. Government surrogate radio outlet that targets Iran.

Such direct appeals from the U.S. president are rare and have historically signalled impending action.

During the 2003 State of the Union, Bush issued a direct appeal to the people of Iraq. "(T)onight," he said, "I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation."

Hours before the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the president delivered additional appeals. "Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast," he said on March 17, "and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you."

The themes included his March 17 speech were mirrored on PSYOP Pentagon-run radio stations, including Radio Tikrit, Voice of Iraqi Liberation, and Information Radio.

See: "Bush Address Underscores Importance of Radio PSYOP," March 17, 2003

Iran, according to credible open sources, anticipates allied airstrikes on its estimated 50 covert nuclear research facilities and is acquiring the Russian TOR-M1 short-range anti-aircraft system and other air defense assets. North Korean engineers are also deployed inside Iran to build a network of concrete and sound-proof lead tunnels for the covert nuclear program that are capable of withstanding explosions and hiding from American signals intelligence technology.

The United States, meanwhile, has quietly deployed F-16s and other tactical air assets to the region. The Fort Wayne-based 122nd Fighter Wing deployed earlier this month, according to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel on January 8, and Utah's 388th Fighter Wings 4th Fighter Squadron deployed on January 4 and 6, according to an Associated Press report.


Although Washington does not appear to fund any covert propaganda or PSYOP broadcasts into Iran, dozens of satellite TV programs openly run by the Iranian and Ahwaz diaspora in the U.S. and Europe do blanket the nation.

Whether airstrikes are planned or not remains to be seen. The president's appeal, however, is a significant sign of events to come.
Radio Farda
Plans for a "Radio Free Iran" surrogate radio service by U.S. Congress in 1998 developed into Radio Azadi, which hit the airwaves in October of that year with a heavy news and information format under the administration of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The Bush administration rebranded the service as Radio Farda in December 2002, expanded its broadcasts to 24-hours per day, and added music programs and entertainment to attract younger listeners.
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