The Good And Bad Of Cutting Iran Democracy Funding

The U.S. decision to cut $85 million in democracy funds for Iran has led to mixed reactions among Iranian-Americans, Iran analysts, rights activists, and others. Many have criticized the decision and described it as an abandonment of Iran’s reformists and human rights activists and a blow to the democracy movement. Yet others have welcomed the decision, including Reza Aslan writing in “The Daily Beast” who said that he along with many Iranian-Americans working for change in Iran are glad about the U.S. decision to cut the funds.

But among the beneficiaries were also bodies that do serious work on Iran, including documenting human rights violations and publishing reports on past abuses. One of these groups is the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, which, amongst other things, documented the mass execution of dissidents and opposition members in the 1980s. One of the cofounders of the center, Payam Akhavan, told RFE/RL in July that the group is

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