Cases in point are two recent VOA broadcasts that gave preferred treatment to pro-regime messages. On March 29, VOA-PNN interviewed Hooshang Amir-Ahmadi, an anti-sanctions activist called “Iran’s pseudo U.S. lobbyist” by Iranian democracy groups. Mr. Amir-Ahmadi expressed the view that Iran’s belligerent posture and nuclear program are the natural results of being surrounded by U.S. missiles and bombs; hence, progress can come only through the United States softening its policies toward Tehran.
On April 1, VOA gave airtime to Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has received millions of dollars in federal funds to promote democracy in Iran. Mr. Parsi expressed various odd positions, such as that Israel prefers to have hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power in Tehran, that members of the Obama administration know sanctions won’t work but pursue them only as a bargaining position, and – most strangely – that even if Iran succeeded in establishing a democracy, the United States would nevertheless keep sanctions in place. VOA gave Mr. Parsi preferential treatment by banning callers while he was on the air even though he appeared on a call-in show; those who later took issue with his views were quickly cut off.