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The US administration, describing Iran as a "strategic challenge," signalled on Wednesday a major ramp-up of efforts to promote democracy in the Islamic Republic while seeking to rein in its nuclear programme.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the administration would ask Congress for another $75 million to fund around-the-clock radio and television broadcasting into Iran and other activities to boost reform efforts.
Rice also told a Senate panel she would have talks in the Gulf next week, with Iran a major topic. She did not name the countries but a State Department official later said she would visit key US allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt.