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Pushing for Human Rights Watch in Iran By: Lisa Daftari
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, June 26, 2009


The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles invited select members of the Iranian American opposition to petition the United Nations Security Council to expeditiously intervene on human rights in Iran.

 

A panel of prominent professors, activists, spiritual and political leaders spoke out against the United States’ calculated hesitation and for fervent support of the protestors.  These community members came together to discuss, analyze and propose an accurate solution to engage the international community and to diminish the world’s silence toward Iran.

 

“The Iranian people have already taken their fate into their own hands. All they need is moral support,” said Hamid Arabzadeh, a professor from the University of California Irvine.

 

“Twitter, the blogs, are the virtual ships that stopped on these shores 60 years ago and were turned away.  What we are asking is not to turn the ships of the Iranian people away,” he said pointing around at the walls of the venue, the Museum of Tolerance, a museum commemorating the Holocaust. Arabzadeh was referring to events that took place during World War II.

 

“Nobody is asking for intervention in Iran. But we do believe that human rights in Iran have to be supported.”

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization, under the direction of two of its rabbis, dean and founder Rabbi Marvin Hier and associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, convened the meeting to urge the U.N. to establish and monitor a practice of human rights in Iran.  In light of the protests that have been going on over the last 12 days, the meeting was to bring attention to the brutal attacks on Iranians. 

 

“How long does it take the U.N. to get together to have a resolution if the subject would be Israel? It takes 12 hours,” Rabbi Hier said describing a double standard used by the U.N. in addressing human rights violations. 

 

“Here, not a single country from the EU, not a single country from the Arab world, from the United States, Canada, has come forward asking for an emergency meeting of the security council of the U.N. to discuss a fraudulent election.”

 

The proposal put forth by the Simon Wiesenthal Center calls on the United Nations to act immediately to condemn the violent actions of the regime against the people of Iran.  Members of the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Baha’I communities have approved and shown support toward the proposal.

 

“The people of Iran, and as Iranian opposition representatives, we are asking for and are looking for the support of the international community and government,” former student activist and opposition party leader Roozbeh Farahanipour, founder of Marze Por Gohar, or the Glorious Frontiers Party said.

 

“We are seeking a recall of the election, but we need to remove the supreme leader from our country. We need to change the Islamic Republic’s constitution. We need to remove the Guardian Council from our country. We need to remove the expediency council from our country. This is what the people of Iran are telling the world.”

 

Protests and subsequent cruel regime retaliation is no new concept to Farahanipour who was tortured, beaten and arrested in the aftermath of the student uprisings of 1999 that shut down Tehran University.  Farahanipour and his activist colleagues were imprisoned for their participation and organizations of the protests.

 

“The proposal put forward by the Simon Wiesenthal Center is a very positive step in the right direction,” Mohammad Amini, political analyst and son of Nosratollah Amini, the former mayor of Tehran, said.  “Iranians have to know that they have support so that they can continue this movement.”

 

Other speakers included Roxanna Ganji, political activist and women’s rights advocate, Randolph Dobbs, secretary of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Los Angeles, Reverend Walter Contreras, the cofounder of La Red, representing over a thousand Latino Evangelical churches in Southern California, and Faryar Nikbakht, veteran political activist and currently director of the Committee for Religious Minority Rights.


Lisa Daftari is an award-winning journalist with expertise in the Middle East and counter-terrorism. Her stories have appeared on CBS, NBC, PBS, the Washington Post and Voice of America. She was invited to show her documentary film on an Iranian political youth movement to a subcommittee of Congress.


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