February 15, 2009 VOLUME 57
E-ZAN VOICE OF WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM IN IRAN
To our readers,
Iranian women played a significant role in the 1979 revolution. They marched in the anti-shah rallies and actively worked along the sides of students and labor movement to bring about change. While their hopes was shattered with Khomeini hijacking the revolution with his fundamentalist ideology and institutionalizing violence against women, three decades later Iranian women have not given up. Over the past 30 years, women have found their political voice in the process of struggle and defiance against the Islamic fundamentalism.
Women are on the forefront of democracy movement in Iran. They are on the forefront of civil rights movement which calls for gender equality. Iran's main opposition group is led by a woman who has been able to mobilize Iranians at home and abroad. There is no doubt that women's struggle in Iran and their goal has and will continue to demand heroic efforts. This is a price that women of three generations are willing to pay for a democratic Iran.
WFAFI calls upon the world community to recognize the voice of women and allow for their message to shape a new policy on Iran. For 30 years, policy of containment, engagement, and appeasement have dominated the political discourse when it comes to Iran. More than any other time, it is critical to side with those who have experience in standing up to the fundamentalist regime in Tehran.
E-Zan Featured Headlines
CNN News - January 17, 2009
Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested several women for doing missionary work for the Baha'is, the religious group whose persecution by the Islamic republic has been condemned by human rights activists and governments around the globe. Tabnak, a semi-official Iranian news service, reported the development but did not specify how many women were arrested or when they were seized. The arrests took place in Kish Island, Iranian territory in the Persian Gulf, the agency said. Tabnak said some of those arrested came from Tehran and others from abroad. "For a long time now, those who wanted to recruit young Iranian men to join the Baha'is used attractive women as bait," the site said. "Israel has given sanctuary to the leaders of this perverted group [Baha'is] for many years, and the United States and Britain have provided them with billions of dollars to engage in propaganda."
Daily Sundial - January 19, 2009
CSUN communications grad student Esha Momeni, who
was arrested and jailed in Iran in mid-October of last year, is still unable to
leave the Middle Eastern country after a travel ban against her was renewed.
Iranian Judiciary spokesperson Alireza Jamshidi told AFP January 13 that the ban
was reissued because a “new issue has opened and the examination of this issue
will take about one month.” Momeni, who had been working on her thesis project
on Iran’s women’s rights movement, was arrested October 15, 2008 after she was
pulled over for allegedly passing another vehicle illegally on a highway. Her
property was then seized, including video footage for her thesis documentary.
The student was released on bail November 10 after spending 25 days in solitary
confinement at Evin prison in Tehran. Momeni had been interviewing women’s
rights advocates with the One Million Signatures campaign, an organization
seeking to change Iranian law to recognize women equal to men.
South Africa News 24 - January 20, 2009
Iran's judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi
Shahrudi has commuted a sentence of stoning to death handed down to a woman
convicted of adultery to 100 lashes, a report said on Tuesday. The woman,
identified only as 48-year-old Kobra N, was convicted of being an accessory to
the murder of her husband and engaging in an adulterous relationship, the daily
Etemad Melli newspaper reported. She was sentenced to eight years in prison for
the first crime and stoning to death for the second. The report said the
woman served the eight-year jail sentence and was kept in prison for another
five years awaiting the sentence of stoning to be carried out. It added that her
husband, a drug addict, had forced her into prostitution.
NCRI Website - January 20, 2009
Ahmad Roosbehani, chief of the State Security
Forces--mullahs' suppressive police--Ethics Division showed some pictures to the
state-run news agency ISNA regarding what he called women "mal-veiling," on
Monday. "Short garments, tight pants, short jacket and long boots are just a few
of the outerwear strictly forbidden for ladies in public," Roosbehani said.
First time offenders will be given verbal advice and if repeated legal action
will be brought against them, Roosbehani added. Roosbehani said that the new act
is in accordance with the so-called "boosting public security plan." The
so-called "boosting public security plan" was first introduced in April 2007 to
combat popular uprisings. Mass street arrests of hundreds of thousands of women
and youth under the pretext of "mal-veiling" and cracking down on "thugs and
hooligans" followed. In the same period, more than 300 prisoners were sent to
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - January 21, 2009
The arrest of internationally renowned AIDS specialists, brothers Arash and Kamyar Alaei, in June and the prison sentences against them for allegedly plotting a U.S.-backed soft revolution in Iran have generated concern among rights activists and the country's scientific community. Their lawyer has said that they have been sentenced to six and three years in prison, respectively. Their family has said they are innocent, and have warned that they may be under pressure to make false statements. Their conviction is seen as a fresh example in an increasing state crackdown on activists in Iran and a warning particularly to those with connections with the United States.The two men, who ran HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs in Iran, have been celebrated internationally for their work. Abdolfatah Soltani a prominent human rights lawyer and cofounder of the Center of Human Rights Defenders believe the government is trying to create fear in the society ahead of the June 12 presidential election."By using these terms that have no legal basis in Iranian laws" -- Soltani says, highlighting the "soft revolution" tag that officials have used -- "they are trying to deceive public opinion so that they have an excuse and justification for cracking down on civil society."
Australia Herald Sun - January 21, 2009
Sisters Zohreh, 28, and Azar Kabiri, 29, each mother of one, were arrested in February 2007 after the husband of one of them presented a film allegedly showing them with other men. Last week "Tehran penal court judges acquitted the two sisters of adultery in a retrial and they will be freed soon'', the reformist Etemad daily said. In August 2007 the two received 99 lashes for an "illegitimate relationship'' and were then freed. They were later rearrested and sentenced in November 2007 to death by stoning for adultery. The verdict was halted after Iran's judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi said the video was not sufficient evidence for the ruling and that their living conditions had not been considered in the trial, the report said. Their lawyer argued that the defendants could not be tried twice for the same offence. Zohreh and Azar's husbands had withdrawn their complaint, declaring that the women in the video footage were not their wives, Etemad said.
Reuters News Agency - January 24, 2009
Counting students and housewives among the ranks of
the employed has helped lower Iran's jobless rate, an official at the statistics
office said in remarks published Saturday.The government of President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, who is widely expected to stand for re-election in June, recently
said the country's unemployment rate had fallen below 10 percent.The statistics
official was quoted as saying that students and housewives had been included in
groups regarded as employed and that this has contributed to lowering the rate.
He did not say how they were treated previously in the statistics. "Considering
these groups of people as employed caused the unemployment rate to fall in the
autumn compared to the summer," the official, identified only by his last name
Anari, said. He did not give any figures or other details.Ahmadinejad came to
power in 2005 on a pledge to share Iran's oil wealth more fairly but reformist
critics blame him for squandering windfall oil income earned in recent years and
fuelling inflation.They say the government has drawn down its reserves even
during good times, including from a fund designed to help at times of falling
oil prices, such as now. Iran is the world's fourth-largest crude producer.
WFAFI News - January 25, 2009
News collection of recent domestic violence against women in Iran:
- An Iranian women kills her newborn baby after her husband threatened her with divorce. The woman who was a mother of 5 girls, was threatened by her husband because she did not bring him a son to this world.
- A rural woman who was in her 6th month of pregnancy was killed by her 35 year old husband. The man who turned himself to the local police said he could not control his anger and murdered his pregnant wife with knife
- A mutilated body of a young woman was discovered in western Tehran. The body was found in a dumpster and after examination it was determined that she was a victim of a honor killing.
The Associated Press - January 26, 2009
An Iranian football club said Monday it has
suspended three officials for allowing the club's female team and its youth male
squad to play against one another - the first such match since the 1979 Islamic
revolution. Esteghlal, one of Iran's top two football clubs, said its
disciplinary committee suspended two officials for a year each while a third
person was suspended for six months. A fourth official was fined, a report
posted on the club's Web site said.According to the club, Mohammad Khorramgah,
the club's technical manager, was suspended for a year and fined 50 million
rials ($5,000). The only woman among the suspended — Saeedeh Pournader, head
coach of the female team — also got a year's suspension. Mostafa Ardestani, head
coach of the youth male squad got the six month's suspension and a 20 million
rial ($2,000) fine. Prominent Iranian footballer and manager of the club's
football academy, Ali Reza Mansourian, got a written rebuke and a fine of 50
million rials ($5,000), the club said.
AKI Italian News - January 26, 2009
Conservative Italian MP and president of Italy's Association of Moroccan Women, Souad Sbai, lauded the European Union's decision on Monday to remove an Iranian opposition movement from its terror blacklist. "I learn with immense happiness of the decision by the EU to remove the Iranian resistance movement, 'People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran', from the list of terror organisations," said Sbai (photo) in a statement to the media. Sbai, who is now an MP for the ruling conservative People of Freedom party, said she felt happy for the people of Iran, which she claims is 'close' to the resistance movement. "Above all, we are in a dramatic moment in the life of the Iranian people, who feel very close to this movement and their struggle. "Let's not forget that only two days ago, 22 people were killed in Iran and many others are executed by hanging because they are convicted by the Tehran regime," she said. Sbai also praised the EU's decision to de-list the PMOI because it will signify a step forward for women's rights in Iran. The decision "will allow them (the PMOI) to continue their struggle for civilisation, democracy and freedom, in particular for Muslim women that live the drama of obscurantist fanaticism in Iran." Sbai also launched an appeal to Italian politicians to help the PMOI in its struggle, and in particular for the students "who fight everyday for the freedom of women that live in the hell of obscurantism." The EU on Monday also decided to unfreeze the PMOI's assets. It is the first time an organisation has been de-listed as terrorist organisation by the group of 27 nations. The group says that it renounced violence in 2001.
Iran Human Rights - January 31, 2009
According to sources in Iran, the Iranian woman, Masoumeh Ghale Jahi, was executed yesterday morning January 29. Iran Human Rights had earlier this week reported that Masoumeh was scheduled to be executed in Thursday January 29.The news has not been conformed by the Iranian media yet. However the journalist and human rights defender Asieh Amini has also confirmed the news in her weblog
The Associated Press - February 1, 2009
A lawyer for an Iranian activist says police
detained the woman while she was campaigning for equal marriage rights for
women. The lawyer says Nafiseh Azad was detained Friday while collecting
signatures for a two-year-old campaign pushing for equal rights for women in
marriage, divorce and inheritance. Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh said Sunday
that collecting signatures is not illegal. Over the past three years, however,
Iranian authorities have detained many women seeking equal rights. In Iran,
women need a male guardian's permission to marry. Only Men have the right to
seek divorce, and men inherit twice what women do from their parents. Calls to
authorities seeking comment on the detention were not returned late Sunday.
Reuters News Agency - February 4, 2009
Iran did not issue visas for a group of U.S. women
badminton players to compete in the country this month, the Foreign Ministry
said Wednesday, blaming a "time-consuming process" in handling such
applications. The U.S. State Department said Monday eight players along with
four coaches and managers would visit Iran on February 3-9 to take part in a
competition.It would have been the first sporting exchange between the two foes
since the January 20 inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama, who has said
he will pursue greater engagement with the Islamic Republic. Foreign Ministry
spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said they would now not be able to come to the
country, which this month marks the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic
revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed shah.
Amnesty International - February 5, 2009
10 February 2009 marks the 30 year anniversary of
the change in government in Iran that led to the creation of the Islamic
Republic. Amnesty International is marking the date by raising its concerns over
a range of human rights violations that have persisted over the past 30 years.
Despite promises made by Ayatollah Khomeini that all Iranians would be free, the
past 30 years have been characterised by persistent human rights violations. The
vast scope and scale of those violations of the early years of the Islamic
Republic did decline somewhat with time. Limited relaxation of restrictions on
freedom of expression during the period of reform under former President Khatami
raised hopes of a sustained improvement in the human rights situation, although
the situation remained poor. However, these hopes have been firmly crushed since
the accession to power of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Impunity, arbitrary
arrest, torture and other ill-treatment, as well as the use of the death penalty
remain prevalent. Some sectors of society -- including ethnic minorities --
continue to face widespread discrimination, while the situation for other groups
-- notably some religious minorities -- has significantly worsened. Those seen
as dissenting from stated or unstated official policies face severe restrictions
on their rights to freedom of belief, expression, association and assembly.
Women continue to face discrimination - both in law and practice. Impunity for
human rights abuses is widespread.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - February 14, 2009
Sahar Yazdanipour, the wife of a jailed student activist, has been detained by authorities, Radio Farda reports. Yazdanipour was arrested after she went to court to ask about her husband, who is reportedly on a hunger strike. During her interview with Radio Farda, she again called for the release of her husband, a Shiraz University student. Student activists at the university have reported growing pressure there from the authorities, and increasingly close monitoring of their activities. Several students have been jailed or summoned to the university's disciplinary commission in recent weeks.
E-Zan Featured Reports
New executions demonstrate need for unequivocal legal ban of stoning
15 January 2009
Amnesty International Statement
Amnesty International deplores the execution by stoning of two men -- Houshang Khodadadeh and another unidentified man - in Mashhad, north-east Iran, probably on 26 December 2008 and urges the authorities to declare an immediate and effective moratorium on executions by stoning, including in the cases of the ten people currently known to be at risk of stoning to death. The stonings were confirmed on 13 January 2009 by Judiciary Spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi.
These new cases of stoning yet again demonstrate that statements -- such as one made by Ali Reza Jamshidi in August 2008 in which he declared that stonings in Iran had been halted - or even directives by the Head of Iran's Judiciary are not enough to halt this horrific practice. The speedy enactment of legislation that unequivocally brings an end to this grotesque punishment is necessary and long overdue.
A third man, an Afghan national identified only as "Mahmoud Gh." managed to free himself from the pit he was to be stoned in, and is currently believed to be in custody. None of the three men were previously known to be at risk of stoning by anti-stoning campaigners in Iran. Amnesty International and campaigners in Iran are aware of ten other people at risk of stoning to death, but fear there may be others.
According to the "Stop Stoning Forever" Campaign, which is working for an end to this punishment, at least eight women and two men are at risk of stoning to death in Iran. The women are Kobra N., held in Reja'i Shahr prison, Karaj; Iran A, held in Sepidar Prison, Ahvaz; Khayrieh V., also held in Sepidar Prison, Ahvaz; Ashraf Kalhori, held in Evin Prison, Tehran; Gilan Mohammadi, held in the Central Prison in Esfahan; Afsaneh R, held in Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz;, M.J, held Vakil Abad Prison in Mashhad; and H, also held in Vakil Abad Prison in Mashhad. The men are Abdollah Farivar, held in Sari Prison in Mazandaran province and Gholamali Eskandari, held in the Central Prison, Esfahan.
Two other women -- sisters Zohreh and Azar Kabiri-niat -- are currently being retried before Branch 77 of Tehran's General Court. Their previous conviction and sentence to stoning was overturned in 2008 by the Head of the Judiciary. If convicted again after the retrial, they risk being sentenced once again to death by stoning.
In Iran, stoning to death is a penalty prescribed specifically for "adultery while being married". The offence should be proved either by confession four times in front of the judge, the testimony of four male eyewitnesses or of three men and two women; or by the "knowledge" of the judge, which can include video footage or forensic evidence.
Amnesty International urges the Iranian authorities to enact a law unequivocally banning stoning as a legal punishment. Pending the adoption of such a law, an immediate and effective moratorium on executions by stoning should be implemented. As some judges, especially outside Tehran continue to sentence individuals to stoning, it should be made clear to officials of the law enforcement, custodial and other relevant ministries and agencies, that this moratorium must not be breached and that any officials who defy that instruction will themselves be held accountable.
The Iranian authorities should also ensure that any legislation enacted, including the new Penal Code, conforms to their international obligations under human rights law, and that consensual sexual relations are unambiguously decriminalized.
Starting at Home, Iran’s Women Fight for Rights
February 13, 2009
By Nazila Fathi
The New York Times
TEHRAN — In a year of marriage, Razieh Qassemi, 19, says she was beaten repeatedly by her husband and his father. Her husband, she says, is addicted to methamphetamine and has threatened to marry another woman to “torture” her.
Rather than endure the abuse, Ms. Qassemi took a step that might never have occurred to an earlier generation of Iranian women: she filed for divorce.
Women’s rights advocates say Iranian women are displaying a growing determination to achieve equal status in this conservative Muslim theocracy, where male supremacy is still enscribed in the legal code. One in five marriages now end in divorce, according to government data, a fourfold increase in the past 15 years.
And it is not just women from the wealthy, Westernized elites. The family court building in Vanak Square here is filled with women, like Ms. Qassemi, who are not privileged. Women from lower classes and even the religious are among those marching up and down the stairs to fight for divorces and custody of their children.
Increasing educational levels and the information revolution have contributed to creating a generation of women determined to gain more control over their lives, rights advocates say.
Confronted with new cultural and legal restrictions after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, some young women turned to higher education as a way to get away from home, postpone marriage and earn social respect, advocates say. Religious women, who had refused to sit in classes with men, returned to universities after they were resegregated.
Today, more than 60 percent of university students are women, compared with just over 30 percent in 1982, even though classes are no longer segregated.
Even for those women for whom college is not an option, the Internet and satellite television have opened windows into the lives of women in the West. “Satellite has shown an alternative way of being,” said Syma Sayah, a feminist involved in social work in Tehran. “Women see that it is possible to be treated equally with men.”
Another sign of changing attitudes is the increasing popularity of books, movies and documentaries that explore sex discrimination, rights advocates say.
“Women do not have a proper status in society,” said Mahnaz Mohammadi, a filmmaker. “Films are supposed to be a mirror of reality, and we make films to change the status quo.”
In a recent movie, “All Women Are Angels,” a comedy that was at the top of the box office for weeks, a judge rejects the divorce plea of a woman who walked out on her husband when she found him with another woman.
Even men are taking up women’s issues and are critical of traditional marriage arrangements. Mehrdad Oskouei, another filmmaker, has won more than a dozen international awards for “The Other Side of Burka,” a documentary about women on the impoverished and traditional southern island of Qeshm who are committing suicide in increasing numbers because they have no other way out of their marriages.
“How can divorce help a woman in southern parts of the country when she has to return after divorce to her father’s home who will make her even more miserable than her husband?” said Fatimeh Sadeghi, a former political science professor fired for her writing on women’s rights.
Janet Afary, a professor of Middle East and women’s studies at Purdue University and the author of “Sexual Politics in Modern Iran,” says the country is moving inexorably toward a “sexual revolution.”
“The laws have denied women many basic rights in marriage and divorce,” she wrote in the book. “But they have also contributed to numerous state initiatives promoting literacy, health and infrastructural improvements that benefited the urban and rural poor.”
To separate the sexes, the state built schools and universities expressly for women, and improved basic transportation, enabling poor women to travel more easily to big cities, where they were exposed to more modern ideas.
Ms. Afary says that mandatory premarital programs to teach about sex and birth control, instituted in 1993 to control population growth, helped women delay pregnancy and changed their views toward marriage. By the late 1990s, she says, young people were looking for psychological and social compatibility and mutual intimacy in marriage.
Despite the gains they have made, women still face extraordinary obstacles. Girls can legally be forced into marriage at the age of 13. Men have the right to divorce their wives whenever they wish, and are granted custody of any children over the age of 7. Men can ban their wives from working outside the home, and can engage in polygamy.
By law, women may inherit from their parents only half the shares of their brothers. Their court testimony is worth half that of a man. Although the state has taken steps to discourage stoning, it remains in the penal code as the punishment for women who commit adultery. A woman who refuses to cover her hair faces jail and up to 80 lashes.
Women also face fierce resistance when they organize to change the law. The Campaign for One Million Signatures was founded in 2005, inspired by a movement in Morocco that led to a loosening of misogynist laws. The idea was to collect one million signatures for a petition calling on authorities to give women more equal footing in the laws on marriage, divorce, adultery and polygamy.
But Iran’s government has come down hard on the group, charging many of its founders with trying to overthrow it; 47 members have been jailed so far, including 3 who were arrested late last month. Many still face charges, and six members are forbidden to leave the country. One member, Alieh Eghdamdoust, began a three-year jail sentence last month for participating in a women’s demonstration in 2006. The group’s Web site, www.we-change.org, has been blocked by the authorities 18 times.
“We feel we achieved a great deal even though we are faced with security charges,” said Sussan Tahmasebi, one of the founding members of the campaign, who is now forbidden to leave Iran. “No one is accusing us of talking against Islam. No one is afraid to talk about more rights for women anymore. This is a big achievement.”
Women’s advocates say that the differences between religious and secular women have narrowed and that both now chafe at the legal discrimination against women. Zahra Eshraghi, for example, the granddaughter of the revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, signed the One Million Signatures petition.
“Many of these religious women changed throughout the years,” said Ms. Sayah, the feminist in Tehran. “They became educated, they traveled abroad and attended conferences on women’s rights, and they learned.”
Because of the government’s campaign of suppression, the process of collecting signatures has slowed recently, and many women do not want to be seen in the presence of a campaigner, let alone sign a petition. Most feminist groups limit their canvassing now to the Internet.
But while the million signatures campaign may have stalled, women have scored some notable successes. A group that calls itself Meydaan has earned international recognition for pressing the government to stop stonings.
The group’s reporting on executions by stoning in 2002 on its Web site, www.meydaan.net — including a video of the execution of a prostitute — embarrassed the government and led the head of the judiciary to issue a motion urging judges to refrain from ordering stonings. (The stonings have continued anyway, but at a lower rate, because only Parliament has the power to ban them.)
Iran, winds of change
Italian magazine Limes
Interview with Maryam Rajavi
By Fausta Speranza
February 14, 2009
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) is no longer a terrorist organization
The situation of the internal Iranian opposition
Interview with Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
The winds of change in Iran are blowing. With this phrase, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), expressed her joy over the EU Council of Ministers decision to take the PMOI, an opposition movement against the mullahs in Iran, off the terrorist list.
This label was finally removed at the end of January. In 2002, based on British demands and following the September 11th attacks, in the midst of an extraordinary atmosphere against terrorism, the PMOI was placed on the terrorist list.
The PMOI was formed in 1965 believing in a democratic Islam and aiming to overthrow the Shah’s regime. Today, it is fighting against what Rajavi describes as the mullahs’ religious fascism in Tehran. A number of verdicts by European courts, the last of which was handed down on December, 4, 2008, found that there is no credible or serious legal evidence indicating that the PMOI is involved in terrorist activity. As such, the European case is closed, but in the US, the organization is still maintained on the blacklist. Maryam Rajavi, who leads the opposition network in exile, speaks of an unjust listing and calls on the new US President Obama to remove the PMOI from the blacklist.
Rajavi proclaims that the regime in Tehran used every possible political and diplomatic leverage to keep the PMOI on the list, and also speaks of the crimes and grave human rights violations committed by the current Iranian rulers. When talking about the appeasement policy, Rajavi refers to short-term economic interests pursued by many European countries and says that it was for this reason that they delayed the decision on the PMOI. She especially refers to the inconsistencies with regards to implementing the sanctions imposed due to the Iranian nuclear issue.
In this regard, on the same day that the EU announced its decision vis-à-vis the PMOI, the German government, according to media sources, issued an order to the effect that guarantees for companies exporting to Iran will be stopped. This occurs at a time when despite sanctions, there are signs of a significant amount of exports from Germany to Iran in 2008. The US and Israel are among the biggest critics of the increase of German exports to Iran. They say that by the end of November 2008 German exports to Iran had increased by 10.5%, amounting to 3.58 billion Euros for the year.
As relations between Tehran and the world’s biggest powers, the P5+1 (US, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany), turn more heated when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program, parties expect to wait and see how the new Obama administration deals with the situation. Brussels says that the doors to dialogue with Tehran have always remained open, while reminding that UN sanctions resolutions are still in effect. Maryam Rajavi charges that the international community has failed to remove itself from the cycle of EU carrots and US sticks.
The NCRI was established in 1981 and is based in Paris. Its founder is Massoud Rajavi, whose location, due to obvious security reasons, is unknown. Maryam Rajavi is the President-elect of the NCRI and appears in public with considerable security protection. Every year in Paris, approximately 70,000 Iranian refugees gather to hear Rajavi reiterate that the solution to the Iranian crisis is neither a foreign military intervention nor the Western, and especially the EU, policy of appeasement vis-à-vis the mullahs, which has been pursued during the past two years. According to the NCRI, the third option is democratic change in Iran by supporting the Iranian people and their resistance movement. We shall wait and see whether Obama will take this path or whether he has another third option in mind.