Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2009
Women protesting for change and paying the price with their lives
Over the past several days, the world community has seen first hand what the
Iranian people, especially women, are willing to do for a free and democratic
Iran. The price of freedom has taken lives of many in recent days, including
several women. Thousands have been arrested and taken to notorious torture
chambers of the Iranian regime in various cities. Among those women have lost
their lives, are:
- Fatemeh Barati killed in University of Tehran
- Mina Ehterami killed in University of Tehran
- Zohreh Peeshdadian stabbed to death in the suburb of Karaj
According to the latest report from Iran, at least 58 people have been killed and more than 200 people have been kidnapped in the last 72 hours. The fact is the post-election rallies and protests speak of a much larger movement for real change that has now erupted and it is clearing any doubts about the undemocratic and fundamentalist nature of the regime in Iran. It is shameless to be silent and not speak in support of the Iranian people. It is shameless to place "national security interests" before speaking out in defense of basic human rights.
President Obama must take a much tougher
stance in response to the Iranian movement. He should stand on the side of the
Iranian people who shout "down with the dictatorship." Washington's focus must
be on Iranian's outcry and not the regime in power. The US President is correct to assume there
is no difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. In addition to their joint
nuclear issue and terrorism as pillars of Iran's foreign policy,
both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi were directly and indirectly engaged in:
- The 1980 engineering of "Cultural Revolution" in the universities and the subsequent crackdown on all opposition groups and student leaders from 1981-1987 which led to mass arrests and executions, including execution of pregnant women, 9-year-old girl and 70-year-old grandmother.
- The 1988 massacre of political prisoners which led to execution of thousands including many women.
- The chain killings of the writers and intellectuals with at least 133 people killed, mostly in Tehran, during the 1990's.
- The worldwide assassination of exiled political opponents which took lives of at least 210 people from 1991 to 1997.
- The crushing of student movement, mass arrests and executions in the summer of 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.
- The crackdown and mass arrest of women on International Women's Day in 2004, 2005, and 2006.
- The weekly public hanging including several hangings and stoning of women in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Therefore, it is unacceptable to attribute what is happening in Iran to just an outcry over the recent election results. There are much more radical dynamics on the ground than what is reported in the western media about Iran. Based on the reports Women's Forum has received from Iran, the banners reading "where is my vote", is not in support of Mousavi, rather it is a direct challenge to electoral process and the 'republic' claim of this regime. The silent march and ongoing protests are not "pro-Mousavi rallies", rather people are using the political opportunity that has presented itself given the infighting among the theocratic factions of this regime.
Iranian people are demanding real change by rejecting this regime in its entirety. As the message of real change becomes louder, Mousavi will face a choice of either settling with the theocratic regime or pay the price just as the people in the streets face bullets and violence.
There is no doubt the Iranian regime will escalate the current conflict with more suppression and violence in coming days. The world community has a choice to stand in silence or speak in support of the Iranian people and their desire for an internationally monitored election. This is a call that has also been renewed by the exiled leader of Iran's main opposition group, Maryam Rajavi. Let us hope Washington is taking notes.
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