Iranian-Americans rally near United Nations

Iranian-Americans rally near United Nations

Published by on September 30, 2015

AP-NY-28Sep2015-2-750By Verena Dobnik – The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Iranian-American protesters said Monday that the country’s current regime has executed about 2,000 dissidents in less than two years, making human rights a key issue in U.S.-Iran relations.

Thousands gathered in Dag Hammerskjold Plaza outside the United Nations just as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was to speak to the world body’s General Assembly.

The protesters want him removed.

“We want to show that not only is the Iranian regime a threat to the international community, but also a threat to the people within Iran,” said Ben Borhani, a student at Irvine Valley College in southern California.

He noted that executions often follow arrests on “arbitrary drug trafficking charges. … A majority of the time, these people are political prisoners.”

The Iranian diaspora is examining the Iran deal just approved by Congress that would lift economic sanctions in return for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. who spoke at the rally, says he supports the nuclear part of the deal but is very concerned about a possible arms escalation. Richardson said that with sanctions removed, Iran would have more money to buy weapons that could be used in Syria and Yemen, as well as for Hamas and Hezbollah, two groups that seek Israel’s destruction.

Monday’s rally was led by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities and the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Borhani said he would like to see “a true democracy” in which Iranians could express themselves freely.

The president-elect of Iran’s Paris-based parliament in exile, Maryam Rajavi, issued a statement urging that the “illegitimate” representatives of Rouhani’s regime be expelled from international institutions.

“Rouhani is part of a regime whose survival is ensured only through daily executions, torture of prisoners, suppression of women and plundering of social wealth, as well as terrorism and destruction in the region,” she said.

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Abolish death penalty

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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