Around 200 people protested against the Iranian government on June 13 in front of the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard.
The demonstration, officially titled “No to the Islamic Republic of Iran Demonstration,” featured protesters chanting “Freedom for Iran,” “Down with Islamic Republic” and “President Biden, Do Not Deal with Mullahs,” among other slogans.
“We have all different groups that are here,” Arezo Rashidian, one of the organizers of the protest, told the Journal. “We have the Jewish community, the Baha’i community, the Muslim community standing against the Islamic Republic of Iran. We’re here today to boycott the sham elections of Iran and say no to the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The elections will be held on June 19.
She added that the opposition to the Iranian government has been working to “expose the regime for its unjust human rights abuses, unjust political prisoners.”
Rashidian echoed these sentiments in her speech to the protesters and urged people to look for different ways to spread their message. “We know what’s happening in Iran in Farsi. We need to do it in other languages. If you know French, if you know Russian, if you know Armenian, spread the word what this terrorist regime is doing inside of Iran.”
Rashidian also spoke out against the Biden administration rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which the Trump administration exited in 2018, calling the Iranian government a “terrorist organization.” “We are telling President Biden, ‘Please listen to us. It is our turn to be a voice.’”
Other speakers included Iranian singer Morteza Barjesteh, Foad Pashai, who heads the Constitutionalist Party of Iran, and Ardavan Mofid, all of whom spoke in Farsi. Rashidian was the only speaker to communicate in English. Bobby Afrooz, who came to the United States from Iran when he was 16, told the Journal that the speakers were talking about how the Iranian government is perpetuating a “fake dichotomy of reformists vs hardliners.” “People are here to say, ‘Hey, they’re all the same.’ It’s the Islamic Republic, there is no dichotomy; it’s all the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei].”
He added that the opposition to the Iranian government has been divided for the past 40 years, but now they’re united. “I guess they figured it wasn’t working; they need to unite.”
Zohreh Mizrahi, president of Persian-American Civic Action Network, told the Journal that she said during her speech that it’s “about time for Iranians to be united” against the Islamic Republic. “In the past 42 years, we have experienced nothing but femicide, honor killing[s] and we cannot wait for other nations to come to our rescue. It has to come from us, and we have to stand tall, we have to stand strong against the Islamic Republic.”
She echoed the calls to boycott the upcoming elections in Iran. “In every democracy, not voting has consequences, but when there is no democracy, when you don’t vote, you are sending a strong message: that there is nothing for me to vote for.”
Golnar Djahanbani, another attendee at the protest, told the Journal that she came to the U.S. from Iran at the age of 18; her father, who was a general in the Iranian Air Force, was executed during the 1979 Iranian revolution. “What I’m witnessing for the first time after 42 years is a unity amongst a people outside and inside of Iran all over the world that is saying no to the Islamic Republic of Iran. 42 years of murdering, 42 years of terrorism against Iran and the countries around us, including Israel…enough is enough, as they say, and we want to save our young generation, which is being tortured, murdered and imprisoned every day.”
She added that “not one vote should go in that box” for the upcoming Iranian elections. “Unfortunately, what we’re hearing is that the Iranian government has paid Iraqis and given them special permission…to come into Iran and pose as Iranians and vote.” The number of Iraqis posing as Iranians to vote in the elections are already “in the thousands,” Djahanbani said.
Mofid told the Journal that the protesters are calling for a “regime change” in Iran and for the United States and other Western countries to “support people of Iran, back them up” in order to bring freedom to the country. He also urged the United Nations and Western countries to not deal with the mullahs. “Don’t pay them monies because…they’re actually just going to spread the terrorism.”
Pashai similarly told the Journal that he disagrees with the Biden administration’s policies toward the Iranian government, arguing that the Biden administration believes that “giving a hand to” the Iranian government will be enough for them to change their behavior in the Middle East. But Pashai believes that this approach won’t work because of the Iranian government’s ideology. “If you show them the nice face, they’ll attack you. You have to show them a strong punch and a strong power.” He added that he agreed with the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” approach against the Iranian government.
Mizrahi pointed out that it has always been against U.S. foreign policy to negotiate with terrorists and Biden is “representative of human rights for every other nation,” so why is he “not taking into consideration the human rights of Iranians” and wanting “to negotiate with the financier of all the terrorist organizations?” “This is against our public policy. It is against what America stands for and it’s going to harm Americans and the national security of this country.”
She added that regime change can happen in Iran if Western countries stop meddling “into [the Iranian people’s] affairs.” “If they stay away and if they don’t intervene or support the Islamic Republic of Iran, believe you me, Iranians are resilient enough to overthrow these mullahs.”
Source » jewishjournal