June 24, 2009
A cross section of Los Angeles’ Iranian American activist community were joined at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance by Christian and Jewish leaders in a show of solidarity with the people of Iran. The activists, academics and analysts discussed the current situation in Tehran and other Iranian cities and the ways in which the international community should respond. The event, moderated by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, brought a wide range of opinions from “regime change” to careful, deliberative diplomacy.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center opened by asking, “Why are the lights out at the United Nations?”
"An election, in the minds of millions of people in Iran, has been stolen. And the question is, ‘What is the world going to do about it?’ Is there an electricity strike at the United Nations that the lights went out and they can’t act?" he added.
Hier pointed out that the UN can put together a resolution condemning Israel in less than 12 hours, but so far not one member country of the UN Security Council has come forward to call an emergency session about the flawed election. To demonstrate to protesters throughout Iran that there is strong international commitment to punish their government’s violence with swift sanctions, leaders have to offer more than careful statements. “What is required is a meaningful response in terms of actions,” said Hier. But instead, he concluded, “What we have is total silence.”
Among the speakers were: Mr. Roozbeh Farahanipour, a student protester who tortured by the regim in 1999, now the Secretary General of Marz-e-porgohar (Iranians for a Secular Republic); Professor Hamid Arabzadeh from the University of California, Irvine; Mr. Faryar Nikbakht, Director, Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran, here in Los Angeles; Mohammad Amini, a noted political analyst and the son of Nosratollah Amini, the former Mayor of Tehran and confidant of the deposed Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh; and Roxanna Ganji, political activist and advocate for the rights of women in Iran. They were joined by Randolph Dobbs, Secretary of The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Los Angeles who spoke out for Baha’is who are brutally repressed in Iran and Reverend Walter Contreras, the cofounder of La Red, which represents over a thousand Latino evangelical churches in Southern California.
View photo gallery of speakers at this press conference here...