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In the fight to move 80 million Iranians a few steps closer to freedom, Manhattan became a key battleground. On Tuesday, December 13, Iranian-American activists will be partnering with pro-democracy dissidents from within Iran to reach out and make their presence known to the West– first through a creative political protest targeting Russia, then a virtual press conference where Iranians put their lives on the line to freely answer questions by Western journalists.
Their day begins in front of Russia’s New York consulate in a protest over how Putin’s administration has consistently defeated tougher sanctions upon the Islamic Republic. The centerpiece to the protest is a 30 foot mural created by famed New York graffiti artist, Cycle.
From 11 A.M.to 2 P.M., the Russian Consulate will be faced with a scene of a sinister Vladamir Putin and Wen Jiabao sawing with machetes marked “VETO” at the ropes the character of the Free World is attempting to use to help the Iranian protestors break out of their imprisonment.
According to The New Iran, the non-profit organization joining American and Iranian activities, the depiction is an accurate representation of the cost to freedom that has resulted from Russia and China shielding the Iranian regime.
“The regime is hated by most Iranians,” says Dr. Iman Foroutan, Chairman of The New Iran. “And it could not hold onto power without the help of certain governments taking advantage of the situation to plunder the natural resources of Iran.”
“In exchange for oil and nuclear reactor contracts, Russia and China have used their veto power to water down or block the real pressure that could be put on the Islamic Republic,” adds Dr. Bijan Karimi, Executive Director of The New Iran. “As a result, the regime feels free to ignore the international community and is under no pressure to give power back to our people, respect human rights, or halt their nuclear ambitions.”
According to these activists, despite the risk of government reprisal, Iranians yearning for freedom will no longer be silent. From 3 P.M.-5 P.M., a select group of Western journalists will have the opportunity to speak with Iranians free of the usual government censors.
The Iranians will come from a broad cross-section of Iranian society and are risking imprisonment to give insight into how the Iranian people really feel about their government, share their thoughts on the headlines coming out of Iran today, and to alert the West to the fact that there really are Iranians willing to take action to replace the Islamic Republic with a functioning democracy.
One of the dissidents who will be speaking is an attorney whose task in the democratic underground has been secretly preparing the legal briefs necessary to prosecute select member of the Islamic Republic’s hierarchy for war crimes as soon as the regime is toppled.
“The message here is that the Islamic Republic does not speak for the Iranian people,” says Foroutan, “the Persian people have a rich culture of peace and progress. We were the first country to put human rights into law 2,500 years before the United Nations was even a dream. If we want the world to be a safer place, we all need to support the Iranian Freedom movement.”