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IRAN: Flag stirs debate at U.S. protests against Iran election results


The appearance of the pre-Islamic Revolution Iranian flag at U.S. rallies is stirring tension between Iranian expatriates who come out to express solidarity with protests at home against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

When supporters of Iran’s deposed shah bring out the flag at demonstrations in the Los Angeles area, younger protesters wearing green T-shirts and arm bands in support of presidential challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi often move across the street.

Like the country's current flag, the former one contains horizontal bands of green, white and red. But the emblem in the middle contains a lion, sun and sword, rather than the four crescents and sword introduced by the Islamic regime in 1980.

Invitations to a candlelight vigil today in Los Angeles, which were posted on Facebook and other sites, contained the following warning: "no flags allowed -- if anyone brings any flag they will be asked to leave."

"This flag doesn’t mean monarchy," protested Parvaneh Jinchi, who attended a Tuesday demonstration outside the Federal Building in Westwood. "It is our (national) flag."

Although Jinchi said she would be happy to see a constitutional monarchy restored in Iran, other demonstrators carrying the flag said they would prefer a secular democracy with no royal figurehead.

Younger protesters, however, said they did not want to give Iran’s rulers any excuse to accuse Mousavi of links to a movement that seeks to overthrow the current regime.

Organizers of a demonstration near a popular shopping mall in Irvine pleaded with protesters Wednesday to put the flags away.

"We are here to support the people who are fighting for their freedom in Iran," said Sara, a UCI student, "not to support any regime."

-- Alexandra Zavis and Paloma Esquivel in Los Angeles

More on Iran's presidential election and its aftermath.

Photo: Protesters wave the pre-Islamic Revolution Iranian flag at a demonstration in Irvine against the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (8)

This is the time to be united against Khamaneyee and Ahmadinejad. Lets unite and kick these guys out of Iran and then argue over our personal believes & flag.

It is impossible for Iran to have a republic because for the last 100 years the west has been trying to overthough the government. Try 1 million people protesting in washington for freedom (none exists in america) or try 1 million people protesting in any country in the EU. It would not be allowed to happened. Iran must protect itself against being conqured AGAIN! Whats the difference between G.W. Bush killing one million Iraqis in the name of the schofield version of God? Where is the outrage about the constant killing of Afgan civilians? Now the UK and America will steal Irans assets, cut off their fuel and trying to topple the requime so they can steal more oil. It is Amazing how much hate the west has for this Islaim nation who has never invaded anyone in the last 200 years.

Struggle though we do, in Canada we have managed to temper the oppressive yoke of our constitutional monarchy and simmer it down to a slow boil. Seriously, we're doing okay, Queen and all.

Why would Iran need a Juan Carlos? Why would Iran want a Juan Carlos? Why would Iran want an entire host of "royal" blockheads weighing it down after once getting rid of them? Iran shed the royalty, it will shed the sheikhdom, too, in near future.

Iran simply needs a working democracy: a unicameral legislature, an elected president, some decentralization of power and federalism, a constitution that leaves not a shadow of doubt about people's basic rights and freedoms (freedoms of speech, expression, press, association, religion, and venture), and zero unelected officials. That's what Iran needs. If you want to help Iran, help Iranian people, try bringing that about using whatever means available to you.

You think demonstrations could prove effective? Well, demonstrate, but before taking to the streets of wherever you happen to live at the moment determine your goals. Your goal, if you are in harmony with the majority of people who have lived in Iran all these years and gone through everything, would be just what I described on the above paragraph.

Stop perpetuating lies of the Islamic Republic and the western world - the Shah of Iran did not SUPPRESS people, instead he fought for economic freedom and education of his people. He fought to free his people from the colonial tentacles of the euro-empire. The Shah was a patriot - a word you know not.

If the prevailing thought is what the fufu UCI student says, the youth of Iran are misguided. Mousavi was Khomeni's right hand man - he is one of them - hardcore evil and corrupt. If the vote is between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, I vote for Ahmadi - he's a lesser evil.

As an Iranian (born and raised in Europe)
I just cannot understand why people want to re-impose a monarchy and give one family or bloodline the privileged position rule over the people. Iran has become a republic, the Shah DID suppress people (less than the current regime) so why don't you just fight for a simple democracy. Fight for the rights of our people not a family, Pahlavi family. For Christsakes. Get over it.
To the older generation of LA based Iranians and their young uninformed children with their "romanticized" dreams of a crowned King: No ONE in Iran cares about Reza Pahlavi. Despite your hate for Islam remember that this religion (and I am not religious) is part of the culture of Iran and your aims to eradicate it will fail miserably and increase the fundamentalists influence. Co-existance is the nature of the USA, the country that you so much want to model Iran after.

As an author of Asia Chronicle argues (, there was so much obscurity in Obama's speech as to his plan for the Middle East. Should US seek detent with Iran? Or shoud it seek containment just like we did during the Cold War?

I support the idea of a Constitutional Monarchy. As Crown Prince Reza, the Shah's eldest son, once said: He would like to become the Juan Carlos of Iran. King Juan Carlos brought democracy and stability to Spain after 37 year's of dictatorship.


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