SoCal Iranians launch rally against Iran's regime, Russia and China
Iranian pro-democracy activists have called on opponents of Tehran's Islamic regime throughout Southern California to rally against repression and hardship in their homeland.
The weekend protests are being staged to coincide with the Feb. 11, 1979, anniversary of the fall of the Pavlavi dynasty in Iran and the establishment of an Islamic republic, which drove hundreds of thousands to flee the country.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons has drawn harsh economic sanctions on the country, inflicting hyperinflation and shortages on the Iranian people, say activists within the New Iran movement, which is behind the weekend demonstrations.
"Not since the phony elections that kept Ahmadinejad in power [in 2009] has there been so much anger welling up out of Iranian Americans," said Parviz Haddadizadeh, one of the organizers of the rallies, which are expected to draw thousands from the Persian community. "It is no longer, 'Where is my vote? It is where is my freedom?' Regime change is the only solution."
Activists called on opponents of the Islamic regime to gather outside the federal building at 11000 Wilshire Boulevard from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and to converge on the Chinese consulate at Shatto Place on Tuesday to protest China's support for the regime. Organizers said the Tuesday demonstration at 11 a.m. would unveil a 30-foot mural by New York graffiti artist Cycle depicting the Iranian, Chinese and Russian leaders on a "wall of shame."
"In exchange for oil and nuclear reactor contracts, Russia and China have used their veto power to water down or block the most powerful pressure that could be put on the Islamic Republic," said Bijan Karimi, executive director of the New Iran pro-democracy movement. "As a result, the regime feels free to ignore the international community and continues to refuse to give power back to our people, respect human rights or halt their nuclear ambitions."
-- Carol J. Williams
Photo: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures as he delivers a speech Saturday at a rally in Tehran to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the country's pro-Western monarchy and brought Islamic clerics to power. Credit: Vahid Salemi / Associated Press