Hassan Rowhani is anything but a "moderate", he is a wolf hidden in sheep's clothing and will be an extremely helpful tool for the Islamic Regime, to decrease some of the pressure they are receiving both at home and abroad. We must be diligent in exposing his true colours and his involvement in the crimes against humanity committed by the Islamic Regime to the international community, and make sure they are not fooled by another "smiling mullah!"
Today is the International Day to Support Political Prisoners in Iran. It is also a day to remember Neda Agha-Soltan, a young woman who was shot to death by regime agents during the 2009 protests. What was special about Neda was that she had not participated in the [s]elections, she was not "green" and she supported democratic change in Iran. I am dedicating this post to Neda as well as all political prisoners in Iran, especially those whose names and whereabouts we might not know. I stand with them in their dedication and hope for a free Iran!
Sayeh Hassan in the National Post-Re: Iranian [s]Elections:
Mr. Rowhani “may be a moderate, but that is moderate within the Islamic Regime. He was one of the only eight people out of 600-plus who were allowed to run for presidency and approved by Khamenei and the Guardian Council,” said Sayeh Hassan, a Toronto lawyer who fled Iran 25 years ago, and is a pro-democracy activist against the regime.
“They were essentially hand-picked,” she said. “The regime is weak and facing so much pressure, and has lost of most its legitimacy at home and abroad. It needed a high voter turn out and it needs someone moderate to engage the west and stop some of the pressure on Iran. So enters Rowhani… This is not a victory.”
“We may see some small but non fundamental changes, maybe lesser strict rules on the dress code and maybe women will be able to have nail polish on their hands without being arrested, but there will be no change in the real issues and real oppression,” Ms. Hassan said.
Iranian election will be another undemocratic charade
1987 was a dangerous time to be Iranian. With the passing of eight years since the Islamic revolution, the regime’s promises of dignity, prosperity and independence for the Iranian people had taken on their characteristic Orwellian tone. Iranians were told that freedom was slavery and war was peace. The regime’s war with Iraq had ground on for seven years, decimating an entire generation of young Iranians and Iraqis alike. As a seven-year-old from Tehran, fate had it that I was not forced by the regime to clear live minefields – unlike thousands of Iranian children in the 80s who were roped together and marched forward as expendable cannon fodder.
It was in 1987 that my family fled Iran. After spending five years as refugees in Turkey, we were fortunate to make our way to Canada. That I am now a practising lawyer and a proud Canadian reflects the incredible opportunities afforded by our great country. Moreover, it underscores my responsibility to speak out against the regime that devastated the country of my birth and continues to brutalize the people of Iran to this day.
On June 14, I will not be joining millions of fellow Iranians who will be forced to endure the charade of another presidential election. The potential for genuine democratic change is as bleak today as it was in 2009. Of more than 800 prospective candidates, the ayatollahs have determined that only eight are ideologically fit to be included on the ballot.
To my knowledge, not a single eligible candidate has called for political change, such as the establishment of a secular (rather than Islamic) legal code, respect for the rule of law, freedom of the press and the right of peaceful assembly. None have advocated for an end to clerical rule, for the simple reason that the clerics are their ideological kin and the guarantors of their very right to be a candidate.
Not one eligible candidate has advocated for an end to the stoning of women and the public hanging of homosexuals. None have condemned Iran’s direct involvement in the horrific Syrian civil war, including Tehran’s ongoing provision of military advisers, funds, and weaponry to the Assad regime.
None have called for an independent investigation into the arrest, torture and murder of scores of Iranian political protestors in the wake of the last election. In this regard, the international community must recognize that what the world witnessed online in 2009 was only a short excerpt of a long record of regime brutality. In the year that followed my departure from Iran, for example, some 2,800 political prisoners were executed for “apostasy” and other spurious charges in a single month.
Lastly, not one eligible candidate in this month’s election has called for an end to the regime’s illegal nuclear program, a development that foremost poses a threat to the Iranian people. If you think a nuclear North Korea enjoys dangerous impunity to violate the rights of its people, just wait until the dark day when Tehran obtains a nuclear weapon – the ultimate insurance policy in regime sustainability. While the international community and Iran’s neighbours are rightly concerned about the regional fallout, Canadians should not overlook the link between the regime’s nuclear ambitions and its ability to continue abusing the Iranian people.
To outline the above aspirations – for democracy, human rights and an end to a reckless Iranian foreign policy – is not to simplify the issues or claim that political change will come easily. But Canadians must be cautious not to view the regime in simplistic terms. We must understand that the notion of “moderates” running within the system is ultimately a paradox; those who are truly moderate have been denied a platform altogether, and fear for their lives should they publicly criticize the regime. You won’t see their names on a ballot, as they can do little more than live in quiet submission, organize underground, waste away in prison or live abroad in exile. For those who have made the painful decision to leave, the ayatollahs’ Revolutionary Guards Corps continues to pose a threat far beyond Iran’s borders.
Sayeh Hassan is a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto and a pro-democracy activist fighting to change Iran’s Islamic regime. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/06/06/iranian_election_will_be_another_undemocratic_charade.html
On Wednesday June 5th 2013 Canada’s federal Parliament unanimously passed a Resolution recognizing the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran as “Crime Against Humanity”. A big thanks to all of the activist who have been involved in lobbying the Canadian Government to stand with the Iranian people and to take a tough stand against the Regime in Iran. Also a big thanks to the Canadian Government for taking this big step and standing in solidarity with the people of Iran, and especially those who lost loved one's during the brutal summer of 1988!
Protest against the Anniversary of Khomeini in Toronto was a Major Success!
On Sunday June 2nd 2013 many Iranian Canadians came together to protest against an event held to commemorate Khomeini’s anniversary in Toronto. This event was organized by the “Muslim Community of GTA” and took place at the Islamic Society of York Region.
The original location for the event had been at the Al Huda Islamic Centre which is more centrally located and accessible by public transportation, however the organizers were forced to change the location one day before the event, once they realized that there would be major protests against this event. The new location was outside of the city of Toronto, in a very isolated location and not accessible by public transportation. No doubt this was done in order to prevent protesters from attending!
I am happy and proud to say that despite the isolated location and despite heavy rain during parts of the protest there was a large turnout at the protest and individuals from many different groups and organizations, as well as independent activists were present and able to create a unified front against Islamic extremism. It should be noted that Jewish Defence League had also called for a protest against this event and were present in large numbers.
Khomeini was not only an “Islamic Butcher” responsible for the rape, torture and execution of thousands of political dissidents he was also an Islamic extremist who advocated and supported international terrorism! The Regime he founded 34 years ago continues to oppress its own people, fund and support international terrorism and is actively building a nuclear weapon.
Canadians should be extremely concerned about the fact that there are Islamic extremists living among us who are openly supporting the violent and hateful ideology of this man. Who is to say that Khomeini’s supporters will not decide to FOLLOW his teachings by becoming active terrorists themselves? How do we know that today’s Khomeini supporter will not be tomorrow’s terrorist?
We cannot AFFORD to remain silent and allow these Islamic extremists to organize such events which serve no purpose but to promote hateful Islamic extremist ideology. I for one will be keeping my eyes and ears open for any similar future events and will be there to voice my grave concerns.
There is no place in Canada for Islamic extremism and those who support that ideology!
Sayeh Hassan is an Iranian Canadian Lawyer, blogger and Pro-Democracy Activist