In Iran: ‘Popular Uprising’ Is Alive; Students To Again Protest Monday

Dec 4, 20090 comments

tehran04The news from Iran that a doctor who exposed the torture of jailed protesters has himself died under suspicious circumstances involving a poisoned salad reminded me it’s been six months since that nation’s tumultuous presidential election and the beginning of protests over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. One leading watchdog on the issue of human rights in Iran says that while we Americans may not be paying as much attention to events in his country as we did last summer, the “popular uprising … has not died out.” I spoke by telephone today with Hadi Ghaemi, director of the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. I started by asking him to update us on events within Iran. He says those who oppose government oppression view their effort as a marathon and are still very active. On Monday, Ghaemi says, many of Iran’s university students are planning to again protest. “The universities will see large numbers of students staging rallies and protests,” he predicts. The demonstrations will come on the 56th anniversary of a protests, over a visit by then-vice president Richard Nixon and U.S. support for the Shah, that ended with the deaths of three students. “It’s very much like the Kent State episode,” he adds, referring to the May 1970 deaths of four Ohio students during a protest against the Vietnam War. The events Monday will be followed by an “Arts United 4 Iran” celebration of human rights on Dec. 12. Organizers say “musicians, performers, artists, writers, and concerned citizens will use Arts United 4 Iran as a medium to express their solidarity with the Iranian people and artists’ struggle for human and civil rights.” It isn’t easy, Ghaemi concedes, to watch events in his homeland from New York — especially since he still has family there. Ghaemi is convinced that eventually reform will come to Iran. When? As he says, “Iran is an unpredictable country.” The revolution that toppled the Shah in 1979 was “not anything that anyone could calculate” even just a year before. It could take years for change to come, he says: Source: