Using Amnesty and Human Rights for change in Iran
[OTHER] [28 Jun 2008]
Ghazal Omid - 2/28/2008
On February 22, Amnesty International had a panel discussion on Human Rights in Iran and how to move forward with that issue. The following paragraph is from Amnesty’s webpage: "This is a panel presentation followed by discussion on how activists can promote human rights in Iran in the context of the current situation. Panelists include: Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council, activists Elahe Amani and Nazanin Boniadi, and former AI Board member Alireza Azizi.” Several days prior to this panel discussion, Iranians flooded Amnesty with faxes and e-mails in angry reaction to the decision by Jan Zahir Mohamad to include Triat Parsi from NIAC on this panel discussing Iranian Human Rights.
Everyone in the Iranian expatriate community knows about NIAC and its proclivity to negotiate with the IRI. That is an open secret. What is truly amazing, Mr. Trita Parsi and his organization that openly promotes IRI, is considered to be an activist organization and a force recognized by Amnesty International, one of the highest Human Rights organization in the United States.
I had an interesting discussion with Mr. Mohamad in 2006. When I called him on his views and politics, he raised his voice to me, “Are you accusing me of practicing politics about Iranian Human Rights?” Today, according to Amnesty California, Mr. Jan Mohamad’s decision, despite Iranian’s protests, to keep Mr. Trita Parsi on the panel, proves that, yes, he is practicing politics while enjoying a high position in Amnesty.
I called Amnesty NY and Amnesty California, asking them “Do you know who Trita Parsi is and his work with NIAC.” Their answer was, “Yes, We know who he is, we know the NIAC and we feel strongly that we should have a dialogue with them(IRI).”
Please remind us again, what is the role of Amnesty? As a Human Rights activist, I personally didn’t know that the job of Amnesty is to choose sides with the terrorists and put politics over the rights of Iranian people who have been abused by the IRI for 29 years. Tell us why Amnesty, despite frequent requests, has not been able to visit IRI prisons since 1979?
This is not the first or second time Mr. Mohamad has practiced politics. Mr. Mohamad and I had this discussion in early June 2006 in his office at Amnesty Washington. In our discussion about Iran, Mr. Mohamad mentioned Mr. Akbar Ganji, a former Iranian journalist, he strongly supported Mr.Ganji’s opinion that the US should not help students in Iran or Iranian expatriates.
Later, in the course of defending political prisoners, I sent him news about political prisoners and reports on their families to which he was completely indifferent. I finally called him and asked why he never reacted to the news of political prisoners. He mumbled a reply until I asked him if he is practicing politics. At this point, he lost his temper saying everyone accuses him of that. I told him that I believe they are right.
On Feb 22, 2008, nearly 2 years later, I called again and asked his assistant if Mr. Mohamad would withdraw his decision about negotiating with IRI on Human Rights issues. The answer was NO, we believe we need an alternative voice from IRI on this panel and we will continue with our decision. Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the job of Amnesty is to be the voice of the silenced. Are they suggesting that IRI has been brutalized? We are falling into the IRI lobby system in allowing Amnesty to give a voice to the IRI.
As they say, actions speak louder than words. When a prestigious organization, such as Amnesty, gives a podium to people from NIAC, the direct lobby of IRI, as a Human Rights activist, I rest my case. My condolences to Iranians who have lost loved ones to the brutal regime, you are on your own.
We give IRI a lecture podium in universities and churches and now we give them a seat in Human Rights conferences to present their side. Why don’t we just give IRI a seat in US Congress to complete this brilliant strategy?
IRI spends billions of dollars lobbying and destroying the real opposition in the US while exploiting the US First Amendment to protect IRI right to speak against the Iranian people, destroy the peace of mind of Americans and bring death and destruction to people in Middle East.
A round of applause for Mr. Mohamad. He has succeeded in doing what IRI could not do in twenty-nine years: give IRI a podium in Amnesty.