Alliance For democracy In Iran

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Shahanshah Aryameher


Iranian Freedom Fighters UNITE

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nazanin : by Nazanin Afshin-Jam

From the pages of Potkin Azarmeher's blog :

Nazanin Afshin-Jam in UK

It is July and it was pouring down with rain all morning in London, yet everyone in our welcoming group was looking forward to meeting Nazanin. As always it was so Exhilarating to meet her, despite her long flight, she was so full of energy, so enthusiastic about her work and still so down to earth. After we picked up Nazanin from the airport, on the way back to her hotel, the clouds broke up and the sun even started to shine! so symbolic of how she inspires all Iranian pro-democracy and human rights activists.Nazanin has been invited by the Confederation of Iranian Students in UK and will have a heavy schedule in the days ahead. I will write more about her events in the coming week.

Nazanin Afshin-Jam in UK Parliament

It was a busy day for Nazanin today. The first engagement was an interview with Bloomberg news followed by a press conference at the Henry Jackson Society offices in Queen Ann's Chambers. Three Iranian media representatives from Radio Farda, Radio Zamaneh and Kayhan Weekly were also present and as usual some of our Iranian media didn't cease to amaze me with their snobby opinionated attitudes. Rather than interviewing Nazanin, you would think they were the ones who were there to be interviewed. Instead of asking questions about why Nazanin was in London and her schedule of events in the coming week, they were advising her about what she should say in the parliament and making speeches of their own . A point which did not go unnoticed by the non-Iranians present in the room either.The representative of Radio Farda, boasted about being the most popular radio station in Iran etc. When I asked her if Radio Farda will be covering Nazanin's event in the UK parliament later in the afternoon, Radio Farda representative said no unfortunately she can't make it! Neither of the other two Iranian media came to cover the parliament event either. Instead as usual they expected us to write a report and land it on their lap. Radio Zamaneh however did a one to one interview with Nazanin after the press conference.More than 100 people turned up at the committee room 14 in the House of commons at 5 pm today to hear Nazanin. The meeting was chaired by Graham Stuart MP who introduced Nazanin and myself to the audience. Nazanin started by showing a few slide images of Iran before the 1979 Islamic revolution, followed by pictures of public hangings, beatings and other human rights abuses which have taken place in the last three decades in Iran since.Today also coincided with the student uprising in 1999 which engulfed 19 cities across Iran for six days. Nazanin reminded the audience about some of the victims of the student protests, the bloodshed which followed and the long term prison sentences received by some of the captured protesters. She talked about the persecution of the religious minorities in Iran and the new apostasy bill, the barbaric punishments and the execution of minors, the murder of the Iranian-Canadian photo journalist, Zahra Kazemi and other victims. Yet despite all these atrocities and suppression, the civil movement in Iran for democracy and human rights remains alive. Students, the youth, the women and workers of Iran continue their protests and political prisoners like Arzhang Davoodi defy their captors by staging a 70 day hunger strike.Nazanin stated her position against a military strike on Iran and at the same time she criticised any appeasement of the Islamic Republic by the West, saying the best solution is empowering the civil movement in Iran.Nazanin finished her speech by expressing her optimism that soon change will come about in Iran and dictatorships will not last for ever.The first member of the audience to be allowed to ask a question, turned out to be a Press TV employee, the satellite station run by the Islamic Republic from Tehran with studios in London.Although he did not ask a question, but rather aggressively and in a loud voice stood up and said he did not want to say what his name was and objected to being filmed, he then advised Nazanin that there are people in the Iranian regime who are reasonable and not all should be blamed.Tomorrow will be another busy day with more meetings which hopefully I will get time to write about.

Nazanin's Third Day in London

Nazanin had an interview with More4 TV Channel this morning and then after a quick lunch at the Portcullis House, we made our way to the Foreign Office, where we had a very useful meeting with an Iran Desk officer on Human Rights issues. Later we went to the House of Lords. It was my first time ever in the House of Lords. While we were waiting in the lobby, one of the peers acknowledged Nazanin and said he was in committee room 14 the day before and was very impressed with the points she had made during the meeting. We had a quick tour of the House, as we made our way to the Lord's tea room. I even had the chance of standing right in front of the very Throne of the Queen of England, where the Queen sits at the State Opening of Parliament and delivers the Queen's Speech. Lord Avebury invited us to his office, where we discussed various Iran related issues. More tomorrow I hope.

Nazanin Parliament Photos

Nazanin Afshin-Jam in the UK Parliament:

Hope to get some time soon to transfer more photos and show them on the blog.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Farewell Nazanin

What an eventful week it was. It seems it was only a few minutes ago when we were waiting in the airport for Nazanin to arrive. Anxiety mixed with excitement, excited that we were seeing Nazanin again and anxious that we would be worthy hosts for Nazanin Afshin-Jam and make a success of this amazing opportunity. I didn't get time to write about Nazanin's meetings yesterday, and so let me do so now. Nazanin met Stephen Crabb MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, at the House of Commons yesterday morning. In the afternoon, Nazanin met with Tom Porteous, the London director of Human Rights Watch followed by a meeting with Drewery Dyke from Amnesty International.Today Nazanin met with representatives of Iranian religious minorities in the morning followed by an interview in the Bush House with the BBC Persian and her last formal meeting in the afternoon was with Maryam Namazi.So to wrap up the week, we had a farewell dinner in an Iranian restaurant with some of the young Iranian diaspora. In particular I wanted Nazanin to meet young Iranians who are not actively involved in Iran related issues, I wanted Nazanin to show them how they can make a difference but at the same time, I wanted Nazanin to hear their side and find out what prevents these young Iranians from becoming active themselves.I am waiting for more photos to reach my mail box and share them with you. So those who took the photos please hurry :))
Let me finish the post by mentioning another amazing quality of Nazanin. In the whole week that we were going from one meeting to another and holding one event after another, Nazanin never showed any signs of fatigue or tiredness, she never refused anything we asked her and obliged with every appointment, her enthusiasm and energy never wavered. Going about from one part of London to another, in a week which hardly stopped pouring with rain, we were often concerned that her schedule may be over demanding, but she always replied with her humble smile, 'No its ok'. Last but not least, I have to mention our colleague Maryam Raiisi, another Iranian girl who worked non-stop throughout this week. Despite all her family commitments, she too never showed any signs of tiredness. The sheer energy of Nazanin and Maryam, has strengthened my long held belief that Iran will be liberated by the collective effort of its women.

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