Washington,DC - Iranian opposition leaders speaking on InternationalHuman Rights Day called on the United States to publicly support the effortsof the Iranian people to establish freedom and democracy in their country.
In an unusual display of unity, the leaders of the ConstitutionalistsMovement of Iran, the Flag of Freedom Organization, the foreign spokesmanof the Iran Nation's Party, the U.S. representative of the Kurdish DemocraticParty of Iran, and a representative of Iran's Sunni Muslim Balouchi minority,came together at a public function organized in Washington, DC on December10 by the Foundation for Democracy of Iran and Americans for Tax Reform,a public interest group.z
A CMI spokesman Darioush Homayoun praised the efforts of FDI to bringtogether different Iranian opposition groups, and pledged that his party"will be in the forefront" in building a larger coalition ofIranian democrats. "We want to work closer with Iranian Kurds, Balouchis,and other ethnic minorities," he told the crowd of Congressional staffers,reporters, and foreign policy experts. "We have worked very hard toopen our Party."
Dr. Manoucher Gandji, the Secretary General of the Flag of Freedom Organization,said that the establishment of a free and democratic Iran was in America'sstrategic interest. "In other countries that have lived under tyranny,the United States and the European countries have publicly supported thedemocratic opposition. We want them to do the same thing in Iran."
Dr. Gandji took issue with a common refrain heard in policy circlesin Washington about the lack of any viable alternative to the Islamic regimein Iran. "If there is no opposition, why has the regime killed tensof thousands of people inside Iran? Why have they assassinated more than120 Iranians living in exile? Why are their jails full of political prisoners?"He urged the Western media to pay more attention to events inside Iran,and to the mounting evidence of the regime's sponsorship of internationalterrorism.
Mr. Homayoun Moghaddam the foreign spokesman of the Iran Nation's Party,an outlawed opposition party in Tehran, believes that the regime "hasbeen encouraged" by the failure of outside powers to supporst thedemocratic opposition in Iran, and he warned: "The present sufferingsof the Iranian people could become the suffering of the American peoplein the future." Referring to the recent disturbances in Kermanshah,where dozens of Iranians were killed by Law Enforcement Forces during anti-regimedemonstrations, he said that "past experience has shown that the IslamicRepublic has always sought to put an end to dissent inside Iran by turningto foreign adventures and terrorism. It's a historic duty of Americansto help the Nation of Iran to put an end to dictatorship."
Peter Rodman, who directs Strategic Programs at the Nixon Center forPeace and Freedom, called FDI "simply the most important organizationin America representing issues Iran represents, and is the most valuablesource of information on Iran." Mr. Rodman has served in the NationalSecurity Council in four Republican administrations, and was Director ofthe State Department's Office of Policy Planning. "I am very proudto be associated with FDI," he said. Mr. Rodman has served on FDI'sBoard of Directors since its inception in August 1995.
Among those attending the FDI meeting were Greg Rickman, who is directorof legislative affairs for Senator Alfonse D'Amato; George Sibley, theIran desk officer at the State Department; Grover Norquist, the Presidentof Americans for Tax Reform; Dr. Stephen Bryen, a former Deputy Undersecretaryof Defense; and James Lucier, who has served as Staff Director of the SenateForeign Affairs Committee. Foreign diplomats, reporters from American andinternational publications, and prominent Iranian-Americans also attended.
FDI Executive Director, Kenneth R. Timmerman, said the group was "neitheran Iranian opposition group nor an American lobbying group, but an Iranian-Americanorganization that tries to bridge the gap between our two communities.We support the rights of all Iranians seeking to bring freedom and democracyto their country."
FDI gathers and disseminates information on human rights abuses in Iran,and electronically publishes a weekly news bulletin on Iranian affairs,which is available on the Internet. FDI materials have regularly been pickedup by the Farsi-language news media, by Amnesty International and otherhuman rights groups, and have been included in reports on human rightsviolations in Iran issued by the United Nations.
The Foundation has been funded with a start-up grant from the NationalEndowment for Democracy and by private individuals and corporations. Contributionsto FDI are tax-exempt.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private, non-profit corporationregistered in the State of Maryland. Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, ExecutiveDirector. Tel: (301) 946-2918. Fax: (301) 942-5341. FDI materials, includingthe FDI Newswire, are available free-of-charge via the Internet at http://www.iran.org