A lot will be written in the coming days about the upcoming protests surrounding Ahmadinejad’s visit to the UN. Undoubtedly, most accounts will blur the lines between those protesters who are standing up for the rights of Iranians, and those who would use the current turmoil as a cudgel to advance their political agenda of harsher sanctions.
With that in mind, we interviewed one of the former–Bitta Mostofi of New York’s chapter of Where is My Vote?:
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Q: What is the central message you wish to convey by demonstrating against Ahmadinejad when he arrives at the U.N.?
“I think what many of us were hoping to do with this rally is to create a forum in which we’re able to open up a new dialogue about Iran… both spoken to the Iranian delegation as well as to the United Nations and the international member states. [The message is] when you are talking about Iran, do so in the context of human rights. When you raise Iran at these international forums, condemn the violations that we’ve been seeing over the last few months at a minimum, or the escalation of those [violations]: the torture, the detainments, the mock show trials, the sweeping arrests, and suppression of free speech. In this context of an international body, it’s the obligation to condemn these violations, to investigate them. And also, it’s the first time that … many people … who have protested have an opportunity to address the Iranian state themselves.”