Two of the leading Iranian-American organizations have issued statements condemning the violence against the protesters in Iran and expressing support for their democratic demands.
NIAC Strongly Condemns Violence against Iranian Protesters during Ashura
Press Release by National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
Welcomes White House Statement in Support of the Iranian People
Washington DC - The National Iranian American Council strongly condemns the unlawful violence used against Iranian protesters and mourners during Ashura over the weekend. The Council also welcomes the White House's condemnation of the "unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights."
At least nine protesters have reportedly been killed in the unrest, including the nephew of Mir Hossein Moussavi, Iran's opposition leader. Iranian officials admit that they have arrested 300 protesters as well.
The death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, which coincided with the beginning of Muharram, has spurred fresh protests against the Iranian government. Tehran's police chief and other senior Iranian government officials threatened a "harsh" crackdown last week if Iranians took to the streets to protest against the government.
"The citizens of Iran are not backing down from their demands for justice and democratic rights," said Dokhi Fassihian, of NIAC's Board of Directors. "We are outraged by the brutality and violence used to suppress these legitimate demands. NIAC stands with them in this historic struggle."
While foreign journalists have been banned from covering events, and internet and mobile phones interrupted, amateur videos are still being sent outside the country showing civilians being killed and wounded in clashes with government forces. Many videos have also shown protesters struggling to ensure that violence against them is not met with violence against security forces.
"Extrajudicial killings and the excessive use of force against civilians are violations of international law," said Trita Parsi, President of NIAC. "Those responsible for ordering or for carrying out orders to shoot unarmed civilians or injure them must be held accountable for their crimes in a court of law."
PAAIA Condemns Violence against
Iranian Protestors and Mourns Loss of Life
Press Release by Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)
December 28, 2009, Washington, D.C.
- PAAIA unequivocally condemns the use of violence and the killing of innocent
Iranians, as well as mass arrests, during demonstrations yesterday marking the
holy day of Ashura in Tehran and other cities across Iran.
Citing eyewitness accounts and postings on Iranian opposition websites, major media outlets have reported that on Sunday, December 27, Iranian government security forces opened fire into crowds of protestors gathered for Ashura, killing at least 10 people. With hundreds of others reportedly wounded in cities across the country and Tehran police confirming more than 300 arrests, yesterday's protests appear to have been the bloodiest and among the largest since June 20th in the immediate aftermath of the disputed presidential elections last Summer.
Use of indiscriminate violence against civilians exercising their universal rights to democracy, popular sovereignty and freedom of expression is unjustified and against all standards of international law and human rights. We support the inalienable human and democratic rights of the people of Iran, and demand an immediate stop to the use of violence against protestors and unarmed civilians as well as arbitrary and mass arrests.
We also extend our deepest sympathies to all Iranians, especially families that have lost loved ones, and we, too, mourn their loss.
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