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Amir Arjomand: A Regime Facing a Legitimacy Crisis Will Transform Dialogue Over a Drying Lake Into A Matter of National Security

Source: Kaleme; translated by Banooye Sabz

Protests in Orumieh
Security forces in Orumieh

Sunday August 28th, 2011 - [Kalame] Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, spokesperson for the Coordination Council for the Green Path of Hope and senior adviser to Mir Hossein Mousavi criticized the recent heavy security atmosphere in Orumieh and Tabriz and the regime's illegal handling of the peaceful protests of the citizens expressing their frustration regarding the drying of lake Orumieh stating: " A government facing a legitimacy crisis is fearful of everything, from the happiness of our youth to holding eftar in parks during the holy month of Ramadan. They even turn the drying of lake Orumieh into a matter of national security."

For a second day in a row, security forces in Azarbaijan crushed a non-political, civil protest by the citizens of Tarbriz voicing their frustration over the government's utter neglect of the drying of lake Orumieh, engaging in the severe beating and mass arrest of peaceful protesters in Tabriz.

Protests in Orumieh

The challenges facing Azarbaijan are a result of the inefficient policies of the ruling government

In a discussion with Kalame regarding the recent events in Orumieh, Ardeshir Amir Arjomand blamed the inefficient policies of the ruling government as the main cause of the challenges in Azarbaijan and said: "The authoritarian and irrational policies of the ruling government that have led to irreversible political, economic and social damages are now also adversely affecting environmental and ethic issues."

Pointing to the history of lake Orumieh, Amir Arjomand continued: "Lake Orumieh is the second largest salt water lake in the world, the largest lake in Iran and the largest permanent lake in Western Asia. Lake Orumieh is one of a kind and a natural heritage that belongs to the citizens of Iran and Azarbaijan. It is also of significant importance to the international community at large."

Amir Arjomand emphasized that the islands on Lake Orumieh have been recognized as one of the world's Natural Reserves by UNESCO and as a result the responsibility for the protection of this lake lies with the local and federal government.


In the eyes of the ruling government, even the drying of Lake Orumieh is considered a conspiracy ....

While pointing to the responsibilities of the ruling government in this area Amir Arjomand stated: " They are neglecting their responsibilities mainly because they are indifferent towards the real challenges facing the people and out of touch with the specialists in this area. They actually believe that they can command the lake not to dry and if their command fails then there must be a conspiracy at work- and when people come to the streets with the intent to protect their environment, peacefully protesting against the neglect that has led to the destruction of a natural heritage, rather than protect the rights of their citizens, the government instead engages in the most heinous form of repression."

Protests in Orumieh
Protests in Orumieh

A non political issue is deliberately turned into a matter of national security....

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand stated that the ruling government has deliberately turned a non political issue into a matter of national security as an excuse to suppress its citizens. In his capacity as spokesperson of the Coordination Council for the Green Path of Hope, Amir Arjomand emphasized: " The Council strongly condemns the illegal suppression of the citizens of Orumieh and Tabriz and stands firm in its support for our compatriots in Azarbaijan. The Council is mindful of the fact that the protection of lake Orumieh is not just the responsibility of the citizens of Orumieh and Tabriz, but a national responsibility, to be supported by all Iranian citizens."

Protests in Orumieh

The behavior of the ruling government towards ethnic minorities in Iran is incompatible with our national interests....

Amir Arjomand continued: " The ruling government's behavior and approach towards the various ethnic groups and their rights is incompatible with our national interests. Rather than creating solidarity and satisfaction through open dialogue, interaction and respect for the human rights of our compatriots in Azarbaijan and all other ethnic minorities in Iran, as described in the Constitution, particularly when it comes to preserving their right to an education in their native language, the government instead engages in creating conflict and a crisis and accusing and oppressing citizens. It is exactly this type of behavior that creates the foundation for a handful of isolated individuals and groups to engage in activities that are not supported by the population at large."

Amir Arjomand concluded: "The proud Azaris have always led the fight for freedom, standing tall against tyranny and protecting the independence and integrity of our country."

Protests in Orumieh

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