Sunday, June 21, 2009

AJC: Iran Repression Exposes Ahmadinejad's False Claims of Liberty

The American Jewish Committee condemned the brutal repression directed by the Iranian regime against millions of Iranian citizens protesting the apparent fixing of the June 12 presidential elections. The organization expressed outrage over today's killings of pro-democracy demonstrators, after a week of government-directed violence, media suppression, bans on peaceful assembly and mass arrests.

"The distressing scenes from Iran seen around the world -- despite the best efforts of the regime to censor the media -- expose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the hypocrite and the thug we've always known him to be," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

Harris recalled that Ahmadinejad had addressed the Durban Review Conference on racism organized by the United Nations in Geneva earlier this year. "That speech is principally remembered for Ahmadinejad's assault on Israel," said Harris. "But he also told those assembled that 'The Islamic Republic of Iran is a symbol of true democracy. All officials including the Leader, President, members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, city and village councils are elected through the vote of the citizens. This showcases a vibrant and dynamic society in which people widely participate in the political life.'"

"What the repression on the streets of Tehran showcases is the simple fact that today the Iranian regime, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and supported by President Ahmadinejad, maintains its power through terror and violence," Harris said. "The regime's blatant disregard for and abuse of human rights is appalling."

Harris added: "Recently, Roger Cohen of the New York Times told us that in Iran, 'significant margins of liberty, even democracy, exist.' Sadly, the regime's behavior demonstrates that Iran's citizens face violence and even death if they take democracy and liberty too seriously."

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