Iranian Human Rights Activists Confront Obama
Mother and daughter Manda Zand-Ervin & Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi are human rights activists. Manda is president & co-founder of the Alliance of Iranian Women. They fled Iran to escape the wrath of the Khomeini regime.
Manda Zand-Ervin (left) and Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi
Dear Senator Barack Obama:
After the recent days of highly charged commentary about “appeasement,” we thought that as Iranian-Americans, we would convey to you the feelings of most people in Iran and the Iranian diaspora at large. It is important that a decision to dialogue with the Islamic Republic of Iran not be made in haste, for the purpose of winning the election. Instead, you now have a unique opportunity to make good on your message of change.
On September 24, 2004, while a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Illinois, you suggested that “surgical missile strikes” on Iran may become necessary. “Launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in” given the ongoing war in Iraq, you told the Chicago Tribune. You continued: “On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse”.
Your change in approach is now stunning for many Iranians. It is not that we want our country to be bombed, but the point is, why did you so suddenly and without explanation go from that extreme to the extreme of “unconditional dialogue”?
Senator, since 1979 the Mullahs of Iran have killed upwards of one million Iranians, not to mention the nearly one million sacrificed to the 8-year-long Iran/Iraq war. And what the Iranian people have withstood in terms of outrageous human rights violations is shocking; public hangings, stoning, flogging, cutting off limbs, tongues and plucking out eyeballs are an everyday occurrence across Iran. All are meant to strike fear of the ruling Mullahs into people’s hearts…
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