Iranian opposition gathering_311 Reuters.
(photo credit: Stringer Iran / Reuters)
Iranian dissident Amir Abbas Fakhravar visited the Knesset on Tuesday to meet
with MK Shai Hermesh (Kadima) to call on the world to help the Iranian
“It is a great opportunity to visit the center of democracy in
the only democracy in the Middle East,” Fakhravar, founder of the Confederation
of Iranian Students (CIS), said.
CIS, describes itself as a pro-Western
independent student movement, with more than 8,000 members in countries across
the world. Fakhravar has been in Israel since last week, and also visited
opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima).
The dissident discussed the
undemocratic practices of his home country, saying that elections in Iran are
“totally for show,” and that the parliament in Tehran does not represent the
Although it took time for the world to realize that Iran is a
threat, Fakhravar explained, it has been an issue for the Iranian people who do
not support “the small group of fanatic mullahs ruling the country,” for
Fakhravar, who now lives in the US, said the main message he
seeks to relay when meeting with government officials is that the Iranian people
are not like the Iranian government.
Unlike the leadership in Iran, which
calls the US the “Great Satan” and Israel the “Little Satan,” most Iranian
people love the US, according to Fakhravar.
He also said that he would
like to have closer ties with Israel, where he could spread his campaign to help
the people of Iran.
Fakhravar cited biblical examples of the ties between
Jewish people and Persians, such as Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, and
Cyrus the Great, who allowed the Jewish people to return from exile to Israel
and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
“Don’t offer to rebuild the temple –
there’s a limit,” Hermesh quipped.
He assured Fakhravar that nearly
everyone in the Knesset – from the far right to the extreme left – supports his
“The six million Jews in Israel are behind you,” Hermesh
The Kadima MK said he is certain there are secret ties between
Israel and the opposition within Iran, but that as a Knesset member in the
opposition he has no way of knowing.
Hermesh also discussed sanctions on
Tehran, saying they are helpful, but insufficient in stopping the Iranian
He criticized the fact that European sanctions on oil
will not begin until June, and explained that on a recent visit to Brussels, he
was told that the reason is so gas prices do not spike during the cold
Following the meeting, White, an Israeli film inspired by
Fakhravar’s experiences in Iranian prison, was screened.
five years in Iranian prison after participating in July 1999 student riots,
where he was subjected to “white torture,” which involves extreme sensory
deprivation and isolation.