'Help Iranian people separate from ‘fanatic’ gov't'

Iranian dissident Amir Abbas Fakhraver tells Knesset members the Iranian people are not like their government.

January 31, 2012 18:31
2 minute read.
Opposition gathering in Tehran, Feb. 16.

Iranian opposition gathering_311 Reuters. (photo credit: Stringer Iran / Reuters)


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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 people.

“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 people.

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 decades.

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 cause.

“The six million Jews in Israel are behind you,” Hermesh said.

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 nuclear threat.

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 winter.

Following the meeting, White, an Israeli film inspired by Fakhravar’s experiences in Iranian prison, was screened.

Fakhravar spent 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.

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