Friday, June 18, 2010

Shaho responds to Iranian Ambassador

After last weeks incident (which I filmed) where my friend Shaho Zamani was violently ejected by Iranian security from the Irish Institute for International and European Affairs for heckling the Iranian foreign minister, the Iranian ambassador to Dublin responded with quite a bizarre letter to The Irish Times which appeared in last Wednesday's edition.

Madam, – I would like to clarify some key issues which have been ignored by the media regarding Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs and his recent working visit to Ireland.
1. During the days before Mr Mottaki’s trip, Ireland, like the rest of the world, was furious at the barbaric siege by the Israeli forces of the Turkish aid ship to Gaza’s population, and numerous protests took place opposing the siege.
2. Subsequently, the Irish aid ship was unable to deliver the aid directly to the people of Gaza and this caused even more fury.
3. An hour before Mr Mottaki addressed a meeting in the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) in Dublin, he met Derek Graham, captain of the Irish aid ship, in the Dáil.
4. Although numerous recommendations were made to the IIEA regarding security issues and permitting only the invited crowd to the meeting, proper measures were not taken.
5. A week beforehand, during a number of meetings, An Garda Síochána was reminded about members of the terrorist group of MKO, their operation in Ireland and necessary security measures.
6. Half an hour before the meeting, instead of the Garda informing the delegation, I had to inform them about the protest at the gate of the European Institute. I demanded the proper distance of the protest to the entrance of the European Institute be maintained.
7. Unfortunately there was no security present within the IIEA and if the Iranian security had not been present, a sad incident could have ruined the reputation of Ireland and the European Institute.
8. The offenders, with the purpose of gaining refugee status in Ireland and to prove they are in danger, had designed this scenario.
9. Above these people were others who pre-planned to divert attention from the issue of Gaza and Israeli crimes.
10. Mr Mottaki’s trip was organised with the understanding of both Ireland and Iran six years after the last visit of the Iranian foreign minister to Ireland and some clear and useful negotiations took place.
11. As the Jerusalem Post indicated, Israel had concerns about Mr Mottaki’s trip to Ireland and about the visit influencing the discussions of Security Council with regards to Iran.
12. The date was organised with the understanding of the two countries and, when it was finally accepted by the Irish authorities, had nothing to do with the Security Council meeting.
13. The most important goal of the designers of this attack to Mr Mottaki was to divert the attention of the public from the Israeli crimes against the aid ships.
14. Paying attention to two Iranian security men who have acted on duty instead of the local security authorities misdirects public opinion. – Yours, etc,
EBRAHIM RAHIMPOUR,
Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran,
Mount Merrion, Co Dublin.


Let's role the tape.



Shaho responded to this almost comical letter with determination and dignity in Today's Irish Times.

Madam, – As one of the protesters present at the meeting at which the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki spoke in Dublin last week, I read Iranian Ambassador Ebrahim Rahimpour’s letter (June 16th) with interest.
I have lived in Ireland for the past six years as an Iranian exile and peaceful political activist, vocally opposing the Islamic regime of Iran. At the meeting, I protested against Mr Mottaki’s claim to represent the Iranian people and the many ethnic groups within Iran.
People in Ireland may be unaware that five political prisoners, four of them Kurdish, were executed in Evin prison in Iran, on May 9th. Thirty more political prisoners have been sentenced to death and are awaiting execution. Their crime? Speaking out in defence of human rights in Iran.
The threatening and heavy-handed attempt to silence and eject Reza Shiraz and I from the meeting in Dublin last week reminds me of how any voice of protest is dealt with in Iran by the regime’s thugs.
Reading Mr Rahimpour’s disjointed letter, it’s clear he is rattled by last Wednesday’s events.
He uses the Gaza aid convoy as a red herring to distract attention from discussion of the Islamic regime’s appalling human rights abuses. The attack on the flotilla, although disturbing, has no bearing on the implications of Mottaki’s visit to Ireland.
Mr Rahimpour attempts to silence the regime’s critics even in Ireland by implying that our protest was a stunt. Referring to the citizenship status of the protesters is irrelevant – anyone deserves to voice an opinion when defending the human rights of others irrespective of their status.
The ambassador’s implication that Reza Shiraz and I are members of the political group MKO is false – yet we defend MKO and any other political grouping’s right to oppose the Islamic regime. He describes MKO as terrorists, but it is the regime which has executed thousands of political opponents – in Iran and overseas – since its inception.
Mr Rahimpur refers to Reza Shiraz and I as “offenders”. He might be interested to hear that voicing one’s opinion in Ireland is not an offence. The offence committed that evening under Irish law was the threatening and vicious assault on us at the hands of the minister’s security staff.
Is it not telling that Mr Mottaki did not feel well enough armed with his own rhetoric to answer the questions I posed to him? Far simpler to suppress troubling questions with violence. – Yours, etc,
SHAHO ZAMANI,

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