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Iranians bound for execution spark global protests

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The rain made the entire park look miserable, but that wasn’t enough to keep a determined group of Iranian activists in Lafayette Park Thursday night from protesting the Iran regime’s executions and oppression.

Only about 15 activists made it out, but even as fat raindrops fell on their shoulders they set up signs across from the White House and brandished photos of political prisoners condemned to death by the regime on posters.

“I firmly believe that if we let the regime execute these seven [political prisoners], there will follow the mass murder of political prisoners,” said Shirin Nariman, the spokeswoman for the Virginia Branch of the Council for Democratic Change in Iran and former political prisoner, who helped lead the D.C. protest.

“We must fight with the regime,” she said.

At the same time as the protest in Washington, 17 cities around the world – from Tbilisi, Georgia to Glasglow, Scotland – held similar protests for the sake of seven Iranians sentenced to death for ties to the Iranian resistance.

Three of the sentenced – Jafar Kazemi, Ali Sarami and Ali Hoj Aghaei – just had their sentences upheld last week, and their deaths are “imminent,” Ms. Nariman said.

“It’s time to say to our governments, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” said Maria Rohaly with Mission Free Iran, who helped coordinate all the protests in different cities.

She condemned the U.N. and national governments for “legitimizing” a regime “with a lot of blood on its hands” by negotiating with it and receiving Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

As the group shouted out chants in both English and Farsi, several passersby stopped to take photos or listen for a short time. Voice of America, a broadcast show that airs in Iran, was also there filming the entire rally.

“We want to raise the voice of people inside Iran,” said Mehran Divanbaigyzand, a D.C. math teacher who came to the protest. “Really, we are a voice for them.”


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About the Author
Michelle Phillips

Michelle Phillips

Michelle Phillips is a student intern with the Washington Times through the National Journalism Center covering international affairs.

After growing up overseas, Ms. Phillips returned to the U.S. to attend Rice University for her bachelor’s degree, and is entering her junior year there. She discovered her love of journalism in college while working for the school newspaper, the Rice Thresher, ...

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