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More Isolation For Iranian People

More Isolation For Iranian People

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It looks as if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will need to find a new forum if he wants to address an audience of foreign policy experts again in the United States.

Three years ago, he accepted an invitation by the Council on Foreign Relations and spoke at a reception hosted by the Council in New York. Now the Council on Foreign Relations has been named one of more than sixty organizations the Iranian government has forbidden Iranians to interact with.

Other NGOs Iran's Intelligence Ministry has blacklisted because of so-called "seditious" activities include Human Rights Watch, Yale University, and the German Marshall Fund. Contact with international broadcasting outlets like the Voice of America, the BBC, and Radio Zameneh has also been banned.

Amnesty International says that the Iranian government's decision to forbid contact with NGOs isolates the Iranian people and makes them vulnerable to prosecution. It also "appears designed to hide from the world the true scale of what is happening in Iran and to obstruct reporting on human rights violations."

The list of banned organizations was issued after the bloody crackdown by Iranian authorities on anti-government demonstrators during the sacred feast of Ashura.

Following that violent response, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced strong concern about the way the Iranian government is treating the Iranian people:

"We are deeply disturbed by the mounting signs of ruthless repression that they are exercising against those who assemble and express viewpoints that are at variance with what the leadership of Iran wants to hear."

Forbidding interaction with the outside world is yet another example of the Iranian government's attempt, through fear and tyranny, to suffocate the Iranian people's aspirations for justice and a better life. But, as President Barack Obama has said, such tactics "will not succeed in making those aspirations go away."