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7/15/03 - IRAN DEMONSTRATIONS BLOCKED - 2003-07-17

In recent weeks, Iranians have held pro-democracy demonstrations in Tehran and other cities. It was expected that even larger demonstrations would take place on July 9th, the fourth anniversary of the violent suppression of student protests at Tehran University in 1999.

But in an effort to discourage further demonstrations, the radical Islamic fundamentalist government jailed an estimated four-thousand people. The government also shut down Iran’s universities for a week. And when Iranian students held a news conference to announce the cancellation of the planned protests, police arrested three student leaders as they left.

Iranian government agents have also been jamming satellite television broadcasts from abroad. Programs blocked at various times include those of Iranian exiles in Los Angeles as well as the Voice of America’s new half-hour nightly news telecasts from Washington. Iran regularly jams Radio Farda, a U.S.-government-funded station that broadcasts music and news for Iranian young people.

Are Iran’s unelected clerical rulers afraid of the news, or the music, or both? One thing is clear. They are afraid of the truth. And the truth is, the Iranian people are fed up with them.

The Iranian people are sick of a government that denies such fundamental rights as freedom of speech, assembly, and religion. They are sick of a government that is blind to the country’s economic problems because it is fixated on supporting international terrorism and developing nuclear weapons.

Americans support democracy in Iran, said U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, as they support it everywhere:

“We believe that the calls of the Iranian people, including the students who are demonstrating, need to be listened to, need to be heeded; and that the kind of change that they are asking for would be good for Iran and good for Iran’s place in the world.”

The unelected clerical regime cannot extinguish the desire of millions of Iranians for freedom, no matter how many demonstrations it tries to stop.