Friday, March 12, 2010

Palestine and Reformists

I was invited to deliver a speech for the Secretariat of the Conference for Support for Palestine last week. The Secretariat has a Student Committee that holds meetings every month. This Secretariat is supported by the Iranian Majlis and is headed by Mr. Mohatashemipour, the former Minister of Interior and Ambassador to Syria who was injured two decades ago in a letter bomb blast believed to be planted by Israeli agents in Damascus. Mohtashamipour headed the the sensitive committee of " protecting votes" in the election campaign of Mir Hossein Mousavi in the recent Presidential elections. His committee brought up serious questions concerning the election and vote counting processes last year.
Now,  he only heads the Secretariat  and pro-government supporters in the Parliament have threatened to remove him from this office.
I spoke last week about the historical support that Iranian people have provided for Palestine even before the Revolution. I also recalled how the Muslim Students Following the Line of Imam had  convened the first International Conference of Freedom Seeking Movements in the World in 1979.Different Palestianian groups had attended our conference then. I noted that support for the oppressed, for freedom seeking peoples and for Muslims throughout the world has been part of the integral objectives of the Islamic Revolution. Now, different political groups and tendencies in Iran all support the Palestinian cause and the Intifadha and this is a point of unity for them. I then pointed to certain challenges, that Reformists see in this regard. The national government run Radio and Television has taken a very one-sided and biased approach on this matter and this has adversely influenced public opinion. I also pointed that silence or lack of official support for other Muslim minorities in countries like Chechenya , China and Kashmir has created an atmosphere of mistrust. As an Islamic country, we need to keep a rational and just position on this matter and certain radical positions taken by high level officials, such as the denial of the holocaust has not been helpful in this regard. I criticized the policies of the current government noting that in many economic , diplomatic and social areas they have not met expectations thus weakening our national and international roles.

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