Sunday, 17 January 2010

Families join Iranian protest in London

By Rebecca Lowe

FAMILIES from Enfield are among the crowds protesting against the Iranian regime outside Downing Street this afternoon.

Around a dozen residents have joined the demonstration, which aims to convince the Government to take stronger action against Iran.

Hundreds of people have been arrested in the country since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election in June.

It has now grown into the biggest challenge to the Iranian Government since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Reza Rahmanfard, 50, from Southgate, lost his brother in 1982 when he was executed, aged 19, for supporting the People's Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), the main opposition group.

Mr Rahmanfard was imprisoned for the same reason between 1982 and 1987.

Speaking today to the Enfield Independent, he said: "We are protesting to support the Iranian uprising and condem the Iranian regime.

"The main important issue is to force the British Government to take very firm action against the Iranian regime.

"We want them to put oil sanctions on Iran and stop diplomatic relations.

"We will defeat this regime, but Britain needs to be much, much firmer in its policy."

The PMOI is one of several organisations blamed by the Iranian Government for the demonstrations against its rule.

Since June 2009, Amnesty International has documented an increase in the number of executions in Iran, including those against the PMOI.

Ali Saremi, 62, was sentenced to death for "moharebeh", or enmity against God, on December 29, 2009, after being convicted of being a member of the PMOI. He has already spent 23 years in prison.

Mr Saremi's son lives in Camp Ashraf, Iraq - a refugee camp containing friends and relatives of Enfield residents, which was raided by the Iraqi Government in July 2009.

The raid resulted in 11 deaths and hundreds of injuries, but the Iraqi Government denies the use of violence.


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