Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iranian Americans in San Francisco Call for a Secular, Democratic Iran

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iranian Americans in San Francisco Call for a Secular, Democratic Iran

Article excerpt

"PEOPLE, YES! Mullahs, no! They are terrorists, they must go!" chanted some 200 members of the Iranian-American community and other pro-democracy supporters at a Feb. 13 rally in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza. Many in the crowd wore portraits of political prisoners around their necks or carried signs reading, "Stop Executions in Iran" and "Support Democracy and Human Rights in Iran." The rally was sponsored by the Iranian Ameri-can Community of Northern California (IACNC), supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its principal group, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).

"Our goal is to have a republic where there is a separation of church and state," IACNC communications director Hamid Azimi told the Washington Report. "People want a secular republic in Iran-one that would have peace with all nations. A democratic, secular republic of Iran would change the face of the Middle East."

The PMOI, a member party of the NCRI which opposes the theocratic administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is on the U.S. terrorist watch list. The group is appealing its designation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, which on Jan. 13 heard its case against the U.S. State Department. The United Kingdom and European Union have already removed the group from their terror lists.

Driven into exile in Iraq by the Iranian government, the PMOI is based in Camp Ashraf-named for Ashraf Rajavi, who was a political prisoner under the shah-about 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, near the Iran border. …

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