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Iranian Students' Movement:
'Leave Palestine Alone, Think About Us!'
In the midst of the recent large-scale student demonstrations in Iran calling for freedom of speech and condemning the death sentence handed down for Dr. Hashem Aghajari,(1) the regime's leaders, notably President Mohammad Khatami, called on the students to demonstrate for International Qods (Jerusalem) Day(2) against Israel and Zionism.
In response to these calls, the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI)(3) issued a statement critical of Islamist terror groups and antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim world. The communiqué also harshly criticized the Iranian government regarding its policies. The following are excerpts from the statement:(4)
"Honorable and freedom-loving people of Iran,"
"Day by day, the military and political crisis in the region of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East is getting deeper. In the region, every government and political force that is realistic... is looking for a logical solution to avoid a military clash... Under such circumstances, the usurpers of political power in Iran - that from the very beginning had based the establishment... of their inhumane order upon systematic government-sponsored terrorism against their own people - are attempting to shamelessly support the pro-war factions and the Palestinian terrorist groups through the forced gathering of government employees and Hezbollah thugs."
"While the United States of America names the regime ruling in Iran as a member of the axis of evil, the European Union maintains that one of its preconditions for expanding its trade and economic relations with the Islamic Republic [of Iran] is the official recognition [by Iran] of the two governments of Israel and Palestine. At every opportunity the Iranian nation cries 'Leave Palestine Alone, Think About Us.' [But] the rulers of tyranny with disregard for the demands of their own people as well as public opinion in the West, continue to gather their mercenary forces and government employees for their outdated play of the so-called Universal Day of Ghods ['Jerusalem Day'], and they continue with their shows and statements of antisemitism."
"It is interesting that despite the expansion of the people's outcries - with slogans such as 'Khatami, Khatami, Resign, Resign,' 'Leader: Get Lost,' and 'Down with the Taliban, Whether in Kabul or Tehran' - once again, the powerless President of the regime [Khatami], who mutters about lawfulness and national interests, by shutting his ears and in order to fool the public, has invited the people to participate in the 'Ghods [Day]' demonstration..."
"By labeling the U.S.... the 'Great Satan,' and Israel... the 'Occupier of Muslim Lands,' [the Iranian Republic] introduced them as the sworn enemies of Iran; and, subsequent rulers have honored this 'tradition.'"
"Now that the people of Iran want to establish peaceful relations with the U.S. and believe that both the nations of Israel and Palestine have the right to exist, the Islamic Republic sees no choice but to [launch] widespread propaganda in the government-owned media and to release statements in support of the mandatory observation of the 'Day of Ghods.'"
"The rulers of the Islamic Republic are incapable of understanding the simple fact that in a political environment where... opposing forces are gathering against one another, [so] that on one side exist the pro-war forces and the supporters of the culture of terror and violence, and on the other, exist the forces that desire a peaceful and constructive resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict... observing [the 'Day] of Ghods' in support of violence is a lunacy that is neither advantageous to the Palestinian nation nor does it coincide with the national interests of the people of Iran."
"The defense of peace and calm in the Middle East is not attainable through the support for terrorists and war-mongering groups; rather, it is to be attained through the pursuit of political dialog between the two sides while simultaneously removing the roots of fundamentalism, terror, and violence."
"The Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran believes that in accordance with international charters, both nations of Israel and Palestine have the right and the capability to live alongside one another as two free and independent states. This committee, while condemning the agitating acts of the Islamic Republic, requests that the freedom-loving and struggling nation of Iran, especially the youth and the students, [give] a crushing response to the promoters of antisemitism and terrorism by boycotting the sham and mandatory demonstration of the so-called World-Wide Day of Ghods."
"Long live Freedom!
Long live Secularism!"
(1) See MEMRI Special Dispatch #445, http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP44502
(2) International Qods Day is an annual event that was introduced by Ayatollah Khomenei in solidarity with the Palestinians and against Israel and Zionism. It is celebrated in Iran on the last Friday of Ramadan.
(4) The original statement was translated into English by its authors and appeared on the Student Movement Coordination Committee website;
http://www.iran-daneshjoo.org/cgi-bin/smccdinews/archives.cgi?category=4&view=11.27.02-12.16.02, November 28, 2002.