Iranian regime President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn’t used to seeing a vocal opposition protesting against him. His brutal government doesn’t allow demonstrations, a free media or personal liberties for its people. But on Wednesday, he will see thousands of protesters in the streets of an American city demonstrating against him and his government. I will be one of them.
He will also face hostile questions from unsympathetic Western reporters during his trip to New York City for the annual United Nations opening meeting.
This Revolutionary Guard commander-turned-president has become good at spinning tall tales to the inquiring media and international diplomats at the U.N.
The government of Iran has ignored UN Security Council resolutions against its illegal uranium enrichment and dismissed the international community’s demand to allow unhindered inspections of its nuclear facilities.
It is unclear to me why the UN would receive a leader who ignores its demands and breaches its charter.
The people of Iran are tired of being ostracized for their rulers’ selfish actions. They long for new leadership, basic freedoms and the chance to determine their own future – like the rest of the people of the world.
The Iranian people are the ones who feel the brunt of the regime’s disastrous economic policies and are the ones punished by restricted freedoms. The world community should help the Iranian people by isolating the regime and enforcing the Security Council resolutions. That’s what the Iranian people want.
There has never been a more exciting time to think about a democratic and free Iran. I dream of the day when my family and friends inside Iran will be able to speak out freely, not worry about their religion or dress, have full access to the Internet, and travel abroad.
My story is all too common in Iran. One day, while living in Iran as a young girl going to high school, government authorities picked up my personal diary and decided to reprimand me for its content. Their punishment was to prevent me from attending university. It was a harsh rebuke for a dreamer like me.
I was ultimately thrown in prison for several months as an additional reprimand. I was given this treatment for personal writings I had done while dreaming of a better life.
By God’s grace, I was released and soon found my way to Texas. After several years of studies, hard work and learning a new way of life, I became a medical physicist treating cancer patients.
I cannot imagine what my life would have been like to have not been privileged with the opportunity of living as a citizen in a country with great individual rights protections and political freedoms. Today, I am still humbled by how lucky I was and seldom miss an opportunity to remind my husband and children of the benefits and responsibilities that come with being a US citizen.
This past week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informed Congress that she has decided to remove the leading Iranian opposition group, the MEK, from the U.S. sanctions list of those sponsoring terrorism because the group did not meet the statutory criteria to be designated as such.
The MEK is a group of Iranian activists whom I came to know as a young woman. Since then, tens of thousands of its members and sympathizers have been executed by the Iranian regime. They are a peaceful group of individuals dedicated to bringing about regime change in Iran.
I welcomed the news that this Iranian opposition group, whose leaders are mostly women, will be free to organize in the United States and seek the American people’s help in bringing an end to Ahmadinejad’s brutal regime. The group seeks to help the Iranian people to establish a secular, democratic, and non-nuclear Iran.
Many supporters of the MEK will be in the crowd of thousands gathering outside the U.N. headquarters where Ahmadinejad will be speaking on Wednesday, September 26. We will be protesting against him and exercising a privilege that our family members inside Iran are denied. We will celebrate the unchaining of the Iranian opposition and speak for the millions of people inside Iran that aren’t able to speak out. The world community and the media should take notice.
Homeira Hesami was born in Iran. She is a cancer researcher who lives in Texas.