As the debate over the Iranian nuclear deal continues in the U.S. Congress, members of Iranian civil society are stepping in to voice their opinions. When the historic agreement was reached between Iran and the six world powers last month, many Iranians expressed support for it and took to the streets in large numbers. As a member of the Iranian American diaspora, I've been watching the discussions in both countries closely and wanted to participate more actively. I joined forces with a small group of friends and young activists in the U.S. and together we organized an event in support of peace in an attempt to echo the voices of the Iranian people on the larger world stage. Some of us used to organize protests during the 2009 Green Movement and are connected to a large network of Iranians in the diaspora who care deeply about Iran. Our movement is a truly grassroots one. We use social media to organize and have no affiliation to any organization or group. We created an online campaign on Facebook called Support Iran Deal. Within a few days, we were joined by hundreds of volunteers in over 100 cities across the world. After two weeks of planning, on Aug 15 we held our Global Day of Peace for Iran in over 100 cities in 40 countries in five continents from New York and Washington to London, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney. Thousands of people attended our rally to prevent what could be another unnecessary war in the Middle East. Here is a short video of this global event.
After the event, prominent activists and former political prisoners approached us to join our global #SupportIranDeal movement. They were especially outraged by an open letter from a group of Iranian dissidents who oppose the nuclear deal and by a video sponsored by Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran of an Iranian political activist opposing the nuclear deal because they felt these arguments unfairly represented the sentiments of the Iranians they knew. The letter and video were the moving force for pro-deal activists who have fought all their lives to improve freedom, democracy and human rights in Iran -- and have paid a high price and served long prison sentences as a result. With help from former political prisoner Mohammadreza Jalaeipour, the activists recorded a series of video messages explaining why they support the nuclear deal and called on the American people and members of Congress to support peace and diplomacy. These videos are a testament to the power of the grassroots movement and show how "grasstops" can be influenced by the people. Today, the campaigns boast a wide range of Iranian personalities across the political and social spectrum, including political activists, human rights defenders, artists and cultural figures. It is rare to see such a diverse group of Iranians come together and support one cause. Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, former Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi, women's rights activist Ghoncheh Ghavami and popular filmmaker Jafar Panahi are among these figures. I have selected a few of their videos below. The full list can be viewed on YouTube here.
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1. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel laureate and prominent human rights lawyer
2. Nasrin Sotoudeh, human rights lawyer and winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
3. Jafar Panahi, prominent filmmaker
4. Ebrahim Yazdi, former Iranian Foreign Minister
5. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, former member of Iranian parliament
6. Zia Nabavi, Student activist and political prisoner
7. Abdolreza Tajik, journalist and former political prisoner
8. Taghi Karrubi, son of Mehdi Karrubi, former presidential candidate and one of the leaders of the 2009 Green Movement
9. Ghoncheh Ghavami, women's rights activist and former political prisoner who was detained for trying to watch a men's volleyball match
10. Parvin Fahimi, mother of Sohrab Aarabi who was killed in the 2009 Green Movement protests
Earlier on WorldPost: