Building Bridges in an Insane World – an interview

lchaim nir bom

By Sharon Rapoport

It was a cold November night and the Publisher for L’CHAIM and I met with Dr. Nir Boms at The French Gourmet in Pacific Beach. It had been a little under a month since the French terror attacks, and the after the non-stop media coverage the world seemed to have turned sour. Newscasters recommended that people watch out for stray packages in malls on Black Friday. Nations were reconsidering allowing entry of countless Syrian refugees, and social media was abuzz with satirical memes depicting every Muslim as a potential suicide bomber.

Yet here was this man, whom we knew little about, referencing metaphorical bridges building toward our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters. About tolerance, and assisting Syrian refugees … ideas which usually make sense, but in the wake of another radical Islamic terror attack, seemed awkward at best. View full post…

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Iran, A Post Mortem Note

As the last debates in the U.S. Senate fade away and President Rouhani receives a hero’s welcome in the UN, it is worthwhile to note the new alliances the U.S. has formed in the wake of this “New middle East.” Chief amongst them is NIAC, the National Iranian American Council, who played a major role in developing and advocating for the nuclear deal. Iran, according to NIAC, will embark on a new path of moderation, human rights and democracy, worlds away from what is actually taking place in Iran as these deliberations continued. Optimism can be an easy sell – but reality is no less important. 

 

In a recent Huffington Post article, NIAC’s president, Dr. Trita Parsi, argued that the nuclear deal will not only prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and a devastating war, but also that it will “improve the prospects for Iran moving in a positive direction internally – in terms of democratization and human rights.” To further his point that a nuclear deal will benefit those fighting for human rights on the ground in Iran, Mr. Parsi refers to “an unprecedented group of Iranian human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists” that have “come out in a massive wave in support of the agreement.” View full post…

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A Moment of Truth in Geneva?

Tomorrow, February 15 2010, and for the first time since the 1979 revolution, the UN  will review the human rights record of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The UPR (Universal Periodic Review) is a process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States. This recent UN tradition started in 2006 following the growing criticism of the lack of attention given to human rights at the UN. In response, the Human Rights Council was established. And now comes its first moment of truth.

Iran has been oppressed by the rule of tyranny since its birth in 1979 as an Islamic republic. Since then and despite countless attempts to condemn Iran for its gross violations of human rights and its persistent failure to amend its laws and actions, the human rights record in Iran remains deplorable and abysmal.  Iran is in constant breach of international treaties and conventions that its government has ratified, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 (ICCPR); Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (CRC); and the customary binding declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (UDHR).
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Defient Mood in Teheran

 

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As a sign of the troubled relations between Tehran and the West, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno just renamed the street next to the Iranian embassy “July 9th St.” – after the date symbolizing the 1999 student pro-democracy demonstrations in Tehran. Iran responded angrily, but at the same time released a statement by its foreign minister about possible progress in negotiations over its nuclear program. While the diplomatic rhetoric may appear ambivalent, Tehran’s domestic actions appear much more clear and defiant. Last Tuesday, Iran hanged another teenager, 19-year-old Hamid Reza, who was convicted of murder. The country’s parliament is also considering a bill that could result in the death penalty being used for those deemed to be promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy on the Internet.

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