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Iranian Americans Target Elections in Downtown Protest By CASSIE NORTON

Tuesday June 28, 2005

On Friday, June 24, a group of Iranian-born Berkeley citizens gathered at the corner of Center and Shattuck in protest of the second round of “so-called elections” taking place that day in Iran. Protest organizer Ali Mirab said “I call them ‘so-called elections’ because it’s really a selection, not an election.” 

The process for electing a ruler in Iran begins with the careful screening of potential candidates by a council directed by the current president. Mirab contends that the supreme leader, as the president is called, uses this council to select the next president, regardless of who wins the popular vote. 

“It is not a democratic process,” Mirab said. “We have tried, but it is clear to us now that there is no way to make changes to that process.” 

The protesters were calling for the organized resistance of the Iranian people as the only way to achieve true democracy in the country, and upon the governments of other countries, including the U.S., to recognize their plight. 

The group supports a different kind of election process. They would like to see the elections run by the U.N. to guarantee the validity of the votes. Should this occur, they have already chosen a candidate to support in her bid for the presidency; Maryam Rajavi, president of the Iranian government in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. 

The small group of protesters near the Berkeley BART station gathered to support their countrymen who fight for change and to educate the public. They oppose the use of force or military intervention and any appeasement of the current government.  

They held an Iranian flag and handed out fliers, talking with passersby and waving at the drivers who honked their support.