Monday, June 22, 2009
Iranian Americans living in San Diego are paying close attention to the tense political situation in Tehran.
The news trickling out of Tehran suggests authorities dispersed protesters with tear gas today. Violent confrontations on Saturday led to at least 10 deaths and nearly 500 arrests.
San Diegan Kourosh Taghavi left Iran 26 years ago, but he still maintains close ties to the country. He says many well known opposition leaders were among those arrested on Saturday, and the brutal response to the protests has pushed the dissenters behind closed doors.
“The opposition movement is trying its best to bring down the violence that’s being committed by the police,” Taghavi says. “There’s a lot of things behind the scenes that we have absolutely no information of. I think that contributes a bit to somewhat of a quiet day in Tehran today.”
He says it’s possible future demonstrations in Iran will center around commemorations of those who died in Saturday’s protest.
“In Islamic tradition, the third night of one’s passing, the 7th, the 15th and the 40th day are very important. So people will use these monumental days to remember the fallen ones and at the same time reiterate the message.”
Teghavi says the San Diego Iranian community plans a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night outside the Federal Building in downtown San Diego.
“The purpose is to show our solidarity with the people of Iran to amplify their demands,” he says. “Young people have taken to the streets because their vote was stolen.”
Taghavi says more Iranian Americans live in Los Angeles than anywhere else outside of Iran and tens of thousands also live in San Diego.