Protesters urge Trump to reject compromise with Iran

Protesters urge Trump to reject compromise with Iran
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Protesters began gathering near the UN headquarters in Manhattan last week and have maintained a daily vigil. (Courtesy: the OIAC Organization of Iranian American Communities)
Protesters urge Trump to reject compromise with Iran
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Protesters began gathering near the UN headquarters in Manhattan last week and have maintained a daily vigil. (Courtesy: the OIAC Organization of Iranian American Communities)
Protesters urge Trump to reject compromise with Iran
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President Donald Trump addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York. (Reuters)
Updated 24 September 2019

Protesters urge Trump to reject compromise with Iran

Protesters urge Trump to reject compromise with Iran
  • Protesters began gathering near the UN headquarters in Manhattan last week and have maintained a daily vigil
  • They hope of reminding President Trump, American officials and UN delegates of Iran’s history of terrorism

NEW YORK: Thousands of members of a coalition of Iranian American organizations vowed to confront Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when he addresses the UN on Wednesday reminding the world of the more than 120,000 political dissidents and democracy advocates who have been murdered by Iran’s government over the past 40 years.

Protesters began gathering near the UN headquarters in Manhattan last week and have maintained a daily vigil. Their numbers will continue to grow, according to the Political Director for the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) which coordinates anti-regime activism in the US.

Dr. Majid Sadeghpour said the world community “should not be fooled” by false gestures of goodwill from Iran’s representatives. “No amount of economic and political concessions can moderate the behavior of this medieval regime. The mullahs understand only the language of power and firmness. Maximum pressure must be applied to help the Iranian people free themselves from the yoke of the mullahs,” he added.

“We began protesting last week in anticipation of the opening of the UN General Assembly’s 74th Session and the appearance of Iran’s officials, and we will continue protesting until the Iranian regime is held responsible for its ongoing atrocities against the people of Iran,” Sadeghpour said.

“We will be here in numbers when officials of the Iranian regime are expected to address the UN on Wednesday.”

Sadeghpour said protesters have maintained daily vigils since last week in the hope of reminding President Trump, American officials and UN delegates of Iran’s history of terrorism and brutality against its people.

He said Trump and the UN must “reject the false pretenses of moderation” by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his representatives.

Trump had originally taken a strong public stand against Iran, accusing them of engaging in terrorism and violence, and then seemed to soften two weeks ago when he said he would meet Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani if he came to the opening session of the UN General Assembly’s 74th year.

But a week ago, after a coordinated drone and cruise missile attack targeted Saudi Aramco oil fields along the Yemen coast, Trump said America’s military was “locked and loaded,” suggesting America was ready to go to war with Iran. Trump said he would move to block Rouhani and his regime from attending the UN meeting in New York, but later relented.

The assault by the 25 drones and multiple missiles took early on Saturday, Sept. 14. During a press briefing this week in Riyadh, coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the assaults forced Saudi Arabia to shut down half of its oil production.

Saudi officials, including Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeebah, the head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, have said the sophisticated, technologically coordinated attacks in Abqaiq and Khurais were “too complex” to be orchestrated only by the Houthi militias.

“Iran is behind many attacks against the region. The UN should take action. There should be a resolution against Iran. The involvement of the UN delivers a message,” Al-Rabeeah said on Wednesday during a press briefing to outline Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen where Iran-backed Houthi militias have targeted civilians, aid workers and coalition forces.

Calling Rouhani a “murderous moderate,” Sadeghpour said Rouhani and other Iranian regime officials should be held accountable for the killings of the more than 120,000 Iranian civilians, including 30,000 murdered during a nationwide purge in 1988.

Nine years after taking control of Iran from the former leader, the Shah of Iran, the Iranian regime under the direction of Ayatollah Khomeini, ordered a purge of dissidents demanding democracy. The crackdown began on July 19, 1988, and continued throughout the country for nearly five months. Because so many people were taken prisoner, Iran used construction cranes to hang the victims at half-hour intervals.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has addressed protests against the Iranian regime in the past, is expected to join former Senator Joseph Lieberman in speaking to the protesters at the anti-regime rallies.


Indian protests growing as ‘anti-farm’ peace offer nixed

Updated 03 December 2020

Indian protests growing as ‘anti-farm’ peace offer nixed

Indian protests growing as ‘anti-farm’ peace offer nixed
  • New laws ‘could leave farmers landless, at mercy of corporate players’

NEW DELHI: Farmers’ protests across the Indian capital New Delhi have gained momentum as several new groups joined from various parts of the country on Wednesday.

Protesters repeated their demands for the government to scrap new agricultural laws which they say could destroy their livelihoods by opening up the sector to private players.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government argues that the laws passed in September would allow farmers to be self-sufficient by setting their prices and selling produce directly to private firms, such as supermarket chains.

Farmers are not buying that and say that the new laws would instead pave the way for the government to stop buying the crops at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the “mercy of private buyers” fixing prices.

Bhanu Pratar Singh, president of the Indian Farmers’ Association, said: “Our basic demand is that the government gives us in writing that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) that the government gives to farm produce should be codified in law in the farm laws.”

Protests escalated last week when tens of thousands of farmers marched to New Delhi, with a majority saying that the new laws would also allow traders to stockpile grains, which they fear will lead to rising prices and more profit for traders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The demonstrations led to clashes with police, who used tear gas, water cannons and batons against protesters.

Farmers sell their products at wholesale markets owned by the government, which also sets the MSP for grains.

All of that could change with the entry of new market players in the agricultural sector, where individual market prices could supersede the MSP, Jagjit Singh Dalewal of the Indian Farmers’ Union, a joint forum for 30 farm unions, told Arab News.

“It will leave us at the mercy of the big business houses. We don’t want that uncertainty,” he said.

“The traditional market system and the MSP have sustained farmers in Punjab and Haryana for a long time. They assured us a guaranteed price which is higher than the market. The new farm laws deprive us of that,” Dalewal added.

On Tuesday, talks between officials and the farmers’ union failed after the latter rejected an offer to establish a committee on the issue.

A joint statement released by farmers’ groups said that they found the offer “an attempt to buy time without addressing the real issue.”

The next round of talks is expected to begin on Thursday.

“Most of the farmers in India have small landholding, and they cannot compete with the big corporate houses,” Sunil Pradhan, a farmer based in Greater Noida, a suburban city of Delhi, told Arab News.

“A farmer having less than two hectares of land cannot have bargaining power with the corporate groups. He will succumb to pressure and become a pawn in the hands of the big players. Such farmers need government protection,” he added.

The government says that the new laws are not “anti-farmer.”

“The new agricultural law implemented by the government is not anti-farmer at all,” Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankara Prasad said on Wednesday.

“Under this bill, the safety net of the MSP will remain and will also add new options that the farmers have. Farmers will be able to enter into direct agreements for sale of food grains with production companies,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Economists have questioned the claims, drawing attention to the “genuine” concerns of farmers.

“Many small farmers are worried that the free market in the agriculture sector will dispossess many small farmers of their lands, which will become corporatized, and they will become landless,” New Delhi-based Prof. Arun Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Arab News.

“The government is not doing enough to address the existential concerns of the farmers,” he added.

Kumar said that “86 percent of the farmers are small farmers and cultivate less than 2 hectares of land.”

He added: “They generate a small income, and fear that the new laws will not give them the right kind of prices and that they will become landless laborers.”

Most of the farmers have camped along the Delhi border for the past week and refuse to move to a designated protest site allocated by the government.

“We have been protesting since September in Punjab, but the government has been ignoring us. Now we are at the gate of Delhi and suddenly the government is desperate to engage us for talks,” Punjab-based farmer Sarwan Pandher told Arab News.

According to one estimate, more than 50,000 farmers are camping in different borders of Delhi, with medical professionals sounding the alarm over a possible spike in coronavirus cases due to the large gatherings.

“I blame the government for playing with the lives of the people. They should understand the gravity of the pandemic and address the farmer issue urgently,” Dr. Harjit Singh Bhatti of Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum told Arab News.