STAFF EDITORIAL: Situation in Iran deserves watchful American eye

Since Iranian supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi risk death or imprisonment if they protest, others around the world are standing up for them.

On Saturday, protesters across the globe urged Iran to cease its oppressive crackdown on opposition activists, who have disputed the results of June’s presidential election.

They also urged the Iranian government to release hundreds of people who were taken away for peaceably and violently voicing their opinions.

These demonstrators want the United Nations to explore possible human rights abuses and encourage Tehran to allow freedom of expression and assembly. Their efforts will probably go to waste, as one stubborn man essentially controls Iran’s government.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has shown no signs of backing down and continues to threaten protestors with severe punishment. He has also persistently blamed Western influence, not his oppressive regime, for the explosion of demonstrations that occurred after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection.

Earlier this month, Iran’s judicial system issued an order to control access to satellite television. Reuters reported that a circular issued by Judiciary Head Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi – who was appointed by Khamenei – said ‘the daily growth of anti-regime satellite channels and … Web sites needs serious measures to confront this phenomenon.’

Unlike the U.S., Iran’s government has no balance of power. What Khamenei says is ‘correct,’ and those who oppose him usually face grave consequences.

Iran appears to be slowly moving toward cutting off all human rights. If citizens cannot voice their opinions, they will never be heard.

We cannot forget about Iran’s situation, because any major infringement on our rights should not be accepted. When people cannot peaceably protest, watch news channels that present multiple opinions or go to any Web site for information, they can be misled.

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