11 Oct 2009 05:10
Our Laureate: Neda of Iran
WaPo | Oct. 10, 2009
The Nobel Committee's decision is especially puzzling given that a better alternative was readily apparent. This year, hundreds of thousands of ordinary people in Iran braved ferocious official violence to demand their right to vote and to speak freely. Dozens were killed, thousands imprisoned. One of those killed was a young woman named Neda Agha-Soltan; her shooting by thugs working for the Islamist theocracy, captured on video, moved the world. A posthumous award for Neda, as the avatar of a democratic movement in Iran, would have recognized the sacrifices that movement has made and encouraged its struggle in a dark hour. Democracy in Iran would not only set a people free, it would also dramatically improve the chances for world peace, since the regime that murdered her is pursuing nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community.
Announcing Friday that he would accept the award, Mr. Obama graciously offered to share it with "the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets." But the mere fact that he avoided mentioning either Neda's name or her country, presumably out of consideration for the Iranian regime with which he is attempting to negotiate, showed the tension that sometimes exists between "diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" on the one hand, and advocacy of human rights on the other. The Nobel Committee could have spared Mr. Obama this dilemma if it had given Neda the award instead of him.
Iran defiant as three more given death penalty over election protests
The Guardian | Oct. 11, 2009
Iran has sentenced to death three more protesters who were arrested after the country's disputed presidential election in June. The verdicts came despite a widespread international protest over the death penalty given last week to a man identified as Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, a member of a group seeking to reinstate the country's monarchy.
The sentences were said to be for involvement in the countrywide protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election as president in polls many Iranians said were rigged. The authorities have rejected the charges and portrayed the protests as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic republic.
Announcing the latest sentences through the ISNA news agency, Zahed Bashiri Rad, a spokesman for the justice ministry, said: "Three people who were accused [for their role] in the post-election incidents have been sentenced to death."