Recently, I spoke with Caspian Makan, fiancée of Neda Aghasoltan, who died in the democracy protests following last summer's controversial elections in Iran. Mr. Makan has since received asylum in Canada and has joined the country's large expatriate Persian community. In January, the Times of London reported that supporters of Mahmoud Ahmedemijad had defaced Neda's grave for a second time.
Yesterday, on the first anniversary of her death, CNN featured a video about the life and death of Neda Aghasoltan.
Thank you for speaking with me, Mr. Makan, Could you tell me how Neda Aghasoltan's death affected your political views?
Following Neda's death, I realized that the regime of Islamic dictatorship in Iran was built entirely on lies and human blood.
For more than 30 years, Iran's leaders have deprived women and young people of their basic human rights through inhuman practices in the name of religion. These crimes include imprisonment, torture, rape, and the murder of thousands buried in unknown cemeteries due to their ideologies and beliefs.
Why did you come to Canada?
In Iran, the authoritarian Islamic regime has always used any method available to ensure its survival and maintain its advantage. The regime conceals its crimes using intense forms of censorship. It arrests foreign and native journalists and Iranian intellectuals like professors, students, artists, lawyers, and even those who work within its system.
What has happened in Iran under the current regime?
The result...has been to transform Iran, a country with a rich history, into a prison. But all of these crimes are only the beginning for the leaders of the Islamic regime in Iran. In order to extend their power, they collaborate with similar regimes in international terrorist attacks that violate the security of the region.
How do these changes affect the region?
As the international ambitions of Iran's regime grow, it becomes increasingly apparent that the problem of the Iranian people has become an international problem requiring the help and support of freedom loving people everywhere.
And why are these regional changes important to people around the world?
The emancipation of Iranians from... despotism is essential to the freedom, peace, and stability of all people around the world. Last year, the world watched the murder of defenseless people in Iran. In the midst of this slaughter and suppression, Neda Aghasoltan's death revealed the true face of the Islamic regime's fundamental lack of respect for human rights and freedoms.
Why do you think Neda Aghasoltan become a international symbol of Iran's desire for democracy?
Courageously last summer, Neda stepped forward to request her freedom. Tragically, she paid with her life. Her sacrifice is a symbol of what all of the victims of the Iranian uprising have given in their fight against an oppressive regime.
How can we help you and the cause of democracy in Iran?
To remember Neda's bravery I call for an international day of mourning to be established. I would ask everyone who reads this to please help me turn June 20th into, International Neda Day.
On this day, Iranians and freedom-loving people everywhere can stand united in their desire to abolish any and all inhuman governments. It will be an annual reminder for people everywhere to reflect on the need for the blessing of security, equality and freedom for every human being on the planet.
It is a call, in Neda's memory, for an end to killing, political murders, imprisonments and executions. -Our world needs just such a 'holy-day'.
Thank you, very, very much Mr. Makan.