I had never heard of Roozbeh Farahanipour before the Simon Wiesenthal Center's June 24th press conference at the Museum of Tolerance where we joined with Iranian expats urging UN intervention over the fraudulent re-election of President Ahmadinejad.
The press conference itself presented compelling but very diverse Iranian voices. There was the son of the mayor of Tehran when the CIA orchestrated a coup in the 1950s. There was a monarchist, an academic-- all of whom put their differences aside to plead--to a largely deaf world-- to act on behalf of their people.
The understated Mr. Farahanipour calmly spoke of his experiences on the streets of Tehran during the student uprising of July 9th, 1999 and his arrest and torture that followed.
Now comes word that he and some other members of the Marze Por Gohar (MPG) party have, despite the obvious dangers that await them, made their way back to Tehran in preparations for what they hope will be renewed demonstrations for democracy on the streets of Iran on July 9th--the anniversary of the 1999 demos.
Which brings us to President Obama and the G8. Twitter may have succeeded in proving to the world how much the Iranian people want change, but Internet technologies cannot deliver real freedom and hope. Only a new sense of resolve and leadership from our president -- so absent in Washington last month -- along with leaders at the G8 like Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozry, Stephen Harper and Angela Merkel can ensure that the courage of Roozbeh and millions of other Iranians will not be in vain.
For starters: Stronger sanctions from the G8 to thwart or slow the Iranian nukes.
But they and we can do more: World leaders can tell the man who polled over 100% in so many polling places, he's not welcome in their capitals. And if he plans to come to New york this Fall for the UN General Assembly, let their be one unified protest consisting of a massive crowd as diverse as our democracy's unique demographics.