‘Our struggles and freedoms connected’
More than seventy figures in the Syrian opposition have expressed their support for the anti-government demonstrations in Iran on 14 February.
A group of 71 members of the National Syrian Council issued a statement extending their “thanks and support to the Iranian people in their quest for freedom.”
“It is important for all of us to know that we share one region and that our struggle and freedoms are connected,” the council said. “The Syrian and Iranian regimes have cooperated very closely throughout the years to oppress their own people and to destabilize the region around them. We believe that the only way that our people can prosper is by cooperation and mutual respect to each other’s past, presence and future aspirations.”
Tuesday’s protests mark the one year anniversary of the Green Movement’s last major demonstration held in solidarity with the revolts of the Arab world. Following last year’s rallies, the leaders of the Iranian opposition, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, were placed under house arrest along with their wives Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi. Rights groups say their house arrest violates international human rights conventions as well as Iran’s own constitution. In a recent interview with Radio Farda, Reza Moini of the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders described their continued house arrest as a “crime against humanity.”
In August 2011, the Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope, a decision-making body whose members were handpicked by Mousavi and Karroubi prior to their captivity, expressed solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Syria and called on the Iranian authorities to cease their support for the Assad regime’s deadly suppression of dissenters.
Also, in early October 2011, a group of seventy Iranian intellectuals, academics and activists condemned the ruthless suppression of anti-government protests in Syria while expressing their firm support for the country’s opposition. “We feel your hardship and closely follow the current developments in your country, we declare our unwavering support for the uprising and perseverance shown by you, the seekers of freedom, in your path towards establishing democracy and a people’s state in Syria,” they said.
Human rights groups estimate that the Syrian army has slaughtered at least 7,000 civilians since the start of the protest movement in March 2011.
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