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Iran rally in Washington demands more U.S. action

More than 200 march from Capitol Hill to the White House, calling on Obama to 'reject the sham elections' in Iran.

July 12, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Scores of protesters, many of them Iranian Americans, marched from Capitol Hill to the White House on Saturday, most holding Iranian flags and chanting demands for the U.S. to take more action in response to Iran's disputed election.

After marching through several blocks of downtown Washington, more than 200 people rallied in front of the White House. They shouted demands for President Obama and leaders of other countries to "reject the sham elections, impose complete sanctions!"

They also shouted, "Death to Ahmadinejad!" referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed June 12 reelection prompted days of street protests -- in turn triggering a government crackdown -- in Iran.

Some carried pictures of Neda Agha-Soltan, a young protester who bled to death after being shot in a Tehran street. She became a symbol of the protests after a video of her death was posted online and viewed worldwide.

Iranian American organizations and human rights groups organized the march and the rally in Lafayette Square across from the White House.

Demonstrators said they wanted to show their solidarity with the protesters in Iran. They also want world leaders to suspend all political and diplomatic ties with Iran and demand that the government in Tehran hold a new election supervised by the United Nations.

Reza Kamandar, 43, who took part in the rally, said his brother was fatally shot by a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard last week.

The math teacher said he traveled from Houston to Washington "to support my people."

"I'm here to tell Mr. Obama: Please, please take action. You need to take action right now," he said. "In Iran, they don't want this government."

Yavar Moghimi, 28, who has many family members in Iran, said he participated in the rally to make sure Iran's disputed election "is not forgotten in the eyes of policymakers here" and remind them "there's tons of people who are political prisoners right now" in Iran.

The crowd heard from several speakers, including former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.).

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