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Saperstein: "Above all, we mourn the senseless deaths, condemn the violent repression of the rights of free assembly, speech, and dissent, and urge that these human rights violations cease immediately."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 26, 2009 - In response to ongoing violence against protesters in Iran, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Since the Iranian election, we have witnessed the disturbing violence perpetrated by the Iranian government and its paramilitary forces. Above all, we mourn the senseless deaths, condemn the violent repression of the rights of free assembly, speech, and dissent, and urge that these human rights violations cease immediately.
The violence of the Iranian regime is not new and these protesters join a long list of victims that include political dissidents, religious minorities, the targets of Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iranian-supported terrorist groups in Iraq, and more. However, these recent actions have been visible to the world on a uniquely new and massive scale.
We applaud with admiration the courage and strength of Iranian protestors who stand against the actions of the Iranian regime. The willingness of so many to, literally, put their lives on the line for freedom, is nothing short of inspirational. We hope and pray that the protesters will be allowed to express themselves without fear of physical harm or retribution.
While we recognize that the limitations on potential involvement by the United States, Canada, and other governments in Iranian internal elections require a cautious and restrained approach, we encourage governments, international organizations, and free peoples and societies around the world to do everything within their power to mobilize international condemnation of this violence and support for the aspirations of the Iranian people for a free and democratic society.