About three dozen people gathered in downtown Iowa City Wednesday to show their support for Iranians who are protesting the reelection of Iran’s president. Yashar Vasef helped organize the Iowa City event.
"If the Iranian people can stay in the streets and stand up for their rights, we think in the longterm this could…bring very fundamental changes to the political infrastructure of Iran," he says. Vasef argues the current power structure in Iran could be weakened if governments around the globe keep questioning the election results in Iran.
"If we could get the international community to call them out on their irregularities, then it takes away some of their legitimacy," Vasef says, "and that weakens them domestically." Maysam Takapoo, a research assistant at the University of Iowa, was part of today’s protest.
"Today, we’re here to support our friends, our brothers and sisters in Iran who are actually fighting for democracy," Takapoo. Takapoo is still an Iranian citizen. He drove four hours to a satellite voting station in Champaign, Illinois, to cast his vote for the opposition candidate Mousavi.
"I have this feeling in my heart that it’s kind of worth it," he says. "We want change in Iran so we had to do whatever sacrifice that it takes." Today’s rally was staged at the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall over the noonhour. Protesters gathered signatures on a petition which urges members of congress to reject the results of Iran’s election.