Protesting Iranians give Harper thumbs up 0
Iranian-American Nasser Sharif protests Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presence at the UN in New York City on Sept. 25, 2012. Sharif praised the actions of Canada in severing diplomatic ties with Iran, saying the move will make Canada safer. (David Akin/QMI Agency)
UNITED NATIONS - Hundreds of Iranian expatriates travelled from as far away as Canada and California to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presence here Wednesday.
And many of them praised Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government for its decision to sever diplomatic ties with Iran, saying such action weakens the regime in Iran while strengthening Ahmadinejad's domestic opposition.
But the protesters also cautioned Western countries against using military action to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, saying increasing diplomatic and economic pressure can accomplish the same goal.
"We don't need any military action against Iran," said Khosrow Ziav, a Kurdish Iranian who now lives in Toronto. Ziav, who moved to Canada from Iran 10 years ago, was one of several hundred who joined a noisy anti-Ahmadinejad protest outside the United Nations building here Wednesday and also spent part of the week protesting outside the five-star hotel near Central Park where Ahmadinejad stayed while in New York City.
"We have everything we need to destroy the regime. All the people in Iran - 90% of the people - are against the regime," said Ziaev. "We don't want war in our country."
Ahmadinejad spoke to the UN General Assembly Wednesday morning.
After that, at a press conference at his hotel, Ahmadinejad shrugged off Canada's diplomatic broadside saying it was not very important.
But Iranian expatriates in New York say Canada's move was, in fact, a big deal.
"We really, really appreciate our friends in Canada and thank the government of Canada for doing that and we believe other governments should do the same thing as well," said Nasser Sharif, who, as a student, was forced to flee Iran. He now lives in Los Angeles and is the president of the California Society for Democracy in Iran.
"Believe it or not, if you stand against the mullahs in Iran, they're going to back down. Just giving in and giving in will only make them belligerent," Sharif said. "If you stand against them, it's going to make Canada safer because they know they're dealing with a government that is serious and is not going to take their crap."