Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy Abroad
Human Rights in Iran
ATLANTA, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On 21 January, 2008, Professor Raymond Tanter, President, Iran Policy Committee, spoke at the invitation of the Iranian-American Community of Georgia in Atlanta. Prof. Tanter explained Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s position on human rights abroad, which is based upon one fundamental principle: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." According to Prof. Tanter, "It was Dr. King's commitment to fighting injustice that led him to champion the cause of the African National Congress in South Africa. To this end, Dr. King issued a joint statement with ANC President-General Albert Lutuli in 1962 and spoke out in 1964 about the jailing of Nelson Mandela at the notorious Robben Island prison." Prof. Tanter went on to describe how impressively Dr. King's legacy continued after his death: "The ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. were a critical source of inspiration to democratic movements behind the Iron Curtain. Both Solidarity in Poland and Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia adopted Dr. King's 'Letter from Birmingham City Jail.'" Prof. Tanter then moved on to discuss contemporary human rights atrocities, particularly those committed by the Iranian regime. According to Prof. Tanter, "The way a government treats its women is the best barometer of a country's human rights condition. In Iran, married women have very few legal rights. A woman must have written permission from her husband to travel. It is also nearly impossible for a woman to obtain a divorce, allowing men to abuse their wives and take multiple wives without fear of punishment. Regarding policy options, Prof. Tanter concluded, "The most powerful tool the United States can use to put Tehran's rulers on alert that gross violations of human rights must end is to empower the Iranian people for democratic change. To this end, the United States should remove the terrorist designations of the main, democratic Iranian opposition groups. The evidence behind such designations is specious, and the hampering of the democratic opposition jeopardizes U.S. national security interests. The main opposition groups, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), in stark contrast to the regime, are democratic, inclusive of women, and have as one of their highest missions the protection of human rights in Iran. In fact, NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi has looked to Dr. King's Birmingham Letter as a source of inspiration as the Iranian people are terrorized by those ruling Tehran."
SOURCE Iran Policy Committee
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