Los Angeles' large Iranian community cheers anti-regime protests

From Reuters - January 3, 2018

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Many in Los Angeles Iranian expatriate community, the largest in the United States, are heartened by anti-government street protests back home but want to make sure international focus stays on what they see as a struggle for democracy.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution and are concentrated in a neighborhood on the citys west side nicknamed Tehrangeles dotted with Persian shops and restaurants. The community is welcoming support for the protesters from political leaders of both parties in the United States.

Roozbeh Farahanipour, a leader of the 1999 student movement who was jailed three times before fleeing the country under a death sentence and winning asylum in the United States, said moral support from U.S. leaders was crucial, praising supportive tweets from both President Donald Trump and his rival in the 2016 election, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In 2009, Farahanipour said, some activists were disappointed when then-President Barack Obama showed support for reformers instead of those seeking regime change.

Its exciting that this time there is no reformist movement involved. The people realize that reform is not going to work this time. They want regime change, he said.

Any pro-regime Iranians with ties to the government who may live in the area have kept a low profile.

Irans elite Revolutionary Guards have dispatched forces to several provinces after six days of street demonstrations that began out of frustration over economic hardships suffered byyouth and the working class that have left 21 people dead.


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