Summary of Conference Call with Parvaneh Vahidmanesh
|August 12, 2012|
On August 11, 2012, CyberDissidents.org hosted a conference call with student leaders and Parvaneh Vahidmanesh, an Iranian dissident and program manager at Freedom House. Parvaneh described how her political activism and journalism in Iran forced her to seek political asylum in the United States. The internet has greatly facilitated her activism since she was exiled. She attributes the prominence of cyber-activism in Iran to the fact that, under regime repression, activists have little opportunity to pursue traditional activism: “I think that cyber-activism and physical activism must work together in Iran. However, because of the situation inside Iran - the way the government controls everything - the people do not have any other way to speak out, so they choose cyber-activism. I believe that cyber-activism was chosen as the main form of protest because there was no other option.” Parvaneh expressed fears about the future of her country. In response to questions on how the US can help the dissident community in Iran, she called for sanctions to be targeted towards the Iranian government, not the people. She also addressed the need to highlight human rights issues above nuclear issues.