After they appeared at an International Human Rights Day rally at Main Beach in December, Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen and Councilman Alex Rounaghi brought a resolution of support for the Iranian people against oppressive government to the City Council meeting on Tuesday.
The resolution, which the council passed unanimously, called on government officials across Orange County to stand with the Iranian people in their pursuit of freedom.
It also backed sanctions against the Iranian government and the morality police.
The reported death of Mahsa Zhina Amini while in the custody of the morality police has led to demonstrations around the globe, including locally when President Joe Biden gave a speech at Irvine Valley College on Oct. 14.
“I’m here because my dad was an immigrant from Iran, and he escaped an oppressive regime,” Rounaghi said. “That’s why I’m here today and have all the opportunities in America, and I think that what we see around the world is there’s so many people who are fighting for that basic value of freedom that we fought a revolution for in 1776.
“A lot of people might say, ‘Why is the city looking at a foreign policy issue?’ I think this is a human rights issue, and that’s why we wanted to just make it clear that we stand with the Iranian people and all the people in the world against oppressive regimes, and hope that freedom can continue to prosper in the world.”
Rounaghi recently became the first person of Iranian descent to be elected to the Laguna Beach City Council. City Manager Shohreh Dupuis, who said she immigrated from Iran with her family in 1984, also expressed her appreciation for the passing of the resolution.
Newport Beach joined Laguna Beach in adopting a resolution in support of the Iranian people this week. Costa Mesa had passed a similar resolution previously. They are among nine cities in Orange County to have publicly supported the human rights movement in Iran, Sudi Farokhnia, treasurer of the Iranian-American Democrats of California, said.
Farokhnia added that Hengameh Abraham of Costa Mesa has also played a key role in advocacy for the cause to Orange County cities.
“By raising awareness on the plight of freedom by the Iranian people, we hope that the attendees and the world understands the regime occupying Iran does not reflect the values and culture of the Iranian people,” Farokhnia said. “People of Iran want to replace theocracy with democracy. We want the international leaders not to negotiate with the regime, acknowledge the Iranian people’s revolution and that the regime has no legitimacy, and refrain from doing anything that will prolong the suffering of Iranian people and lack of stability in the region.
“Lastly, ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement is not just about Iran. It’s about the world and the future generations, where we collectively honor, fight for, and prioritize equality, right to self-determination, equity and freedom embedded in the human rights doctrine for all.”