September 28, 2010
Planet Iran Exclusive
Ardeshir and Eleanor Ommani, founded the American-Iranian Friendship Committee two years ago. The Ommanis spoke to the Iranian regime-run Fars News in connection with .
Eleanor Ommani complained to Fars saying: “The arrest of the (anti-war) activists was a denial of the rights of those American citizen and by conducting such investigations and raids, the U.S. government is trying to quash the anti-war leaders for exposing U.S. ‘aggression’ and policies. It is because the U.S. is facing a difficult situation in Iraq and Afghanistan that they have taken such actions. The U.S. is trying to prolong the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan however the anti-war activists stand firm in their ‘enlightened’ and ‘intellectually motivated’ protests vis a vis the American war strategy.”
In the below video of the Ahmadinejad dinner organized on Sunday, September 20th, Ardeshir Ommani is seen (00:52 seconds into the video) on the far right, looking at the white haired man being interviewed.
The Ommanis were also among the more than 100 so-called activists and journalists from various organizations, religious groups and media outlets who were in attendance at a lavish gathering with Ahmadinejad at the Warwick Hotel in New York City on September 21.
“Some of the individuals and organizations in attendance included former U.S. Congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate for 2008 Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, poet and activist Amiri Baraka, MOVE Minister of Information Ramona Africa, International Action Center Co-Director Sara Flounders, Ardeshir and Eleanor Ommani, co-founders of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee, Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Million Worker March Movement organizer Brenda Stokely, Shafeah M’balia of the Black Workers for Justice, Phil Wilayto of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality, Larry Holmes of the Bailout the People Movement, Don DeBar of Wbaix.org, Ryme Katkhouda of the People’s Media Center among others.”
Now a little about Ardeshir Ommani: Iranian-American who has been in this country for decades but who returned to Iran during the 1979-1980 revolution as well as this past spring along with his wife Eleanor Ommani. Both the Ommani’s political stances match the Tudeh (Iranian KGB-backed Communist Party) in that they claim to support ultra-leftist workers’ party political goals and yet oddly defend the the Khomeinist regime which has jailed many Socialist students and esteemed Iranian labor leaders. In a recent article, Eleanor Ommani attacked leftist feminist Jennifer Fasulo for her op-ed that criticized Hugo Chavez’s support for Iran as a sell out of women’s rights. Defending the Venezuelan strong-man as a true socialist and friend of Castro, Ommani also defended the Islamic Republic in its treatment of women.
Ms. Ommani tries to gloss over the fact that the IRI continues to practice stoning for the crime of adultery, calling it a rare and out-dated practice of stoning. But as Ommani knows, this barbaric practice still does takes place given the international attention that the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani is getting.
Citing statistics of Iran’s successful birth control and family planning campaign as well as laws concerning maternity leave, and the integration of female students into the educational system, Ommani attempts to paint a picture of Iran as a completely progressive society; she conveniently ignores or forgets that which she doesn’t want to admit: Ahmadinejad has just begun a new campaign to once again substantially increase the Iranian population. Ommani also fails to mention that the IRI regards women’s testimony in court as carrying only half the weight of that of a man, and that a similar ratio applies as to the value of a woman’s life. So too, Ommani “forgets” that women have virtually no rights to their children in cases of divorce, or that women must receive the written and notarized permission of a male relative (husband or father) to be able to travel abroad. Ommani neglects to mention that all buses are segregated by gender (women sit in the rear), all Islamic prayer rooms strictly segregated, and that segregated instruction in schools and segregated seating at the universities is the way of the IRI. Ommani also neglects to mention that all medical treatment is strictly segregated, that women may not sing alone in public, or for that matter, be seen in public with a male who is not their relative. Ommani makes no mention of the strict enforcement of the hejab laws which require all women in Iran to be covered from head to ankle with only hands and face visible on pain of lashes (or imprisonment for multiple offenses).
Ommani also skips over the Shiite practice of Seegheh or temporary marriage (many in Iran and abroad would term it a legalized form of prostitution) but which is regarded as adultery if the woman is already married. Men may contract such “marriages” at any time, but women must wait three monthly cycles between such marriages to prove that they are not pregnant. Should the temporary husband die before the termination date of the marriage, the woman does not inherit from him. Ommani neglects to mention that the IRI reverted legally to the old Islamic view that girls are regarded as reaching majority age for the purpose of marriage at age nine, and may even wed earlier if both fathers give consent! Ommani also has conveniently overlooked the new law passed by the Majlis since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president that prohibits women from owning and running any business by themselves; all businesses, including restaurants, require a male partner in order currently to conform to the law.
Ardeshir Ommani, like his wife Eleanor, has a distinct attitude of “workers of the world, unite!”, which would lead one to think that he would be critical of the Iranian regime not only refusing to allow the bus drivers of Tehran to unionize, but also has arrested and imprisoned the group’s leaders. The same story applies as regards the Mine and Industry Commission’s anti-labor approach to the mine workers from eastern Tehran and Keraj. Like his wife, he claims that women are not debilitated (his words) in their social status in the Islamic Republic. He also defends the regime’s nuclear program, calling it ‘popular’ and the absolute right of the Iranian nation. Like his wife, he neglects the poll that found over two thirds of Iranians opposed to the expenditures involved in the current enrichment program.
Apparently raids on the houses of the Iranian citizenry does not count for Mr. and Mrs. Ommani; out of sight, out of mind and reality be damned since it’s Iranians who are being sacrificed and not Americans.