Members of the Iranian opposition installed a billboard in Midtown Manhattan Friday warning Americans not to trust Iranian regime apologists who push for reentry into the JCPOA.
“[The Iranian regime] killed more than 1500 innocents on the ground and lied about it,” reads the billboard, referring to the Iranian protestors gunned down in November 2019 during civil unrest and widespread demonstrations in Iran.
“Regime of Iran lies about JCPOA too. They intend to harm America. Do not trust the mullahs’ apologists in the U.S. media,” the billboard continues.
The billboard also highlights the lives lost when the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) downed a Ukrainian International Airlines flight in January 2020.
“They killed 176 passengers in the air and lied about it.”
The billboard was intentionally installed in a location directly across from The New York Times building, a media outlet that has received criticism for acting as a mouthpiece for the regime.
“The U.S. media, they don’t know exactly what’s happening in Iran,” said Iranian American and founder of the campaign behind the billboard, Ali Ebrahimzadeh, to The Foreign Desk.
“Some of the people inside Iran helped me make the [billboard’s] content because it’s very important for the Iranian people to send the exact message they want the American people to know.”
The billboard is part of a larger Farsi Twitter campaign called “zendegi normal,” or “normal life” in English, founded by Ebrahimzadeh about seven months ago.
The campaign has since grown into more than 1,000 Iranian opposition leaders outside of Iran actively working to show Iranians still living in Iran what a “normal life” looks like under a secular democratic constitution that supports women’s rights, minority rights and basic human rights.
Ebrahimzadeh explained to The Foreign Desk that when Iranians inside Iran witness the difference in his quality of living in the U.S. compared to their own, they recognize that a “normal life” is not something the Iranian regime can provide.
The Iranian constitution is “based on Islamic ideology, and there is nothing based on human rights,” emphasizes Ebrahimzadeh.
“If the American people, or all of the politicians in the United States just supported the human rights for the Iranian people, they’re going to solve all the problems. They’re going to solve the nuclear program. They’re going to solve terrorism around the Middle East. They’re going to solve everything.”
In the meantime, talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal continue in Vienna.
The P5 + 1, which includes China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Germany is seeking to reenter the nuclear deal which will free up billions of dollars in cash and likely to be a repeat of the disappointing and empty deal of 2015.
“The last time they made a deal with Obama, you know what, Obama gave the Iranian regime billions of dollars in pallets of cash, but they didn’t spend anything on the Iranian people. They just used it to spread terrorism all around the Middle East,” said Ebrahimzadeh.
Ebrahimzadeh pointed out that he “[does not] know what exactly is going on between the Democrat people and the Islamic Republic of Iran because the lobby of Iran, they have the good relationship with just the Democrats.”
If the Biden administration is going to be consistent in its call to uphold human rights, the Iranian people’s brutal oppression cannot be ignored, and this requires the U.S. media and government to push back on the regime’s propaganda, he said.
“I believe there are only 10 percent of the population of Iran who support the regime, but they have guns, they have money, they have oil, so they can pretend different. They have media. They have everything. The only thing the Iranian people need is human rights. Just support them. Just support the human rights for the Iranian people,” said Ebrahimzadeh.
“We want to see the Iranian people as human, not as soldiers of the [Islamic] ideology.”