Iranian expats “frustrated and angry” over situation back home, says Prague-based Iranian journalist

Photo: CTK

The Czech EU presidency has voiced its concern about alleged irregularities in last week’s Iranian elections, and has said it is ‘alarmed’ by the street violence which has ensued in the country. Back in the Czech capital, members of the Iranian community are nervous about speaking openly, but Radio Prague met Iranian journalist Omid to discuss the current situation.

Photo: CTK
“What we hear is that there is a national day of mourning in Iran right now on Thursday. Mousavi called it for the people who were killed or injured in the rallies on the previous days. We hear that on Monday, eight Mousavi supporters were killed. So today is the national day of mourning, and tomorrow there are going to be Friday prayers by Ayatollah Khamenei. That’s very important as people say he’s going to resolve the situation. So what we hear is that Mousavi and Karoubi, the two main rivals of Ahmadinejad in the elections, have asked their supporters to come to Friday prayers, and let their voices be heard to other people and to the Supreme Leader about that they want and what they’re craving for.”

You have been in Prague for ten months. How do you keep in touch with your family and friend back in Iran?

“We are actually in constant connection via telephone, e-mail, through Facebook, which has in fact been the major medium. That’s how I get the news about Iran, about what my friends are doing, what’s going on at the rallies, what people want, what their lives are like and what the situation is like, and all that. So it’s all mainly via the internet.”

Photo: CTK
How big is Prague’s Iranian community?

“I think it’s about 200-strong, something like that. It’s not a very big community but I think it’s big for Central Europe. It consists of people who work here, students, asylum seekers, and people like that.”

Do you know how they feel about what’s going on in Iran?

“You know, when you’re far from your country and something big is happening, it brings frustration. When you’re not there, you cannot take part in the turning point in the history of your country, it brings frustration and anger. Most of them are angry about the elections and the results. Most of them support Mousavi and most of them want change in the country for themselves and for their friends and families.”

Could Iranians who are outside the country vote? Do you have correspondence voting?

“Yes, we do, and we cast our ballots last Friday at the Iranian embassy in Prague. As far as I know, the whole Iranian community took part in the elections.”