Princeton University academic Hossein Mousavian

Princeton’s Mousavian Mocks Protesters Calling For His Resignation

Wednesday, 05/01/2024

Over 70 Iranians staged a protest in Princeton University on Friday, demanding that the Ivy League university fire Iranian government insider, Seyed Hossein Mousavian.

Protesters included a survivor of the attack on Iranian-Kurdish dissidents in Berlin in 1992 when Mousavian was the Islamic Republic’s ambassador to Germany. Four Iranians were assassinated at the Mykonos restaurant by two masked gunmen.

The protest was the latest in an Iranian-American campaign launched in March to secure the dismissal of Mousavian at Princeton University for his alleged role in the assassinations of over 20 Iranian dissidents in Europe during the 1990’s.

The first-ever demonstration on the campus of Princeton against Mousavian saw banners demanding “Fire Mousavian” and “Shame on Princeton” with a picture of Mousavian on display at the main entrance to the campus.

In November, referring to the Mykonos case, Mousavian told Iran International: ”The 398-page verdict is published and everyone can have access to it. The Berlin court verdict does not contain any direct or indirect allegations against me.”

Mousavian took to X on Friday to criticize the protesters. He wrote that “After two months of extensive advertising by Fox News, Iran International, Voice of America, and others to participate in the ‘Great Call to fire Mousavian from Princeton University,’ only 30-40 people participated in today’s rally!!!” He called the protest a “great scandal.”

His mocking of the attendance angered organizers who branded the comments "dismissive" and "profoundly disrespectful to those suffering under the brutality of the Islamic Regime.”

Lawdan Barzargan, the lead organizer of the demonstration against Mousavian, told Iran International that those attending were "individuals who have endured the loss of loved ones, imprisonment, or direct harm, [who] came together in a call for justice, not scandal."

Barzargan, who oversees the Alliance Against Islamic Regime of Iran Apologists (AAIRIA), added: "Given Mousavian's direct involvement in activities associated with terrorism, Princeton should reconsider the appropriateness of maintaining a person with such a dark past on its campus. We stand firmly with the victims and demand accountability, condemning Mousavian's mocking remarks that dare to belittle their plight."

Parviz Dastmalchi, a survivor of the 1992 Berlin attack, also spoke at the rally in Princeton. “Here, I met people whose parents were both executed by the IRI. I met people whose children, brothers, and sisters were killed by the IRI. These atrocities are unforgivable and unforgettable,” he said, saying Mousavian's hands "are stained with the blood of thousands of Iranians.”

According to Dastmalchi, who flew from Germany to the US to attend a press conference in Washington about Iranian regime-sponsored terrorism and the rally in Princeton, “Mousavian, as the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was the official representative of this criminal government and is still a supporter of this brutal regime. “

He added “According to documents and the testimony of one witness at the Berlin court, he was actively involved in the killing of dissidents in Western Europe. Our question is: Can this university employ such a person to educate young people? Should America allow such a person to stay in the country? We, the justice seekers, demand Mousavian's expulsion from the university and his removal from the United States of America.”

According to a recently translated 1997 article from the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Abolghasem Mesbahi, a former Iranian intelligence official, told a Berlin court during the Mykonos trial: “Mousavian participated in most of the [Iranian regime's] crimes that took place in Europe.”

Arash Saleh, the representative of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in America, said at the protest “The presence of an individual associated with terrorism [at Princeton University] not only undermines the university's core values but also poses a threat to the safety and well-being of its community members," calling to terminate his employment.

"Allowing his continued presence despite strong calls from Iranian society and his involvement in terrorism would set a negative precedent for the institute's future," he claimed.

Omid Iravanipour, a human rights advisor for United Against a Nuclear Iran, also spoke at the rally, slamming the ongoing employment by Princeton of a man so closely linked with a regime that the US says is the world's number one state sponsor of terror.

He said “It is appalling that a person that loudly and proudly has praised Qasem Soleimani, one of IRGC’s major commanders who was not only a part of oppression and murder machine of IRGC against Iranian citizens but also responsible for countless murders, injuries and kidnappings of Americans and American allies.”

Iravanipour said that under Mousavian's watch as ambassador in Germany, Iranian Fereydoun Farrokhzad was murdered in his apartment in Germany following his involvement in producing an opposition radio program and reportedly, receiving death threats.

The LGBTQ activist called it "a murder that had hallmarks of the Iranian government’s operations all over it. Farrokhzad was not only a great Iranian Artist and activist, but as recent evidence has made it clear he was also a member of LGBT community.”

Masih Alinejad, the Iranian-American women’s rights activist who has faced multiple threats to her life from the regime since she has lived in exile, joined the campaign to fire Mousavian, writing on X “Outrageous! Hossein Mousavian’s ties to Iranian dissident assassinations cannot be ignored. Princeton’s decision to employ him is an insult to victims of terror. I call on all freedom advocates to join us in demanding justice and accountability.”

Afshin Afshin-Jam, a political analyst, human rights and environmental activist, fired back at Mousavian on X. “Mousavian's claim that the protest was a 'disgrace' is a fallacy. As we say in Persian, 'The night is long, and justice is awake,' or using another proverb, 'Don’t count the chicks until the end of autumn'," he wrote.

Mousavian declined to answer Iran International email and telephone press queries. Michael Hotchkiss, the university's assistant vice president for communications, refused to answer detailed Iran International questions via email or telephone about Mousavian’s alleged role in the assassinations of Iranian dissidents and his reported support for the US-designated terrorism organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah.

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