WORLD

Inside Iran, a small flame of remembrance

MICHAEL PETROU October 1 2007
WORLD

Inside Iran, a small flame of remembrance

MICHAEL PETROU October 1 2007

Inside Iran, a small flame of remembrance

MICHAEL PETROU

The sixth anniversary of the Sept, 11 terrorist attacks passed with official rhetoric between the United States and Iran hotter than it has been since U.S. President George W. Bush designated

Iran as a charter member of the Axis of Evil. The United States accuses Iran of interfering in both Afghanistan and Iraq, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promises that Iran will fill the void in Iraq left by America’s collapsing power. Many analysts believe war between the two nations is becoming inevitable.

And yet in an unlikely corner of Iran, the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks was marked by a small candlelit memorial service. Inmates at the Gohardasht Prison in the suburbs of Tehran held the ceremony “in the face of great pressure by prison officials,” according to prisoner Alireza Karimi Kheyrabadi, who sent a message to Maclean’s through several intermediaries. “I was successful in organizing a small memorial ceremony in the political prisoner ward 5 of the Gohardasht Prison... and to light candles in remembrance of those who lost their lives in Sept. 11 attacks,” Kheyrabadi writes. “In conclusion, I would like to urge the United States Government to continue its fight against international terrorism.”

The Gohardasht Prison holds several members of the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, Iran’s largest opposition group, which has been officially listed as a terrorist organization in Canada since 2005(According to Ottawa, it was until recently based in Iraq, had an alliance with Saddam Hussein, and is suspected of past collusion with the Taliban in Afghanistan.) Inmates at Gohardasht also include secular democrats, such as Behrouz Javid Tehrani, who has been in and out of prison since 1999 for protesting against Iran’s ruling theocracy. M