By: Ramin Rabieian
Last week, I attended a press conference at Beverly Hills City Hall, organized by Assemblymembers Mike Feuer and Bob Blumenfield. They announced that they will introduce legislation prohibiting contracts between the State of California and companies with significant business in Iran’s energy sector. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is extremely alarming to me and to most in my community, if not all. To feel and realize the danger of a nuclear Iran, one should view Iran’s nuclear ambitions not as a desire to build nuclear plants but as a possible plot to reconstruct Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Even though the importance and urgency of the situation outweighs anything else, a sense of pride and muted joy overtook me. I was proud because among the three people who addressed the crowd about the legislation was my colleague, Sam Yebri, President of 30 Years After. Seeing Sam speak signaled a point that our activist efforts to bring attention to Iran’s dangerous ambitions during the past months were beginning to bear fruit. A feeling of muted joy was unavoidable because, after all, despite the promise of this legislation to help keep the world safe, we are forced to tackle an evil originating from the land where I was born, where my ancestors lived for centuries, and from where our community derives so much of our culture and heritage.
The buzz surrounding the press conference surpassed the dozens in attendance as people asked me how it went or forwarded emails about it. The most important thing is that my generation, the generation of 30 Years After, feels the urgency of the situation and is showing an interest and willingness to fight this fight. After all, our confidence in the dangers of the situation do not derive solely from news reports, but also from the firsthand knowledge of our parents’ interactions with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which ultimately led to their exodus to America and abandonment of two thousand years of Jewish life in Iran.
The Middle East is very volatile— wars in Israel, the sporadic yet very real flirtation with revolution in Iran and bombings in Iraq. It is the uncertainty in this region that can make things go from bad to worse in an instant and endanger thousands of lives. But in the case of a nuclear Iran, it is no longer thousands but possibly millions of lives. This is why both our Jewish values and basic human decency mandate that we challenge Iran’s nuclear ambitions with the same boldness and resolve that previous generations fought for civil rights in America.
In the coming months, 30 Years After will strive to lead and channel the community’s aspirations for involvement, by hosting events such as the one featuring former CIA Director James Woolsey at the Museum of Tolerance with United Against Nuclear Iran, by engaging community organizations and leaders regarding Iran, and heightening community awareness and activism at a diverse group of synagogues. The future success of our efforts is in the hands of our community, whose support we desperately need.
RAMIN RABIEIAN IS A RECENT GRADUATE FROM CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE WITH A DEGREE IN FINANCE. HE CURRENTLY MANAGES REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES AND INTENDS TO COMMENCE LAW SCHOOL NEXT FALL.