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Activist-Journalist Reflects on Meeting the Iranian Ambassador at a New York Holiday Party

Dissident journalist Masih Alinejad reflects on attending the same holiday party as the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations. Photo from her Instagram account.

Dissident journalist Masih Alinejad reflects on attending the same holiday party as the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations. Photo from Alinejad's Instagram account.

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist now based in New York, is the creator behind the Facebook page that has come to be described as a new social movement for women's rights in Iran. The page is called “My Stealthy Freedom” and features Iranian women shedding their headscarves in public in Iran in protest against the country's mandatory hijab laws. The public clothing framework enforcing hijab under Islamic codes have been part of Iran's laws since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

This past Christmas day, she left a poignant post on her Instagram account describing her encounter with Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the U.N., Gholamali Khoshroo, who she bumped into at a holiday party at the residence of the Finnish Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Kai Sauer.

When she approached the Iranian ambassador, he refused to shake hands or to look her in the eyes. To this, Alinejad posted a reflection on being invited as an exiled dissident Iranian journalist to the same party as the authorities of the Islamic Republic.

عكس ها در اينستاگرام سفير فنلاند در سازمان ملل همسرش برای یک مهمانی پایان سال دعوتم کردند به خانه شان…من و همسرم رفتیم….تا وارد شدیم آقاي خوشرو سفیر ایران و همسرش را دیدیم…همس سفير در حجاب و البته لباسی آراسته. میان سفرای کشورهای مختلف من همین که یک ایرانی دیدم دلم پر کشید. رفتم سراغ شان دست دراز کردم همسر سفیر ( نامش را نمی دانم) با مهربانی و لبخند دست داد* دستم را به سمت آقای خوشرو دراز کردم و گفتم شما لابد دست نمی دهید گفت نه نمی دهم…لبخند زدم و گفتم مهم نیست، من هر جا یک ایرانی می بینم دلم پر می کشد خواستم سلام کنم. آقای سفیر نگاهش را فقط به زمین دوخت و اصلا نه یک کلمه حرف می زد و نه لبخند اما همسرش پر از لبخند بود و مهربانی. با خودم گفتم ببین تفاوت های سیاسی چه بلایی سرمان آورده….آنها مهمانی را خیلی زود ترک کردند و من باز هم با پررویی گفتم سلام برسونید…جوابی نشنیدم. شاید آقای سفیر هم می دانست که سلامم به درد هیچ کسی نمی خورد. به کی سلام برساند به روحانی و ظریف یا به دلواپسانی که می خواهند سر به تن هیچ کدام مان نباشد؟ یا به پدر و مادرم که فکر می کنند دنیای کفر دنیای استکبار بد است و اصلا نمی دانند من همان جایی زندگی می کنم و به همان مهمانی هایی می روم که مسولان خود جمهوری اسلامی هم دعوت می شوند ولی برای آنها خوب است و برای ما بد…..آنها اگر بروند در این مهمانی ها عین وطن دوستی است و ما اگر برويم لابد وطن فروشی؟…. سفیر فنلاند و همسرش پرسیدند سفیر ایران را ديدي؟ گفتم بله دیدم ولی آنها نمی خواهند ما را ببینند گفت لابد نگران اکستریمیست ها یعنی همان دلواپسان هستند ….. سفیر فنلاند و همسرش در مورد کمپین آزادی های یواشکی هم می دانستند و تبريك گفتند و می دانستند که شصت درصد دانشگاه های ایرانرا زنان تشکیل می دهند….به آنها گفتم که ایران یک روزی چنان می درخشد که سفیر ایران بدون ترس و با افتخار با زنان و خبرنگاران ایرانی حتي فارغ از اختلافات سياسي دست می دهد و از اینکه در یک قاب عکس با آنها بنشیند نمی هراسد و نگران نمی شود…..

A photo posted by Masih Alinejad (@masih.alinejad) on

In the post, Alinejad posed with the host of the holiday party, the Finnish ambassador, and reflected in the caption with the following:

عكس ها در اينستاگرام سفير فنلاند در سازمان ملل همسرش برای یک مهمانی پایان سال دعوتم کردند به خانه شان…من و همسرم رفتیم….تا وارد شدیم آقاي خوشرو سفیر ایران و همسرش را دیدیم…همس سفير در حجاب و البته لباسی آراسته. میان سفرای کشورهای مختلف من همین که یک ایرانی دیدم دلم پر کشید. رفتم سراغ شان دست دراز کردم همسر سفیر ( نامش را نمی دانم) با مهربانی و لبخند دست داد* دستم را به سمت آقای خوشرو دراز کردم و گفتم شما لابد دست نمی دهید گفت نه نمی دهم…لبخند زدم و گفتم مهم نیست، من هر جا یک ایرانی می بینم دلم پر می کشد خواستم سلام کنم. آقای سفیر نگاهش را فقط به زمین دوخت و اصلا نه یک کلمه حرف می زد و نه لبخند اما همسرش پر از لبخند بود و مهربانی. با خودم گفتم ببین تفاوت های سیاسی چه بلایی سرمان آورده….آنها مهمانی را خیلی زود ترک کردند و من باز هم با پررویی گفتم سلام برسونید…جوابی نشنیدم. شاید آقای سفیر هم می دانست که سلامم به درد هیچ کسی نمی خورد. به کی سلام برساند به روحانی و ظریف یا به دلواپسانی که می خواهند سر به تن هیچ کدام مان نباشد؟ یا به پدر و مادرم که فکر می کنند دنیای کفر دنیای استکبار بد است و اصلا نمی دانند من همان جایی زندگی می کنم و به همان مهمانی هایی می روم که مسولان خود جمهوری اسلامی هم دعوت می شوند ولی برای آنها خوب است و برای ما بد…..آنها اگر بروند در این مهمانی ها عین وطن دوستی است و ما اگر برويم لابد وطن فروشی؟…. سفیر فنلاند و همسرش پرسیدند سفیر ایران را ديدي؟ گفتم بله دیدم ولی آنها نمی خواهند ما را ببینند گفت لابد نگران اکستریمیست ها یعنی همان دلواپسان هستند ….. سفیر فنلاند و همسرش در مورد کمپین آزادی های یواشکی هم می دانستند و تبريك گفتند و می دانستند که شصت درصد دانشگاه های ایرانرا زنان تشکیل می دهند….به آنها گفتم که ایران یک روزی چنان می درخشد که سفیر ایران بدون ترس و با افتخار با زنان و خبرنگاران ایرانی حتي فارغ از اختلافات سياسي دست می دهد و از اینکه در یک قاب عکس با آنها بنشیند نمی هراسد و نگران نمی شود…..

The Finnish ambassador to the United Nations and his partner invited me to a end-of-the-year party at their home. My husband and I attended and as soon as we entered I spotted Khoshroo, the Iranian ambassador, and his spouse. His wife was wearing a hijab and a very fashionable dress. When I saw my fellow countrymen in the midst of all these diplomats from various countries, I was thrilled. I approached them and extended my hand, his wife (whose name I don't know) shook my hand with warmth and a smile. I then extended my hand towards Mr. Khoshroo and said, ‘You probably will not shake my hand’. He replied, ‘No, I won't’. I smiled and said it was not important, wherever I see an Iranian I am always thrilled so I just wanted to say hello. Mr. Ambassador only looked to the floor without making eye contact and did not even speak a word and never smiled, but his wife was full of smiles and warmth. I said to myself, look at what troubles these political differences have brought upon us. They left the party very early and again with my persistence to interact, I told them, ‘Send my regards!’ I didn't hear a response. Maybe Mr. Ambassador knew that my regards would be of no use to anyone. To who would he send my regards? Rouhani and Zarif or the hardliners who wish people like me never existed? Or to my mother and father who think the world of infidels is one of arrogance and bad faith. They do not know that I am living in that infidel world while attending the same parties that the Islamic Republic's own authorities are being invited to. Apparently it is OK for them, but for me it is a sin. If they go to these parties, they are being nationalists, but if we go we are betraying our nation? The Finnish ambassador and his wife asked if I had seen the Iranian ambassador. I told them I saw them, but they did not want to see me. They told me they are likely concerned about the extremists, or those hardliners back home. The Finnish ambassador and his wife also knew about the “My Stealthy Freedom Campaign” and they congratulated me and knew that 60% of the university students in Iran were female. To them I said Iran will one day shine in a way that the Iranian ambassador will greet Iranian women and journalists without fear and with pride, even where differences in politics exists, he will shake hands and not mind to be in the same photo as us without worry or fear.

2 comments

  • Behrouz_Bahmani

    Kudos to Masih (whose name means Christ by the way) for having the courage to attend the event. I don’t think I could have gone if I was her, to be honest.

    The reaction by the “ambassador” is classic, and shows the truest face of arrogant fascism and oppressive tyranny. Consider the irony, an ambassador, the supposed best chosen selected representative of the people of Iran, refuses to shake the hands of a fellow countrywoman abroad.

    The proper thing to do would have been to shake Masih’s hand, and even pose for a picture with her to show that we can disagree agreeably, that we are civilized people in the end.

    But no, the Iranian ambassador true to the tone and proof of the Iranian government is a hard case, and asinine example of humanity who thinks they are right in spite of knowing they are wrong. I only hope the good ambassador is eating himself up over the encounter.

    Most classic of all yet, is the pure human reaction of the only person in the bunch who was actually oppressed at the party, they ambassador’s wife, who had the courage to clearly embrace Masih.

    This is the clearest example of the hypocrisy of the Iranian government and the great lie being sold to the West now via the Iran Deal. These are the real people being dealt with, these are the snakes in the grass, slithering about European parties now, hoping to ensnare each and every victim into a big bite, yet to come. Worse, it’s all for the pettiest of crimes, personal financial gain.

    Just watch this space, more to come as Iran’s true motives are slowly but surely exposed. meanwhile, none of this is the true character and will of the Iranian people who are held hostage in real fear, forced to witness their reputations being tarnished, unable to utter a single word of objection. meanwhile everyone outside of Iran is told that Iranians are devoutly and culturally and socially Shia, and that they specifically endorse all of this religious rule nonsense, over democracy and freedom.

  • Taubry

    Fellow Iranians at fancy parties in New York and they don’t shake hands. Exactly what is this author aiming to underscore in this article? The need for urgent talks on trivial occurrences?

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