Gay rights group suggests sending flowers to Ahmadinejad

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The Iranian Queer Organisation IRQO is asking people to send two flowers to the President of Iran as a protest against the treatment of gay and lesbian people under his regime.

The idea grew out of the campaign to stop Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakhsh being deported from the UK.

Her supporters sent thousands of bunches of flowers to her while she was in detention, which caused disruption and helped highlight her case.

Ms Emambakhsh is now out of detention and awaiting her application for ayslum to be heard by The Court of Appeal.

IRQO said in a statement:

“In Iran the courts continue to sentence women, political activists, young people, free thinkers and homosexuals to death.

“There is a need to approach the Iranian President, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and the judges and tell them, in a peaceful but firm way, that life is sacred in every part of the world and according to all religions – that always invite the faithful to be compassionate.

“It is for this reason that we are asking you to send a white flower (symbol of life) and a red flower (symbol of blood) to Ahmadinejad, asking him not to spill the blood of other innocent victims, and to abandon the path of terror and violence.”

In September President Ahmadinejad said in reply to a question posed about homosexuality during his speech at New York’s Columbia University:

“In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country… In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don’t know who has told you that we have it.”

Despite his claim, Iranian human rights campaigners estimate that 4,000 gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs came to power in 1979.

According to the gay rights group OutRage! “the Islamic Republic of Iran is qualitatively more homophobic than any other state on earth.

“Its government-promoted and religiously sanctioned torture and execution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people marks out Iran as a state acting in defiance of all agreed international human rights conventions.”

The Islamic Sharia law followed in Iran makes gay sex illegal, with penalty of death for offenders as young as 14 years old.

Iran caused international outrage in 2005 when two Iranian teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari, 15 and Ayaz Marhoni, 17, from Khuzestan province, were witnessed engaging in homosexual activities in a semi-public area and were hanged for perverting Islamic law.