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Death of child at hands of Islamic republic hits close to home for Kelowna’s Iranians

UBCO is hosting an event in support of the revolution in Iran on Dec. 5
In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, Iranians protests the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police in Tehran, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada is adding Iran’s national police force and an Iranian international university to its sanctions list. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Middle East Images)

The death of children at the hands of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps amidst protests for human rights has sparked action for Iranians living in Kelowna.

Ray Taheri, PhD and professor of engineering at UBCO, left his homeland years ago. He dreams of one day visiting Iran with his children, where he will be able to tell them that he helped the revolution, despite being oceans away.

His children are close in age to Kian Pirfalak, a nine-year-old boy who is said to have been shot, along with his father, by guards of the Islamic republic while attempting to drive past protesters and get home. The boy, who want to become an engineer, was killed instantly and his father later died in hospital.

“I could not even comprehend if my daughter had been taken away in such a drastic way… I cannot bear this grief,” said Taheri.

READ MORE: Clashes erupt near Iran’s capital as ongoing protests flare

News coming from Iran can be clouded by misinformation, explained Taheri, but some of his friends in Kelowna who are from the same region and have ties to the devastated family have confirmed the allegations, despite the official Iranian media’s attempt to change the narrative.

“He was not the only nine-year-old, and will not be the only child who will be killed.”

When Taheri heard news of the death, he was devastated but knew that he had to take action, and began organizing events in support of the revolution at UBCO.

READ MORE: Okanagan MP calls for action against Iranian tyranny

He said that one day when his daughter hears about the atrocities like Pirfalak’s death, committed by her homeland’s government, and she asks “Dad, did you do anything?”

Taheri said “I will be proud enough to say yes, I did something for that nine-year-old boy.”

He is currently organizing an event on Dec. 5, where the public is encouraged to attend to reflect on the revolution in Iran. The event will take place at UBCO in the Engineering, Management and Education building at 11:30a.m.

He said that in the 70 days since the start of the women-led revolution, 442 people have been killed, over 4,000 people have been injured, and over 14,000 people have been detained.

The event will include memorials for those killed by the Islamic regime, including Pirfalak, and a balloon release and demonstration at the E sign on campus.

READ MORE: Federal government formally bans top echelons of Iranian regime from entering Canada


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

I'm a reporter in the beginning stages of my career. I joined the team at Capital News in November 2021...
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