New Zealand's Iranian community unites to mark third anniversary of terrorist attack that killed 176 airline passengers

The Iranian community in New Zealand has rallied to mark the third anniversary of a terrorist attack that brought down a plane, killing 176 passengers.

Sunday's demonstration comes after news that two men were executed overnight in Iran for allegedly killing a member of the security forces during nationwide protests there.

They lined Auckland's waterfront, standing together in their calls to condemn the Iranian regime and to remember the 176 civilians who died on this day three years ago.

"We are far away from our homeland, so we want to be here and we want to support our brothers and sisters in Iran," one demonstrator in Auckland said.

A Ukrainian plane was shot down by Iran's Revolutionary Guard just three minutes after take-off from Tehran Airport on January 8, 2020.

"Nobody has been tried, nobody has been prosecuted. They need to be prosecuted in an international court," said protest organiser Samira Taghavi. "Nobody is going to be held accountable in Iran unless the world is going to react to it."

Sunday's remembrance was overshadowed by the latest executions in Iran. They were two men who allegedly killed a member of the militia in September during nationwide protests.

Amnesty International has called their trials a sham and based on forced confessions.

Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody, more than 300 people have died in protests. Kiwi Iranians continue to urge our Foreign Ministry to take stronger action.

The demonstration in Auckland.
The demonstration in Auckland. Photo credit: Newshub.

"This is the time, after the recent two executions, that they need to kick the diplomat out of the country. We don't need the ambassador here, he hasn't done anything," Taghavi said.

One demonstrator added: "Why would you want to want a relationship with a regime that kills its own people for wanting freedom?"

The community said it's still waiting for officials to add the Iranian regime to our terror watch list.

Demonstrators are also asking the Government to consider allowing 100 Iranian women to come and study at our universities for their masters and PhDs qualifications.

"They've done that for Afghanistan and they can provide the same opportunities to Iranian girls who are highly educated but at the moment don't have access to universities in Iran because of their beliefs in human rights," Taghavi said.

The human chain they formed on the waterfront is their link to their countrymen to show the world their fight is not over.