The 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution was celebrated on Saturday 16 February at the Civic Theatre in Hurstville highlighting the great progress made in the field of education, health, women’s empowerment, defence, science and technology and self-sufficiency since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The invited guests and supporters at the event hosted by the World Ahlul Bait Assembly, Australia was addressed by academics, diplomats, interfaith and community leaders.
The program was started off by the MC Mr Talal Toby with Acknowledgment of the Country followed by recitation of Quran by Mr Mustafa Ashrafi and national anthems of Australia and Iran.
Mr Hussein Dirani during his welcome address on behalf of the hosts congratulated those present for the success of the Islamic Revolution in spite of sustained world opposition and summarised the great achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran and progress made in all fields leading to self-sufficiency against opposition by big powers and Middle Eastern regimes.
Ms Fousiya Bismi with the help of overhead presentation provided data showing a multifold increase in scientific progress, higher education and research in Iran after the establishment of the Islamic Republic owing to the emphasis of acquiring knowledge in Islam.
Father Dave Smith, a parish priest who has visited Iran on several occasions having discussions with intellectuals and religious scholars praised warmth and open-mindedness of the Iranian people and wished them all the success in the future.
A short clip was shown of the beginning of the revolution back as far as 1964 with the protest movement against the suppression of Iranians and finally its climax with the triumphant arrival of Imam Khomeini to Tehran in February 1979.
Dr Tim Anderson, an academic pointed out a couple of areas of unprecedented progress by the Islamic Republic.
“The average level of school education before the Islamic revolution in Iran was class 2 while within 40 years it has now reached to an average of class 10 in both males and females,” Dr Anderson said.
In the area of health, Dr Anderson further added, “The life expectancy in Iran before the revolution was 53 years and within the four decades it has now reached almost 70 years as a result of tremendous healthcare programs, for all Iranians living in urban or rural areas.”
The guests were also addressed by Sheikh Ahmed Aljundi, Sheikh Nami Farhat, Sheikh Dr Rahim Latifi, Mr Maher Dabagh and Mr Sanad Abu Munir from the Palestinian Workers Union.
The final and keynote speaker at the event was the newly arrived Iranian Ambassador to Australia, Dr Fereidoun Haghbin who praised the organisers for hosting the event and thanked the various speakers before him for enumerating the various achievements of the Islamic Republic and commenting on each speech.
Commenting on Ms Bismi’s address, Dr Haghbin said, “she mentioned of the culmination of the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1979 as an earthquake, why, because before the revolution the international system divided into the Soviet and the American blocks was based on economic progress and the Islamic revolution brought an earthquake in thought that change can be based on spiritualism and not just on materialism.”
He further pointed out that in spite of the emphasis on spirituality and morals, Iran has made tremendous progress in science and technology.
“Iran is among the top 20 countries in science and technology, number 4 in nanotechnology and number 8 in nuclear technology, no 14 in cloning etc,” Dr Haghbin further added.
He concluded by saying” However the main achievement is bringing freedom, justice and rule of law in domestic and international affairs, rather than might is right.”
Due to the Adhan being called for Maghreb prayer, with all due respect, highly appreciated by the audience, Dr Haghbin abruptly stopped his speech and later mingled with guests in a most humble and friendly manner.
The event ended with refreshments provided by the hosts for all.