Our NGO, Iran & Its Future.org, came into fruition when Ms. Omid was on a live radio interview in Los Angeles that was broadcast in Iran. An Iranian caller came on air and asked, “Ms. Omid, you wrote a book for yourself, good for you but what have you done for your country?”
This brought to mind John F. Kennedy’s immortal words, “Ask not what your country has done for you but what you have done for your country.”
The next morning Ms. Omid called a few contacts and immediately started on a path of registering a non-profit organization that would help Iranian people, and become a bridge for communication between the Iranian people and the world.
Normally, NGO registration in the United States takes between 40 and 160 days, depending on how complex the NGO missions are. Iran & Its Future.org 501c3 took 17 months for IRS to approve. The approval came after it was rejected twice because the IRS was under the impression our NGO worked with the Iranian regime or elements of it.
By working together, the IRS and Ghazal Omid ironed out the misunderstandings, and Ms. Omid was finally permitted to help Iranian people inside Iran. Iran & Its Future.org is one of very few NGOs in the United States to obtain legal rights to help women and children in need and those who are truly desperate for help inside Iran, such as political prisoners.
However, sanctions meant we were not allowed any USAID to help, even though the government members we approached were very sorry for sanctioning Iranian children along side with the Iranian regime. We discovered quite early on that it is not a case of what you know; it is a case of who you know in Washington DC.
Between 2007 and 2010, true to our core mission, we clothed freedom fighters that were kept in the cold prisons, and fed and paid the rent for their families. We helped those who needed medical and dental care inside prisons in Iran. We lobbied for the release of prisoners, and through meetings and much communication with Amnesty and UN members we were successful.
When it came to atrocities of the religious government elsewhere in Saudi, our NGO protested and Ghazal Omid worked tirelessly to help the young Saudi woman who, after being gang-raped by 14 men, was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail. She soon was pardoned by the late king, but like most rape victims she soon disappeared from the public eye.
While our NGO carries an Iranian title, our mission of human rights and children’s rights includes all of those needing our help regardless of nationality.
From 2009 to 2010 we established a program with the help of a few caring dentists who each give one day a month to provide oral care to women and children who have no dental insurance.
Even after all the healthcare debates in US, for many people dental care is unobtainable. Dental care has a pivotal preventing role in the public health sector; it can decrease the need for emergency visits, which adds to the taxpayers’ load.
We partnered with a well-known Bahia charity called Tahirih Justice Center, and we tested our project with greater success than we anticipated.
Between the years of 2006 and 2007 Ghazal Omid personally represented a long list of political prisoners, advocating on their behalf.
During 2006 and 2008, Ghazal Omid was a regular guest on Fox News, speaking about the causes of Iran and other issues concerning the Middle East. On one occasion, Neil Cavuto of Fox News sent her an email demanding she tell the Fox News audience that “Iran has a nuclear bomb and is going to attack the USA.” Ghazal immediately replied, “Not even your president can say that!”
Since then Fox News has hired a US-based representative of Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) as a senior producer and national security adviser. MEK group has killed many of their own who try to abandon the cult of MEK, as well as thousands of Persian Kurds. To date, MEK has sent Ghazal Omid four death threats, one in 2006, and three in 2010. In one they state they will burn her alive in front of the UN.
During the years of 2006 and 2009 we witnessed people collecting donations for “political prisoners,” and using these “freedom fighters” to attract viewers and increase the ratings of their TV and radio shows, at the expense of human lives back in Iran. We even saw those with influential friends in Washington DC receiving substantial grants through NGO collaborations. We will have nothing to do with such scams, which have “experts” showing off albums full of photos with politicians on social media.
We have seen organizations such as PEN USA, PEN International, and Amnesty use unworthy, common criminals to be the face of Iranian freedom fighters, organizations that, when informed that these petty thieves were not freedom fighters, refused to issue a retraction because the information was already in the public domain and admitting they were wrong would tarnish their reputation and put a halt on the incoming donations.
And that is why in 2010 we moved ourselves away from working on political issues and moved toward serving our global society and its people without getting death threats and being used for ratings.