Relatives of at least one black American shot dead by police officers have said they will accept an invitation to the “Blacks of America” conference planned for later this year.
Kawanza Jamal Beaty, 23, was shot dead in Newport News, Virginia on July 4. His stepfather Clyde Dargan, and mother Melissa Dargan, this week launched a $10 million (£6.5 million) claim against police.
They rejected suggestions that they could face a backlash for visiting Iran.
Mr Dargan told The Telegraph: “I’m interested in coming to the conference. I want to bring awareness. It’s just to bring awareness to the world about what’s going on in America. This is an epidemic and cops are not getting prosecuted.
“We’re more worried about the police killing us than Isil bombing us. It’s terrible when you’ve got to worry about your own country.”
He added: “I’m not worried about going to Iran. A black man in America is just like a foreigner. They’re killing us. We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave but we’re not worried about terrorists, we’re worried about the police.”
Beaty was shot after police responded to reports of a man carrying a gun in the early hours of the morning.
According to three officers he ran away but then turned and pointed the gun, so one of them opened fire hitting him in the head.
The officer who fired the fatal shot had, in a previous incident in 2012, shot an unarmed man during a routine traffic stop and left him paralysed.
It was established that Beaty had been carrying a shotgun but it was not loaded. His family dispute that he pointed the gun at officers, saying he was shot from behind. They are suing for “wrongful death sustained by reason of malice or negligence”.
The three officers have been placed on leave while criminal and internal police investigations are carried out.
It was one of a string of recent controversial police shootings that have led to protests in cities across America.
An organiser of the conference in Iran told Shargh daily: “A large group of black Americans, including victims of police brutality and black activists are due to arrive in Iran for the conference.
“What we are doing is in parallel with diplomatic efforts of our government and in line with the orders of the supreme leader as part of our soft war against world powers.”
In April, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, accused American police of using “cruel might” against black citizens.
Speaking to Iranian police officers he said: “In the US black people are oppressed, disrespected and humiliated, and such behaviour has provided the ground for unrest.”