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Referendum -- or else
People of Iran might seek foreign help for freedom

April 30, 2003
The Iranian

Statement from Heshmat Tabarzadi, a secular, pro-democracy activist in Iran who has been imprisoned several times in recent years. This English translation was distributed today on the Iran Peace mailing list. Edited for grammar and clarity.

In the name of the God of Existence and Wisdom

Great Nation of Iran,

I would like to wish you a happy and prosperous year on behalf of students, imprisoned journalists and activists and all those who are struggling for freedom. I would like to extend my appreciation for your political victories last year over the inhuman and cruel Islamic regime.

Last year on May 1 the workers, and on May 2 the teachers and students, as informed members of society, revealed the unpopularity and inhumanity of the regime.

The expansion and popularity of demonstrations on July 9, the anniversary of the vicious attack on Tehran University in 1999, forced the regime to mobilize all its police and even military forces to crush a peaceful demonsration.

In the early hours of that day, I was arrested and beaten. I spent the next 10 months in solitary confinement. Just like July 9th of 1999, 2000 and 2001. I hope July 9th of 2003 will be the day of freedom, the breaking of the chains of injustice, and the end of corruption and poverty for the nation.

On November 1 of last year, on a memorial day for two leaders of freedom, our beloved Dariush and Parvaneh Foroohar, who were brutally murdered by the regime, the Islamic Republic's thugs attacked people who were peacefully singing the freedom anthem. Shame on those who once talked about justice, culture, and freedom of speech but now that they are in power, their logic is stoning people to death, cutting limbs, torture and terror.

The death sentence handed down on a scholar [Hashem Aghajari] and the reaction of the students aginst it, once again showed that the third force representing secular elements, the youth and the student movement, is still leading the movement for freedom in our nation.

Last Decemebr 7th -- the anniversary of the killing of three students by the Shah's regime -- was the height of the student movement against the ignorance of the Talibanists ruling Iran. Those who had pride before the 1979 revolution and were followers of students, now that they are in power, are so terrified of this movement that they are uttering dirty insults against our noble children of Iran.

Last February 28, the boycott of the council elections was a great victory for the third force in Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan and other major cities, and a great defeat for both wings of the regime.

We hope the world and the European Community has heard the message of the Iranian people for a referendum under UN observation in the absence of a coalition council that could lead the nation for democracy on behalf of imprisoned leaders.

The observance of Chaar Shanbeh Soori before the Persian New Year last month, was another bright day for Iran. In a great celebration, people showed their harted for this regime, despite its religious propaganda against this ancient tradition.

The people, with their political understanding, have moved ahead of the opposition that is based abroad -- the opposition that has many financial, political and media recourses but is yet unable to form a coalition council to support the freedom movement in Iran. Activists and freedom-lovers fighting this fascist and armed-to-the-teeth regime have no political, financial, legal or media support.

The fact is Iranian Talibanists won't listen to any advice or words of wisdom regarding a peaceful transfer of power. They would like to take the same path as the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Ba'th Party in Iraq. So what they are saying is that if they go down, they would take the country with them down the path of destruction.

The reformists in power have two major problems. First, they lack of strategy and second they are too weak in getting their message across the land and delivering their non-democratic agenda. In last 5 years they have disappointed the nation and now there is a split among them. In order to stay in power, some of them compete or compromise with the conservatives.

Also some reformists have fallen in the direction of the third force and realized that the only way out of this deadend is a referendum. Therefore the Iran Democratic Front (IDF) proposes a coalition council to support the nation's struggle for freedom, details of which will be presented later.

Also the IDF encourages all figures, parties, groups and media outlets that want to submit this regime to a referendum, to invite people to take the first major step with peaceful demonstrations nationwide on July 9 at 7 p.m.

The coalition council can mobilize all its financial, political, media and other resources and act as the only legitimate representative of the nation in the international community. It can play a major role and be a model for utilizing the peaceful transfer of power, holding a referendum and drawing a new constitution for a secular and democratic Iran.

We invite non-governmental reformists, constitutional monarchists, religious-nationalists, socialists and all freedom lovers who understand the necessity of unity, to join us in the only alternative for liberty without bloodshed. Otherwise the oppressed people of Iran might seek other ways to escape cruelty, corruption, injustice and poverty and ask foreigners for freedom -- like in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We hope to achieve freedom and justice for the nation through a peaceful and democratic revolution. This is the goal and legitimate demand of all activists, political prisoners and students in Iran.

Heshmat Tabarzadi
April 16, 2003

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