On the occasion of 13 Aban (November 4th, the anniversary of the hostage-taking of the American embassy in Iran), a group of current and former Iranian student activists have written a letter to American president Barack Obama. In the letter, the students stress the importance of sanctioning the Iranian authorities.
Dear Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America:
On this day last year, we, a group of Iranian student activists, wrote you a letter to draw your attention to the human rights violations in Iran and to remind you of your moral responsibilities toward the protection of the people. On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students, followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, attacked the US embassy in Iran and held the American diplomats and employees hostage. The embassy, which, according to international and moral laws, belonged to the United States of America, was occupied by the Iranian students.
The occupation of the US embassy was a big mistake that has damaged the interests of the Iranian nation. Today, 32 years later, the Iranian people are the hostages of a regime that has even imprisoned some of those same hostage-taking students.
On numerous occasions in recent years, the Iranian people have demonstrated to the world that they want to free themselves from the oppressive grip of the Iranian regime. Two years ago today, the Iranian people, while being beaten by batons and shot at with guns, cried out to you. They asked you which side you were on, the hostage-taking regime’s or the people’s. The Iranian people chanted, “Obama, Obama, you’re either with us or with them.” They cried out for your direct help. However, you have been considering talks with the hostage-taking regime, based on the advice of your advisers, which has worked to the benefit of the Islamic Republic and the disadvantage of the Iranian people. Your administration’s Iran policy gave the Iranian authorities much confidence to visibly suppress citizens during peaceful protests.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has responded to your friendly messages by taking three American hikers hostage, attempting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, deviating from its nuclear program and heading toward the path of creating nuclear weapons, and shipping weapons to terrorist groups in Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
Mr. President, today, our brothers and sisters in Syria, who have witnessed more than 3,000 deaths and thousands more injured and imprisoned, are battling the blood-thirsty Assad clique. And, the malicious rulers in Iran continue to support Syria’s dictator. The Iranian rulers are very aware that the fate of dictators are tied and their time will arrive as well.
Our Syrian brothers and sisters have asked you to support them. By creating a no-fly-zone, you can prevent the deaths of the Syrian people at the hands of the Damascus regime. Up until now, the United States of America’s failure to protect the lives of the Syrian people has been unacceptable.
We advise you to end the appeasement with Damascus and stand in solidarity with the Syrian people. On this path, do not pay attention to the objections of the two major countries, China and Russia, who support dictators. Do not repeat the same mistakes you have made with the Iranian people’s pro-democracy and freedom movement.
Mr. Barack Obama, you are the leader of the most powerful country in the world and a Nobel Peace Laureate. Your moral responsibilities toward world peace and the safeguarding of humans has increased.
In the letter to you last year, we asked you to follow up on the human rights violations in Iran, placing emphasize on Iranian students. In addition to the student activists, the three American hikers can also serve as witnesses to the abuses Iranian civil rights activists are forced to endure in the prisons.
Most recently, the medieval Iranian regime has begun to flog student activists prior to releasing them from prison.
The UN Secretary-General’s (Ban Ki-moon) annual report on the human rights situation in Iran and the newly-appointed Special Rapporteur’s (Ahmed Shaheed) interim report only cover a small portion of the widespread human rights violations occurring in the prisons and throughout Iran. The country has become one big prison for the Iranian people.
The international community’s negligence and passive political policies have created a nuclear North Korea. This mistake should not be repeated. The Iranian regime must be prevented from achieving nuclear and non-standard weapons.
We would like to explicitly state that we are not seeking your military assistance against the Islamic Republic. Considering the consequences of military action on the current situation in Iran, we strongly warn against it.
In order to help the Iranian people, please focus on:
* Placing sanctions against human rights violations, high-ranking Iranian regime members, and IRGC commanders and members of their immediate families.
* Sanctioning companies the IRGC holds shares in. The managers of these companies should also be sanctioned.
* Freezing the Iranian authorities’ bank accounts, blocking their property(ies) and assets, and banning their trips abroad.
* Making it easier for the Iranian people to access the Internet and satellite.
* Assisting in the circulation of free information in Iran.
* Speaking out against censorship, Internet filtering, blocking of satellite signals, and the surveillance of Iranian dissidents- and severely punish companies and governments who provide equipment to make it possible.
* Adhering to the already-existing sanctions- and placing pressure on the governments, institutions, and companies who skirt and violate these sanctions.
* Urging allies to also end their cooperation with the Iranian regime and put the sanctions into effect.
* Carefully ensuring that media funded by the American tax-payers’ money does not provide platforms for supporters and sympathizers of the Islamic Republic or anti-western and anti-American thoughts.
* Sanctioning the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
* Ending appeasement and passive government policies with dictators.
* Sanctioning the purchase of Iranian oil.
Instead of building welfare and infrastructure, Iran’s oil money, which makes up the majority of the country’s capital for natural resources, is used to: empower security structures and military institutions, spread terrorism, and increase the oppression on the Iranian people’s pro-democracy and freedom movement.
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s suppression and the international community’s disregard led the Iranian people, who had bravely headed to the streets, to return to their homes.
Mr. Barack Obama, help the Iranian people so they may once again cry out, “Yes we can!” There are many ways you can help on the path to democracy, if you are willing.
1) Amir Hossein Etemadi, Former student activist (University of Tehran), member of Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates.
2) Ali Tarokh, Student Activist (Shiraz Azad University), senior member of Mirhosein Mousavi student campaign in the Fars province.
3) Nima Rashedan, Researcher & political analyst, former student activist.
4) Arman Rezakhani, Winner of Kharazmi festival prize for mathematics, in 2007 and 2008, discovered two important theorems, both named after him.
5) Sahar RezaZadeh, Former student activist (University of Tehran)
6) Pedram Rafati, Member of association of students (Amirkabir University), banned from continuing his post-secondary education.
7) Amin Riahi, Member of General Council of Tahkim-e Vahdat.
8) Salman Sima, Student activist (Tehran Azad University), banned from continuing his post-secondary education.
9) Siavash Safavi, Former student activist (University of Mazandaran).
10) Ahmad Eshghyar, Former student activist (University of Tehran), member of Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates.
11) Liuna Eisagholian, Former student activist (University of Tehran), member of the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates.
12) Saeed Ghasseminejad, Former student activist (University of Tehran), spokesperson for the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates.
13) Navid Mohebi, Starred student, blogger.
14) Masoud Masjoudi, Former member of association of students (Faculty of engineering of the University of Tehran).
15) Alireza Mousavi, Former member of association of students (Allameh University), member of the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates.
16) Behzad Mehrani, Journalist and political analyst, member of the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates.
17) Youhana Najdi, PhD student in political science (USM University Malaysia), member of the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates.
18) Ali Nazari, Former member of association of students (University of Mazandaran).
19) Rahim Hemmati, Former head of student branch of the JAMA Party.
First published in persian2english.com.
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