Truth and Reconciliation for Iran


by Shorts

We are a group of university educators and antiwar activists with diverse political views who are based in Europe and North America. During the past few years we have been active in defending Iran's national rights -- particularly those relating to the peaceful use of nuclear energy -- against the pervasive deception created by western and Israeli-influenced media and official statements. We have consistently taken a stand against the policies of the United States and its allies, including the improper submission of Iran's nuclear file to the United Nations security council, the imposition of sanction resolutions against Iran, covert destabilisation inside the country and repeated threats of military intervention and bombing of nuclear centres on the part of US and Israel.

At the same time, we have advocated the human rights of individuals and democratic rights for various groups and constituencies in Iran. We have emphasised that the guarantee of such rights is necessary not only for Iran's social and political advancement, but also for the vital unity of our people against foreign pressures.

In the current post-election crisis, we see it as our duty to share our views based on years of defending Iran's national rights, and to help develop realistic solutions for the benefit of all our compatriots of whatever political persuasion.

The background to the current situation is the longstanding belligerent policies of the US and its allies, encouraged by the neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby, which peaked during eight years of Republican rule in the White House. Despite President Khatami's conciliatory approach, exemplified by his promotion of "Dialogue Among Civilisations", and despite Iran's co-operation in the overthrow of the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan, the administration of George W Bush labelled the Islamic Republic a member of the "axis of evil". Following the illegal invasion of Iraq, Bush pushed for regime change in Iran. These provocative and confrontational policies played a key role in the defeat of Iranian reformists in the parliamentary elections of 2003 and the presidential election of 2005.

During the past four years, a whole series of policies have targeted Iran's right to produce nuclear fuel for peaceful energy, including illegitimate UN/US sanctions, repeated implicit and overt threats of military attack by the United States and Israel, overt and covert well-funded US destabilisation operations, and aid to terrorist forces seeking to overthrow the government of Iran. These policies have created fears of an externally-instigated "velvet revolution" in the leadership ranks of the Islamic Republic. These fears were used to justify restrictions of civil and political freedoms promoted by the reformist administration of Khatami and, as a result, civil society and non-governmental organisations suffered a setback.

According to critics, these social and political pressures, along with government mismanagement caused by the removal of competent technocrats, have negatively impacted the public interest and put enormous pressure on the middle class, the educated class, journalists and artists. These people must be allowed a more open and free environment in order to fulfil their instrumental roles in service of the country.

On the external front, the Obama administration, facing neoconservative pressure and keeping many of his predecessor's policies against Iran, has nevertheless declared its readiness for unconditional negotiations with Iran. He has for the first time referred to Iran as the "Islamic Republic" and indicated that he is not pursuing regime change in Iran. Furthermore, shortly before the Iranian elections, in a first for an American president, Obama admitted the role of his country in the 1953 coup that overthrew the democratically elected prime minister Muhammad Mossadegh. These changes in US politics have created room for active and constructive diplomacy for the purpose of solving conflicts and disagreements between Iran and the United States, and for creating a nuclear-free Middle East.

This year, there was in Iran a record level of participation in the elections, unprecedented television debates and, most important of all, widespread participation in election campaigns. Despite some restrictions, the elections took place in an overall constructive climate, perhaps making Iran a model democracy among Islamic nations of the region. A day before the elections, Senator John Kerry, a key US statesman, was so impressed that he dismissed as "ridiculous" Bush's policy of denying Iran peaceful nuclear energy, which in itself exposes the baseless nuclear accusations levelled against Iran and proves the illegitimacy of security council resolutions against Iran.

However, in the view of a considerable number of Iranians who are discontented and frustrated with the restrictions on civil and political freedoms, there were various irregularities in the elections, including the suspension of reformist newspapers and mobile telephone SMS service on election day. This caused mass public demonstrations in support of nullifying the election. The unrest has created a major rift between the supporters of Ahmadinejad, who deem Iran's national sovereignty to be of the highest priority, and the supporters of the two reform candidates Karroubi and Mousavi, who demand increased civil and political freedoms above all.

Each of these two major wings of the body politic includes millions of people and both play a vital role in Iran's progress. The rift between these two must heal in an environment of calm, without agitation and mudslinging, for the sake of Iran's future. This healing must be pursued through the path of constructive dialogue and reconciliation, so that the unity of our people for safeguarding national rights can be achieved.

Unfortunately, a large number of our protesting fellow countrymen have been attacked and injured and even more regrettably, a significant number of them have been killed. Also, a large group of reformist activists and leaders have been arrested and imprisoned after the elections.

Both Mousavi and Karroubi have stressed that all protests must remain within the law. Following the request of the reformist and Green leaders, almost all protesters rallied completely peacefully, and in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, condemned all types of violence, calling the Basijis and Revolutionary Guards their own brothers. Extremist elements who used the opportunity to create chaos and engaged in the destruction of public property were condemned by Mousavi.

The western media, by their one-sided coverage of the post-election developments, portrayed the street demonstrations protesting the election results as the start of a "velvet" revolution against the Islamic Republic. Regime-change advocates also tried to piggy-back on the protests outside Iran for their own purposes. The British government, which claims to follow a policy of non-interference in Iran's internal affairs, did its part by confiscating nearly £1bn of Iranian assets. To make matters worse, the neoconservatives demanded a re-evaluation of the Obama administration's policy of unconditional negotiations with Iran. The US state department also used this crisis to justify its continuation of Bush-era policies of financing anti-Iranian government organisations for the purposes of "spreading democracy, human rights and a government of law and order". For "security reasons" they refused to release the identities of the recipients of the funds. The Iranian government, for their part, deported two British diplomats, accusing them of interference in Iranian affairs and pointing to western governments as the root of the post-election unrest.

Whatever the role of the western media, governments, and regime change forces, it cannot detract from the legitimacy of the massively popular protests. In fact, Mousavi has emphasised his complete loyalty to the Islamic Republic and admonished his supporters abroad to stay away from the anti-Islamic Republic groups. To attribute the roots of the demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Iranians to external interference or to regime-change groups amounts to questioning the independence of the country which has been gained and consolidated by the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands.

In the opinion of millions of Iranians, the current crisis has been caused by restrictions on political freedoms, particularly freedom of the press, economic discontent, and deficiencies in transparency and accountability on the part of government institutions. Although these issues have been aggravated by the US political, military and economic encirclement and the CIA's destabilisation programmes, in the view of this segment of society the problems are ultimately rooted in the government's own policies. After their unprecedented participation in the elections, millions of Iranians have lost their confidence in the system. Awareness of this reality was expressed by the speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani, who indicated on live national television that some members of the Guardian Council openly supported a certain candidate, instead of being neutral during the investigation of the election complaints. He also added that the large segments of society who distrust the declared election results should not be regarded in the same manner as the rioters.

On the basis of the above assessment, and in the interest of resolving the present crisis, we direct all officials and fellow countrymen to the following proposals:

1) Arrests and assaults of reformist and Green movement activists and any use of deadly weapons against the protesters are against the national interest and must be stopped and condemned by the authorities. Of the government of the Islamic Republic, we demand, in accordance with the constitution and for the preservation of national unity, that it release the reformist leaders from detention and observe freedom of the press and other civil rights. Iranian state television and radio must provide time to the protesters to express their views. Permits for nonviolent assembly must be given to the protesters. The government must guarantee the safety of the demonstrators against any violence and those responsible for battering and murdering students and demonstrators must be identified and prosecuted.

2) The current division among the people that separates government supporters and dissenters, under conditions of economic, military and political encirclement, must be reconciled with calm and patient negotiations and reasoning, by condemning any kind of violence and by renouncing name-calling and inflammatory rhetoric. We call on the political forces of both sides to move toward building such a constructive climate and toward creation of an economic, political, and cultural agenda that can respond to all social needs.

3) Of the government of the Islamic Republic, we request that in view of the distrust on the part of a great segment of the country's population, it form an independent truth and national reconciliation commission with representation from all candidates, such that it can gain the trust of the people of Iran and find a reasonable solution for the conflict. The votes of a great portion of the Iranian society for both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi show that the best solution is negotiations for reconciliation and creation of a government of national unity from the ranks of Principalists and the Green movement and reformists. With a comprehensive programme based on Iran's national rights and on people's civil rights, such a government of national unity must address the current challenges facing the country and mobilise in an effective way the totality of human resources and expertise for national development.

4) Of western governments, we request that they cease any and all interference in Iranian affairs and end all their illegitimate economic, political and military pressures aimed at the internal destabilisation of Iran. They need to cease any support for the anti-Islamic Republic opposition and lift the economic and scientific sanctions. The Obama administration should emphasise unconditional negotiations and take steps toward creating a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. Only under these conditions, without any foreign threats, can the Iranian people reach their aspirations of freedom and establish their unity in a framework of independence and national sovereignty.

5) To the leaders of the reformists and the Green movement, we suggest that in order to prevent exploitation of the current crisis by western propaganda and opportunist groups, they unambiguously oppose all sanctions and condemn regime change operations and any foreign support for the anti-Islamic Republic opposition.


Dr Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS, University of London
Professor the Baroness Afshar, York University
Mojtaba Aghamohammadi, researcher, University of Arizona
Professor Mohammad Ala, Persian Gulf Task Force
Esfandiar Bakhtiar, Georgia Institute of Technology
Professor Abbas Edalat, Imperial College London
Javad Fakharzadeh, Iran Heritage
Dr Farideh Farhi, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Massy Homayouni, independent antiwar activist
Dr Mehri Honarbin-Holliday, Canterbury Christ Church University
Mojgan Janani, independent antiwar activist
Mohammad Kamaali, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
Fareed Marjaee, writer and democracy activist
Masoud Modarres, independent activist
Professor Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, Tarbiyat Modarres University
Daniel Pourkesali, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
Rostam Pourzal, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
Dr Mohammad Purqurian,
Manijeh Saba, independent human rights activist
Professor Mehdi Shariati, Kansas College
Professor Nader Sadeghi, George Washington University Hospital
Shirin Saeidi, University of Cambridge
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, independent antiwar activist
Reza Shirazi, Goftogoo TV
Safa Shoaee, Imperial College London
Saeed Soltanpour, Iranian TV Canada
Dr Alireza Rabi, Middle-East Citizens Assembly
Dr Elaheh Rostami, SOAS, University of London
Professor Rahmat Tavakol, Rutgers University
Professor Farzin Vahdat, Harvard University
Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation


more from Shorts
rosie is roxy is roshan

Well, Mammad,

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

like I tried to say on that thread and have since rearticulated there and here,

Barak Obama is the closest we have had or will have in the highest office in the world to a decent person. When he does good we must tell him so. When he does wrong (intentionally or not) we must pressure him. He is far from ideal but there could be (and are) a lot worse.

I am going to read your article now. I have been following them They are outstanding. I know you are very busy. Hopefully you will have the time soon to be more active here again. I told you before, your voice is needed.

As you know, I am against all governments with an official state religion in principle, but I would rather live in your vision of an Islamic Republic than in Bush's America, Netanyahu's Israel, Thatcher's England, Putin's Russia or many other places any day of the week. In fact, I don't even have to compare. The monarch of England is the head of the Anglican Church. Do I really give a sh-t? No, I don't give a shi-t.

Take care.

rosie is roxy is roshan


by rosie is roxy is roshan on

I discussed this further in the first of three short posts in a row I just added on the thread in that link I gave below. I mention your interpretation and mine, and imply the 'half full, half empty' or I would say 'six of one, half dozen of the other' phenomenon. But I am also, and have been, clear, that what I would've expected him to do would've been the specific DIALOG I wrote and bolded on that thread:


Journalist: Is Ahmadinejad the legitimate president of Iran?

Press Secretary: Ahmadinejad is the President. (Looks over his head, points to someone in the back) Next question?


Apparently from the new press statement issued today, Obama is trying to say just that.

What the press secretary said, whether due to bad planning in the Oval Office or on his own, was a BLUNDER.  It was a stupid statement.

It greatly harmed a movement Obama obviously has great sympathy toward while producing NO STRATEGIC DIPLOMATIC BENEFIT WHATSOEVER any more than what I suggested above would have, while not harming jthe movement.

che khabar e


by che khabar e on

I think that you are reacting to the word "elected" when I focused on and noted the omission of the word "legitimate".  Half full or half empty?  And Mammad is right but I would further add to his sentence "He represents the interests of the military/intelligence/multinational corporations of the US".  I'm not sure exactly what you're expecting Obama to actually do.?.  This is mighty thin ice we're skating on right now and pretty unprecidented.



by Mammad on

While I agree with your sentiments and disappointment, I am not surprised.

As I have said repeatedly in this thread, Omaba, like any other US president, is constrained by the same parameters as any other US president. He represents the interests of the military/intelligence/multinational corporations. At the same time, the US wants to negotiate with Iran regarding its nuclear program.

I said as much in the article that I posted tonight on regarding the relation between China, Russia, and Ahmadinejad. 


rosie is roxy is roshan


by rosie is roxy is roshan on

I am still reeling from Obama's press secretary's statement. Won't it be very demoralizing for people in Iran?

I wrote my immediate thoughts here when I found out. I suppose I will have to answer this individual, but I am not up for it right now.


He did not have to use that word. It serves no purpose, furthers no end. All he had to say was "He is the president.' The only good thing I can think of that would come of it is that it undercuts this whole Velvet 'Coup' charge, maybe people cannot be charged with high treason...I don't know...

I posted your last article. It was excellent.




by Mammad on

Thank you for your kind words.

I was part of the debate regarding this statement. The original draft was one-sided. I did my best to change it. I could not. Therefore, I refused to sign it, just as a few distinguished Iranian scholars did not also sign it.

The statement is totally flawed, in my opinion. The statement makes it sound as if the reformist-democratic groups have actually done something wrong. They have not. They agreed to participate in an election which was neither democratic nor fair (which, with very few exceptions, has always been the case in Iran), because they thought (as I did, and as a great majority did) that the election was competitive (it was before it was stolen), and that people's votes would be more or less respected (which had been the case most of the times in the past presidential elections). What else should they, or could they, have done?

But, the election was stolen. Naturally, people reacted in many ways, from me who has been trying to report on its aftermath and analyze it, to millions of people who have demonstrated, and will do so. And what has been the response to this? Murder, torture, imprisonement, oppression, repression, lies, and insult, to name a few. I did not sign the statement because,

I want Ahmadinejad sacked, because he is illegitimate.

I want Ayatollah Khamenei sacked because he, according to Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, the most distinguished scholar and Faghih in Shiite Islam, is unqualified (due to his oppression of people), not to mention according to my own judgement.

I want, as I have always wanted, the whole system of Velaayat-e Faghih abolished in the least bloody way.

I want, as I have always wanted, those who have committed crimes against the public in the past, particularly over the last two months, to be put on fair trials and, if found guilty by an independent jury, punished.

Just so that I pre-empt a certain person in this thread, whose e-mail address contains 1359 and will surely jump in to make nonsense and devoid-of-any-substance comments (as he always does) and has been acting as if, because I have been supportive of the democratic movement (as I have always been in my entire life), he has caught me:

Yes, I'll defend Iran's nuclear program in the future, as I have done in the past, so long as it is within the international treaties that Iran has signed (so far, it has been), and according to the rights that Iran has, so long as it also satisfies its international obligations within the same agreement (so far, it has). I do this as a matter of principle, which is that I should defend what I believe is in Iran's national interests. I have said this in several articles over the past two months. There is no change in my position regarding this issue.


che khabar e

"based in Europe and North America..."

by che khabar e on

and you suggest that you speak for Iranians? 



I am glad Iran has so many educated and influencial individuals

by Mehdi on

If it wasn't for you ladies and gentlemen, neocons and other criminals by now had succeeded in turning Iran into another Iraq. Thank you for your efforts, and please keep up the good work. Your work IS making a huge difference. You make us all proud!

rosie is roxy is roshan

Sahimi would never..

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

sign this in a million years. He does not want Triuth and Reconciliation with the hardliners. He wants justice. He detests them as much as anyone and more than no small few. His family and friends suffered personally at the hands of these people more than most, many died. Some now, including Hajjarian, are imprisoned and/or on trial.

The thing is, he is a compassionate person. His justice would invlude mercy in it. But the last thing he would want is for these people to be able to say Oh, I'm sorry and maaaybe give up a small handful of economic prerogatives and trot away scot free.

Not to mention taking no stance on electoral fraud and other prepostrous things like singling out freedom of the press as the main lacking  freedom which cased the trouble, without mentioning others like freedom to breathe. As you obviously noticed but my point is the last thing you would see is his name on this.

I don't like to speak for anyone but in this case I have a feeling he wouldn't mind.




by vildemose on


I'm glad Mohammad Sahimi is

by vildemose on

I'm glad Mohammad Sahimi is not among you.


what a disservice to the

by vildemose on

what a disservice to the memory of the fallen. Shame on all of you.

P.S: Obama is not as stupid as you think. He has to do something with the IRGC military Industrial complex , Hojatieh group, and Russia's role in propping up this whole charade.  Those are facts and have nothing to do with AIPAC or the Isralie lobby. 


Maryam Hojjat


by Maryam Hojjat on

I feel sorry for all of you and your education which made you write this blog.  After 30 years of dictatorship by these anti-Iranians mullahs you still are contemplating keeping this criminal regime in power.  You seem blind & def to uprising of Iranians in past 45 days & their slogans as " death to dictator", "freedom, Independence, Irani Republic", "death to Khamaneie" and   "Khameneie Haya kon, Rahbari ra Raha kon, ........

I feel sorry for all of you for supporting this inhumane government of thugs.

Payandeh IRAN & Iranians

Down with IRI

Jahanshah Javid

Very weak

by Jahanshah Javid on

Much to conciliatory for my taste. Not a word against Khamenei and the virtual military dictatorship. Too willing to criticize and condemn the west and not so much the perpetrators of this disastrous fraud of an "election" and the brutal crackdown that followed. And why demand only the release of reformist leaders? And not hundreds of ordinary demonstrators?


IRI lobbyists

by Fred on

“During the past four years, a whole series of policies have targeted Iran's right to produce nuclear fuel for peaceful energy, including illegitimate UN/US sanctions, repeated implicit and overt threats of military attack by the United States and Israel, overt and covert well-funded US destabilisation operations, and aid to terrorist forces seeking to overthrow the government of Iran. These policies have created fears of an externally-instigated "velvet revolution" in the leadership ranks of the Islamic Republic. These fears were used to justify restrictions of civil and political freedoms promoted by the reformist administration of Khatami and, as a result, civil society and non-governmental organisations suffered a setback.”

The same excuses that regime and its lobbies have been making are being restated here again. The Islamist cutthroats republic’s apologists//lobbyists just can’t let go of old failed tactics.