An Open Letter from the Iranian Academic Community Worldwide to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Date: June 12, 2010
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations
350 East 35th Street
New York, NY 10016
As the anniversary of the disputed presidential elections in Iran on June 12, 2009 draws near; as we look back at the horrific beatings and killings of the peaceful protesters; as we remember the fallen compatriots whose lives were cut short by assassins' bullets; as we stand in solidarity with the just demands of our fellow Iranians for democracy and the rule of law; as we show our determination to fight for the immediate release of thousands of political prisoners; and as we strive to comfort the victims of rape and torture in the prisons of the religious regime, we the undersigned members of the Iranian academic community worldwide plead to your high office and peace-loving humanity to stand with us in condemning the atrocities committed by the Islamic Republic against the Iranian people. We ask you to help us stop this killing machine.
In the past year, those who have dared to stand up to the corruption and atrocities have been subject to arrest, torture, and even execution under the watch of Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic. Some political prisoners have simply disappeared, leaving their grieving families to search cemeteries for their remains. And a great many more Iranian citizens have felt the painful loss of civic and democratic rights in their everyday lives.
For many years, Sayyid Ali Khamenei has ruled the country ostensibly to establish a virtuous society, promote equality among Iranians, provide prosperity and security in this world and ensure salvation in the other, and fight for egalitarianism and the cause of the downtrodden abroad. In practice, however, he has promoted wickedness instead of virtue; a cult of personality instead of equality; poverty, arbitrary rule, and engineered elections instead of prosperity, security, and the rule of law; and international brinkmanship and support for terrorism instead of peaceful diplomacy. Mr. Khamenei is no good for Iran; worse for the world; and a disaster for the religion.
In the past year, many more Iranians have become aware of the regime's brutality and seemingly insatiable appetite for power. Many now believe that the leader's religious absolutism contradicts the fundamentals of human rights and violates the basic tenets of the religion itself. And, as it may happen when power threatens to slip from the grasp of tyrants, this loss in legitimacy has spurred even more outlandish claims about Khamenei's religious credentials and attachment to honorable saints. The more Iranians criticize the absolutism and savagery of the regime, the more the regime portrays itself as representing the wrath of God. The more nations around the world distance themselves from the Islamic Republic, the more its rulers exaggerate their military power and prowess in diplomacy. The struggle in Iran today is between the cult of the engineered presidency and the followers of the rule of law; between superstitious extremism and rational moderation; and between apocalyptic end-of-day religious fundamentalism and God-loving, peace-seeking, and violence-abhorring spirituality.
Imagine a people who in protesting peacefully for their democratic rights are beaten, tortured, raped, and murdered; imagine the perished lives that are buried in unmarked graves; and imagine the unbearable pain and suffering of loving parents when they are told that their sons and daughters are gone forever-no chance to say the final goodbye, no possibility for burial ceremonies, no knowledge of the burial site, and no identifiable permanent resting place. This is a brutality beyond imagination.
The tragic death of Neda Agha Soltan, a female student of philosophy, shot by a member of the Basij militia on June 20, 2009 in broad daylight epitomizes the despotic nature of the ruling establishment. Recently, the regime executed some of the bravest sons and daughters of our beloved Kurdistan. It murdered peaceful activists, who were guided only by the feelings of love for their country. We only envisage listening to the patriots' mesmerizing recital of their covenant with the nation as they faced their executioner; "O' Iran, to you my blood and my soul;" and the grieving father responding, "there is no life without Iran."
Despite the danger inherent in dissidence, many Iranians stand strong in their opposition. As observed by millions the world over, their movement not only refused to back down after the rigged elections, but has grown bigger and bolder against the beatings, mass-arrests, rapes, show trials, and killings that have followed. They are resolute in demanding the rule of law, the realization of their democratic rights, and an end to religious absolutism.
On the anniversary of this fateful day, we ask you and the democratic people of the world to join us in offering our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the atrocities of the Islamic Republic, in expressing our solidarity with the political prisoners, and in condemning the brutality of the regime against our great nation.
Toward these ends, please join us in demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, the holding of free and fair elections, and the punishment of those responsible for the beating, killing, torturing, and murdering of peaceful protesters.
Professor of Finance & Director, Morehouse College, Atlanta, USA
Professor of Microbiology ,Life University, Atlanta, USA
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Free University Berlin-Germany, Research Unit Globalization and Int'l Politics, Germany
Bastani Bahar MD
Professor of Medicine - Director of kidney transplantation at Saint Louis University, USA
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Ganjbakhsh Amir Hossein
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Mahdian Mohammad Ph.D.
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