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Promiscuity, Earthquakes and Women's Rights: Open Letter from Iranian academics worldwide


April 28, 2010
To: Secretary-general Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
CC: Supreme Leader Mr. Ali Khamenehi; World Press

Dear Sir:


The assertion made by a senior official cleric in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) government, on Friday 16th of April 2010 at the Tehran's weekly Friday prayer sermon, warrants a deeper scrutiny. Hojat ol-Eslam Kazem Sediqi's suggestion that [women's] promiscuity is the reason for earthquakes is rhetorical ignorance and religious bigotry on a grand scale even by the IRI regime standards.



This is not the first time that the world has witnessed such utter absurdity propagated from the Taliban brand of Islam in Iran but the tragedy is that these kind of unscientific and unsubstantiated propositions were in the background provided by the fringe key elements of IRI and in contradiction of the already meagre Islamic Republic code of conduct. The fact is that since the presidency of Mr. Ahmadinejat in particular, and his UN infamous holy aurora of light (haleh noor, saint like) the rise of superstition and quackery has reached unprecedented new levels. The Jamkaran dry well near the holy City of Qom, which is claimed to have direct conduit to the absent imam Mehdi, is another ludicrous example of state perpetrated ignorance and cult mind control.


On one hand IRI is seeking advance nuclear technology and yet senior clerics are claiming seismic phenomena are linked to women's sexual behaviour. The question is, can IRI's nuclear ambitions be trusted in the hand of uninformed and superstitious bigots?


The devastating implications of such superstitious ideology open the door for violating women's rights and the exclusion and suppression of freedom, particularly for women in Iran. We urge the Supreme Leader of the IRI Mr. Ali Khamenehi to publicly repudiate such unscientific assertions by his senior advisors.


So long as the IRI regime continues to remain belligerently complicit in the blatant violation of human and women's rights, also evident from mass arrest, imprisonment and tortures, and execution of political prisoners of conscience, IRI must not be given any representations or legitimacy on world forums such as the UN Human Rights Commission, and Women's Rights Commission.  


We the signatories do hereby deplore the propagation of ignorance and superstitious strategies as perpetrated by the IRI elements to undermine legitimate human rights in general and women's rights in particular in Iran.




Abrahamian Ervand

Distinguished Professor; Baruch College, City University of New York, USA

Abghari Siavash,
Siavash Abghari, Professor of Finance & Director, Morehouse College, Atlanta, USA

Abghari Shahla

Professor of Microbiology ,Life University, Atlanta, USA

Afshar Ali

Professor Polytechnic Institute of NYU, USA

Afshar Haleh OBE

Professor the Baroness AcSS, Department of Politics, University of York, UK

Afshari Reza
Professor of History, Pace University, New York, USA
Alamdari Kazem

Professor of Engineering, California State University, Northridge, USA

Atabaki Touraj
Professor, Chair and Head of the Middle East and Central Asia, Leiden University  Netherland
Baghi Heibatollah
Professor of Biostatistics, Department of Global & Community Health, George Mason University, VA, USA
Barati Mehran
Free University Berlin-Germany, Research Unit Globalization and Int'l Politics, Germany
Bastani Bahar MD
Professor of Medicine - Nephrology and Director of kidney transplantation at Saint Louis University, USA
Bayat Asef

Professor of Sociology and Middle East Studies, Leiden University, Netherland

Darvishpour Mehrdad
Malardalen University ,Sweden

Daryaee Touraj
Howard Baskerville Professor in the history of Iran and the Persianate World, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

Farhang Jahanpour

Associate Fellow, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford

Farhang Mansour 
Professor of Political Science, Bennington College, USA
Gorji Ali
Professor of Neuroscience Research and Neurophysiology; Munster University, Germany
Haghighatjoo Fatemeh

Visiting Scholar, Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston, MA, USA

Hashemi Nader

Assistant Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, CO, USA

Jahanbegloo Ramin

 University of Toronto, Canada.

Kangarlu, Alayar

Professor of Medical Physics, Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, USA

Kar Mehrangiz

Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution, USA

Karimi-Hakak Mahmood

Professor Department of Creative Arts, Siena College, New York, Artistic Director, Mahak International Artists Inc, Albany, New York of Theatre, NY, USA

Keddie Nikki ;Professor Emerita of History, UCLA ;Santa Monica, CA, USA

Keshavars  Fatemeh

Professor and Chair, Asian & Near Eastern Languages and Literatures Washington University in St. Louis, IN, USA

Khosrokhavar  Farhad
Professor, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France
Kian  Azadeh
Professeur de sociologie, Directrice du CEDREF Université Paris-Diderot-Paris, France
Mahdavi Pardis
Assistant Professor, Pomona College, USA
Mahdi Akbar 
Professor of Sociology, Ohio Wesleyan university, OH, USA
Malekahmadi Farshad
Associate Professor of Sociology, Naugatuck Valley Community, College, CT, USA
Mansouri Mehdi
Associate Professor of Education & Technology, Herzing University, New York, USA
Milani Abbas
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies Stanford University, CA, USA
Milani Farzaneh
Professor of Persian Literature and Women Studies, University of Virginia, USA
Mir-Hosseini Ziba
Professor, London Middle East Institute, SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom
Moaddel Mansoor
Professor of Sociology, Eastern Michigan University, MI, USA
Mohammadi Majid
Visiting Scholar in Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies, NY, USA
Monshipouri Mahmood
Associate Professor, Dept. of Int'l Relations, San Francisco State University, CA, USA
Mousoli Reza
BSc (Hons) MSc FHEA CED MBCS, Senior Lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, United Kingdom
Naraghi Arash
Assistant Professor, Religion and Philosophy, Moravian College, PA, USA
Navab Mohamad
Professor, Project Leader, Cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA Niroomand-Rad  Azam
Professor Emeritus, , PhD, DSc, DACR, FAAPM, FACMP
Fellow, American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Past President, International Organization for Medical Physics,
Madison, Wisconsin, 53703, USA

Parsa Misagh

Professor of Sociology, Dartmouth College, NH, USA

Rakei Ali

Theoretical Physicist, Mitre Corporation, Washington DC, USA

Rahni Davood

Professor of Chemistry, Pace University New York, NY, USA

Sadeghi Nader MD, FRCSC
Associate Professor of Surgery, Dir. Head & Neck Surgery George Washington U. USA

Shariatmadari Hassan
Theologian and Philosopher,  former Director of Publication Department of Dar-al-Tabligh Islami ( 1973-80), Publisher and Chief Editor of Pyam Shadi and Nasle. No (1975-80)

Shavarini, Mitra

Lecturer, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life and Women's & Gender Studies, Brandeis University, USA
Shirazi, Arman Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, CSM North America

Talattof Kamran
Professor, University of Arizona, AZ, USA

Thomasian Alex

Thomasian and Associates, New York USA
Tourage  Mahdi

Professor of Religious, Social Justice & Peace Studies King's University College at The University of Western Ontario Canada

Tohidi Nayereh

Professor & Chair, Department of Gender & Women's Studies, California State University, Northridge, CA, USA

Ziai Hossein

Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies, Director of Iranian Studies,  Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA, CA, USA


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