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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


July 17, 2000

Pressuring IRI will force further concessions

Open letter from the Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran, Los Angeles (July 14, 2000) See opposing letter

Dear Congressman Brad Sherman,

You have always been a staunch supporter of Human Rights in Iran, advocating democracy and opposing the atrocities of the present dictatorship.

It has come to our attention that a certain Iranian individual has sent you a letter opposing your current efforts on behalf of the innocent Iranian Jews and Human Rights in Iran, and has been circulating it on the Internet. We would like to reconfirm our gratitude for your leading position in the House of Representatives on the above issues and remind all concerned of certain current facts about Iran:

1- The Iranian Regime has been trying very hard to create a pro-Islamic Republic Lobby in the United States and has succeeded in recruiting certain individuals and creating certain organizations to further it's imagebuilding efforts here.

2- The proponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) in the US are trying to portray the current regime as a democratic one which has broken with it's past whereas even the "reformist" officials of this regime have declared their powerless position and have entered into an agreement with the extremists holding the real power to stop furthering their meager agenda and to stop supporting popular demands for democratic reforms. Most but not all those participating in the IRI whitewashing efforts, are individuals who by publishing pro IRI material hope to endear themselves to the Iranian Government and gain positions, pardons, invitations and business inside Iran. A list of Iranian businessmen, oil and pipeline middlemen, repenting college lecturers now linked to certain pro oil US lobbyists and policy makers attests to this fact.

3- Mr. Khamenei, the IRI Supreme Leader, announced last week that the closed down press will not be allowed to resume their activities and democracy as we know it will not be allowed to happen in Iran. This by the way, is a command to the "independent" Judiciary who is under pressure to release some of the closed down press and their imprisoned editors.

Mr. Khatami, the IRI President, said a few days ago to the student news agency "ISNA," that "having a majority in the Parliament does not mean having the power as well," confirming his powerless position and hinting that no real change is to be expected from him. Clearly, even Khatami himself does not make the preposterous claims claimed by his lobbyists in the US!

During the last two weeks, large uprisings in several cities over municipal issues, drinking water and canceled votes have been brutally suppressed resulting in several people getting killed and hundreds arrested. In Tehran last week student demonstrations were brutally suppressed and reportedly some were shot or killed. Last week all police officials accused of killing and maiming students last year in the Tehran University Dormitory were acquitted. Plainclothes Islamic Hezbollah Militiamen were never brought to trial and killings of Tabriz students were never even considered. Last month, in order to push forth some losing candidates into the new Parliament in a largely controversial election, the Supreme Leader ordered the cancellation of two million votes in Tehran, while about a dozen extremists cheated their way into the 6th Majlis in other areas with the support of the Leader.

Recently there were two announcements by one student prisoner and one ex-prisoner who told about their tortures, confessions and atrocious sufferings while detained in 1999. One of them who presented a televised "confession" says he had been given a text to read from in front of the cameras. Mr. Khatami said in Germany a couple of days ago : "Every people has the right to it's own understanding of human rights on the basis of it's own culture and it's own history"; while his assertion is a blatant insult on Iranian culture, we would like to remind you that in the same week, it was reported that one convicted woman was condemned to be stoned. You yourself, have seen a documentary video of several people being stoned in 1994; during Khatami's presidency, more than five stonings were carried out without the President even uttering a word of opposition to this inhuman treatment in his "emerging democracy." In his eyes, torture and stoning are "part of Iranian culture," what President has ever shamed his nation by attaching such stigma to their "culture"? What "emerging democracy" are the IRI lobbyists talking about? Don't they have any shame?

4- The great majority of the Iranians who left the Islamic Republic, came to the US since they could not bear living under the dangerous and humiliating conditions created by the Islamic Republic, institutionalized by it's existing repressive laws and enforced by it's murdering enforcement officials, death squads and militiamen. The letter's assertion that Iranian-Americans are against pressuring the IRI into easing it's repressive measures, is a plain lie invented by other IRI lobbyists and picked up by this individual. Today, Iranians who are able to get out, are emigrating to the US to save their teenage children from a dark future. Even many IRI multi millionaire officials are sending their children to study In Europe and the US, are transferring their stolen money abroad and have been purchasing real estate in Canada, California and elsewhere.

5- It is true that we have received a great amount of heartfelt support from Muslim, secular and pro Human Rights Iranians in the case of the accused Jewish hostages in Shiraz, but it is also true that none of the pro IRI advocates and lobbyists ever raised a finger to help. On the contrary these "pro democracy" entities have been spreading venomous propaganda, about the possibility of the Jews really being spies; whereas in any democracy it is the job of a just and democratic judiciary that should prove the guilt, not vice versa, and particularly not the infamous IRI Judiciary with it's well known history of atrocities against thousands of Moslem, secular and opposition Iranians, students, writers and even lawyers defending political cases.

6- The letter is trying to sneak in another lie by saying that most Iranian Jews speak highly of "Iran" without mentioning which Iran? The Iranian Jews speak highly of that "Iran"; in which they lived for 2700 years (not without reservations about religious persecutions at certain junctures); but never about today's Iran that is legally persecuting minorities, kidnapping and killing Christians (23 in 1998), assassinating Sunni Muslims, persecuting and executing Bahai's, executing Jews, accusing them of being spies, spreading Nazi propaganda for years against the Jews, and actively endeavoring to reduce minority numbers by all possible means. The fact that over 80% of all religious minorities have left the IRI and more are being forced to leave by official threats and due to legal as well as extra legal insecurity, is proof enough.

7- Another lie put forth in that letter, is that those Iranian Americans who supported your campaign are opposed to your current efforts! A review of Iranian - Americans registered as Democrats to vote in the 24th district can easily reveal that these are to the last person, those who either participated in the campaign to free the Shiraz 13 or in other campaigns for human rights in Iran. Not one IRI lobbyist can be found among them.

8- We have never advocated sanctions on humanitarian aid, financing humanitarian projects and trade in humanitarian items with Iran; however, as experience has shown, pressuring that government by all other means and sanctions will certainly force it into further concessions and reforms thereby allowing the Iranian people to breathe easier under the current repressive conditions.

9- We do not consider the interests and the reputation of the Islamic Republic to be the same as those of the Iranian people or Iranian-Americans. The Iranian people are victims of this regime and their respective interests are not identical. Most economic transactions affected by sanctions, are government monopolistic ones, such as oil, with fat commissions and misappropriations going to members and cronies of ruling families and large chunks of project incomes going to repressive organs of the IRI. We believe that human rights concerns should come first; when dealing with the IRI.

Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran


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