By Parastou Forouhar
December 17, 2003
I am writing this letter after my visit
to Iran in last month to update you with further information
regarding political murders of Autumn 1998 in Iran.
My parents Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar both prominent opposition
politicians, were the first victims of
this series of political murders.
The reason for my recent visit was the fifth anniversary
of the murder
of my parents. These anniversaries have now become symbolic and
represent the dissent and opposition to the Islamic Republic.
In order to obtain the approval of the authorities
for the commemoration ceremony, I had to go through
a daily chore of turning up to different officials
for three weeks. The security authorities were against us holding
the ceremony inside
Tehran. They criticised an earlier verbal approval I had received
hold the meeting inside the city of Tehran.
They then changed the date of the event from what
we had first publicised on 21St November to 23rd November. The
for this date change was, in their own words: "The security of
the participants can not be guaranteed."
Our perseverance however resulted in the venue to
be held in a traditional gathering place inside Tehran. Despite
of the security forces and the threats of the hired thugs, thousands
people turned up for the event.
During the meeting three opposition politicians
made speeches. One was a
member of the post-revolution provisional government and another
representative of the Iran Nation Party.
They both called for what my parents had called
for during their lifetime, i.e. the separation of state and religion.
only a change to the constitution can give the stagnant democratic
process a chance for revival.
Another speaker and I pointed out the significance
of clearing up the
case of the political murders as an important process of democracy
Thousands, both inside and outside the hall demonstrated
their solidarity and their desire for democratic change in Iran.
The crowd however were not able to go on a protest
march afterwards, as
they did in previous years. They were quickly dispersed by the
The coverage in the Iranian press was great. Several
articles also pointed out the significance of clearing the outcome
of the political
murders. However no coverage was given to the demands for separation
state and religion, made during the speeches; nor for the need
During my stay in Iran, I had several audiences
with the parliament's Article 90
Commission members. Three years ago, we the families
of the victims of
the political murders presented our case to this commission as
our desire to proceed through legal channels. The chairman of
said the enquiry however could not conclude the
they came across persons who could not be called up to give statements.
The chairman repeated his statement to me shortly
afterwards during an
interview with the press.
This is further support for our conviction that
those who ordered the
murders are not punished and occupy positions of high power and
influence. They seem to enjoy a higher immunity from prosecution
Before leaving Iran, I asked the commission in a
letter to conclude their enquiries before the end of the current
winter. For I do not see a chance for any further credible enquiries
the next parliament.
The situation of our lawyer Dr. Nasser Zarafshan
has not changed. He is in the
middle of his sentence of five years imprisonment and fifty lashes.
The longing of the Iranians for democracy and the
rule of law remains strong. The instruments that hinder this desire,
work with great
cruelty. The reformers have lost all credibility. They have been
to enforce even a single one of their reform pledges. Instead
constantly looking for compromises with their hardline rivals.
consequence of such compromises the democratic forces are sacrificed.
Given these circumstances, what is urgently needed
is the international support for the process of democracy and the
enforcement of human
The final conclusion to the case of political murders
can only come
about with the help of international community.
In the hope of your support with best regards,
Frankfurt, 6th December 2003
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