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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


April 11, 2000

Compensation, one way or another

I disagree with your article on the unconditional release of Iran's assets by the United States, by virtue of the simple fact that in many instances such an act would trample the only chance victims of misbehavior of Iran's government might have to be compensated for damages within a semi-civilized context ["Getting down to business"].

As an example, for no apparant reason and subject to an arbitrary ruling by a Revolutionary Court judge in Esfahan in 1979 (Omid Najafabadi, who was subsequently executed in 1988 for being "corrupt on earth" and a homosexual) my family had all of its assets -- composed mainly of improved land- our main occupation being initially farming and subsequently land development on a large scale about the suburbs of Esfahan -- confiscated and turned over to the Bonyad Mostazafan.

Being a family of good repute, the people of Esfahan refused to purchase our properties from the Bonyad, until a lie was circulated by the authorities claiming that people should purchase our assets as we had been compensated via the Claims Tribunal at the Hague. In total, perhaps in excess of $2 billion was swallowed whole and disposed of in one manner or another, with much of it, I am virtually certain, enriching various thieves tied into the Bonyad and various other organizations.

Repeated attempts to have the court ruling reversed on grounds that the Revolutionary Court ruling had no basis and that the judge responsible was a criminal have had no bearing. In fact, I have publicly challenged Mr. Khatami to undertake a public investigation into fraud and theft as they relate to this matter, and nothing has been done (with all his talk about transparancy, I wonder why not?). I am therefore left to believe that this entire "legal" proceeding was nothing more than a sham act by a bunch of criminals and thieves intent on stealing something that did not belong to them.

As the Iranian judicial system seems intent on perpetuating this injustice, I feel that it is well within my rights to seek redress against the Iranian government and nation in a venue where my rights will be respected and some form of justice exists. If that venue is the United States, and if Iran's frozen assets are available to compensate me and my family for those damages, then I and my family should be given access to that venue and to those assets.

Very simply put, if Iran and Iranians ever want to flourish as a society, they must respect the sanctity of private property, among other things. One of the ways to guarantee that sanctity is to inflict a severe penalty on those who choose to violate that sanctity. By insisting on justice and compensation wherever I might get it (including the United States), not only do I think I am not doing a dis-service to Iran, but I am in a manner doing a great service to Iran by forcing it to assume some sort of accountablity for its behavior (or in this case, misbehavior.) To deny this right to myself and others in a similar situation is quite simply morally reprehensible.

If you want to go on a moral crusade, Guive, why don't you join me in trying to pry open the secrecy surrounding this particular confiscation. What are the authorities in Iran trying to hide, and whom are they trying to protect against charges of theft and fraud?

Hamid Boroumand


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