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
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
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
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