The following is an open letter from Heshmat Tabarzadi, Iran’s leading pro-democracy activist, to leaders of Western governments. The original Persian version is available at the Iran Democratic Front website. Translated by Banafsheh Zand.
Following the United States and its UN Security Council allies’ preliminary nuclear agreement to make a deal with the Islamic regime in Iran, efforts to expand political and economic ties with the regime have swiftly begun. The most recent case is the Austrian president’s visit with Khamenei, the religious dictator in Iran.
I cannot blame the efforts of Western governments to secure their national interests. However, do not forget that the people of Iran are entitled to freedom, democracy, prosperity, and security; and to that end, they do have expectations of the leaders of the civilized world.
The regime in Iran is, economically and fiscally, one of the most corrupt governments on the global scene. From the socio-political-legal standpoint, they view the rights of women and girls as half that of a man; and by lashings, imprisonment, acid attacks, and general violence, they continue to impose and force the hijab on them.
Baha’is, newly converted Christians, Sufis, and followers of transcendental teachings, among others, are jailed. And like Daesh (ISIS), they cut off people’s limbs. Journalists, lawyers, political opponents, women’s rights activists, children, and others are oppressed and imprisoned as well.
This regime has been routinely condemned by the UN itself for its heinous and ongoing violations of human rights, yet Western governments are looking to expand their economic and political relations with a seditious regime?!
From an economic standpoint, this lawless autocracy has created the most grueling conditions for the working class, nurses, and generally all those who work hard for their livelihood. Now our teachers are being imprisoned as well.
Free and democratic elections for the people of Iran to choose their own destiny are not tolerated, and with illegal supervision and persistent meddling in the electoral process, they rob the people of their vote.
It is the people of Iran who aspire to a secular democracy, prosperity, progress, and security, and yet they are confronted with none other than a violent and callous dictatorship of zealots. The people of Iran call upon all Western leaders to be absolutely aware of the nature of the regime that they have befriended and with which they have chosen to cooperate. Having further oppressed and robbed us of our legal rights, this regime will take advantage of its renewed “credit” with the West and will continue to inflame the region and expand its terrorist activities.
Secretary General of the Democratic Front of Iran
September 9, 2015