Support the Iranian people’s freedom struggle
London – 14 July 2009
Parliamentarians, human rights campaigners and exiled Iranians joined together to launch
Iran Solidarity in the House of Lords in London on 13 July 2009. The new organisation’s aim is to support the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom.
Iran Solidarity’s founding statement and sponsors are listed below and here:
The House of Lords meeting was hosted by Lord Taverne and chaired by Fariborz Pooya, the exiled Iranian communist and secularist. Speakers included the philosopher, AC Grayling, Maryam Namazie the Iranian feminist and member of the Worker Communist Party of Iran, and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell.
Lord Taverne urged unity between the different Iranian factions to secure the common cause of ending tyranny.
The current protests and mass arrests are the beginning of the end of the regime, noted Maryam Namazie.
A C Grayling stressed the universal human rights principles that are being violated in Iran.
The recent mass protests were symptomatic of a deep seated anger at religious rule and a hunger for political change, according to Fariborz Pooya.
Peter Tatchell said that Iran Solidarity rejected the imposition of western solutions on Iran; describing the new organisation as an internationalist solidarity campaign similar to the anti-apartheid movement, with the sole aim of supporting the Iranian people’s efforts to free themselves from dictatorship.
Iran Solidarity’s prominent founding sponsors and signatories include: Richard Dawkins, Scientist, AC Grayling, Writer and Philosopher UK, Taslima Nasrin, Writer and Activist Bangladesh, Johann Hari, Commentator and Journalist UK, Leo Igwe, Director, Nigerian Humanist Movement Nigeria, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Writer and Columnist UK, Julie Bindel, Feminist and Journalist UK, Russell Blackford, Writer and Philosopher Australia, Kenan Malik, Writer, broadcaster UK, Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society UK, Udo Schuklenk, Professor of Philosophy Canada and Peter Tatchell, Human rights campaigner UK.
Excerpts from Peter Tatchell’s speech at the House of Lords on 13 July 2009:
“We are here to show our solidarity with the Iranian people and their freedom struggle. We support their heroic protests for political, religious, ethnic, gender, trade union and sexual freedom.
“Iran Solidarity is not about dictating solutions to the Iranian people. We reject the imposition of a western perspective or template. The people of Iran must decide their future.
“Iran Solidarity has been established to support the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy, human rights and social justice. It is their struggle.
“Iran Solidarity is like the anti-apartheid movement. We seek to create an international campaign to support freedom and justice in Iran, based on our support for the principles of universal human rights.
“The repression in Iran did not begin in June this year, after the rigged elections. It began decades ago, first under the Shah and then, since 1979, under the ayatollahs.
“We remember the courageous women’s rights campaigners who have protested against Iran’s gender apartheid on successive International Women’s Days, and who have been beaten, arrested and jailed.
“There is also the persecution of lesbian, gay and bisexual Iranians. Iran has the death penalty for same-sex acts. LGB people are at risk of arrest, imprisonment, flogging, torture and, sometimes, execution.
“Iran’s human rights violations include the ethnic victimisation of Iranian Arabs, Kurds, Baluchs, Azeris and other national minorities. Iran treats its Arab citizens even worse than Israel treats its Arab population. They live in the country’s oil-rich region, yet most Arabs live in slums, are jobless and have little education. Their Arab culture is suppressed.
“According to Human Rights Watch, in March 2007an Iranian parliament member, Hossein Ali Shahryari, confirmed that 700 people were awaiting execution in Sistan and Baluchistan province, which is only one of Iran’s 30 provinces. Many of those on death row are Baluch political prisoners. This staggering number of death sentences is evidence of the intense, violent repression that is taking place under the leadership of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“The regime’s terror is wide-ranging. Student activist Meisam Lofti was executed in 2007 on false charges of being a gang member.
“Members of minority faiths, like the Baha’is and, sometimes, Sunni Muslims, suffer severe harassment by the Shia Muslim religious regime in Tehran. Last year, Sunni Muslim theologians and students were arrested and a dissident Sunni Muslim religious school was bulldozed.
“The regime’s crackdown includes the enforcement of harsh morality laws. In 2004, in the city of Neka, a 16 year old girl, Atefah Rajabi Sahaaleh, who had been raped and sexually abused by men for many years, was convicted of “crimes against chastity.” She was
hanged by the method of slow, painful strangulation, hoisted by a crane in a public square.
“This strangulation technique, sanctioned by the Iranian regime, is deliberately designed to prolong the suffering of the victim. The hanged person is left dangling and writhing for several minutes before they eventually asphyxiate and die. This is truly barbaric.
“Labour activists are also victimised. Mansour Osanloo, leader of Tehran’s bus workers syndicate, remains in jail – together with other trade unionists. He was sentenced to five years jail in July 2007 for his defence of worker’s rights.
“No tyranny lasts forever. The anti-apartheid movement triumphed in the end, and so will the Freedom struggle of the Iranian people,” said Mr Tatchell.
Iran Solidarity’s Founding Statement and Sponsors
In June 2009 millions of people came out on to the streets of Iran for freedom and an end to the Islamic regime. Whilst the June 12 election was a pretext for the protests – elections have never been free or fair in Iran – it has opened the space for people to come to the fore with their own slogans.
The world has been encouraged by the protestors’ bravery and humane demands and horrified by the all-out repression they have faced. It has seen a different image of Iran – one of a population that refuses to kneel even after 30 years of living under Islamic rule.
The dawn that this movement heralds for us across the world is a promising one – one that aims to bring Iran into the 21st century and break the back of the political Islamic movement internationally.
This is a movement that must be supported.
We, the undersigned, join Iran Solidarity to declare our unequivocal solidarity with the people of Iran. We hear their call for freedom and stand with them in opposition to the Islamic regime of Iran. We demand:
1. The immediate release of all those imprisoned during the recent protests and all political prisoners
2. The arrest and public prosecution of those responsible for the current killings and atrocities and for those committed during the last 30 years
3. Proper medical attention to those wounded during the protests and ill-treated and tortured in prison. Information on the status of the dead, wounded and arrested to their families. The wounded and arrested must have access to their family members. Family members must be allowed to bury their loved ones where they choose.
4. A ban on torture
5. The abolition of the death penalty and stoning
6. Unconditional freedom of expression, thought, organisation, demonstration, and strike
7. Unconditional freedom of the press and media and an end to restrictions on communications, including the internet, telephone, mobiles and satellite television programmes
8. An end to compulsory veiling and gender apartheid
9. The abolition of discriminatory laws against women and the establishment of complete equality between men and women
10. The complete separation of religion from the state, judiciary, education and religious freedom and atheism as a private matter.
Moreover, we call on all governments and international institutions to isolate the Islamic Republic of Iran and break all diplomatic ties with it. We are opposed to military intervention and economic sanctions because of their adverse affects on people’s lives.
The people of Iran have spoken; we stand with them.
To join Iran Solidarity, click here: http://www.iransolidarity.org.uk
Initial founding sponsors:
Boaz Adhengo, Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya, Kenya
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Coordinator, Stop Child Executions Campaign, Canada
Mina Ahadi, Campaigner, Germany
Sargul Ahmad, Activist, Women’s Liberation in Iraq, Canada
Susan Ahmadi, Mitra Daneshi, and Furugh Arghavan, Iran Civil Rights
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Writer and Columnist, UK
Mahin Alipour, Coordinator, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s
Discrimination in Iran, Sweden
Farideh Arman, Coordinator, International Campaign in Defence of Women’s
Rights in Iran, Sweden
Abdullah Asadi, Executive Director, International Federation of Iranian
Zari Asli, Friends of Women in the Middle East Society, Canada
Ophelia Benson, Editor, Butterflies and Wheels, USA
Julie Bindel, Journalist and Activist, UK
Russell Blackford, Writer and Philosopher, Australia
Nazanin Borumand, Never Forget Hatun Campaign against Honour Killings,
Caroline Brancher, UFAL, France
George Broadhead, Secretary of Pink Triangle Trust, UK
Children First Now, Sweden
Committee for the Freedom of Political Prisoners, UK
Communist Youth Organisation, Sweden
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Germany, and Scandinavia
Count Me In – Iranian Action Network, UK
Shahla Daneshfar, Director, Committee for the Freedom of Political
Richard Dawkins, Scientist, UK
Patty Debonitas, Third Camp against US Militarism and Islamic Terrorism, UK
Deeyah, Singer and Composer, USA
Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran,
Tarek Fatah, Author, Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic
AC Grayling, Writer and Philosopher, UK
Maria Hagberg, Chair, Network against Honour-Related Violence, Sweden
Johann Hari, Journalist, UK
Farzana Hassan, Writer, Canada
Marieme Helie Lucas, founder Secularism Is A Women’s Issue, France
Farshad Hoseini, International Campaign against Executions, Netherlands
Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya, Kenya
Khayal Ibrahim, Coordinator, Organization of Women’s Liberation in Iraq,
Leo Igwe, Director, Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
International Campaign for the Defence of Women’s Rights in Iran, Sweden
Iran Civil Rights Committee, Canada
International Committee against Executions, Netherlands
International Committee to Protect Freethinkers, Canada
International Committee against Stoning, Germany
International Federation of Iranian Refugees, Sweden
International Labour Solidarity, UK
Iranian Secular Society, UK
Ehsan Jami, Politician, the Netherlands
Asqar Karimi, Executive Committee Member, Worker-communist Party of Iran, UK
Hope Knutsson, President, Sidmennt – the Icelandic Ethical Humanist
Hartmut Krauss, Editor, Hintergrund, Germany
Sanine Kurz, Journalist, Germany
Ghulam Mustafa Lakho, Advocate, High Court of Sindh, Pakistan
Derek Lennard, UK Coordinator of International Day against Homophobia, UK
Nasir Loyand, Left Radical of Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Kenan Malik, writer, lecturer and broadcaster, UK
Johnny Maudlin, writer of Neda (You Will Not Defeat The People), Canada
Stefan Mauerhofer, Co-President, Freethinker Association of Switzerland,
Anthony McIntyre, Writer, Ireland
Navid Minay, General Secretary, Communist Youth Organisation, Sweden
Reza Moradi, Producer, Fitna Remade, UK
Douglas Murray, Director, Centre for Social Cohesion, UK
Maryam Namazie, Campaigner, UK
Taslima Nasrin, Writer, Physician and Activist
National Secular Society, UK
Never Forget Hatun Campaign against Honour Killings, Germany
Nigerian Humanist Movement, Nigeria
Samir Noory, Writer, Canada
Yulia Ostrovskaya and Svetlana Nugaeva, Rule of Law Institute, Russia
One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain, UK
Peyvand – Solidarity Committee for Freedom Movement in Iran, Germany
Pink Triangle Trust, UK
Fariborz Pooya, Founder, Iranian Secular Society, UK
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Flemming Rose, Journalist and Editor, Denmark
Rule of Law Institute, Russia
Fahimeh Sadeghi, Coordinator, International Federation of Iranian
Arash Mishka Sahami, TV Factual Producer, UK
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society, UK
Michael Schmidt-Salomon, Philosopher, Author and Ralph Giordano Foundation
Gabi Schmidt, Teacher, Germany
Karim Shahmohammadi, Director, Children First Now, Sweden
Sohaila Sharifi, Editor, Unveiled, London, UK
Udo Schuklenk, Philosophy professor, Queen’s University, Canada
Issam Shukri, Head, Defense of Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq; Central
Committee Secretary, Left Worker-communist Party of Iraq, Iraq
Bahram Soroush, Public Relations, International Labour Solidarity, UK
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner, UK
Dick Taverne, Baron, House of Lords, UK
Hamid Taqvaee, Central Committee Secretary, Worker-communist Party of Iran,
Third Camp, UK
Karin Vogelpohl, Pedagogue, Germany
Babak Yazdi, Head of Khavaran, Canada
Marvin F. Zayed, President, International Committee to Protect Freethinkers,
For more information contact:
BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
Email: [email protected]