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Letter: Human Rights paramount in negotiations

08 Oct 2009 23:222 Comments

With negotiations between Iran and the United States under way, many Iranians, particularly those in the Diaspora, continue to despair about the gross violation of human rights in Iran, and the complete disregard for the basic civil and political rights of Iranians. They want these systematic abuses -- at particularly egregious levels since the rigged June 12 presidential election -- to continue to get the attention that they deserve and not be forgotten during negotiations.

For negotiations to be successful, all issues must be put on the table and discussed. Chief among them is widespread repression and oppression ongoing in Iran. The West, and especially the United States, must not forget the plight of the courageous Iranians who are trying, under the most dire circumstances, to move their nation toward a democratic system of government and respect for the rule of law.

A group of Iranian academics and scholars have issued a statement, calling on the United States to tackle these critical issues. As the letter states, having ignored the human dignity of Iranians in the past, greatly hurt the credibility of the United States with the Iranian people. It should not repeat that mistake.

What follows is the complete statement and the list of the signatories. -- Muhammad Sahimi

The Statement

Over the past century, the U.S relationship with Iran has been volatile, and the coming months may prove to be a decisive era in the history of the relationship between the two countries. A misreading of the situation in Iran might lead to decisions that will damage the national interests of both countries.

The harsh repression of peaceful protests in the wake of the disputed Iranian election this past June removed any doubt about the cruelty of the Iranian totalitarian regime. Direct shots fired at unarmed civilians in Iran captured global attention, but this was only an example of the atrocities that were committed. Intensifying pressure on protesters, the use of Stalinist methods against detainees, and threatening university students and faculty are but a few more examples of the continuing campaign against peaceful opposition in the weeks since the election.

Recent news indicates the US administration's intention to negotiate with the Iranian government. While maintaining an active venue of negotiation is necessary for resolving the conflict between the two countries, a constructive dialogue with Iran must address the Iranian regime's recent brutalities. Neglecting such atrocities by any country, particularly in this crucial period, would have a severe negative effect on the Iranian public. As people with deep connections to their Iranian homeland who have studied and worked at universities around the world, the signers of this letter are concerned about the neglect of human rights violations in Iran by the rest of the world. As the current regime faces an internal crisis of legitimacy, it is obvious that the goal of the Iranian government is not the resolution of its international conflicts. Rather, it seeks a false victory for its confrontational policies, which could be used as justification for escalating the violent crackdown against domestic political opposition.

From our point of view, the confrontational policies of the last US administration, coupled with the use of double standards in dealing with the issues of human rights, have had a negative impact on the public perception of the United States' intentions in the Middle East. While we oppose any military threat against Iran, we remind American policy makers
that turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, which began in 1953 with the coup against Mohammed Mosaddeq, has created suspicion within Iran about American intentions. In our opinion, neglecting the recent atrocities in future negotiations with Iran would confirm this suspicion in the eyes of the Iranian people and would have a negative effect on long-term relations between the two countries. We believe human rights violations and the Iranian government's atrocities against its own citizens are critical issues that should not be sacrificed for short term gains. It is important to remember that the Iranian public is carefully following the interactions of foreign governments with those who violated their civil rights.

1. Amir Aavani, PhD student, Computer Science, Simon Fraser University,

2. Arash Abazari, PhD student, Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University

3. Ali Afshari, PhD student, System Engineering, George Washington

4. Mazda Ahmadi, PhD student, Compter Science, University of Texas at
Austin, Championship of RoboCup Rescue Championship 2002 and 2003, Runner
up position 2001

5. Hamid Akbari, PhD student and Part time Faculty, Strategic
Management, York University, Canada

6. Kazem Alamdari, Adjunct Professor, California State University at
Northridge, PhD, Sociology

7. Parviz Alivand, PhD student, Economics, University of Texas at Austin

8. Khosrow Allaf-Akbari, PhD student, University of Maryland and
Princeton University, Energy Policy Studies - Astronomy, Gold Medal of
Iran's Collegiate Physics Olympics 2002

9. Hamed Amini, PhD student, Applied Mathematics, Ecole Normale
Superieure, France

10. Kiarash Amiri, PhD student, Electrical Engineering, Rice University

11. Amin Arbabian, PhD student, Electrical Engineering, University of
California, Berkeley

12. Soroush Aslani, PhD student, Organizational Behaviour, Kellogg School
of Management, Northwestern University

13. Mitra Azizian, PhD student, Petroleum Engineering, Colorado School of

14. Roja Bandari, PhD student, Electrical Engineering, University
of California, Los Angeles, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow

15. Anahita Basirat, PhD student, Cognitive Science, Gipsa-lab, Grenoble
INP, France

16. Arash Behboodi, PhD student, Telecommunication, SUPELEC, France

17. Ahmad Beirami, PhD student, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology

18. Mostafa Beshkar, Research Associate at Yale University and Assistant
Professor at University of New Hampshire, PhD, Economics

19. Goodarz Danaei, Graduate student, Population and International Health

20. Ehsan Ebrahimy, PhD student, Economics, University of Chicago,
Gold Medal National Mathematics Olympiad, 1996

21. Vahid Entezari, MD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Center for
Advanced Orthopedic Studies, Harvard Medical School

22. Behdad Esfahbod, MBA student, University of Toronto, Software
Engineer, Red Hat, Computer Science and MBA, Silver Medal International
Informatics Olympiad 1999, Gold Medal International Informatics Olympiad

23. Mehran Eslaminia, PhD student, Civil Engineering, North Carolina State

24. Sanli Faez, PhD student, Physics, University of Twente, Netherlands,
Gold Medal National Physics Olympiad, 1996

25. Hassan Faghani, PhD student, Economics, Washington University in St.

26. Azadeh Farahzadi, PhD, Physics, Postdoctoral Scientist

27. Babak Farzad, PhD, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Brock
University, Canada, Bronze Medal International Informatics Olympiad, 1995

28. Maryam Farboodi, PhD student, Economics, University of Chicago

29. Roozbeh Foroozan, PhD student, Energy and Environmental
Engineering, the Pennsylvania State University,

30. Reza Ganjdanesh, PhD student, Petroleum Engineering, University of
Texas at Austin

31. Ali Ghodsi, PhD, Computer Science, Assistant Professor, University of

32. Mohammadreza Ghodsi, PhD student, Computer Science, University of
Maryland, RoboCup World Campion, 2005

33. Reza Golestani, PhD student, Nuclear Medicine, University Medical
Center Groningen, Netherland

34. Ali Gordjinejad, PhD student, Physics, Forschungszentrum J├╝lich

35. Ahmad Reza Hadaegh, PhD, Computer Science, Associate Professor,
California State University, San Marcos

36. Amir Haji-Akbari, PhD student, Chemical Engineering, the University of

37. Babak Heydari, PhD, Electrical Engineering, Post Doctoral Fellow at
UCLA, Gold medal National Chemistry Olympiad, 1996

38. Fereydoun Hormozdiari, PhD student, Computer Science, Simon Fraser
University, Canada

39. Sara Jabbari-Farouji, PhD, Physics, Postdoctoral Researcher,
University of Paris Sud (Orsay), France

40. Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, PhD, Linguistics, Assistant Professor, Syracuse

41. Kianoosh Kalantar, Graduate Student, Accountancy, University of

42. Ali Karbasi, PhD student, Materials Science and Engineering, Florida
International University

43. Shabnam Kavousian, PhD, Mathematics Education, Instructor, Langara

44. Moslem Kazemi, PhD student, Engineering Science, Simon Fraser
University, Canada, Member of Sharif's Robocup Team, World Champion of
Robocup, 1999, 2000, 2001

45. Yaser Kerachian, Technology Transfer Officer, Wilfrid Laurier
University, PhD, Physics, Gold medal International Physics Olympiad, 1995

46. Banafsheh Madaninejad, PhD student, Islamic Studies/Comparative
Literature, the University of Texas at Austin

47. Mohammad Mahdian, Senior Research Scientist at Yahoo Research, PhD,
Mathematics, Gold medal in the International Math Olympiad 1993 and two
Silver medals in the International Informatics Olympiads, 1992, 1993

48. Mahdi Majbouri, PhD student, Ecocomics, University of Southern

49. Mostafa Majidpour, PhD student, Electrical Engineering, UCLA

50. Mehrdad Majzoobi, PhD student, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Rice University

51. Peyman Malaz, Graduate student, International Relation, UCLA

52. Mehrdad Mashayekhi, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University, PhD,

53. Hamidreza Mehdizadeh, PhD student, Chemical Engineering, Illinois
Institute of Technology

54. Bahar Mehmani, PhD student, Theoretical Physics, Institute for
Theoretical Physics, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

55. Nargess Memarsadeghi, Computer Scientist, PhD, Computer Science

56. Mohammad Mesgarpour, PhD student, Operational Research, University of
Southampton, UK

57. Mazyar Mirrahimi, Researcher, INRIA The French Institute for Research
in Computer Science and Control, PhD, Applied Mathematics, Silver Medal,
International Math Olympiad 1999, Gold Medal, National Collegiate Math
Competition 2000

58. Babak Mohit, PhD student, Health Policy Management, Bloomberg School
of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

59. Anahita Mirtabatabaei, PhD student, Mechanical Engineering, University
of California, Santa Barbara

60. Kamran Moinzadeh, Professor, University of Washington, PhD, Industrial

61. Nazgol Moshtaghi, PhD student, Marketing and Instructor, University
of South Florida

62. Leila Mouri, PhD student, Middle East and Asian, Language and Culture,
Columbia University

63. Farzaneh Najafi, PhD student, Neuroscience, University of

64. Hossein Namazi, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin,
PhD, Mathematics, Gold Medal National Math Olympiad, 1994

65. Hamid Naseri, Adjunct Faculty, University of Houston, PhD, Electrical

66. Amir Nayyeri, PhD student, Computer Science, University of Illinois

67. Borghan Nezami Narajabad, Assistant Professor, Rice University, PhD,
Economics, Gold Medal National Math Olympiad, 1996

68. Arash Parsa, PhD student, Electrical Engineering, UC Berkeley

69. Siavash Pourkamali, Assistant Professor, University of Denver, PhD,
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Silver Medal International Chemistry
Olympiad 1997

70. Amin Pourmohammadi, PhD student, Economics, Washington University
in St. Louis

71. Amir Pourmousa, Senior R & D Specialist at Simulent Inc., Canada, PhD,
Mechanical Engineering, Silver Medal International Physics Olympiad, 1995

72. Faezeh Raei, PhD student and Economist in the International Monetary
Fund, Ranked Third in the Nationwide University Entrance Exam, 1998

73. Hazhir Rahmandad, Assistant Professor, Industrial and Systems
Engineering Department, Virginia Tech

74. Ahmad Rahmati, PhD student, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice

75. Alireza Raisi, PhD student, Civil and Environmental
Engineering, the Pennsylvania State University

76. Seid Alireza Razavi Majomard, PhD student, Electrical
Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

77. Nassim Razi, JD, PE, Senior Electrical Engineer, Buro Happold
Consulting Engineers

78. Behnam Robatmili, PhD student, Computer Science, University of Texas
at Austin

79. Amir Saberi, PhD Student, Molecular and Cellular Biology, University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Silver Medal International Chemistry
Olypmiad, 2004

80. Ali Sadighian, Assistant Professor of Business, the City University
of New York (CUNY), York College, PhD, Operations Research

81. Bashir Sadjad, PhD student, Computer Science, University of
Waterloo, Canada, Bronze Medal International Informatics Olympiad 1997 -
RoboCup Champion with Sharif CE team, 1999

82. Maryam Saeedi, PhD student, Economics, University of Minnesota, Gold
medal in the National Math Olympiad, 1999

83. Behzad Sajadi, PhD student, Computer Science, UC Irvine

84. Babak Salamat, Senior researcher at Yahoo!, PhD, Computer Science

85. Mahyar Salek, PhD student, Computer Science, University of Southern

86. Pegah Sattari, PhD student, Electrical Engineering, UC Berkeley

87. Seyed-Amin Sayedi, PhD student Business, Carnegie Mellon
University, Silver Medal International Informatics Olympiad

88. Reza Sebti, Graduate student, Philosophy, University of Alberta,

89. Babak Seradjeh, ICMT and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, PhD, Physics

90. Hamed Sheibany, Postdoctoral Researcher, TIMA Grenoble, France, PhD,

91. Ali Shojaie, PhD student, Department of Statistics, the University of

92. Hassan Shojania, PhD student, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
University of Toronto

93. Ali Shourideh, PhD student, Economics, University of Minnesota,
Silver Medal in International Math Olympiad 1999, 2000

94. Ali Taalebinezhaad, Senior Research & Development Scientist at
Robotics & Computer Vision, PhD, Mechanical Engineering

95. Pouya Tahsili-Fahadan, Postdoctoral Scholar at Medical University of
South Carolina, MD, Addiction Neuroscience, Young Investigator awardee in
the 12th Razi National Research Festival

96. Ali Tahzibi, Researcher and Associate Professor, University of Sao
Paulo, Brazil, PhD, Mathematics

97. Azadeh Tajpour, Graduate student, Studio Art and Art History,
Claremont Graduate University

98. Hoda Talebi, Graduate Student, Finance, University of Rochester

99. Ali Tehrani, Professor, Conestoga College Canada, PhD, System Design

100. Amir Togha, Assistant Professor, BCC of CUNY, PhD, Mathematics,
Winner of the National Collegiate Math Competition, 1992

101. Nayereh Tohidi, Professor, California State University at Northridge,
PhD, Gender and Women's Studies

102. Seyed-Fakhreddin Torabi, PhD student, Biochemistry, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gold Medal, National Chemistry Olympiad,

103. Alireza Vaezzadeh, Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School, PhD,

104. Majid Yahyaei, PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering, University of
Southern California

105. Farshid Zabihian, PhD student, Mechanical Engineering, Ryerson

106. Sahar Zangeneh, PhD student, Department of Statistics, University of

107. Hossein Ziai, Professor and Director of Iranian Studies, UCLA, PhD,
Islamic and Iranian

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Dear Mister Sahimi,

I just sent a letter very similar to this one to U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania. I will forward yours to him also as it is a major concern.

Walton K. Martin III / October 9, 2009 9:09 AM

Dear Sir

I am looking for e-mail adrress from Mr. Hamid Naseri.

Could you please send me this information?

Thank you very much


Rahil Taheri / March 23, 2010 9:12 PM