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Statement of Academics

09 Jun 2009 19:089 Comments

8 June 2009

By Professor Ervand Abrahamian, City University of New York | Dr Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, School of African and Oriental Studies | Professor Haleh Afshar, University of York | Professor Mohammad Ala, Persian Gulf Task Force | Professor Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University | Professor Abbas Edalat, Imperial College London | Ali Fathollah-Nejad, School of African and Oriental Studies | Dr Mehri Honarbin, Canterbury Christ Church University | Dr Farhang Jahanpour, University of Oxford | Mohammad Kamaali, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran | Professor Mahmoud Karimi-Hakkak, Siena College, New York | Professor Fatemeh Keshavarz, Washington University in St. Louis. | Dr Ziba Mir-Hosseini, School of African and Oriental Studies | Professor Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, Tarbiyat Modarres University | Professor Davood Nabi-Rahni, Pace University in New York | Professor Azam Niroomand-Rad, Georgetown University | Dr Ali Rastbeen, International Institute of Strategic Studies Paris | Dr Elaheh Rostami, School of African and Oriental Studies | Professor Nader Sadeghi, George Washington University Hospital | Shirin Saeidi, University of Cambridge | Professor Muhammad Sahimi, University of Southern California | Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation

We are a group of Iranian academic and antiwar activists in Europe and the United States who, in the past few years, have consistently defended Iran's national interests in all areas including its right to develop peaceful nuclear technology. Our varied activities in the face of anti-Iran propaganda by the neoconservatives in the West have included organizing press conferences, taking part in radio and TV debates, creating antiwar websites, publishing bulletins and newsletters, writing opinion pieces and letters to editors, attending national and international antiwar conferences and petitioning and lobbying western politicians and parliamentarians.

We have campaigned against the policies of the United States and its Western allies which have unjustifiably targeted Iran - including sending Iran's nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council, issuing UNSC resolutions against Iran, secret and public efforts to provoke strife in Iran and destabilize the country, and threats by the United States and Israel for military intervention and bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities.

As we approach Iran's presidential elections, we are duty bound to share the lessons of our antiwar activities and highlight what national policies can defend Iran's interests effectively in the international arena without isolating it or enduring U.N. sanctions.

In order to safeguard Iran's national rights successfully, we think Iran's president elect must give priority to the following policies in his programs and plans:

(1) Questioning the Holocaust, which has greatly aided the hawks in the West, must be discarded and replaced with a constructive foreign policy devoid of any provocative rhetoric.

(2) Releasing all political prisoners, freedom of press, organizations and political parties, as well as peaceful meetings and gatherings. Recognizing the right of all citizens to run for election without any political vetting.

(3) Abolishing medieval punishments, such as stoning and cutting limbs, public executions, and execution of minors.

(4) Recognizing full and unconditional equality in all areas for women and ethnic minorities. Recognizing the full citizenship and civic rights of official and unofficial religious minorities.

Disregarding these tasks will seriously hinder the social and political development of the country, and will divide the Iranian people in their resistance against the unwarranted neo-colonial pressure and double standards of the Western powers. It will also provide powerful propaganda tools to hawks and their allies in mainstream media for isolating Iran and denying its fundamental rights in international organizations.

Taking steps to carry out these measures, on the other hand, will put our country on a fast track to progress, will unite Iranians of all walks of life, and disarm the neoconservatives in their aggressive propaganda against Iran.


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When have these traitors ever defended Iran's national interests? All of them have always tried to be close to whoever is in power. Be it the Shah, Rafsanjani or Ahamdienjad. Now that they have finally sensed the collapse of the regime and the public discontent they are trying to make out they care about human rights issues in Iran.

The lot of them should be thrown down the toileyt and flushed for the sake of Iranian people.

Shabnam / June 10, 2009 7:22 AM

Well said Shabnam. Suddenly these traitors who have always ignored human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic are sensing the fall of the mollahs and as usual try to change sides in the last minute. These pack of shit shovellers should not even be referred to as academics.

Khashayar / June 10, 2009 5:14 PM

In the future, comments that resort to name calling and inappropriate language will not be published.

tehranbureau / June 10, 2009 5:56 PM

Well done to the academics for putting their names to this statement. I sincerely hope that, come next week, we shall have a president who strives to achieve the points of policy that have been outlined above. I am rather ashamed to read the comments posted previous to mine. I hope that all Iranians can discuss their views in a respectful manner.

(To the moderators, it would be good to at least star out (**) letters in the offensive words as most newspapers and online forums do.)

Sareh (Student in London) / June 10, 2009 8:42 PM

How is it name calling? we are expressing our opinion about these individuals. Are you trying to promote them?

khashayar / June 11, 2009 4:37 AM


Why should we be respectful towards these people?? So many crimes have taken place against our people in the last 30 years. Execution of minors, massacre of political prioners, stoning, cutting off limbs, public executions, expulsion of academics, cultural revolution, squandering of our national wealth, reactionary policy towards women adn teh list goes on ad infinitum and these so called acdemics have stayed silent. Now that they sense the wind has changed after thirty years of silence they have signed this statement and we should be thankful to them. Why?? They should be isolated, ridiculed and despised to be a lesson for our future generations that betrayal of your people has consequences.

A Palizban / June 11, 2009 10:22 AM

@Khashayar: If you have not realised that the language you have used in your first post is rude, then I guess there is not much anyone can do to explain otherwise.

@A Palizban: Many academics are and have been campaigning for human rights issues - in fact, one could even say that they are the ones at the forefront of demanding a more just system for all Iranians. You, according to your own words, are blaming the academics above for standing by during, I quote, the "expulsion of academics" amongst other things. There is a serious gap in the logic you are using.

Just because these academics have decided to put their names to the statement doesn't force anyone to 'be thankful'. There wasn't any phrase in the statement that could be construed in that way. Regarding your last sentence: if no-one was to speak up about changes they want made in the system, then what progress can be made? Why should anyone be ridiculed for wanting the "abolishing [of] medieval punishments, such as stoning and cutting limbs, public executions, and execution of minors"? Betrayal of your people would be *not* speaking up against these things.

Sareh / June 11, 2009 10:54 PM


They should be isolated and ridiculed because they remained silent or promoted the regime for thirty years. ALso are you one of these 'academics' yourself?

A PAlizban / June 12, 2009 2:05 PM

Thank You for the honest and ethical statement. This statement reflects what is best for Iran and Iranians. While some of these hateful commentators were too busy urging the West to "liberate" Iran by military force, the academics on this committee were defending Iranians rights. We respect them all.

Thank You for the statement.

ardalan / June 12, 2009 3:14 PM