May 6, 2023
This is a challenge and invitation: Will you act on our collective responsibility — to transform a situation where many more people can be rallied to the clarion call from the recent Women/Life/Freedom uprising in Iran? Many more people could, but have yet to, emulate, and to join with Iran’s brave sisters, brothers and others in Iran who rose up against an oppressive regime. Their example to continue the fierce struggle for a better future needs to be supported and spread. The campaign to free Iran’s political prisoners is a key step to stand with those who have stood up.
In the next few weeks, there are things you can do towards a positive impact for the people of Iran, to condemn the regime’s stepped-up suppression of dissidents and protesters with arrests and re-arrests, long sentences, torture, even executions.
Will you join in actively building an initiative for one of your colleagues held in an Iranian prison, who recently managed to get a protest letter out to the world? Mehran Raouf is a teacher, a British/Iranian dual national, a translator and a prisoner of conscience who wrote in April:
Islamic Republic authorities treat dual citizens in a way that, suddenly for absurd reasons, denies dual citizens their civil rights. They make it very difficult for them to receive a furlough or conditional release-time. And, they are also excluded from their general amnesty… Depriving prisoners with dual citizenship of their rights is a way the government sends a message to Iranian nationals with dual citizenship in the Diaspora: to expect severe consequences if they engage in political activities, so better not get involved in political activities—and if they do, they should not come back to Iran.
As of April 14, Mehran Raouf is eligible for release, having served one third of his sentence as required by Iran’s law. Of the six defendants who had a sham trial and sentence in June 2021, only Raouf and Nahid Taghavi (another dual national also in her late 60s) remain imprisoned. The Taghavi family paid her bail, and she has serious medical issues that qualify her for medical release and treatment. The Iranian government’s threat to the entire Iranian Diaspora by making an example of these two political prisoners, and other dual national prisoners, must not stand. In the eyes of the regime, the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets all over the world in support in the recent uprising has poked a hole in their legitimacy, and they are out to save their theocratic rule with a new vicious wave of repression to force the population into obedience and silence once again.
For over two years, the IEC has creatively mobilized global grassroots condemnation of the state repression in Iran. We have highlighted the heroism of many of the prisoners and protesters from all walks of life and perspectives. Along with other forces and other factors, all this could lead to freedom for Iran’s political prisoners.
We are calling on you to:
*On your social media, link to www.FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNow.org and urge them to sign the Emergency Appeal ASAP.
*Circulate Mehran Raouf’s protest letter on your social media (like the one shown here), post on online, campus and classroom bulletin boards. Ask your colleagues to sign his protest letter. Send a message to Amnesty UK in solidarity with his demand for immediate release https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/iran-prison-letter-british-national-mehran-raoof-highlights-need-uk-action
*Ask students and colleagues to make Tik Toks from the IEC website resources about Iran’s political prisoners such as on the music of Toomaj Salehi
*Show films on Iran in class or on campus, such as Coup 53, Nasrin, or The Circle
*Make a donation for IEC to produce and distribute our literature and maintain our website
*Volunteer with the IEC over the summer; in particular we need Farsi to English translators and social media activists
Join us in broadly projecting the timely and clarifying demands of the IEC :
We demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!
We say to the U.S government: NO THREATS OR WAR MOVES AGAINST IRAN, LIFT U.S. SANCTIONS!
Historically and globally, progressive intellectuals, especially in academia, have played a critical role in changing society as happened in the 1960s. During the Woman-Life-Freedom uprising in Iran, high school and college campuses were a key battleground; school girls are now being gassed in their schools. We need to stand with these girls and women who rose up so they may rise again until a better world is reality.
Will you join us in this fight to free Iran’s political prisoners by taking up the suggested actions above? And contact us as to what you can or want to volunteer to do.
*You have signed the IEC’s Emergency Appeal to free Iran’s political prisoners whose lives are truly in the balance, and you wonder what more can be done to free them
*You had hoped the Women/Life/Freedom uprising would challenge/inspire your students and colleagues more than it has to date and looking for ways to act commensurate with the fearlessness shown by the people/youth in Iran, joining in a global fight against injustice
*You agonize over the future of Iran (and the world) wondering where to go from here, as an ebb in the uprising is coupled with the regime’s increased repression and revenge on the protesters and hijab-rebels – and look to new waves of resistance
So, seize the time and join us to act together now. Stay tuned for our Fall plans to be announced soon.
From IEC volunteers