Videos were received from Kave Milani, Anahita Rahmani, Monireh Baradagan, Saied Pourabdollah, Pouran Nazemi, Asghar Amirzadegan
Translation by IEC. See Farsi statement.
For the Jan 9 program, Melvin Starks of UUSF read Taghi Rahmani's statement in English (View on YouTube).
Narges is a human rights activist, who is active in Iran. What she believes, she puts into practice, this is not easy in Iran. She has been imprisoned and deprived of many things, but despite all this, Narges along with her political, civil and human rights activists continues to work with persistent dedication. Narges considers the formation of strong civil institutions as the guarantor of democracy and human rights.
She has been active in shaping collective work and civic institutions. She has helped form several institutions, including the National Peace Council in 2006, whose members were put under heavy pressure by the Iranian government and subsequently imprisoned. She is the spokesperson for the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a human rights organization.
Many of the demands of Narges and others like her are about the realization of human rights and democracy, including:
- Opposition to the death penalty.
- Opposition and the need to abolish anti-human rights laws in Iran.
- Efforts to form independent civic institutions in Iran.
- Opposition to solitary confinement for prisoners which is considered torture.
- Changing laws that ignore women's rights.
- the struggle for equal rights for women and men.
She has been in solitary confinement for nearly two months, and her second home, meaning prison, may soon become her first home. Despite all of this, Narges has continued to fight with great determination because she believes in human liberation.
Thank you for being her rightful voice.
Narges considers human rights to be a universal ideal that must be implemented.
Ashghar Amirzadegan, teacher and teacher union activist from Shiraz, former political prisoner, facing re-incarceration describes attacks against striking teachers, and how they repeatedly are attacked and imprisoned. Subtitled in English.
As spokesperson for the Burn the Cage Free the Birds Campaign in Europe, I want to express our support and solidarity with this program.
In the context of the current situation between the United States and Iran, and at a time when repression and imprisonments in Iran have intensified, this international solidarity is very important in bringing the voice of Iranian political prisoners to the international community.
Today, this struggle is more urgent than ever. The Islamic Republic has intensified its repression since November 2017 with widespread arrests of labor, children, women rights and the environmental activists. Imprisoning writers, artists, and progressive lawyers, and inflicting heavy prison sentences for artistic and social activities. Hundreds of people are being punished, tortured, and even executed in Iranian prisons.
We may speak different languages and even live in different continents and countries, but all of these prisoners are our closest friends and acquaintances. Our united voice in the struggle against any form of torture, imprisonment and repression of political, social, and civil activists and the violence of the fascist Islamic Republic regime in Iran is a voice of solidarity and internationalism. Let’s turn the call and the just demand for the immediate freedom of all political prisoners in Iran to a unanimous international demand.
While we are appreciating your support and solidarity, we call on all of you who hear our voice to join this international emergency campaign and, while signing the call for this campaign, to be part of this campaign so that its voice becomes louder and stronger and eventually become an international movement for the freedom of all political prisoners in Iran. Thank you.
My name is Anahita Rahmani, one of the ex-prisoners and a survivor of the 1988 massacre in Iran.
On behalf of numbers of ex- political prisoners, living in different parts of the world and in exile, we want to thank the Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco and the International Emergency Campaign, for gathering such amazing people together to sound the cry and sing the song to free all of Iran's political prisoners because they are truly heroes for our time.
The program highlighted the significance of the heroic struggle of the people of Iran in general and those within the prison walls in particular.
The political, economic and social conditions in Iran, the region and internationally are becoming more and more critically intense. The situation is disintegrating day by day, at the same time, various strata and classes of people in their millions have taken to the streets to raise their voices and express their hatred for so much oppression and injustice. This is what happened in January 2017, November 2019, and in Khuzestan And Isfahan 2021, and the recent demonstrations by teachers, students and Kurdsh people.
It is very sobering to understand that the lives of Iran's political prisoners DO hang in the balance, and we hope, and we feel that these gatherings of people, those who are watching us or listening to us in different languages and in different parts of the world...join this Emergency International Campaign.
Please go online and endorse the statement and take it to others all over the world. Because without a worldwide movement, we cannot free our loved ones...
Just a few days ago the IRI executed Heydar Ghorbani, a beloved Kurdish activist, and the life of Bektash Abtin, a writer who is in a coma in the hospital is at the balance as we speak. Right now many prisoners who are in solitary confinement are being tortured. We cannot allow these atrocities to continue.
One significant way you could contribute is to do what we ex-prisoners did back in June and July of this year. Go out amongst friends and your communities and talk to them about the stakes of this battle. This is how we were able to raise a significant chunk of the $15,000 we needed to print the Emergency Appeal in The New York Review of Books...along with 3000 important signatories.
And we want to print this, again and again in different publications in different parts of the world, to reach out to millions and tell them what is going on in Iran and ask them to join us. We need you to be part of this process too, by getting involved and involving your friends and community. Go online: FreeIran'sPoliticalPrisonersNow.org to donate. and endorse this campaign.
Bogotá, Colombia, January 9, 2022
Following are some notes about a recent exciting internationalist activity in the Colombian capital.
On Thursday, January 9, a little after noon, about three dozen demonstrators overflowing with internationalist spirit formed up in front of Iran’s embassy in Bogotá to make known to the representatives of the reactionary Islamic Republic of Iran that “The eyes of the world are on Iran”, especially as relates to the situation of the political prisoners which it has its talons on.
Carrying placards with the images and a brief story about some of the activists on the front and campaign artwork with text in English or Spanish on the back, as well as a couple of sandwich boards with a large display of the ad which ran in the NYRB, the protesters chanting energetically for several minutes: “The eyes of the world are on Iran”, “We demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!”, “We demand of the US government: NO WAR MOVES OR THREATS AGAINST IRAN, LIFT THE SANCTIONS!”, while a couple of them wrote one of the slogans on the pavement.
After leaving in groups as they had arrived, the protestors regrouped about 3 km south of Plaza de Lourdes, a park in the Chapinero district which is visited by many tourists, mainly foreign. During more than an hour, the protesters marched some 12 blocks through the district while each person read the case of the individual political prisoner from the placard they carried. After each three readings, they made a stop while a speaker read excerpts from the Emergency Appeal or from the IEC press release, “The eyes of the world are on Iran as JPCOA Talks Resume”, denouncing the sinister “two historically outmoded sectors” in Iran and the world.
During the whole route several of the marchers interacted with pedestrians, street vendors and store employees, and on the whole were warmly welcomed, while in some cases they had to address questions about why the protesters were committed to a “far-off” or “other people’s” cause. It was a good chance to make clear how and why the freedom fighters of Iran are OUR people, y the cause of defending them (and their struggles) are OUR cause and should be embraced by many more people.
It was an afternoon full of internationalist fervor that was sparked the night before with a preparation session in which the participants in the internationalist action watched the documentary “Nasrin”, read various materials from the International Emergency Campaign, were infuriated by the murder of Heydar and worried about Baktash’s condition. Baktash’s death only a few hours after this action, while it was a hard blow to the participants who heard the news when they met to sum up the action, also strengthened our sense of urgency to strengthen the Campaign more throughout the country.
Indeed, our eyes are on Iran y our hearts beat in unison with the hearts of the fighters in the Iranian prisons.
To the organizers of this forum
Greetings to you and to the world that is built on solidarity and to activist whose hearts are broken by the violation of human rights and the violation of human dignity everywhere in the world.
You tonight, you have become the voice of prisoners who have been deprived of their basic human rights by the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prisoners who are the voice of freedom in Iran.
In a world where there is struggle and solidarity, there is hope.
From the family of the 1988 prison massacre and Women’s rights activist
Watch Mr. Amirzadegan's video in Farsi on YouTube. Here is a translation of his remarks:
I, Asghar Amirzadegan, teacher and teacher union activist from Shiraz Iran. I think it is necessary to highlight the situation of Iranian teachers to the world. Firstly, I must point out that Iran is among the 10 richest countries with its natural resources such as gas, oil, and precious metals at the same time has fertile soil. But when it comes to teacher salaries, Iran ranks among the top 5 poorest countries. I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and teach for grades 10 to 12 in high school. My monthly salary is $250, or an annual salary of $3,000.
Teachers live below the poverty line and therefore [blank]. For many years, the issue of livelihood has been the most important concern of teachers. And because the Iranian government is an Islamic religious dictatorship, our protests are severely suppressed. I have been arrested 5 times in the last 3 years and have spent in solitary confinement two to three days each time. 5 months ago I spent 20 days in Firozabad’s prison. I was detained only for cultural and livelihood activities. The regime is cracking down on any protests that take place against teachers living conditions.
In the past week, we had protests throughout the country and in our city Shiraz, many participants in protests were badly beaten by the police, military and security forces. In the town of Arak which is in the Center province, One of our female colleagues who took part in the demonstration was attacked by the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence agency and her house was searched and she was violently arrested in front of her daughter’s eyes, leaving her child in fear for hours. And she was terrified and could not speak for hours. Unfortunately, many teachers have been fired or sent to prison for protesting against the living and economic conditions.
Our goal is the unconditional release of all political prisoners. In such a defense we must make sure that the voices of all political prisoners are heard, especially those who are less mentioned in the current human rights discourse.
While defending the campaign you have launched in defense of political prisoners, we consider it necessary to share a serious criticism with you in this regard. We want to call out two people who do not appear in the poster for this campaign:
Zeinab Jalalian, the only female political prisoner to be sentenced to life in prison. She has been in prison for nearly 15 years.
Maryam Akbari Monfared, a political prisoner whose three brothers and a sister were executed 1988. She has been in prison for nearly 13 years.
Both prisoners have not even received a day off for treatment or to visit their loved ones.
In our opinion, it is necessary that these two prisoners be given special attention and that international pressure for their release is increased.
All political prisoners must be released unconditionally!
Shahi Nawai, Feminist and political activist
Mila Mosafer, Feminist, and political activist