A call from and to people in the U.S. to join and develop the campaign for political prisoners in Iran right now.
Since October 2020, a new rash of widespread, illegal and illegitimate crackdowns against political and social activists was carried out in Iran by the brutal regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). Among those arrested are supporters of labor movements, teachers, students, and family members of known activists, Baha’i religious forces, long-time and recent liberal, radical and revolutionary dissidents against the reactionary IRI.
Most of these prisoners are being held without any charges or trial, but at least one (a secretary of the Tehran Teachers Center) is charged with “collusion against the security of the state” and given two years in prison. That is, many are unidentified with no known charges or access to lawyers, which is a violation of the human rights and basic legal rights of the accused.
Beside imprisonment, they face rape, torture, execution, now torment and death by coronavirus infection. Some of these political prisoners are dehumanized in solitary confinement in Evin prison, a notorious torture and death chamber, including several who have dual citizenships with German (and other) passports that have been confiscated by the IRI without cause.
These raids coincided closely with the one-year anniversary of the November 2019 uprising that had rocked Iran. The IRI fears the resistance forces inside Iran who were planning to hold commemorations of that rebellion. Set off by massive inflation, high unemployment and a harsh economic slowdown brought on by cruel U.S. sanctions, mass protests engulfed 100-200 large and small cities across Iran in 2019. The Islamic regime responded not only with mass arrests but water cannons, tear gas, live ammunition fired from rooftops, helicopters and police forces on the ground—shooting some protesters at close range or as they were running away. Estimates are of hundreds killed (some were children), thousands wounded and arrested with reports of hospitals overflowing with the wounded. The IRI blacked out the internet to hide the true scale and scope of their murderous rampage on protesters and its aftermath.
If the modern history of Iran has shown us anything, it is the irrepressible heroic spirit of generations of Iranian people against oppressive regimes. A people who resisted the CIA coup in 1953; who overthrew the U.S. puppet Shah Pahlavi’s blood-soaked rule in the revolution of 1979; who for the past 40+ years, rose up repeatedly against a theocracy that had taken power with the help of the U.S. The resistance continues even as the IRI had massacred tens of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, and as generations of women have been imprisoned and tortured for refusing forced hijab and medieval Sharia law.
U.S. imperialists such as U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo have NO right to speak when it comes to the suffering they help inflict on people in Iran. Years of vicious U.S. sanctions have served to batter the body and spirit of the 80+ million people in Iran—depriving them of food, medicine, books, fuel and other daily necessities but providing a club to the IRI to beat down any dissent as “support for U.S. imperialism.” Recent threats by the fascist Trump/Pence regime towards Iran, the Trump-ordered murder of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in January 2020, and now the suspicious murder of top Iranian nuclear scientist Moshen Fakhrizadeh are all vile aggressions by the U.S. These acts may also give further impetus for the IRI to crack down under vague “national security” and “foreign meddling” accusations against all forms of opposition to its rule.
The U.S. and IRI regimes have their interests, but the people of these countries have our interests. It is in the interest of the people all over the world to unite and defend the political prisoners of Iran whose lives and dignity are in mortal and imminent danger. People in the U.S. have a special responsibility and opportunity to unite across all social and political movements or divides against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that will bring even more horrific suffering to the people of Iran.
We support all political protesters against the IRI and the U.S. inside and outside Iran. We join the urgent cries for justice and freedom by each new wave of Iranian political prisoners. We are taking up the fight now to free them ahead of fresh atrocities and deaths. Free all political prisoners in Iran until every cage is empty.
This statement was initiated by Carol Downer and Dolly Veale (November 2020).
To sign this solidarity statement, to join this effort or for more information, please email FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNOW@gmail.com.
Suggested solidarity actions:
- We urge that you endorse/sign and circulate the above statement or make your own statement to news media, and organizations you belong to. In either case, or for more info, email us at FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNOW@gmail.com
- Contact human rights and legal organizations (Amnesty International, ACLU, National Lawyers Guild, etc) to take action for the release of these political prisoners in Iran as part of their human rights efforts.
- Organize mass film screenings on Zoom and Facebook to expose the IRI and U.S. political repression and other crimes in Iran (e.g., Coup 53 by Taghi Arimani, Taxi by Jafar Panahi, Nasrin by Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross, etc.).
- Call your own or join protests against U.S. war moves on Iran and in support of Iranian political prisoners. Call or join a protest, do banner drops, and hold cultural events on December 10—International Human Rights Day.
- Demand the German government secure the release of German-Iranian dual citizens from Iran’s Prison and Torture Chambers. The German Consul General’s contact info in Los Angeles is 6222 Wilshire Blvd, Unit 500, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Phone: +1 323 930 2703. In New York, it is 871 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017. Phone: +1 212 610 9700.