21 June 2009

Statement on Iran

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani
, attended a rally for Mir Hussein Moussavi. Iranian state
television reported on Sunday that Ms. Hashemi and four other
members of the family had been arrested.
Photograph/Caption: New York Times.

By all accounts the political situation in Iran has become increasingly dire. At The Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan has posted a statement that "defeated" reform candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi issued yesterday. From the perspective of Western liberals (to say nothing of progressives) it is complicated. Having said that there is no reason to remain silent in the face of government repression in Iran.

Political theorist Ramin Jahanbegloo has had his share of confrontational interactions with the theocrats in Iran [1] [2] [3]. You can view an interview with him regarding the Iranian election and subsequent events at ResetDOC. Here is a statement for which Jahanbegloo is soliciting support (it is being circulated by various folks here in the U.S.):

"Dear friends and colleagues,

Ramin Jahanbegloo, an Iranian-Canadian intellectual, has sent us this statement, asking us to solicit the signatures of our editors and writers. Both of us have signed it and urge you to do so. We plan on posting the letter and the names of signatories on our website, and Ramin also plans to send the statement to the New York Times and various other news sources.

If you would like to be added to the list of signatories, please respond to this email or email David Marcus at marcus@dissentmagazine.org

-Michael Walzer and Michael Kazin

We, the undersigned scholars, academics and writers around the world, are concerned about the human rights crisis in Iran. We request the United Nations to condemn the current coup d’état and support Iranians in their demand for a fair and democratic election. Deeply worried by the reports of Iranian paramilitary groups and security forces firing upon and arresting peaceful civilian demonstrators, we demand that the international community act now to prevent further violence and bloodshed. We call on the government of Iran to respect and uphold the right to peaceful protest. We call upon democratic institutions and organizations around the world to condemn government-sponsored violence against peaceful Iranian protestors. We also call on governments around the world to ask the UN Secretary General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Human Rights Council to appoint a UN special commission to monitor the post-election situation in Iran and to inform the Security Council about the arbitrary arrest and detention of student activists and leading reformists in Iran."

You can find insightful analyses on the general situation in Iran at Dissent, openDemocracy, and MERIP Online. Of course, events are quickly outrunning these general assessments.

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