January 19, 2018

Dr. H. Akbari Meeting Remarks as written – UN Plaza NYC

Dear Rabbi Zucker, distinguished Guests, dear Friends, progressive press members, ladies and gentlemen:

The Iranian people have been experiencing the oppression and terror of the Islamic republic of mullah’s right after its inception in 1979. They have not been able to practice their rights and choice to dress, speak, eat, drink, write, vote, pray, dance, love, laugh, and live the way they want, and they have paid with their lives, hundreds and thousands of lives, for not giving up these basic rights and dignity.

They have been imprisoned, tortured, executed, and stoned to death by the regime for about a quarter of century and none of these were enough to qualify the IRI as a religious fascism and terrorist. Instead, western governments and media driven by “interest” factor turned a blind eye to horrible situation of Iranian people subjected to the worst type of human rights abuses and terrorism. The “interest” factor made the European countries so eager to establish relation with the IRI and a fierce competition started among them as to which one will take a bigger portion of the profitable one-sided deals with a desperate regime to survive.

The act of terrorism and all crimes and atrocities committed by this regime against Iranian people are not the arbitrary act of some hard liners within the regime. It is the law of the land and written into the constitution of this regime and obeyed by all elements including the President of this regime, Mr. Khatami. For example, the number of the people stoned to death has been the highest during the Presidency of Khatami.

The question before all of us, Iranians, Americans, and Iranian/Americans is how to help those brave Iranian men and women who are fighting for their lives. The brutal suppression of popular protests and uprisings inside Iran and continuing pressures on Iranian refugees and supporters of the Iranian Resistance outside Iran can never silence the outcry of a nation in revolt. The 120,000 women and men of the Iranian Resistance who have been slain by the religious tyranny stand as a testimony to this historical truth. The Iranian people’s resistance and will to attain freedom will conquer the mullahs’ repression and terrorism.

On September 20, the Washington Post reported “HIGH ON THE list of issues so far absent from this year’s presidential campaign debate is Iran, home to a militant Islamic regime that openly sponsors terrorism, foments anti-American resistance in Iraq and has confessed to a secret campaign to acquire the technology needed to produce nuclear weapons. The winner of November’s election may well face the question, during the next four years, of whether to acquiesce in Iran’s achievement of a nuclear capability or take dramatic action to prevent it. Yet it’s no wonder that neither President Bush nor John F. Kerry is eager to talk about it: Neither has developed a convincing plan for avoiding that dilemma.

It may be that Western missteps and the failure of the pro-democracy movement has made a crisis with Iran inevitable. If it is to be avoided, the best chance probably lies between the Bush and Kerry positions: enlistment of the Europeans and Russia in a strategy of mounting pressure and sanctions against Iran that leaves open the option of military preemption but also security guarantees for a regime that abandons nuclear weapons and terrorism. What’s sure is that November’s winner will not have the choice of treading water on Iran for another four years — which is why voters deserve to hear more about it.” The 11th of Oct, is the day of campaign against death penalty. Amnesty International says: Many juveniles are still sentenced to the death penalty, notably in the United States, China, Yemen, Iran, Congo and in Saudi Arabia. However, many international treaties prohibit this practice, in particular the International Convention for the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by every country, to the exception of the United States and Somalia. Can juveniles be targeted when most agree that they have yet to complete their emotional, intellectual and physical development? Participants in this roundtable will explore these issues and discuss Amnesty International’s recently launched campaign against the juvenile death penalty.

Brutal regime of Iran committed another crime and executed, Atefeh Sahaleh, a 16 years old girl on August 15th 2004 in the town of Neka in Province of Mazandaran, northern Iran. She was accused of committing “acts incompatible with chastity and was sentenced to be hanged in public for she had a “sharp tongue” according to the religious judge, Haji Rezaii, who sentenced her to death and put the noose around her neck himself.

Last week it was reported that the Haji rezaii the judge and few other high ranking judicial and security officials were arrested on charges of raping and torturing the victim, Atefeh. But later released due to lack of so called evidences.Shocking though Atefeh’s execution may be, it is consistent with the ideology and practice of the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. The ideology of Islamic fundamentalism contends that women and men are very different beings. Women are said to be intellectually inferior and emotionally unstable, and consequently have to be excluded from decision making positions in society. Women are said to be the embodiment of sexual temptation and sin. That is why their bodies and hair must be covered at all times in public so as not to distract or tempt men. Rules and punishments in society are based on controlling women, through segregation, restrictions on travel, and most importantly, forcing them to conform to the restrictive dress code.

Rajabi was accused of “acts incompatible with chastity.” A man was charged as well. He received 100 lashes and afterwards released (100 lashes are nothing to take too lightly, but it certainly is less than being hanged.) We know that judges and other officials have been caught running prostitution rings Haji Rezaii, the sadistic judge, chose to personally take part in snuffing out her life. He personally put the noose around Rajabi’s neck and gave the signal for the crane to hoist her body into the air.

Afterwards, Rezaii said that his real reason for executing her was her “sharp tongue.” In truth, her real crime was speaking the truth.

International Religious Freedom Report in 2004 states that:
There was no substantive change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. Members of the country’s religious minorities–including Sunni and Sufi Muslims, Baha’is, Jews, and Christians–reported imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Government actions created a threatening atmosphere for some religious minorities, especially Baha’is, Jews, and evangelical Christians.

Iran’s nuclear threat and its sponsorship of terror could be halted only through a regime change policy, not by direct military intervention but by throwing our diplomatic and political weight behind Iranians as they endeavor to oust the regime in Tehran. By reaching out to Iranian dissident forces, we can strike a better balance of power between the regime and its opposition.

Meanwhile, Tehran is on a crash course to reach the nuclear point of no return in its efforts to develop a nuclear arsenal. Having a nuclear weapon is at the heart of Iran’s doctrine of political and military hegemony and strategic survival in the region. Stability in the Persian Gulf region would be seriously undermined if the Iranians succeed in acquiring the A-bomb. The specter of a nuclear-armed Iran – the most active state sponsor of terrorism – is far too ominous to let Tehran’s appeasers in the European Union and apologists in Washington to dictate our nuclear policy.

Moreover, an Iran with nuclear weapons could trigger a wave of proliferation, pressuring Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Algeria to develop their own nuclear forces, and would hamper efforts to rein in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.

Not only does Iran itself have extensive and well-documented ties to terrorists, such a dispersal of weapons technology would increase exponentially the threat of nuclear terrorism from any number of Muslim extremists in the region. Failure to act now also would deal a blow to the already fragile nonproliferation regime. The safeguards and inspections under the NPT have succeeded, albeit belatedly, in proving Iran’s failure to comply with the treaty. Only by prompt enforcement can the treaty stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

The totalitarian nature of the Iranian regime, which thrives on suppression and export of terror, renders it incapable of change. To survive, it kills the thirst for freedom and instills terror. It also exports its brand of fundamentalism and terrorism beyond its borders to conceal its intrinsic inability to resolve problems at home. Thus, it cannot cease this export as long as it rules.

Our blacklisting of Iranian opposition groups, prompted by the Clinton administration’s desire to mollify Tehran, has hampered Iran’s democracy movement and limited our ability to reach out to the democratic opposition groups in Iran. In line with the call by many veteran US policy experts, the U.S. can help its own cause by removing Iran’s main opposition group, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), from the list of foreign terrorist groups. There are sufficient political and legal grounds to do so.

According to the New York Times, following “a 16-month review” and “extensive interviews by officials of the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation” there was not “any basis to bring charges against any members of the group”.

The reports and facts demonstrate the growing number of executions, which increasingly target women and young girls.

According to state-run media in Iran a prisoner was hanged in Minab on September 18, another prisoner in Tehran on September 20 and again a prisoner in Qazvin on September 21. Thus the number of prisoners executed from mid August to mid-September adds up to 19 and the total number of executions since March 2004 has reached at least 120.

The fact is that Iran is perhaps the only country in the world today where the overwhelming majority of its citizens (ninety-four percent according to a government poll two years ago) oppose the clerics. This explains why tens of thousands of Iranians have been imprisoned, tortured or executed by the current government. Unfortunately, Europe’s policy of all carrot and no stick has impeded efforts by Iranians and dissident forces to unseat the regime in Tehran.

On behalf of the national coalition of pro-democracy advocates I call upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights “to prepare the grounds for the condemnation of the Iranian regime in the ongoing session of the United Nations General Assembly for flagrant violations of human rights” and “to appoint a special representative to pursue the human rights situation in Iran.