Thursday, August 6, 2009

NYC Against Ahmadi Petition to Mayor Bloomberg

To: The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg,

Mayor of the City of New York


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

City Hall

New York, NY 10007

USA


Honorable Mayor, 


The Green Movement of the Iranian People cries out with a single voice: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not Iran’s President. Please do not allow him to speak in that capacity at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, and do not grant him the protection of the New York Police Department. If the Obama Administration fails the Iranian people, take it upon yourself to stand up against the State Department and let your voice be America’s response to Iranians’ valiant fight to join and expand the free world.


You have no doubt been following the contemporary endeavor of Iranians, since the landslide election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997, to peacefully reform their constitution and alter their structures of governance in a manner conducive to the protection of universal human rights. This movement is an extension of a century-long struggle for freedom beginning with the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906–1921 (including the Gilan “Jungle” movement). At its heart lies the wound of the misguided British and American-supported 1953 Coup d’├ętat against Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and his nascent secular democratic Republic. Without this tragic restoration of the repressive monarchy of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the bloody Revolution of 1978-79 would have been unnecessary. 


Saddam Hussein’s US-supported illegal unprovoked invasion of Iran in 1980 forced Iranians to accept the wartime leadership of the theocratic demagogues who hijacked their progressive revolution, broke their promises of a democratic Republic, and executed or exiled socialist and secularist revolutionaries without whom the monarchy could not have been toppled. Once the nation was able to rebuild itself after 8 years of war, and to take a moment to reflect without facing a clear and present danger from across its border, Iranians began to fight to take back their revolution – the one that began in 1906, was stalled in 1953, and hijacked in 1979. France also required three or four revolutions in one (namely 1789, 1830, 1848, and 1968) to establish a free Republic for all citizens.


Despite his genial attitude, and his inspiring humanitarian rhetoric, President Khatami failed to carry out his program of reform. He stood by helplessly during the serial murders of intellectuals by intelligence agents and militias, was powerless in the face of theocratic checks on the power of Parliament, and the closures of reformist newspapers and civil society organizations by unelected theocratic authorities. Some feel that Khatami betrayed young pro-reform Iranians who rose up against the crackdown in July of 1999 only to be beaten, arrested, and tortured. It was in view of this experience that many Iranians decided to boycott the 9th Presidential Elections of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2005, leading to the so-called ‘election’ of hard-line candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with only the approval of a minority of eligible voters. 


Unfortunately the symbolic message of the electoral boycott was lost both on the theocratic dictatorship and the international community. In his words and deeds, ‘President’ Ahmadinejad went on to utterly disgrace the highly civilized Iranian people and the 2,500 year-old Persian culture before the eyes of the world. Iranians learned a bitter lesson from this boycott. The people, 70% of them under the age of 30, decided to give change from within the system one last chance. Adopting the symbolism of the color Green (Life, Spring, a new beginning, and also – to be safe – the sacred color of Islam), in May and early June the Iranian masses launched a presidential campaign of unprecedented energy and enthusiasm for Mir Hossein Mousavi, who received former President Khatami’s endorsement as the most able, reform-minded and humanitarian candidate approved by the Islamic Republic’s theocratic vetting councils. 


Iranians were encouraged by the successful election campaign of Barack Hussein Obama in the United States, and galvanized by President Obama’s repeated rhetorical overtures – especially his Persian New Year message to the Iranian people, which concluded with a quotation from this poem by Saadi of Shiraz, inscribed at the entrance to the Hall of Nations at the UN Headquarters in our city: 


“Adam’s children are but limbs of one body,

Created out of a single essential treasure.

Should the vicissitudes of time afflict one member,

The others at ease cannot remain.

If you have no sympathy for the suffering of others,

The name ‘Human Being’ you cannot retain.” 


Many hoped that if Mousavi were to be elected, President Obama’s extended hand to Iran would allow Mousavi to domestically accomplish what Khatami could not, especially after the bellicose Bush Administration came to power early in Khatami’s second term. In the days leading up to the 10th Presidential Election of the Islamic Republic of Iran on June 12 (22 Khordad) people gathered at mass rallies unseen since the 1979 Revolution and chanted slogans warning that fraud would lead to a national explosion, while the Pasdaran (Islamic Guard Corps) issued a statement that any attempt at a ‘velvet revolution’ in Iran would be mercilessly crushed.


Hopefully, the above highly condensed account has put the horrifying events that have taken place in Iran since June 12, 2009 in historical and intellectual context. A fraud involving millions of votes (perhaps as many as 11 million) was perpetrated on that day. Paramilitary forces attacked President-Elect Mir Hossein Mousavi’s campaign headquarters, and the Interior Ministry and other government organs violated the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran by immediately ratifying the fraud election figures. I refer you to a study by Chatham House and the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, which indicates that for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to have won by the alleged margin, he would have had to garner the votes of all hardliners, all moderates, and about 44% of reformists and progressives. The dramatic increase in voter participation over previous elections would also have had to go entirely in his favor. Anyone who understands the least bit about the Iranian electorate knows that this is simply an impossible scenario. Actually, it is an absurd farce.


Despite massive demonstrations against the fraud by Iranians united in the slogan of “Where is my vote?” – some of which drew crowds of 2-3 million people in Tehran – the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the unelected Guardian Council both put their stamps of approval on the ‘reelection’ of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by a 2-to-1 margin over Mir Hossein Mousavi (with other candidates allegedly not even wining their own home towns or core constituencies). Mousavi vowed to contest the claims of the Interior Ministry and was placed under house arrest for intermittent periods. Russia and China were quick to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his reelection, with China going so far as to publicly demand that the Iranian people stop demonstrating and unite behind Ahmadinejad’s government (the Chavez Administration of Venezuela did the same). In his first Friday sermon after the crisis, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei violated people’s right to peaceful demonstrations (without need of a permit) under the I.R.I. Constitution (so long as the demonstrations are not anti-Islamic) by demanding an end to these demonstrations, and warning the opposition that it would be responsible for any ensuing violence.


When brave Iranians defied the Supreme Leader’s illegal demand, paramilitary and militia forces loyal to him and other hardliners followed up their threat of a crackdown. Khamenei went so far as to import Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas (both of whom immediately congratulated Ahmadinejad), to outsource the repression of his own people to these Arab fighters more loyal to his fundamentalist ideology. The latter do not understand Persian, and could be relied on not to cave into pleas like “brother, why are you beating me – aren’t you Iranian?” Thousands of people were arrested or simply disappeared without any due process of law and in violation of their rights  (to an attorney, to the filing of formal charges, and notification of families) as granted in the Islamic Republic constitution itself, let alone international human rights covenants signed by the Iranian government. Predictably, the best human rights lawyers themselves feature prominently among those arrested. Unidentified men without uniforms abducted people from their homes; the homes of others were violently raided under the cover of darkness filling the night with haunting screams and the sound of breaking glass. Many of those arrested, including members of the Khatami administration, are being tortured to extract false confessions of participating in a foreign plot for a ‘velvet revolution’ in Iran. 


Most disturbingly, many tens of persons have been martyred in the cause of freedom since June 12, 2009 – their collective face having become that of Neda Agha Sultan, a 26-year girl who was a graduate student of Philosophy, and who died fearlessly, with open eyes, after being shot through the heart without cause by a militiaman loyal to Khamenei. The official death toll is liable to climb into many hundreds as the badly injured are taken from hospitals and into prisons before receiving proper treatment, and their families belatedly discover that only their corpses remain in those prisons, as in the case of Sohrab Erabi. The dead bodies of many others, some savagely cut in half by axes, have been secreted away and dumped in mass grave storage facilities. Some families who have been able to retrieve the corpses of their loved ones have had to pay the government exorbitant sums per bullet ‘wasted’ by being fired into their bodies, while others have had to sign statements that their child died in some kind of ‘accident’ so as to not add them to the official death toll. They have been denied public funerals in mosques or proper burials at cemeteries.


Despite widespread condemnation of this horrific repression of non-violent demonstrations from within the upper echelons of the political and clerical establishment of the Islamic Republic itself, the mafia that perpetrated this Chinese and Russian supported Coup d’├ętat managed to swear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into his second term as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prominent spokespersons of the Green Movement – such as Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Shirin Ebadi in Europe, and Fatemeh Haqiqatjou and Akbar Ganji in New York – have consistently asked all governments and international organizations to politically boycott Ahmadinejad’s illegal administration. The Green Movement is opposed to any foreign military intervention in Iran or economic sanctions that would only make it harder for Iranians to come out into the streets to protest. It is also against even tacit diplomatic recognition of the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei government. Given international moral support and sufficient time (the 1978-79 Revolution took 14 months), the freedom movement will emerge triumphant and turn Iran into a beacon of light for that entire region of our planet. 


While the City of New York is bound to honor the host nation’s commitments of the United States of America to the United Nations Organization, including access of foreign dignitaries to the UN headquarters, the City is not obliged to put its stamp of approval on a terrorist cult that has committed crimes against humanity and is illegal even according to Iran’s present constitution. The General Assembly has been addressed by leaders of civil war torn nations with no clear government at all, or total dictatorships wherein there has been no democratic expression of overwhelming opposition to the government. These states lack the sophisticated civil society of Iran, a nation that can only be compared to a handful of the most influential and oldest continuous civilizations on Earth. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been formally rejected by the votes of the majority of Iran’s people, as well as by prominent members of the political and religious establishment in Iran. To allow him to return behind the General Assembly podium would destroy any remaining legitimacy that the United Nations may have. Such a betrayal of Iranians being tortured and dying for freedom would leave an indelible stain on our incomparably magnificent and beloved City of New York, endangering its status as the de-facto capital of an emerging cosmopolitan world order.


There have been prominent demonstrations in solidarity with the Iranian people on six continents. Here in New York, Iranian-Americans, Iranians studying abroad, and sympathetic New Yorkers have held protests in front of the United Nations headquarters and at other locations repeatedly, since the June 12 Coup in Iran. On July 25, 2009, United for Iran (www.united4iran.org) led 2,500 people in a march from Times Square to the United Nations. These events have been peaceful, hopeful, and positive and those of us who participated in them are grateful for the exemplary conduct of the New York Police Department. However, if you allow the NYPD to grant this holocaust-denying butcher of his own people protection that facilitates his representation of Iran at the UN General Assembly, the attitude of Iranian-Americans and other concerned New Yorkers towards you and the NYPD could change for the worse. Future demonstrations might then unfortunately take the form of a civil disobedience that draws the troubles on the streets of Tehran into the streets of New York. 


With sincere and profound respect,


Jason Reza Jorjani, an Iranian-American proud to be a native New Yorker, on behalf of The Undersigned New Yorkers who stand in solidarity with the Green Movement of the Iranian People:


petition@nyc-against-ahmadi.org

Please sign by sending your full name and zip code to this email address, but only if you are a New Yorker – broadly defined to include Greater Metro Area commuters to NYC and native New Yorkers now residing elsewhere.


1. Richard Power

2. Shahram Hashemi

3. Eve Pomerantz

4. Susane Ruggles

5. Leonard Petrakos

6. Rose Marie Woulfe

7. Diana Francis Tackett

8. Kaoru Naomi Katayama

9. Michael Sussman

10. Harold Meth

11. Susan Power

12. Fereidun Q. Jorjani

13. Madelyn Etkind

14. Michael Radparvar

15. David Radparvar

16. Laurence Alaimo

17. Regina Deluise

18. Arien Mack

19. Frederick John Katz III

20. Deborah Allen

21. Eric Talbert

22. Geraldine L. Sherwood

23. Annette Paveletz

24. Dr. Fariborz Baghai

25. Ali Abtahi

26. Hatef Mottaghi

27. Arman Shagolami

28. Hossein Amirthmasebi

29. Abbas Sheybani

30. Steven Monash

31. Lili Rezayi

32. Ray Ahmad

33. Marian Williams

34. John Ahmadi

35. Leila Shahabi

36. Amir Moghaddam

37. Pedram Soltani

38. Majid Mohammadi

39. Dara Niruyi

40. Reza Mofid

41. Navid Omrani

42. Essi Rust

43. Mozhi Dolat

44. Nima Andishe

45. Katayoon Fallah

46. Ramtin Sarvari

47. Sara Nour

48. Soodabeh Safamehr