On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic State in Iran, sixteen prominent French figures issued a statement in the French daily newspaper, Le Monde, calling on the French government, especially President Macron, to support the Iranian people’s aspirations for freedom in the face of relentless repression.
Text of the Open Letter:
Like its British and German partners, France intends to preserve the Vienna nuclear agreement signed on July 14, 2015 that the United States withdrew from. This diplomatic decision has caused a lot of ink to flow, and each one of us has an opinion on it. This thorny issue, however, should not obscure the brutal and cruel reality of a religiously based dictatorship that is about to celebrate its fortieth anniversary with great pomp.
What is mostly forgotten in these sinister celebrations is none other than the Iranian people. This nation of eighty million people has suffered for four decades under one of the most repressive and freedom-killing regimes on the planet. A dictatorship governed by medieval laws that imprisons, tortures and executes its own population in the name of a totalitarian pseudo-revolutionary Islamist ideology.
Tehran continues to hold the sad world record of executions per capita. The accession to the presidency of Mr. Rohani, re-elected in 2017, has unfortunately not changed the situation. On the contrary, the situation has worsened. Between 2013 and 2019, more than 3,600 people were executed, more than one execution per day on average, most often by hanging. Among those tortured are many intellectuals, dissidents, feminists, and human rights defenders. These death sentences are issued after unfair trials and without due process.
“This nation of eighty million inhabitants has undergone for four decades one of the most repressive and liberticidal regimes on the planet”
Thousands of people are currently under sentence of death, such as Mohammad Reza Haddad who was only 15 years old at the time of the alleged crime! Remember also that the fundamentalist regime of the mullahs considers “insult to the prophet,” “apostasy,” “homosexuality” or adultery as crimes punishable by death. In the field of fundamental freedoms, the record of the Iranian tyranny is equally disastrous. The year 2018 was marked by an unprecedented intensification of repression of rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.
Women have been particularly targeted by the Iranian theocracy, especially those who have dared to defy the abusive and discriminatory laws imposing the wearing of the hijab. These courageous activists for freedom of religion and belief have taken to the streets, silently brandishing their veil at the end of a stick. The regime has fiercely repressed these peaceful protests. Young protestors have been systematically and arbitrarily arrested, and subjected to cruel and humiliating punishment. Some of them were beaten and flogged, sometimes in public places.
This brutal repression also targeted the wave of protests that began in early 2018. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the country to protest the high cost of living, corruption, and regime nepotism, taking up some of the demands of the “green movement” whose peaceful uprising had been drowned in blood by the henchmen of ultra-conservative autocrat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The blackmail of terror
Despite massive arbitrary arrests and heavy prison sentences for protesters, the protests have spread across the country. The protesters’ slogans have diversified and expanded to denounce the exorbitant economic blows of the mullahs’ policy of interference in foreign countries. With cries of “let go of Syria” and “neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life is in Iran,” the Iranian population has risen against the military adventurism of the “Guardians of the Revolution” who have squandered billions of dollars to save, directly or through his militias, the criminal regime of Al-Assad in Syria, thus becoming accomplices of his war crimes.
In a context of worsening economic conditions in the country, the financing of terrorist groups such as Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon with millions of dollars are also criticized by an overwhelmed Iranian population. Holding back from nothing to ensure its survival from the peaceful activism of the opposition, the regime does not hesitate to chase the latter beyond its borders by resorting to state terrorism on the soil of our old European continent.
“Between 2013 and 2019, more than 3,600 people were executed, more than one execution per day on average, most often by hanging.”
On June 6, 2018, two Iranian diplomats were expelled from the Netherlands following an attack on an opponent. On June 30, a bomb attack on the National Council of the Resistance in Iran in Villepinte was foiled. Other attempted attacks against dissidents residing in Albania and Denmark have been foiled.
Finally, remember that the highest ranking officials of the regime regularly deny the Holocaust, and call to have the State of Israel “wiped off the map.” Combining action with words, this warmongering regime is developing an offensive ballistic missile program that can reach Israel, as well as Europe. It intends to use the blackmail of terror to protect its existence and to guard against criticism.
Faced with the systematic and implacable repression of the Islamic Republic, France, the homeland of human rights, cannot remain silent. Our country must stand with the people of Iran and support their aspirations for freedom and democracy. That is why we urge the President to strongly and unreservedly condemn the hardening of the mullahs’ regime, which is guilty of grave and massive human rights violations on a daily basis.
The fortieth anniversary of the mullahs’ regime must be an occasion for reiterating that our country stands alongside those who uphold the values of freedom, justice, and tolerance that are the foundation of our Republic and our democracy.
The signatories of this open letter are:
Nicole Bacharan, political scientist & historian
Elisabeth Badinter, philosopher
Laurent Bouvet, political scientist
Pascal Bruckner, philosopher & essayist
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, politician
Chahdortt Djavann, writer & essayist
Roger-Pol Droit, philosopher & writer
Romain Goupil, director
Marek Halter, writer
Serge Hefez, psychoanalyst & writer
Waleed Al-Husseini, essayist
Jacques Julliard, essayist & writer
Arno Klarsfeld, lawyer
Bernard Kouchner, former minister [of health & foreign affairs]
Corinne Lepage, Lawyer and politician
Éric Mart, writer
François Margolin, director
Kendal Nezan, physician, president of the Kurdish Institute in Paris
Michaël Prazan, documentary filmmaker & writer
Boualem Sansal, writer
Sahand Saber, lawyer
Dominique Simonnet, journalist & writer
Nicolas Tenzer, high ranking official & essayist