Thank you for coming out today. As you all know, in the past 4 weeks, the Islamic regime has been under enormous pressure to free a woman at imminent risk of execution in Iran, Sakineh Ashtiani. The worldwide campaign to save Sakineh has not only brought the all of humanity closer together to save Sakineh, but has brought international attention to 31 years of the Islamic Republic’s systematic atrocities against Iranian people. The world is now talking about the more than 100,000 people who have been executed, and the hundreds of thousands imprisoned, tortured, raped and disabled by these murderers. The world is now talking about genocide in Iran, about crimes against the whole of humanity, about one of the worst massacres since the WWII.
The Iranian peoples’ uprising since “election 2009” and their ongoing struggle has changed the way the world looks at Iran. People finally understand that Iran, unlike what it has been portrayed as, is not a “Muslim society,” in an incomprehensible harmony with the rule of Islam. Rather, it is a society of deepest contrast: a modern, freedom- and equality-loving people, and a barbaric, medieval regime in which this unmanageable “harmony” could only be made possible through public hanging, stoning, rape, and torture; in other words, naked public terror.
Neda Agha Soltan put an end to that portrait a bit more than a year ago. In the world’s eyes, Neda represents Iranian women, Iranian people: a society defying a savage Islamic regime.
Now, a bit more than a year later, Sakineh, a woman who does not give up her right to live, her right to seek justice, has deepened that new, realistic portrait. It shows a picture of a regime that has, in the past 31 years, committed the most barbaric crimes against Iranian people, yet has been accepted and embraced as the representative of the people of Iran, as a “legitimate” government, by the international community!
As a result, the Islamic Republic is now more politically isolated than ever.
This isolation is not another diplomatic scenario aligned with certain political or economic leverages. This isolation, this condemnation, is of a different substance. This disgust with the Islamic regime, this sympathy with the Iranian people, is supported by the hearts and minds of millions of people across the world. This animosity against the barbarity of the Islamic regime and this intimacy with the Iranian people – these things are here to stay, are here to grow even deeper, are even here to change the nature of the relationship between the countries. The whole world, all of us, find ourselves today behind the same barricade with the Iranian people.
The calls that emanate from Iran, from the earliest post-election videos, to the use of social media to communicate across borders, to the letters from Sakineh’s children have met the ears of a world that has shown understanding, selflessness and compassion. The call from Iran and the response from the world has catalyzed a movement that benefits not only the people of Iran in their struggle against the Islamic regime but the whole human race.
The Islamic regime of Iran can not exist for a second without a reign of terror, without execution, stoning, imprisonment, and barbaric torture; and through the campaign for Sakineh, the world is learning that she is not the only one in imminent danger of execution. The Islamic regime, now under immense pressure from the world, more than ever needs to re-establish its already weakened barbaric authority over the people. Killings of people on all kinds of Islamic charges are continuing.
Jafar Kazemi, Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei, Abdolreza Ghanbari, Ahmad Daneshpour and his son Mohsen, Javad Lari, Ali Saremi, and Zeinab Jalalian are all political prisoners at imminent risk of execution because of alleged membership in organizations opposed to the regime. Mohammad-Reza Haddadi, who was sentenced to execution as a 15 year old, which is forbidden under international law, can be executed at any moment. Sakineh is still just a stone’s throw away from execution.
There are many others in prison who are being slowly and excruciatingly executed by this regime: the condition of Hamed Rouhinejad, a young man whose treatment for multiple sclerosis is being withheld, is worsening every day. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a children’s rights activist, was beaten to within an inch of his life before being deposited at Evin prison. He has now disappeared. His mother has also written a letter to the world, pleading for justice for her child.
It is under these grave circumstances that we come together here today to demand an immediate end to all executions in Iran, and to demand the immediate release of ALL political prisoners.
We are here to say to the Islamic regime that WE are not going away. WE stand with the Iranian people to the end, until the fall of the Islamic regime.
WE are here to say to our national governments that WE do not accept and WE do not tolerate recognition of a regime that “governs” through murder, torture and rape, whose official domestic policies are comprised of nothing more than savagery and barbarity.
WE are here to say: NOT ONE MORE EXECUTION.
MISSION FREE IRAN
August 5, 2010