Event Reports, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Prepared Remarks from Mission Free Iran’s Statement at the August 26, 2010, Press Conference in Washington DC

These are Mission Free Iran’s prepared remarks for the August 26 press conference, held by Mina Ahadi and Maria Rohaly at the University of Maryland’s Riggs Alumni Center. The press conference lasted about 2 hours, beginning with Mina’s statement and presentation of new documents relevant to the case, followed by this statement. A substantial question-and-answer session followed. Iranian, Brazilian, and American media were in attendance, as was a representative of an NGO (Equality Now) and several members of the public.

Our organization, Mission Free Iran, emerged in the wake of the June 2009 elections to echo outside of Iran the demands for freedom, equality, and social justice that continue to be articulated by the ongoing uprising inside Iran. Yet stoning people to death flies in the face of concepts like freedom, equality, and social justice. We understand the political importance of gruesome acts like stoning and public execution to the Islamic Republic, and that is why we have put our full efforts behind the campaign to free Sakineh, and behind the 100 Cities protests.

Without the horrors of stoning, the horrifying spectacle of people being hung publicly from cranes for everyone to witness the regime’s brutality, without the mass graves of Khavaran and the terror of Kahrizak and other prisons in Iran – without the ever-present threat of death, rape, and torture, the Islamic Republic would cease to exist. Because it is not the legitimate government of people in Iran.

Without imposing death sentences on political prisoners like Jafar Kazemi, Zeinab Jalalian, Ebrahim Hamidi, and Shiva Nazar Ahari, among thousands of others, people in Iran would bring an end to this regime without hesitation.

Violence, execution and stoning are the only measures that the Islamic Republic has to solve its problem – its lack of legitimacy as the government of people in Iran. In order to stifle dissent, this regime must resort to the basest forms of savagery to terrorize people into silence.

So when Sakineh’s children reached out to the people of the world to stop the execution of their mother – because as they have said, there is no justice in Iran – we all could respond in only one very human way – we echoed the demands of people in Iran that the stonings and killings must stop. Right now.

Although the people of the world have been asked to support the freedom-seeking people in Iran, we must be very clear that neither military interventions nor economic sanctions have ever solved this kind of problem. And we have only to look as far as Iraq and Afghanistan to see evidence of that. Those kinds of measures only result in the deaths of people, in hurting people. They only create more problems.

The only humane, ethical way to rid society of the problem of the Islamic Republic is through unconditional support of Iranian people in their struggle against this regime, and in their fight for their human rights.

This form of humane support is not only the request of people in Iran. As we witness the 100 Cities protests against stoning gearing up for this weekend, it is plain to see that people on every continent – except Antarctica – are coming to the street to demand an end to the brutality and stoning and execution in Iran. This is a global demand for recognition of the human rights of people in Iran. And by extension, it is a global demand for the recognition of human rights of people around the world.

It should be understood that the campaign to save Sakineh and put an end to stoning in Iran and around the world will continue beyond August 28. With all of the organizations that have been working together on this campaign to stop stoning and execution, we will move the campaign to the next level.

We are going to see to it that, as women are the main victims of this regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran is going to be removed from the UN Commission on the Status of Women. A regime that enforces gender apartheid and stones women to death has no place on an international, UN commission whose sole function is to work to promote gender equality. It is like asking an apartheid-era South Africa to sit on a commission working for racial equality. We will not tolerate the Islamic Republic on the women’s commission. They have no place at the table.

We will demand that the Islamic Republic be removed from the World Health Organization, because it forces medical professionals, to gouge out peoples’ eyes, to cut off their hands and feet, not for the purpose of healing them, but as part of a barbaric penal code that belongs to a pre-medieval era. The Islamic Republic pressed medical professionals into service to abort the 6-month-old fetus of Maryam Ghorbanzadeh, so that the regime could hasten this woman’s execution. The regime routinely withholds medical treatment from political prisoners in greatest need of it, including Hamid Rouhinejad, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is refused medication as a form of punishment. His condition worsens every day. They do the same to many others, including Isa Saharkhiz and Mansour Osanloo.

Such a regime has no place on an international body, the purpose of which is to promote health and well-being.

We will also push for a UN resolution that criminalizes stoning by whoever commits the act, wherever it is committed – by it by an individual, an organization, or a government. Stoning must be abolished worldwide.

To do this, we need people in the street and we need to organize our efforts in such a way that politicians and governments understand that there is not a way out of this. The UN and its constituent governments should understand very clearly that people worldwide demand an end to stoning, and we will continue to push for a resolution to end this barbarism until we get it.

We call on all Iranians in the diaspora who cannot tolerate this regime any longer to join these efforts. We call on all honorable people, Iranian AND non-Iranian, to join this movement. And we make a special call to the American people to ensure that if Ahmadinejad attempts to enter the United States of America in September for the UN General Assembly meeting, we will not allow him to set one single foot inside this country.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Prepared Remarks from Mission Free Iran’s Statement at the August 26, 2010, Press Conference in Washington DC

  1. Maria,
    Thanks for everything you do defending the rights of millions of oppressed people all around the world. I am really impressed and have been trying to be supportive of your campaigns since you organized Mission Free Iran.

    I like the statment above, however I have a feeling that there is too much focus on the symptoms of the problems rather than the cause and the most realistic solutions and that’s the reason the barbaric occupying IR regime in Iran has increased its human rights crimes as a mean to distract us from what can really end all these crimes once and for all which is regime change.

    In my opinion:

    1- the dictatorship in iran is the worst type of dictatorship because it follows Sharia laws, based on Sharia law, the society should be ruled the same way barbaric Arabs of 1,400 years ago were ruled. This is not Khamanei or Rafsanjani doing the stoning, raping, killing and torturings, they are just the heads of the state, it’s the Sharia based system and constitution that not only justifies such barbaric

    Posted by cyrus | August 27, 2010, 11:02 pm
  2. In my opinion:
    1- the dictatorship in iran is the worst type of dictatorship because it follows Sharia laws, based on Sharia law, the society should be ruled the same way barbaric Arabs of 1,400 years ago were ruled. This is not Khamanei or Rafsanjani doing the stoning, raping, killing and torturings, they are just the heads of the state, it’s the Sharia based system and constitution that not only justifies, but orders such barbaric acts. It’s the judicial system, law enforcement, all the social and moral organizations designed to oppress the people in order to continue supporting terrorism all around the world by looting the Iranian people’s wealth

    So it would’ve been much better if the campaign was aimed against Sharia law and Sharia system and stoning as one of the example of the barbaric Sharia and Islamic laws. stoning is not Iranian, it’s Arab-Islamic.there was not stoning in Iran before Islam nor during the secular Pahlavi government.

    2- your statement indicates no sanctions and no military actions, just support human rights. Do you really think the iranian regime and its greedy and mostly dictator allies really care about what the world thinks of them or have any respect for other people’s conncerns? Based on their belief all non-Muslims are concidered as lower grade of humans, no different than the way the Nazis thought of the Jews or slave masters thought of their masters, as a matter of fact slavery was invented by the Muslims who transformed slave trade as the most profitable business of the time and the Europeans couldn’t resist the free labor and ended up buying the trades (Islam not only allowes slavery, but encourages Muslims to conquer the infidels’ land and slave them of don’t submit to Islam, the genocides in Sudan and Nigeria are also according to Sharia law and some of the Muslim groups doing them secretly receive support from Arab countries)

    The biggest enemy of mankind in the 1st 1/2 of 20th century was the Nazi and other facsist movements, we destroyed them, the biggest enemy of mankind in the 2nd half was communism, they got destroyed from within and the remainig ones will soon fade away and now the biggest enemy of mankind in the 1st 1/2 of the 21st century is Sharia law and Islamic extremism/terrorism, we’ll fight them while helping the oppressed people under Sharia dictatorships free themselves, I don’t think we can free Saudi Arabia so soon because their societies are at least a 1000 years behind civilization, but the people of Iran are different, they know that their biggest enemy is Sharia law and have been fighting it for 31 years and need our help and support to succeed.

    Sharia law is the enemy of mankind, not just the Iranian people’s, 9/11 was led by the extremists who strongly believed in Sharia law, US soldiers are getting killed in Iraq and Afghanistan with the extremists who hate democract and strongly believe in Sharia laws.

    Posted by cyrus | August 28, 2010, 12:05 am
  3. 3- sanctions: there several different types of sanctions, blocking you tube will definitly help the regime continue its oppression without worrying about global media, but a finiancial sanctions or oil sanctions against IR and IRGC will result in weakening the regime, similar or even stronger results as national workers strikes. Sanctions are one of the ways to shift the balance of power in Iran in favor of the people.

    The best way to show support to the Iranian people is by imposing sanctions against the regime’s human rights crimes, such as taking away voting rights at the UN, expelling /deporting IR diplomats, freezing the IR human rights violators’ bank accounts and convicting them to crimes in the international courts, red marking anyone affiliated with the IR regime as a suspect of crimes against humanity and sponsoring terrorism & authorizing all governments all around the world to arrest, investigate, deny entry and so on. There are 1000’s of human rights sanctions I can name that can put the regime and all its thugs under extreme pressure

    4- military strike: I’m against bombing Iran at this point, but I also see certain military scenarios as the best and most guaranteed ways to get rid of the Iranian regime as long as some Iranian groups are in charge of the strategic operations, as we say in Persian “ba yek tir do neshan zadan” meaning hit 2 targets with one shot. Destroy IR’s strike capabilities while giving the Iranian people to take advatage and get rid of the regime, in a US-Iran scenario, the Iranian people will take US’s side as long as the mission is not destruction.

    Posted by cyrus | August 28, 2010, 12:05 am
    • Thanks for this, dear Cyrus. :)

      I agee with most all of what you have said here. And I completely agree with what you have said regarding my miss on being more specific about diplomatic sanctions:

      “The best way to show support to the Iranian people is by imposing sanctions against the regime’s human rights crimes, such as taking away voting rights at the UN, expelling /deporting IR diplomats, freezing the IR human rights violators’ bank accounts and convicting them to crimes in the international courts, red marking anyone affiliated with the IR regime as a suspect of crimes against humanity and sponsoring terrorism & authorizing all governments all around the world to arrest, investigate, deny entry and so on. There are 1000′s of human rights sanctions I can name that can put the regime and all its thugs under extreme pressure.”

      and your focus on Shari’a law. As I was typing this up from my notes, I was like, “Did I really not manage to be more explicit about diplomatic sanctions in my statement?” It’s honestly been too long without sleep. Good thing is that we were able to highlight those more during the question and answer session. But it would have been good to expand the focus more internationally especially regarding Shari’a law and the atrocities that are committed in a large number of countries as a result of Shari’a law. If I can turn my brain on for tomorrow’s demo, I will try to incorporate some of this international perspective regarding Shari’a too. :)

      Thanks again, Cyrus. :)
      xoxo
      Maria

      Posted by missionfreeiran | August 28, 2010, 12:55 am
  4. I am going to copy-paste my comments here and write a new blog

    Posted by cyrus | August 28, 2010, 12:09 am

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