Statement on Iran by Engaged Scholars

From Juan Cole:

Statement by 40 Engaged Scholars

Human Beings are Members of a Whole’
Protecting the Iranian Civil Society

Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.

If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.

If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.

–A poem by the Persian poet Sa’adi (1210 – 1290) gracing the entrance of the Hall of Nations of the United Nations building in New York City

If we speak out against the threat of force against Iran (regarding the nuclear conflict) and warn against a military strike, we cannot be silent on the use of force in Iran itself against its own civil society. For solidarity with the civil society and a peaceful order in the region constitute the primary concern of our efforts. If we condemn foreign sanctions against the Iranian people, we deplore all the more domestic sanctions directed at peaceful demonstrators, journalists, trade unionists, professors, students and others. Thereby the government deprives itself from the domestic basis needed against foreign threats.

Not only as individuals but also conjointly as a group of engaged scholars, we want to announce our resolute protest against the brutal clampdown of demonstrators and against the mass arrests, and strongly advise a peaceful dialogue with the civil society. We call upon the government to release all political prisoners of the last few weeks – amongst them many professors – and to seek dialogue with precisely those persons as moderators of the civil society. Freedom of opinion and the right to demonstrate – cornerstones of the UN Charter of Human Rights to which Iran is a signatory – are being massively violated in today’s Iran.

We strongly remind that the state of siege and the continuing threat of force that have emanated from foreign governments once again fatally demonstrate how thereby the space for a democratic development in Iran are being reduced.

At the same time, we deplore the slanted and misleading depictions of the recent events in Iran in some international media. As supporters of the Iranian civil society, we stress the genuine nature of the protests by the Iranian democracy movement. Composed of various societal strata, the demonstrators first and foremost have advocated free elections and freedom of expression.

Also, it is astonishing that precisely those who have supported crippling sanctions and pushed for preventive strikes against Iran whereby civilians have been and would be harmed, suddenly speak about solidarity with the Iranian people. They only will be convincing when they stand up against sanctions and the threat of force and advocate a peaceful dialogue in the region.

Signed by:

1. Dr. Behrooz Abdolvand, Free University of Berlin & Academic Advisory Board of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII)

2. Prof. Gilbert Achcar, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

3. Dr. Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

4. Ahmad Ahgary, Association of Iranian Scientists and Engineers in Germany (VINI)

5. Prof. Mohammad Ala, Persian Gulf Taskforce & Iran Heritage

6. Tariq Ali, writer, London

7. Dr. Katajun Amirpur, Jesuit School of Philosophy in Munich

8. Dr. Matin Baraki, University of Marburg & Academic Advisory Board of CASMII

9. Angelika Beer, Co-Chair of the EastWest Institute’s Parliamentarian Network for Conflict Prevention and Human Security, Brussels

10. Dr. Bettina Bouresh, Archive of the Regional Authority (Landschaftsverband) Rhineland, Germany

11. Reiner Braun, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) & Academic Advisory Board of CASMII

12. Prof. Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University

13. Prof. Hans-Peter Dürr, Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) 1987 & Patron of the International Munich Peace Conferences

14. Prof. Abbas Edalat, Imperial College London & Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII)

15. Ali Fathollah-Nejad, University of Münster & Academic Advisory Board of CASMII

16. Prof. Sasan Fayazmanesh, California State University, Fresno

17. Prof. Ali Gorji, University of Münster

18. Homeira Heidary, “Panorama Hindukush” Festival, Cologne

19. Foaad Khosmood, University of California at Santa Cruz & CASMII International Steering Committee

20. Prof. Mohssen Massarrat, University of Osnabrück & Academic Advisory Board of CASMII

21. Naz Massoumi, convenor of Campaign Iran, London

22. Prof. Georg Meggle, University of Leipzig

23. Prof. Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh, Tarbiat Modares University of Tehran & Urosevic Research Foundation, London

24. Tobias Pflüger, former MEP (German Left Party) & Information Agency Militarization (IMI), Tübingen (Germany)

25. Daniel M. Pourkesali, U.S. Board of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII)

26. Prof. Ahad Rahmanzadeh, University of Bonn & & Academic Advisory Board of CASMII

27. Sanaz Raji, University of Leeds & London School of Economics and Political Science

28. Lt. Col. Jürgen Rose, German Air Force, Munich

29. Prof. Werner Ruf, University of Kassel & Academic Advisory Board of CASMII

30. Prof. Dr. Nader Sadeghi, George Washington University, Washington D.C.

31. Prof. Muhammad Sahimi, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

32. Dr. Sabine Schiffer, Institute for Media Responsibility (IMV), Erlangen (Germany)

33. Dr. Yvonne Schmidt, University of Graz & Academic Advisory Board of CASMII

34. Prof. Ursula Schumm-Garling, Sociologist, Frankfurt

35. Miriam Shabafrouz, German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg

36. Siba Shakib, author & filmmaker

37. Prof. Albert Stahel, University of Zurich & Academic Advisory Board of CASMII

38. Dr. Rainer Werning, political scientist & author (Germany)

39. Kaveh Yazdani, University of Osnabrück (Germany)

40. Azadeh Zamirirad, University of Potsdam (Germany)


2 Responses to Statement on Iran by Engaged Scholars

  1. George says:

    I was personally an ardent supporter of the engagement policy until June 12th elections. How does it make sense to argue that the events surrounding the election and the continued struggle of the Iranian people should not change our approach/policy with Iran? Do you think your statement will be sufficient for the Iranian regime to change course and decide to adhere to the basic principles of Huam Rights? Are you going to pursue the right’s of 30+ who lost their lives simply for wanting their basic civil rights?

  2. Megan says:

    George, you hit the nail on the head.

    Those who advocate policy of engagement in Iran are naive and do not know pathology of current regime psychic. For Iranian regime policy of engagement by the west is a sign of weakness and an affirmation of the regime myth. Those who believe if they talk pretty and walk softly they will succeed in any negotiation with Iran Islamic Republic are buffoons. The only way to save innocent lives and restore democracy and basic civil rights in Iran is to recognize the current system of the government in Iran for what it truly is, a mafia family and that it operates like a drug cartel. If negotiation and policy of engagement has worked with drug cartels then it can work in Iran.

    By the way, the number of people who have lost their lives since June 12, 2009 is close to 100. That is not including those dead bodies kept in morgue. Many people are still given runaround and send to different detention centers and Iranian Kangaroo Revolutionary court for whereabouts of their loved ones. According to Human Rights Organization 2500 people have been detained since June 12 election. Iranians on the ground believe this number is grossly underestimated and it is more close to 5000.
    Incidentally, Human rights abuses did not start after 2009 election but it has been ongoing for 30 years since the inception of Islamic Republic. Men and women have been tortured, raped, and murdered and those who survived physical abuses and served their jail terms are emotionally crippled for life and often rearrested again and again.

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