A political prisoner’s urgent plea to the international community
On Saturday, April 22, 2023, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, a political prisoner in the women’s ward of Evin prison, issued a message to the world governments. In her message, she urged these governments to cut diplomatic ties with the regime in Iran, close its embassies, and refrain from supporting the perpetrators of violence against the Iranian people.
It is worth noting that on April 13, 2023, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee received a six-year prison sentence for the charge of “assembly and collusion” and an additional one-year sentence for “propaganda against the state.” These charges were handed down by Tehran’s 26th branch of the Revolutionary Court.
Below, you will find the complete text of her message.
Death became normalized from the very beginning, desensitizing us to what should have been terrifying.
The regime’s leaders received recognition from international assemblies, initiating political and commercial relations that helped expand their political and military power.
Consequently, the defenseless people of Syria were subjected to the fire of these weapons, and protesters inside the country faced the same fate.
Although international assemblies expressed sympathy towards our situation, their response was limited to issuing statements and condemning the regime’s leaders and their affiliates. Diplomatic relations were not cut off.
Meanwhile, domestic organizations and the demands of guilds and unions were ignored, and the regime’s puppet forces were the only ones given attention.
Oppression and War: The Clerical Regime’s First Decade
Death was normalized from the very beginning, as evidenced by the public execution of opponents on the roof of Refah School, carried out by [Mullah Sadeq] Khalkhali and supervised by Khomeini. To ensure greater security, the place of execution was moved to Alavi School, marking the beginning of a killing spree that continues to this day.
[The mullahs] welcomed Saddam’s warmongering, using it to consolidate their power and suppress domestic opposition. The war that could have ended in a ceasefire after several months was instead prolonged for years. The regime resorted to a foreign war to suppress and silence the voice of domestic opposition, justifying poverty and economic disorder.
One year after the UN Resolution 598 was issued, and one year after the dictator of the neighboring country accepted it, Khomeini agreed to sign the resolution and end the war, which had already left countless people dead, captured, or disabled.
However, amidst the commotion of the war’s end in August and September 1988, thousands of people were executed in prisons across the country, having endured years of imprisonment and torture, and many of them without receiving a death sentence.
All of this happened during the first decade of the Islamic Republic’s rule. Despite the mass killing of political opponents, the country’s first representative was accepted into the United Nations. The first Islamic fundamentalist regime was recognized by countries that claimed to uphold human rights.
The Cover-Up of Crimes and Brutal Punishments
In February 1989, shortly after the regime’s crimes had been committed, Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, the UN special representative for Iran affairs, visited the country. He toured Evin prison and met with several prisoners who had expressed remorse, reporting that the situation was normal. This cover-up of the regime’s crimes allowed the Islamic Republic to gain international credibility.
During this period, many people throughout the country continued to die due to differences in political and ideological views. In addition to these deaths, there were serial murders, a clampdown on university students , protests in 2009, January 2018, November 2019, and the recent revolutionary uprising, resulting in countless deaths, disappearances, detentions, torture, and disabilities.
Over the past four decades, many people have been subjected to executions, stoning, amputations of limbs, gouging of eyes, and other forms of brutal punishment – in public or prisons– for offenses such as theft, drug use, and murder.
From the very beginning, death was normalized, and what should have shocked us was no longer terrifying, becoming a part of our everyday life.
Silence and Empowerment: The International Community’s Role in Iran’s Oppression
The international community’s silence has been deafening as they recognized the regime and established overt and covert relations with its leaders. This has significantly increased the regime’s weapons and military power, making them unrestrained in the region. Inside the country, they open fire on the people and mercilessly massacre them without hesitation.
For many years, human rights institutions have repeatedly labeled the regime’s leaders, organs, and affiliates as terrorists. Sanctions have been imposed, and the regime has been consistently condemned.
Our friends, forced to leave their homeland, should speak up louder and amplify our voices. They must convey our message to the representatives of other countries, urging them to take concrete actions such as closing the regime’s embassies and recalling their ambassadors and charge d’affaires from Iran. Merely issuing statements, expressing sympathy, and condemning the regime are insufficient.
The World Should Refuse to Recognize the Criminal Regime in Tehran
Recently, several of the regime’s foreign exchange arrears were returned just after the revolutionary uprising in Iran. This financial support was given to a regime facing widespread discontent due to its inability to manage economic affairs. This happened during nationwide protests and strikes and precisely when the regime’s collapse seemed like a reality. This financial injection has given the regime a short breath, enabling it to continue its oppressive rule.
The international community must close their embassies, recall their ambassadors and charge d’affaires, and refrain from continuing their diplomatic relations.
Instead of sending Nowruz messages and expressing sympathy, they should refuse to recognize the perpetrators of these crimes, especially when innocent people are hanged from the gallows.
People’s representatives in unions and syndicates have repeatedly raised their demands and conveyed the regime’s oppressive conditions and shortcomings to representatives of other countries in international meetings. However, the regime’s henchmen are still recognized, while the domestic opposition is ignored in official international circles.
Esmail Abdi, a young teacher in our country, spent almost a decade of his life in prison solely because he was concerned about his students’ education, something that any teacher can relate to. Mohammad Habibi, another well-known teacher in our country, was also arrested and taken to an undisclosed location in the most brutal way possible, this time for expressing concern about students who were poisoning victims.
Consequences of Shaking Hands with the Regime’s Representatives
How can they, in good conscience, shake hands with the leaders of a regime that tortures and imprisons teachers and workers and deprives them of their citizenship rights?
By recognizing the regime’s agents, they are impeding the [domestic] organizations’ ability to achieve their demands and bringing civil society to the point of castration. This approach is incompatible with their claim of upholding human rights.
The people of Iran have shown their resilience, relying on a conscious force that conquered the streets in the recent revolutionary uprising, and shattered the walls of fear from repression. They have popular organizations of the most efficient teachers, workers, students, drivers, and other groups raising their demands.
By repairing the existing weaknesses and restoring the ability to organize protests, the most critical missing link of these days, we will be able to shatter the pillars of tyranny. However, this can only happen if the international community stops supporting and recognizing the regime in Iran.
When the international community recognizes the regime and shakes hands with its leaders and representatives, they directly support the regime in Iran. This support remains, even if the leaders leave the gathering, challenge them, or condemn them afterward. Ultimately, this open support will weaken the Iranian people.