Appeal for Severe Political Pressure Against the Kleptocratic Theocracy of Iran

Appeal for Severe Political Pressure Against the Kleptocratic Theocracy of Iran

The Honorable Mike Pompeo Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520

N° 2101-18 October 2018

Re: Appeal for Severe Political Pressure Against the Kleptocratic Theocracy of Iran

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

In Iran, we are facing a silencing war waged by the Iranian regime against the freedom-seeking Iranian Citizens. Only the willingness of the international Community to take punitive actions against the Iranian government can help us defeat the regime and bring the Iranian citizens one step closer to a stable and free Democracy.

Your remarks at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 2018 demonstrates how well you understand the plight of Iranian people living under a kleptocratic theocracy. As you indicated, United States citizens and other foreigners are snatched by the Islamic Republic and held hostage as negotiating chips. However, Iranian citizens are arrested, imprisoned, tortured, raped, and killed by the regime with impunity; all for demanding their basic human rights.

You enumerated several goals that President Trump has asked you to achieve on Iran. The third goal promised “tireless advocacy for the Iranian people,” “demand that the regime improves treatment of its citizens,” “protect the human rights of every Iranian,” and “stop spending Iran’s wealth abroad.” While you followed with a long list of hardships and adversities facing Iranian people, these points were not included in your 12 demands from the Iranian regime.

Therefore, we respectfully request that the following become demand number 13 on your list:

“Iran must end its inequitable, unjust, unfair, and abusive behavior against the Iranian citizens” and “Let Iranian citizens hold free, fair and transparent election for a Constitutional Assembly” in accordance with article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the criteria by the Inter- Parliamentary Union, of which Iran is a member, set forth at its 154th session on March 26th, 1994, under the supervision and monitoring of the United Nations.

We sincerely thank you and President Trump for your attention to, and consideration of, this urgent humanitarian matter.

Very Truly Yours,

Nazila Golestan

Special Envoy for Human Rights
Iran National Council for Free Elections

What Is Happening in Iran?

The seven-headed dragon of the mafia government in Iran continues to strongly restrict free speech and dissent.
Authorities are waging a ruthless crackdown against those who stand up to injustice and defend human rights. Political activists, women’s rights activists, trade unionists, human rights lawyers, journalists, environmental activists, children’s rights defenders, and human rights defenders are harshly intimidated and their leaders are arrested and imprisoned for merely exercising their basic citizen’s rights. Iranian human rights activists and board members of the teachers’ union have been imprisoned solely for protesting the deplorable conditions with which the country’s teachers and students are confronted every day. They are arrested under fabricated charges of “assembly with intent to create public disturbance,” and “propaganda against the regime.” Unfortunately, imprisonment alone is not the only punishment that the activists earn. A teacher, Mohammad Habibi, who was arrested with 14 others at a peaceful gathering was beaten according to his wife and was transferred to solitary confinement and denied medical attention one day after his arrest when all other participants were freed. At the time of arrest Habibi was free under bail from an earlier arrest at the school he taught.1 Iranian dual-nationals and citizens returning from abroad, or just entering Iran for a short visit, have been targeted for arbitrary arrests, interrogation and incarceration by security authorities. Often, they are held as bargaining chips as in the case of those freed as part of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement signed by the former United States President Obama. When the former President of Iran Mahmood Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University on September 24, 2007, he claimed there were no homosexuals in Iran. Perhaps the reason he made the false claim was that all homosexuals are condemned to death if they are identified. Islamic law considers homosexuality a deviant conduct and condemns it. Even discussion of the subject is taboo.

Those who defend human rights are often labelled “Western agents” and are falsely and speciously accused of “warring against Islam,” “conspiracy against national security,” “treason”, “propaganda against the regime,” “enmity with God,” “insulting the Prophet,” and “insulting government officials.” They are prosecuted and imprisoned by authorities on bogus charges of “threat to national security” and “enmity with God” because these charges carry harsher punishments.


Iranian women are deprived of their fundamental rights under the Islamic Constitution since 1979. The laws violate a woman’s right to equality, privacy, and freedoms of expression, belief, and religion and empower Basij forces to target women for harassment, violence and imprisonment. The women activists who fight for Iranian women’s freedoms and gender equality are still arrested and imprisoned. Iranian women who comprise one-half of the population, are systematically eliminated from presidential elections. According to Ali Khamenei, “the gender equality is an utterly wrong notion made up by the West. It is outdated and treacherous.”

As a clerical member of Iran’s Council of Guardians, “Mohammad Yazdi,” a constitutional body responsible for ensuring that legislation adheres to Iran’s Constitution as interpreted by Iran’s religious scholars and Islamic law and for vetting presidential candidates, has announced that Iranian laws “do not allow women to become presidents” 2. Most higher- level government jobs are also closed to women.


There are many other discriminatory practices and laws that turn Iranian women into second-class citizens. Although women comprise over 50 percent of university graduates, their participation in the labor force is only 17 percent. Iranian women are unequal under the law, in Iranian society, and in the job market.3


Under the Islamic Republic of Iran, the age at which children become criminally responsible for their actions is 9 lunar years for girls (equivalent to 8.5 Gregorian years) and 15 lunar years for boys. Only below those ages are they considered to be children. (Iranian Penal Code (1991) amended 2013, Article 147).

Iranian Constitution forbids “all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information”,4 As if torturing adults is not abhorring enough, there have been recent reports of torture and mistreatment by juvenile offenders who were forced to confess by means of physical coercion. One of the recent cases was reported by Alireza Tajiki, who was only 15 years old at the time of arrest. He was convicted, after confessing under torture, of the rape and murder of a friend, crimes that he consistently denied in court.5 Tajiki was placed in solitary confinement for 15 days during which, he said, he was subjected to severe beatings, floggings, and suspension by arms and feet to make him “confess” to the crime.6 Iran has executed 1,900 prisoners since June 2013 when President Hassan Rouhani took office – among them juveniles and women.7

Practices of child labor in Iran defy Declaration of the Rights of Children and International Labor laws. Children work in all kinds of businesses in deplorable conditions.8 Many small, vulnerable children live and work in the streets and are victims of criminal gangs, drug lords, child trafficking, and sexual abuse among others.9

Every six days a child is raped and killed in Tehran. Iran is rich in natural resources and wealth, yet the majority live in poverty and misery because these resources are rerouted to terrorist networks and drug trafficking. The first victims of poverty are children.

By virtue of the Constitution, citizens with religious beliefs other than Islam remain second class citizens and do not

have many of the rights enjoyed by the Muslim majority.

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic established an Islamic theocracy. Article 1 states “The form of government of Iran is that of an Islamic Republic.” Article 2 explains this to mean, among other things, “the necessity of submission

and the “fundamental role” of “divine revelation” in “setting forth the laws.” Article 18 requires Iran’s flag contain the phrase “Allah Akbar.” Article 56 states “Absolute sovereignty over the world and man belongs to God [Allah].”

The government, with the Supreme Leader at its apex, is an institution through which the will of Allah is implemented.

As such, all others; such as, Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Baha’is, Sunnis, Yaresans, Ismailis, Dervishes, atheists, etc., are systematically precluded from holding senior government or military positions.

5 6 Ibid.

Due to their historical background, the Baha’i community has been persecuted from the beginning.10 A large number of them have been imprisoned and many among them have been executed. Between 1979 and 1983 at least 135 Baha’is, many of them spiritual leaders, were executed.11 Since 2013, when Hassan Rouhani was first elected President, “at least 283 Baha’is have been arrested. and there have been at least 645 incidents of economic oppression, ranging from intimidation and threats against Baha’i-owned businesses to their closure by authorities. More than 26,000 pieces of anti-Baha’i propaganda have been disseminated …”12 Thousands have been blocked from access to higher education; “in just six months, Iranian universities expelled 50 Baha’i for their religious beliefs.”13

Other minorities such as Zoroastrians or Jews try to keep a low profile and are afraid to publicize their grievances.14

Christians are suspected of proselytizing and are often arrested and imprisoned for the same “crime.” Although the laws do not prescribe it, the writings of the founder of the Islamic Republic do call for the death penalty for Muslims who convert to other religions, particularly Christianity, or the Baha’i faith.15

The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the most racist governments in the world. Iran is home to many ethnic minorities who once lived in peace among all other Iranians before the 1979 revolution, but who are at odds with the Islamic government and are subjected to racism as a result of the government’s policies and propaganda.

Most Kurds are Sunnis and live in the Kurdistan Province. Kurds have had armed conflict with the central government. Those arrested have been sent to the gallows. Azaris in the northwest are Turkish-speaking people. The greater Azerbaijan was divided by the Russian incursions and annexation of territories and its fate was sealed by the signing of the Turkemanchi Treaty in 1828. Russia took Northern Azerbaijan and a greater part of Armenia.16 Now, if they raise their voices for the rights of Azaris, they are labeled as “separatists” or “Turkish spies.” 17

Baluchis in the southeast are Sunnis and face institutionalized and economic, educational and cultural discrimination. Islamic Republic has also thwarted the Baluchis attempt to form political organizations to promote their interests.18

The Arabic-speaking minority, who also speak Persian, have lived in the Province of Khuzestan in the southwest for hundreds of years. Their language is called “Khuzestani Arabic.” They suffer the same discriminations as other ethnic minorities. Their main grievance is over their right to participate effectively in decisions affecting the area in which they live.19 The major cities of Khorramshahr, Abadan, and Ahvaz were badly destroyed in the war with Iraq. Very little has been done to reconstruct the cities or to bring back sustainable economy for reconstruction.


The Islamic Republic of Iran, instead of opting for sustainable use of natural resources and generation of clean energy, continues to persist on the clandestine development of a nuclear arsenal — in total violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Iran Nuclear Agreement signed on July 14, 2015. These policies and practices have paved the way for international economic sanctions against Iran and have brought Iran’s economy to the brink of bankruptcy.

The environmental disaster explodes where out on the horizon, the blue sky of Persian Gulf is veiled in a thick unbreathable cloud of rusty color sand such that the sun is no longer visible in Khuzestan. Children of Sistan and Baluchestan Province are also buried under sand and misery.

12 (copy and paste into URL)
13 14
15 Ibid.
19 Ibid.

Thus far, the environmental degradation, water crisis, disappearing lakes, diversion of rivers that turn a wetland into a barren desert, water shortages due to poor management of water resources leaving people without water for drinking or for maintaining industries, theft of natural resources that diverts the national wealth into the pockets of the ruling clergy,20 and particularly political corruption have put Iranian environment in dire conditions.


The Islamic Constitution requires its president to pledge that he will “dedicate himself to the propagation of religion and morality” (Article 121) and requires the members of Iran’s Islamic Consultative Assembly [Parliament] to pledge “to protect the sanctity of Islam” (Article 67). Presidential candidates must be “from among religious and political personalities” who have “staunch belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the official religion [Islamic jurisprudence] of the country” (Article 115).

It can be observed that the Constitution of the Islamic Republic is not about protecting “life,” “liberty,” and “the pursuit of happiness” of the Iranian people, rather it is intended to preserve and protect a particular religion through installation of individuals who have the zeal to do so.

All branches of government, including the judiciary, serve to promote Islam and Islamic law. The Islamic Constitution has provided for “creation of a judicial system based on Islamic justice and operated by just judges with meticulous knowledge of the Islamic laws.” (Preamble to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran; The Judiciary in the Constitution.)

Only lip service has been paid to rights, freedoms, and justice that Iranian people have not experienced since 1979 and for which protest.

The Islamic Republic has also Revolutionary Courts and the Special Court for the clergy both of which were established by Islamic Revolutionary Leader Ruhollah Khomeini. Theses tribunals have never been incorporated into the constitutional clauses that define the role and structure of the Judiciary. Theses separate Islamic Revolutionary Courts can prosecute people on charges as vague as “being un-Islamic.” And have been used also as a political tool against those clerics who criticize the regime or challenge the role of the Supreme Leader.

While millions of victims of the financial and credit institutions protest against the Central Bank of Iran and the corrupt financial/banking system, there are no courts to hear the people’s pleas for justice. The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran “Hassan Rouhani” ignores people’s protests, defends the corrupt Central Bank as well as his own disreputable government.

Corruption is rampant within the judiciary. The worst case of it is the highly publicized scandal of the head of the Judiciary, Chief of Justice, “Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.” Larijani is a conservative, who previously was a member of Council of Guardians. It was discovered that Larijani is the holder of more than 63 personal bank accounts filled with embezzled public funds that the courts had received from defendants in civil, criminal or appeals courts as damages, bail money, or court costs.21

A Member of Parliament questioned the Justice Minister about Larijani’s alleged 63 bank accounts. Judicial authorities attempted to arrest the MP in front of his house. “An account run by an anonymous group on the social network Telegram, recently claimed that more than £50m was transferred to the ayatollah’s personal bank accounts annually from public funds.22

President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, who is also a close adviser to him, has previously been linked to officials at the center of a scandal involving inflated salaries for managers at the state-owned insurance company. Other charges


against Hossein Fereidun include misappropriation of government funds and money laundering that involved his daughter who lives in London.23

7. Politics and Political Control

Opposition politicians have suffered especially harsh repression, with many leaders facing arrest, prison sentences, and lengthy bans on political activity. All secular political parties are constantly banned from any activity due to the requirements that Presidential candidates must be religious and have strong belief in Islamic laws.

On the other hand, Islamists who run the government have cheated the people out of bank deposits amounting to trillions of Tomans. The money has gone to the pockets of government officials and their relatives. The Islamic Republic government and its affiliated entities that are close to the Revolutionary Guards have signed major economic contracts with Syria, reaping what appears to be lucrative rewards for helping the Dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad regain control

of parts of his country against his own people.

Politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran is so corrupt that both “conservatives” and the so-called “reformists” support the status quo and ignore the national interests of the people. After all, there is much financial windfall that comes from

the arms flows in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen to satisfy both sides.

Astan Qods Razavi, is purportedly a charitable foundation and the administrative organization which manages the Imam Reza Shrine and affiliated institutions. It controls large endowments and business conglomerates in the country. This foundation, also called “Empire of Khorasan” and its subsidiaries are exempted from paying taxes following Ruhollah Khomeini’s Fatwa. This huge windfall helps cross-border terrorist financing.

The Islamic Republic’s constitution establishes the role of its military in fulfilling its goals as follows: “The Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran must be an Islamic Army, i.e., committed to Islamic ideology and the people” (Article 144). From the preamble: Iran’s Army and Revolutionary Guard “will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world [emphasis added].

the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, unquestioningly loyal to Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, controls major companies, and businesses in Iran such as tourism, transportation, energy, construction, telecommunication and Internet. in the cost of this control is suppression of Iranian women, students, labor, intellectuals, and political activists.

The Islamic Constitution cites Quranic verses fourteen times to make its political goal and objective is to promote Islam worldwide vs the universal values of advanced civilizations. For nearly four decades the Islamic Republic of Iran has sought to cement its stranglehold internally and export its revolution of terror to the rest of the world by establishing Hezbollah in Lebanon, supporting Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Muslim Brotherhood, sheltering terrorists and permitting them to run terrorist training camps in Iran.

Article 91 of the Islamic Constitution establishes a Guardian Council “in order to examine the compatibility of legislation passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly with Islam.” The Council also has “the authority of the interpretation of the Constitution is vested with the Guardian Council (Article 98). Yet, in actuality, the Council has the power to select the candidates loyal to the Supreme Leader and to nominate them for elections. Thus, none of the elections held since the 1979 Islamic revolution has been regarded as free, fair, and transparent.

The Basij and Ansar-i Hezbollah—regularly play a major role in breaking up the peaceful and non-political demonstrations with brutal force. The security services routinely arrest and harass all human rights discourse, grassroots activism, and secular activists. Thus, there is no secure and free electoral environment for political and union activities.


Ultimately, Islamic Republic’s Constitution in Article 57 which establishes the Iranian legislature, judiciary, and executive powers, dictates that the three branches are to function “under the supervision of the absolute wilayat al- ‘amr [Iran’s Supreme Leader] and the leadership of the Ummah.” The head of state, “Ali Khamenei” has absolute power over all government institutions, including the judiciary. The Supreme Leader appoints the Judiciary chief, and judicial officials are only accountable to the Supreme Leader. The Islamic judiciary avoid investigation or detect or impeding ongoing judicial and investigative processes are accomplished by exerting influence, particularly at lower to mid-levels of law enforcement structures. Such involvement surely corrupt and pervert the judiciary.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s endemic corruption has made the country itself and its neighbors vulnerable to terrorist activities. They still continue to provide financial and military support to terrorist movements. This sectarian “State Sponsor of Terrorism” seeks to spread its brand of political Islam that has led to the rise of regional ideological conflicts.

The Iranian regime’s discriminatory policies contradict the numerous international conventions to which Iran is a party. International laws create both rights and duties for member states, and when a state consistently disregards its duties, it cannot expect the rest of the international community to respect its rights.