Urgent Action Appeal

On the occasion of Khatami's trip to Japan, please send the following appeal, prepared by About Iran,  to the listed individuals  and organizations. Given the deteriorating situation of human rights in Iran, it is urgent that all of us act as quickly as possible.  Please distribute this appeal as widely as possible.

Urgent Action Appeal To:

Dr. Yoshiyuki Naito, President
Tokyo Institute of Technology

Or Send Faxes and Letters Via:

International Affairs Section
Research Cooperation Division
2-12-1 O-okayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8550
Fax : +81-3-5734-2324
Tel : +81-3-5734-2352 or +81-3-5734-2353
E-mail : int@jim.titech.ac.jp
Dr. Yoshiyuki Naito President
Tokyo Institute of Technology

Dear President Yoshiyuki:

I am writing this letter to inform you of my grave dismay in learning that
your esteemed Institute of higher education has decided to grant an honorary
Doctorate to Mr. Mohammad Khatami, the President of the Islamic Republic of
Iran.  In fact, I would very much like to know why your institution has made
such a decision?  While I would truly appreciate your reply to my question, I
would like to give you the reasons for my grave disappointment about this

Iran, before and after the election of Mr. Khatami in 1997, and in spite of
the now stalled and diminished reforms of Mr. Khatami, remains a totalitarian
theocracy.  The Islamic Republic is a system of government in which a
minority of mullah clergy proclaim to have the divine right to rule over more
than 60 million people.  This presumed divine right is called the absolute
Velayate-Faghih, or the absolute rule of the Supreme Jurisprudence!

Mr. Khatami, despite his welcome calls for moderation and minimal reforms,
is,  nevertheless and obviously, a supporter of the Islamic system based on
the principle of Velayate-Faghih.  He has repeatedly and in general pledged
his allegiance to this undemocratic  principle, and he has specifically
pledged his allegiance to Mr. Ali Khamanei, the present dictatorial
Vali-Faghih of the Islamic Republic.  Any informed observer should clearly
see that supporting the doctrine of the absolute rule by the Vali-Faghih, as
Mr. Khatami does, is in violation of a democratic government and process.

Most recently, the Special Court of the Clergy, an extra legal tribunal for
trying dissident clergy, has tried Mr. Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari, a mid
ranking cleric and theologian, on the charges of apostasy, war against God
and corrupting the earth!  These charges carry the death penalty!  While Mr.
Eshkevari has continued to be an ally of Mr. Khatami, Mr. Khatami has not
vigorously come to his support, and instead, he has once again chosen the
path of inaction and silence which has become characteristic of him.

Since April 2000, more than twenty pro-reform publications have been closed
down in Iran.  Mr. Khatami, despite his occasional remarks of disapproval of
their closure, has, nevertheless, failed to show any genuine concern or
effort to arrange for their reopening.  In fact, Mr. Khatami has failed to
engage in any practical and consistent campaign in securing the release of
the publishers and writers of these journals.  The jailed journalists are:
Mr. Akbar Ganji, Mr. Masoud Behnoud, Mr. Ahmad Zeidabadi, Mr. Ebrahim Nabavi,
Mr. Mohammad Ghoochani, Mr. Emmadedin Baghi, Mr. Abdollah Noori, Mr. Latif
Safari, and Mr. Mashallah Shamsolvaezin.  All of these journalists have been
denied their basic human rights.  Some of them, especially Mr. Akbar Ganji,
have been harshly treated and have been kept in solitary confinement.
Moreover, Mr. Khalil Rostamkhani, a translator, has been imprisoned for his
participation in a Conference in Berlin in April 2000.

In the aftermath of the attack on the student dormitory in Tehran in July
1999, hundreds of pro-democracy students were detained and savagely tortured.
 While many of the students have been released, others continue to suffer
from immense hardship in prison.  Among the imprisoned students are: Mr.
Manuchehr Mohammadi, Mr. Akbar Mohammadi, Mr. Ahmad Batebi, Mr. Mohammad Reza
Kasrai, Mr. Mehran Abdolbaghi, Mr. Hossein Yekta, Mr. Ali Mohri, Mr. Behrouz
Javid Tehrani, Mr. Mohammad Ali Nejad, Mr. Deldari, Mr. Sohrabi, Mr. Hassan
Zare-Zadeh, Dr. Ahmad Alizadeh, Mr. Mahmoud Shoshtari, Mr. Koroush Sehati,
Mr. Darvishali Karam-Zadeh, Mr. Payman Piran, and Dr. Behiyeh Jaylani.  It is
noteworthy, that Dr. Jaylani, a female medical student, has been subjected to
some of the most savage tortures, including being suspended from the ceiling
and being lashed!  Mr. Khatami has not been a strong or consistent advocate
for the release and/or justice for these students.   Rather, in July 1999, in
order to appease his hard-liner rivals, he called the students "rioters!"

Moreover,  since July 1999, the violent suppression of studentsí rights of
free assembly and expression has intensified.  In the Summer of 2000, a
peaceful gathering of students in Khorramabad, in western Iran, was violently
attacked, and the student conference was forcefully ended.  In Tehran, many
students, including Mr. Heshmattollah Tabarzadi, a student leader, has been
frequently harassed, beaten and temporarily detained.  Again, Mr. Khatami has
not been an effective guarantor for the right of students to exercise their
human and legitimate freedoms.

Two years ago, about this time, two prominent opposition members, Mr.
Dariush and Mrs. Parvaneh Forouhar were knifed to death, with utmost cruelty,
in their residence in Tehran by the agents of the Intelligence Ministry.
Mrs. Forouharís body bore twenty seven counts of knife stabs!  Furthermore,
about the same time,  four dissident writers and intellectuals, Mr. Mohammad
Jafar Pouyandeh, Mr. Mohammad Mokhtari, Mr. Majid Sharif, and Mr. Pirouz
Davani, were also murdered by the same agents.  While Mr. Khatami at first
condemned these murders and promised to carry out a full investigation and
administration of justice, he has yet to fulfill his promise.  The case of
these murders has remained unsolved and their families and the entire nation
is still mournful.  It is notable that Mr. Khatami has not even once visited
the victimsí families!

Following their unjust and closed trial, ten Iranian Jews have been
sentenced to prison terms of four to thirteen years based on the unfounded
charges of espionage.

Dear Mr. President,

    If Mr. Khatami, as the Islamic President, albeit a moderate and soft
spoken cleric, is not willing and/or able to guarantee the minimum freedoms for his
compatriots or even for his allies, then why would your institution decide to
grant him an honorary doctoral degree?  Moreover, why should your respected
institution, which embraces highly esteemed scholars, such as Professor
Hideki Shirakawa, the 2000 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, stain its image by
granting a doctoral degree to a man who proudly believes in Mr. Rouhollah
Khomeini, who caused catastrophic misery and death for millions of Iranians,
as his mentor and beloved leader!

Meanwhile, you should be aware that Mr. Khatami was an early advocate of the
killing of Mr. Salman Rushdie.  He stated, "Salman Rushdie, the writer of the
Satanic verses must be executed based on the edict of his highness, Imam
Khomeini.  He [Salman Rushdie] has no resort from the implementation of this
edict. . . By [permitting] the publication of this blasphemous book of
Satanic Verses, the criminal [states] of the East and West, and the British
rulers in particular, have demonstrated to the world, not only their
animosity towards the Islamic Republic and the Imam, but also their animosity
towards the righteous religion of Islam and more than one billion Muslims
throughout the world" (Kayhan Newspaper, March 6, 1998, cf. Noghteh Magazine).

    In conclusion, I deeply regret that while Iranís pro-democracy students
and reformist journalists remain in prison and at least one, Mr. Yousefi
Eshkevari, faces the possibility of death penalty, while the Iranian people,
especially women, continue to suffer from widespread violations of human
rights, and while the followers of minority religions, especially the Bahais
and Jews, continue to face harsh and ongoing persecution, your esteemed
Institute has decided to grant an honorary doctoral degree to someone who
represents a repressive and discriminatory theocracy and who has chosen the
path of inaction and indifference towards the fate of the victims of human
rights violations in Iran.

    I sincerely hope that your decision is not based on any political or
economic considerations.  I also keep my hope alive that you will reconsider
your decision and I certainly hope that if you grant the degree to Mr.
Khatami, that you will bear in mind the plight of the Iranian prisoners of
conscience who will continue to suffer gravely, perhaps even from torture,
right at that very moment.

    I would appreciate your kind reply to my correspondence.

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