Two must-read letters about Khatami's visit about Khatami's visit to the U.S.
Iran Press News:
1 September 2006
The Rev. Canon John Peterson
Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation
Cathedral College of the National Cathedral
Massachusetts & Wisconsin Avenues, N.W.
Fax: (202) 537-2235
Dear Canon Peterson:
I am writing to you as a veteran human rights activists that represents a coalition of ethnic and religious minorities in the Near East and Canon for Persecuted Christians in Diocese of Quincy. Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami will present an addressing at the Cathedral promoting a dialogue of civilizations.
The concept of dialogue is indeed commendable. Dialogue is a two way discussion. I fear that other voices, many of whom were victims of the government that former president Khatami led, will not be heard. Elected as a reformist, for eight years superficial changes masked his complacency with the despotic and torturous practices of the Islamic Republic. He was elected largely by the Iranian youth that aspired for the adoption of the rule of law and true democratic change. When democratic minded intellectuals, journalists and students embolden by the easing of some restrictions on freedom of press and assembly began to vocalize and push for more freedom, Khatami’s government initiated the largest suppression of the media since the beginning of the revolution and violently put down the 1999 student uprising. READ MORE
In 1984, Khatami declared that Iran was at war with the United States. During his administration Hezbollah was born and he continues to support it. The Anglican Church in Iran was decimated during his presidency. During the last year of his presidency legislation was introduced into the Iranian parliament to adopt a strict Islamic dress code, which not only reversed the progress of individual expression, but also was designed to segregate Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians by assigning colors that they must wear, reminiscent to the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear under the Nazi regime in Germany. Iranian activists and youth recognize that the “Smiling Mullah” has an appeal to the West, but it is only a façade that veils the insidious failure to bring about authentic change during his presidency.
Make no mistake, former president Khatami speaks as an emissary of the Iranian regime. His commitment to the rule of the clerics has not changed.
It is unfortunate that the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation will provide a platform for only one side of this “dialogue.” I encourage you to provide an alternative voice to speak for those who were silenced by his government, or at least, to offer a time for critical questions to be raised. Refusing to include these voices in this “dialogue” would be a terrible betrayal of Iranian Anglicans. It would also be siding with the oppressor against those other minorities who are weak and made dispossessed by a regime that your guest supports. I am willing to represent the perspective of the minorities. Please consider providing an opportunity for a truly authentic dialogue to take place as part of the program that you are sponsoring.
Please respond to this request before Tuesday, September 5.
The Rev. Canon Keith Roderick, D.D.
CSI Washington Representative
Secretary General, Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights
An open letter about Khatami’s visit to the U.S.
The Esmail Khoi Foundation
A Non-profit 501©(3) Cultural & Human Rights Org.
2526 Mt. Vernon Rd. Suite B-220
Atlanta, Georgia 30338
Reverend Canon John L. Peterson, Director
Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation
September 1, 2006
The Honorable Rev. Peterson:
We learned that you are hosting a speech by Mohammad Khatami, former president and one of the high-ranking officials of the Islamic regime in Iran since it inception in 1979. We are deeply dismayed that the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation which promotes justice, transparency, accountability and empowerment of women has invited and is honoring this man who is anti-woman, corrupt and responsible for murder of so many innocent people!
Today is the 18th anniversary of massacre of thousands of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, by the Islamic regime. The victims were buried in mass graves without their families and relatives knowing about their burial sites.
During Khatami’s presidency, torturing and physical elimination of political activists, students, writers and journalists continuously actually increased. In July 2003 the Public Prosecutor of Tehran murdered Mrs. Zahra Kazemi an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist in detention. Many pro-democracy students were killed and imprisoned. Writers Saeedi Sirjani, Mohammad Mokhtari, Mohammad Javad Pouyandeh and others were murdered. Ministry of Intelligence agents murdered Mr. Daryoush Forouhar general secretary of Iran’s Mellat Party, and his wife in their home. All of these happened during Khatami’s presidency. The list is very long and these are just a few samples. For these and other reasons the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has condemned the Islamic regime for severe violation of human rights on 52 occasions in a three years period alone!
According to July 2004 report of International Federation for Human Rights, the Islamic republic of Iran is ranked 160th out of 166 countries in terms of freedom of expression, and this was during Khatami’s presidency!
Dear Rev. Peterson, how can one promote justice and at the same time honor a person like Khatami, who is responsible for so many crimes against humanity? Please let us understand, how to reconcile this contradiction!
We feel Justice will be promoted if we all try to bring Khatami and his associates to justice under an independent International Court.
You promote empowerment of women, but Khatami and his associates in the Islamic regime are all anti-woman. The Islamic regime has practiced gender apartheid and many women have been stoned to death every year including during Khatami's presidency! Now you are honoring this man!
Dear Canon Peterson, you promote transparency and accountability, but the Islamic regime is one of the most corrupt on the face of the planet. According to an Economist Intelligence report in early 2002(Khatami’s presidency), a corruption scandal was exposed and Shahram Jazayeri a 29 year old business man, confessed he had given money to as many as 60 reformist deputies supporters of Khatami in the Parliament. This included $700,000 to President Khatami, the man you are honoring on September 7th 2006!
Dear Canon Peterson,
The Islamic regime and Mohammad Khatami as its president for 8 years never had “dialogue” with the Iranian people and all attempts for dialogue by the people systematically were suppressed. The regime and Khatami, one of its pillars is against Persian Civilization. During Khatami’s presidency they continued construction of Sivand dam near Passargad, that will flood the tomb of Cyrus the Great and the rest of what is left of the Persian heritage in Passargad. The Islamic regime instead of “dialogue” is advocating that Israel be wiped off the map. How can Khatami who represents, a regime of anti-civilization and anti-dialogue, credibly talk about “Dialog of Civilizations”?
Dear Rev. Peterson,
There is an ocean of blood separating the Islamic regime and 95 percent of the Iranian people. No force can bridge and reconcile this wide and inhumane gap, except the power of justice and liberty. This will happen at the time when an independent International Court is organized and Mohammad Khatami, your guest of honor, and his associates sit on the defense bench and families and relatives of the victims of the regime on the other side. I feel that time is approaching, and we would like to have you as a guest of honor in that Court, to witness the cries, tears and suffering of the men, women and children of God who have suffered and lost so much at the hands of Islamic regime and its cohorts!
Siavash Abghari, Ph.D., President
Esmail Khoi Foundation>