SPEECH TO THE WELLE CHARITY, SWITZERLAND
Saturday 27TH March 2021
It is a great honor and privilege for me to participate in this important meeting of the Welle Charity today. The work that you do supporting human rights in Iran and exposing the brutal repression of the Iranian regime is of great significance. But you also play an effective role in bringing the voice of the Iranian people to the international community and saving the lives of prisoners in danger, especially in this period of the Corona Pandemic.
As we all know, Nowruz, the Persian New Year, took place on Saturday 20th March. Nowruz translates from Persian literally as New Day. In normal times it is a day of great celebration, where families come together to feast and greet the arrival of spring and the reawakening of nature at the start of a two-week holiday. Sadly, there will be few celebrations and little feasting in Iran this year.
The majority of Iran’s citizens must view the history of their country with wonder and puzzlement. They know how the world’s first human rights charter was inscribed under the direction of the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great more than 2,500 years ago. They know how Shi’ites, Sunnis, Christians, Jews and people of all religions and none, lived in harmony in Persia, in a society where religion and the state were separate entities and where justice was fair and free from political influence.
Unfortunately, today, for eighty million Iranians, such a society does not exist. The mullahs’ ‘Velayat-e Faqih’ (absolute rule of the clergy), introduced when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini hijacked the popular 1979 anti-monarchical revolution, offers only repression, cruelty, injustice, torture, corruption and the export of terror. That the mullahs do so, in the name of Islam, is an outrage and disgrace. This Nowruz, eighty million Iranians will be praying for an end to decades of suffering under the tyrannical dictatorship of the theocratic fascists.
The Iranian economy is broken. Inflation and spiraling prices have forced millions to search through garbage bags and bins for scraps of edible food. Many now cannot even afford to buy bread. For the past ten weeks, pensioners have taken to the streets in towns and cities across Iran to demand help from the government.
The pensioners have had to brave the pandemic which has raged across Iran, killing an estimated 240,000 people, while the mullahs claim a death toll of 70,000. Instead of help, the pensioners have encountered a brutal crackdown from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the regime’s Gestapo.
There have been repeated uprisings in recent years, as ordinary Iranians express their scorn for the theocratic regime. The latest protests in the border province of Sistan and Baluchistan saw 40 poor fuel-porters murdered and hundreds critically injured by the IRGC. But this was only the most current of the nationwide uprisings. The mullahs are hated and Iran has become a trembling volcano, ready to erupt. Hunger leads to revolution. When the people are starving in the streets, there is political unrest that can quickly turn ugly. The mullahs’ knee-jerk reaction is to order the IRGC to shoot to kill. They shot dead over 1,500 young men and women in the nationwide protests of late 2019. Thousands more were wounded and dragged off to prison from their hospital beds. Many have since been tortured and executed. The mullahs’ reaction has only increased the people’s hatred toward the regime, to the point where even the clerics themselves are afraid.
Now, units of hope, comprising brave young men and women have taken root in towns and cities across Iran. Courageous freedom fighters now regularly stick up posters and banners and splash graffiti on public walls and buildings. They do not want to see military intervention by the Americans. They know how that ended badly for neighboring Iraq. But they do want moral support for their own right to overthrow the mullah’s fascist dictatorship. The Iranian people recognize that the regime is at its weakest point ever and will collapse if the West continues to withhold assistance. Regime change will allow freedom, democracy, justice, human rights, women’s rights and a nuclear free Iran to be restored.
Without the great work of the Welle and other human rights organizations, the mullahs would have been able to prolong their rule in a climate of silence and indifference from the international community. But the times are changing. Iran has become a pariah nation and we should hold their leadership to account in the international criminal courts. Organizations like Welle have put pressure on governments around the world and have shone a spotlight on the theocratic regime in Iran. Please continue to do so. We must redouble our efforts and redouble the pressure. I thank you all for your support.
It is much appreciated what you have done and what you are doing. Once again, may I thank you for inviting me to take part in this important meeting today. Let us hope that this Nowruz really will mark a new day for Iran.
Happy Nowruz – Eideh Shoma Mobarak