Globalist Perspective

An Appeal for Political Freedom in Iran

What can people around the world do to help free an Iranian political prisoner?

Takeaways


  • In 1978, Ebrahim Yazdi left a prosperous life in the United States to return to Iran to help overthrow the undemocratic rule of the Shah.
  • His decision to break away from Khomeini has meant living as an outcast in his own country, facing death threats and even the firebombing of his home in 1985.

The family of Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi begins its letter to the world with the proper Islamic greeting: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. And mercy is what they are hoping for their father, one of Iran's most famous dissidents, now in prison in Tehran.

Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi is the leader of the dissident Freedom Movement in Iran. He is 79 years old, and his health is failing. Since the election in June 2009 — which, despite igniting massive protests, returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power — he has been in and out of prison and in and out of the hospital.

He has also undergone open heart surgery within the past few months, even as he continued to write and speak against those who would usurp democracy.

Dr. Yazdi once worked at Baylor Medical Center in Houston. But in 1978, he left a prosperous life in the United States to return to Iran to help overthrow the undemocratic rule of the Shah and usher in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

He thought it would lead to democracy and rule of law. He even served as foreign minister and advisor to the late Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, considered the founding father of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

But Yazdi's loyalty to Khomeini and his new republic hit a serious snag with the American hostage crisis. Yazdi and Mehdi Bazargan, head of the interim government, resigned their posts when Khomeini supported the hostage takers and ignored their counsel to send the Americans home.

That event catapulted Yazdi into the dangerous life of a dissident inside Iran, working against the very government he helped bring to power.

His decision to break away from Khomeini has meant living as an outcast in his own country, facing death threats and even the firebombing of his home in 1985.

In December 1997, Yazdi was arrested and sent to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Even after his release, he was prevented from leaving the country — and he was never allowed to challenge the rulers by running for public office.

With the outbreak of street protests after the presidential elections in 2009, Yazdi again found himself at the center of political turmoil in Iran.

As his health has grown increasingly worse, his children living in the United States have grown increasingly concerned that the mercy they know as a hallmark of Islam is not in evidence in today's Iran.

In a letter sent around the world, the Yazdi family asks the world to speak to the leaders of Iran and remind them of the high moral and religious values their Islamic state is supposed to represent.

In the letter, the family asks people to write to three key leaders of Iran, somehow believing they will actually listen.

"They are sensitive to how they are viewed around the world," the family insists. "Your opinion matters to them."

"Your letter will be most effective if you — respectfully and based on fundamental principles of human rights — insist that Ebrahim Yazdi and other non-violent political prisoners be released immediately."

The family also asks Americans to "encourage your local community and religious organizations to do the same. Write to your political and religious leaders and encourage them to represent their concerns through diplomatic and other channels."

"Let the leadership in Iran know that the world is watching," they said, "and that we care about injustice done to the people of Iran."

Here's where they say to send the letters:

Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamenei
Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Pastor Complex, Imam Khomeini Street, Tehran, Iran

Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of Iran
Pastor Complex, Imam Khomeini Street, Tehran, Iran

Dr. Ali Larijani
Speaker of the Majlis Shura Islami Iran
Pastor Complex, Imam Khomeini Street, Tehran, Iran

Not neglecting practicalities, Yazdi’s family reminds Americans that postage to Iran for First Class Mail is 98 cents. And they advise that a copy of the letter be sent to:

Mr. Mohammad Khazaee
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United Nations
622 Third Ave, New York NY 10017

Who knows if Khamenei, Ahmadinejad or Larijani will listen to "respectful" letters from people around the world. If they have any conscience or respect for the opinions of mankind — and if they care about how common people around the world perceive Iran and Islam — Yazdi’s children just might be right.

At least it's worth a try.

Editor's Note: For more information about other ways to help Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, contact: FreeEbrahimYazdi@gmail.com.

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