Letter to Ms. Ashton: Iranian people await to see that you have not forgotten them

 “Justice for Iran,” along with many Iranian civil society activists, asks that  you  place  the Human rights topic as a primary priority in your future talks with the Islamic Republic officials. Meanwhile, since it appears that more serious and effective actions must be taken in order to stop the violation of human rights in Iran, “Justice for Iran” requests once again, as it has done so repeatedly in its many visits with European Union’s officials, that the European Union executes human rights motivated sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran such as banning the entry of human rights violators into the Union’s member states as well as blocking their financial assets, as was done for example in the case of Burma.

Dear Ms. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission,New rounds of the Islamic Republic’s negotiation with 5 + 1 Group starts  amidst the ever deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.  As a representative of the European Union, you have at times expressed your concern regarding the grave violation of human rights in Iran.In your last statement, while expressing  your  concerns regarding the condition of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, you reminded the Iranian government of the commitments they undertook during the last Universal Periodic Review of the human rights situation at the Human Rights Council of the United Nation.  Furthermore, in various statements and letters, you condemned the violations of citizen’s rights, particularly those  manifested in the  violent crushing of the post election protestors, all of which were examples of severe violations of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, rights to a fair trial, as well as access to free and open flow of information and communication. On behalf of the European Union, you have also expressed your concern regarding issuance and carrying out of execution orders for the political prisoners, youth, and ethnic minorities, violating the rights of opposition leaders, as well as violating the rights of women and religious minorities.In addition, on February 8, 2010, as well as  on  the anniversary of the post 2009 presidential election protests, the European Union and the United States Issued a joint statement condemning  “the continuing human rights violations in Iran since the June 12 election, the large scale detentions and mass trials, the threats of execution of protestors, the intimidation of family members of those detained and the continuing denial to its citizens of the right to peaceful expression,” recognizing them as “contrary to human rights norms” and stating that the Iranian government should “hold accountable those who have committed the abuses.” Even still, it appears that all such actions and the unofficial or private actions of the European Union to better the human rights situation in Iran have culminated into little progress and perhaps, stronger and more effective steps must be taken. In the early hours of the day this letter is being written, final judgmentof 15 years’ imprisonment is issued for Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, a  25-year-old  weblogger and student who has been in prison for over a year. This sentence has been issued because Ronaghi Maleki tried to find innovative methods for the Iranian citizens to break the governmental filtering and have free access to information online. In those same hours, Shahla Jahed, a women accused of committing a murder, was hanged at Evin prison in spite of the presence of serious ambiguities regarding the justifications for her accusations as well as ample evidence of violations of principles of fair trial in her case. “Justice for Iran,” along with many Iranian civil society activists, asks that  you  place  the Human rights topic as a primary priority in your future talks with the Islamic Republic officials. Meanwhile, since it appears that more serious and effective actions must be taken in order to stop the violation of human rights in Iran, “Justice for Iran” requests once again, as it has done so repeatedly in its many visits with European Union’s officials, that the European Union executes human rights motivated sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran such as banning the entry of human rights violators into the Union’s member states as well as blocking their financial assets, as was done for example in the case of Burma. It is only through such methods that the human rights violators in Iran will receive a clear message from Europe stating that the international community will not stand by quietly in the face of their violating acts and will not allow the human rights violator to continue to enjoy impunity and lack of accountability in the absence of an independent judiciary in Iran. In  a statement issued by  you on the anniversary of the Presidential elections,  you pointed out the violations of human rights occurring in Iran and promised the people of Iran that you shall not forget them. Next week, as you sit behind the negotiation  tables, facing the Iranian representatives, Iranian people impatiently await to see that, as you promise, you have not forgotten them. Respectfully, Shadi SadrDirector of “Justice for Iran”CC to the European Union and European Countries Officials