UN Dialogue Among Civilisations / Millennium SummitWritten by Jade in 11 September 00
Monday, 11 September 2000
Dear Mr. Secretary-General
United Nations Year of ‘Dialogue Among Civilizations’
As the president of Association des Chercheurs Iraniens – ACI, I would like to congratulate the United Nations on organising two successful meetings simultaneously.
At ACI, we base our activities on the same belief as the United Nations that dialogue could triumph over discord and that the people of the world are far more united by a common fate than divided by their differences. To this end, with great respect for all schools of thought we work in an unbiased and unprejudiced manner with experts and scholars from Iran and internationally. ACI is dedicated to identifying the problems concerning the future of Iran and the Iranian people. By analysing the issues and problems facing Iran, we hope to offer educated and expert solutions to improve and overcome them.
As an Iranian, I am immensely proud of my country’s heritage and the fact that Iran’s ancient history makes it one of the world’s oldest civilisations. Nevertheless, I fail to see the connection between Iran’s ancient civilisation and the present rulership in Iran. By no stretch of imagination can I link or accept that ‘Velayat Faghih’ and Islamic Republic are a continuation of the human rights charter set up by the Achaemenid Kings.
In your opening speech on 5 September 2000 you mention ‘ … history should teach us also that, alongside an infinite diversity of cultures, there does exist one, global civilisation in which humanity’s ideas and beliefs meet and develop peacefully and productively. It is a civilisation that must be defined by its tolerance of dissent, its celebration of cultural diversity, its insistence on fundamental, universal human rights and its belief in the right of people everywhere to have a say in how they are governed…”
Perhaps in the excitement of organising the year of ‘Dialogue among Civilisations’ it was forgotten to pay attention to UN’s own reports on the Islamic Republic and its history of ignoring international appeals for tolerance of dissent, an end to arbitrary arrests and torture in particular of the Iranian youths in the name of cultural invasion, and repeated violations of the most fundamental of human rights, the freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
Repeatedly in the last twenty one years and in particular during the last three years the UN and Human Rights organisations worldwide have sent urgent appeals expressing their concern to the government of the Islamic Republic despite the fact that as yet no invitation has been extended to UN’s Special Rapporteur to visit Iran.
While the world press jostled for a photo opportunity with Seyed Mohamad Khatami and Ehud Barak perhaps, it was forgotten to ask the Islamic Republic’s authorities why Iran’s jails hold the largest number of journalists, writers, free thinkers or any one who dares to express an opinion with one person being jailed every 52 seconds as an average declared in their published statistics.
While the world watches the Middle East peace process with abated breath perhaps, it was forgotten to ask the Islamic Republic’s authorities on state-sponsored terrorism and its sponsorship of the Hezbollah.
With UN’s concern regarding development and poverty eradication, the “United Nations Millennium Declaration” contains commitments to make the right to development a reality for everyone. Perhaps it was forgotten to ask the Islamic Republic’s authorities why Iran, a potentially rich country, is suffering from the worse economic crisis in its contemporary history. Unemployment, poverty, theft, bribery, moral and financial corruption are every day experiences for the dispirited Iranian nation.
Perhaps when President Khatami introduced the ‘Dialogue Among Civilisations’ round table it was forgotten to ask him why he has not held dialogue with his own nation and answered their hopes and dreams which he excited with his electioneering promises of reform. However, he chose to air his views in a press conference on Thursday 7 September 2000 with Reuters News Agency quoting him as saying ‘…People are impatient…The demands of the people should not rise beyond possibilities … let me remind you that I did not come in the name of reform… ”
While adopting the “United Nations Millennium Declaration” with its values, principles and objectives for an international agenda for the twenty-first century perhaps it was forgotten to ask the Islamic Republic how it proposed to participate while it had not solved its problems on a national level with a Divine representative at the head of its leadership undermining all values of a civil society and a true democracy.
It is a fact that the oppressive nature of the Islamic rule by perpetuating intimidation and terror in the Iranian society has promoted a culture of violence. This can only lead to problems and unrest, which will not be controllable, and the people’s frustration will erupt into violence.
With hope for a better future for the Iranian nation and with respect, Sir, perhaps during this coming year these points should be reminded to the future organisers as well as the Islamic Republic.
Dr Hossein Ladjevardi
President – ACI