Khatami, a former president of the Islamic Republic
of Iran (1997-2005) has been invited to St Andrews
University on October 31 to receive an Honorary
Degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of his
'efforts to encourage interfaith dialogue'.
a theocrat a degree in secular law and doing so
'considering global tensions relating to. faiths'
that incidentally he and his regime have been
instrumental in creating is like giving PW Botha
or FW De Klerk honorary degrees in race relations
in recognition of their efforts to encourage inter-race
could be more offensive, not only to those of
us who have fled or lost loved ones to this vile
regime but also to the innumerable who have lost
lives and limbs to Islamists everywhere.
there is more. In its attempt to dispel any illusion
that it is organising student protests against
this action as reported in media outlets [it is
the National Union of Students, we and others
who are doing so], the University
of St Andrews Students' Association's statement
blatantly and shamelessly defends Khatami and
asserts that Mr Khatami was never the 'highest
ranking political or judicial authority in the
land, and held minimal influence...' Clearly,
this is untrue. Saying so is a deliberate attempt
at whitewashing his role in the crimes of the
Islamic regime of Iran. Power sharing mechanisms
in a government, however dictatorial, do not mean
that the executive role lacks power.
case in point is the April 1997 German court's
verdict that found the then president responsible
for the September 1992 assassinations of opposition
leaders in Berlin. The court found that the killings
had been ordered by a 'Committee for Special Operations'
whose members included the Leader (Khamenei),
the president, the Minister of Information and
Security and other security officials.
the past week, too, Argentine prosecutors have
issued warrants for a former president for directing
Hezbollah to carry out the 1994 bombing of the
Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires that killed
85 people and wounded hundreds.
today, there are reports of two Iranian exiles,
Safa Einollahi, 29, and Ali Ebrahimi, 34, who
have lodged complaints under the 1988 Criminal
Justice Act against Khatami for his accountability
in the atrocities and tortures they endured as
from the rosy picture often portrayed in the Western
media, Khatami's presidency has been anything
his bloody rule, over 1,300 people were executed,
including sweet 16 year old Atefeh Rajabi for
'acts incompatible with chastity'; 27 people were
stoned to death or sentenced to die by stoning,
18 of them women; student and other demonstrations
were crushed and their leaders arrested or killed;
Ahmad Batebi was given a death sentence for holding
up a bloody t-shirt; an opposition activist in
Kurdistan, Showaneh Qaderi, was shot and his body
dragged through the streets; Arezoo Siabi Shahrivar
was arrested along with up to 14 other women,
at a ceremony commemorating the 1988 "prison
massacre" in Evin prison, Tehran, in which
thousands of political prisoners were executed.
In detention she was suspended from the ceiling,
beaten with a wire cable and sexually abused.
Journalists and webloggers were detained; papers
were shut down; the Canadian journalist, Zahra
Kazemi was tortured and murdered in prison; the
murders of two political activists and three writers
- a case known in Iran as the "Serial Murders"
took place; hundreds of labour activists were
arrested and tortured and on and on.
in a topsy turvy world can a president who oversaw
such murder and mayhem not be deemed accountable...
it was not only his eight years as president that
Khatami is accountable for. In the 1980s in the
Majlis, Khatami was known as an active member
of the Line of the Imam, the dominant grouping
within a party set up via Khomeini's decree and
most closely identified with Khomeini's policies,
including his theory of velayat-e faqih, or absolute
clerical supremacy in government. Mr Khatami was
appointed the Minister of Culture and Islamic
Guidance, and was the chief censor in film, media,
arts and culture. As a member of the Supreme Council
on Cultural Revolution, Khatami played an important
role in purging dissidents from universities and
educational centres. Moreover, he was the director
of cultural affairs in the Joint Chiefs of Staff
of the Armed Forces and the head of the War Propaganda
Headquarters for years. Today, too, he remains
a member of several organs of the Islamic regime.
though, whilst being declared powerless, Khatami
is also always lauded as a reformer; the St Andrews
Students' Association statement asserts that he
'strove for moderation and liberalisation whilst
is a contradiction in terms.
cannot have minimal influence and be a reformer
at the same time. Moreover, reforms have a specific
meaning in our world - changes, particularly in
law, which improve the lot of the population at
large. Again, this was never the case. In fact,
Khatami and his 'reformist' faction were merely
attempts by the regime to put forward a more palatable
face in order to prolong its life given the explosive
situation in Iran.
the face of escalating protests and opposition
to Khatami's visit, the university persists in
its decision to confer an honorary degree upon
him and in its rewriting of contemporary history.
A spokesperson for the university has said the
decision to invite Khatami was based on his "vision
and willingness to change". At least Chancellor
Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democratic leader,
has pulled out from presenting the degree before
it turns into a scandal for him. But this is not
enough. Far from honouring him with a degree,
Khatami should be arrested for his crimes against
the people of Iran.
Tuesday, we will be there at St Andrews to remind
the world that we will not allow it to forget
what has taken and is taking place in Iran. We
ask students and professors alike, along with
concerned and outraged people everywhere to join
us in preventing a centre of science from being
transformed into a bastion of reaction.
on this note, it is apt to end with Khatami's
own words at Harvard University this past September
when questioned about the execution of gays in
at a university, the cradle of science, so we
can speak of it scientifically...In all schools
of thought and in all religions there is punishment
and punishment is not a form of violence...Punishment
is seen as a response to violence or deviance
in society and if there is no punishment in a
society a society cannot run effectively.'
that is Khatami's unchanged vision pure and simple.
Khatami's visit to Chatham House and University
of St. Andrews, in UK
is a criminal! He must be arrested and
put on trial!
Tuesday 31 October, 3:00- 6:00pm, in front of
University of St Andrews
Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ, Scotland
Namazie, 2005 Secularist of the Year, Director
of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International
1 November 2006, 4:30 - 6:30pm, Chatham
St James's Square, London
tube station: Piccadilly Circus /Green Park
Sofie Buckl, National Executive of the National
Union of Students
Majedi, Director of the Organisation for Women's
Namazie, 2005 Secularist of the Year, Director
of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International
Javid, Worker-communist Party of Iran
more information, contact 07984445278 / 07886973423.
Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has been invited
to Chatham House, London to give a speech.
has always been introduced to the world by the
governments and media in the West as the 'smiling'
and 'reformist' face of the Islamic Republic of
Iran. He is known for his 'dialogue of civilizations'
- a term he first used in a speech to the UN General
Assembly in September 1998.
the reality is far from the general picture the
western media draws of Mohammad Khatami. During
the eight years of his presidency:
More than 200 people were executed;
of women were sentenced to death by stoning;
workers from Khatoon Abad (Babak Shahr) copper
mine were killed for going on strike;
Students' demonstration in commemoration of
9 July 2004 was brutally crushed on his orders;
The organized killings of political dissidents
by the regime, known as 'serial murders', happened
when he was in power;
Women had no rights and were constantly harassed.
Any protest against the discriminatory laws
was answered by whips, arrests, torture, humiliation
Many homosexuals were arrested and sentenced
to long-term imprisonment or execution;
Thousands of people were arrested and tortured
for trying to defend their human rights against
the Islamic regime;
Hundreds of workers' strikes and demonstrations
and students' and women's protests and nurses'
and teachers' strikes were savagely attacked
list is endless.
Khatami and the regime whose president he was
for eight years have done nothing but organising
terror and murder and oppression. Khatami and
all other leaders of the Islamic Republic are
criminals and must be tried in international courts
for their crimes against humanity.
the eight years of Khatami's presidency, the persecution
and murder of Iranian people continued non-stop.
Inviting Khatami and providing him with a platform
to speak and treating him as a respectable politician
is an insult to the people of Iran, and must be
categorically condemned. Khatami has been the
president of a regime of repression, execution,
torture and violence against the people of Iran.
His government has helped Islamic terrorism in
the Middle East. Inviting him as a 'respectable
statesman' for 'a civilized dialogue' is disgusting
Worker-communist Party of Iran is against giving
the criminal leaders of the Islamic regime any
opportunity to travel around the world and pretend
that they are opening civilized dialogues, while
at the same time murdering and torturing people
and supporting international Islamic terrorism.
call upon all concerned organisations and individuals
and international human rights organisations to
make their protest heard and to demand Khatami's
arrest and trial as a criminal.
send your protest letter to:
Chatham House Press Office
Secretary: email: email@example.com
Fax: 020 7219 5365