Sam Ghandchiسام قندچيRight of Dissenters to Work, in U.S. and Iran
Sam Ghandchi
حق کار، حق دگراندیشان، در آمریکا و ایران

Last year Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian human rights lawyer raised the issue of "Right to work, Right of Dissenters" because of the obstacles created for her job in Tehran. The obstacles by Iran's security forces meant she could not work to support herself and her family. Nasrin Sotoudeh received worldwide support (1). For three years, after my contract was terminated by VOA, I have been trying to get a job in Washington DC and every time in the last stage I face a similar situation as dissenters in Iran because of being a journalist in the US presenting all sides of the news story (2).


Of course here in the US, these employers are very politically correct when discriminating against me. It is interesting to note that one of them first gave me a test and I passed successfully and one of their staff in charge of the test congratulated me for my top scores, but when a position opened later and I applied for it, and did the interview and all was fine, suddenly I was rejected at the last stage. A friend who knew the hiring manager called him and the response was that I had failed the test. The hiring manager did not know that a short while earlier one of their own staff had congratulated me for passing the test with high scores. Why do they lie? Because the secret decision makers do not want to reveal themselves. Upon the suggestion of my friend, I actually sent an email to the hiring manager and copied the friend to whom he had said I failed the test and stated that I had passed the test with high scores and was congratulated a while back by their own staff in charge of the test. This hiring manager never responded and I can understand, because he is scared for his own job for not knowing better not to invite me for an interview in the first place. Others too are politically correct and make up excuses to disqualify in a similar fashion. Why all this for me, because I am not a journalist for whom always the villains and good guys are decided before even reading the news. I do not want to speak of details of these discriminations and to name anybody and would like to focus on issues. The same thing I noted about VOA that I really followed the VOA Charter of fair news practices when I worked there, contrary to the so-called journalism of those who did not want to see me work there (3).

Some Iranians who were associated with Shah's Savak and still are active in the United States work for US and Israeli intelligence agencies and when they receive background check investigation requests, they discriminate against those who have been critical of the former regime in Iran. Every time I raise this topic, some of them show up with fake names in discussion forums like Balatarin and try to discredit my reports about this ugly phenomena among Iranians in the heart of democracy in the United States. If the methods of Shah's regime and Islamic Republic of Iran were good, all Iranians would not wish to live in the United States, so let's not turn our experience living in a democracy in the US into another page of hell under discrimination and please do not try to show these issues as if they do not exist, the same way Iranian government responds to those asking for the right of dissenters to work. A recent program in BBC TV showed that this is not the figment of my imagination and these people are active in the United States (4). Personally I am against discrimination even if it is against the former Savak agents and their families and have said it clearly (5). If there is an issue, one should be taken to court, otherwise, people's rights including the right to work should not be curtailed.

When I talk to some friends who condemn discriminations against journalists and human rights activists in Iran and discuss with them about my situation right here in a democracy in the US for the last three years where I have been a victim of similar violations of my human right to work, they speak vaguely and although they know I am presenting facts, they look the other way. Sometimes I think to myself maybe it would be better to be an activist inside Iran and go to jail, at least your family would not think you are failing to support them and clearly will see the security agencies' decision makers as responsible for the result of these practices for one's life and family. I am glad to see TV series like Shahrzad being produced by those who have not just become human rights advocates during the Islamic Republic and know Iran's history better. Such TV series show to Iran's young generation not to think we had heaven in Iran before the inception of Islamic Republic and they can learn of what we suffered as a nation after the CIA 1953 coup in Iran. It was the same way as now, that if you were a Physics professor and they did not like your political views, you would not be able to teach at the university. But to suffer similar situation by Iranians who opposed the coup, today and even in a democracy in the US after the CIA coup against Mossadegh has been admitted, maybe unbelievable but is true. I suggest to the readers to watch Shahrzad mini series starring Ali Nasirian and judge for themselves (6).

Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,

Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher
November 17, 2015


1. "Right to Work, Right of Dissenters" Facebook Page

2. Eight Years of Working at VOA+


3. Mr. Obama, Please Stop Political Discrimination at VOA

4. ساواک هنوز در آمریکا زنده است

5. دختر پرویز ثابتی چه ربطی به اعمال او در ساواک دارد 

6. گفت و گویی با علی نصیریان درباره سریال شهرزاد

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