Below is a news report from AP about the recent arrests of over 40 members of Iran Freedom Movement (IFM) and the summon of  Ebrahim Yazdi, the leader of IFM by the Islamic Republic's judiciary, on some pseudo charges, such as finding firearms in his house, and calling such "evidence" as reason of his activity against National Security of Iran.


Personally I never cared for the political and economic programs of IFM for Iran, both before the 1979 Revolution and after that.  In fact, they were the main political force responsible for mixing state and religion in the years of post-1953 CIA coup in Iran.  They were able to turn a major part of Iranian intellectuals to the support of some form of ideological Islamic state.  In a way, they impacted both Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Republic and MojAhedin's program of "Democratic Islamic Republic".


Nonetheless, elements of liberal approach in IFM's political view, has been always a reality.  The last time IFM was attacked, it started with hostage crisis and ended with the worst repression in Islamic Republic's history.  The attack against IFM, was attack against the little liberalism they support and not against their support of theocracy which Islamic Republic has enjoyed for over 20 years.  The exit of liberal cabinet of Mohandes Bazargan was synonymous with wiping out of the freedoms that had followed the democratic movement of 1978-1980.


I believe this new attack against IFM is the start of another all-round attack against democratic forces in Iran.   This should be condemned and regardless of anybody's disagreement with the politics of IFM, this is an attack against democracy and freedom in Iran and indifference means supporting the start of all-out repression in Iran.


Hoping for a future-oriented and a democratic Republic of Iran,


Sam Ghandchi, Publisher


April 29, 2001






* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on April 29, 2001



Attachment:   News Report. April 29 10:11 AM ET Iran Wants Dissident for Questioning

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Tehran's hard-line Revolutionary Court on Sunday charged a dissident leader with endangering national security and possessing firearms and ordered him to appear for questioning, state-run Tehran radio reported.  Ebrahim Yazdi, leader of the Freedom Movement, is in the United States for cancer treatment. His group has been under siege by hard-liners who arrested 42 leading members of the movement in a crackdown in early April. Some were later released.  The radio said Yazdi is charged with endangering Iran's national security and keeping firearms and eavesdropping equipment. It did not say when Yazdi was supposed to appear before the court. The official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted a court statement as saying that if Yazdi did not respond to the summons, it would ``act through international channels to seek his extradition.'' There is no extradition treaty between Iran and the United States  Yazdi, 69, is receiving chemotherapy for prostate cancer in Houston, Texas. His Freedom Movement advocates peaceful democratic reforms.  Earlier this month, Yazdi vowed in an interview with The Associated Press to return home after treatment despite the crackdown.  Commenting on the Revolutionary Court's order, Esmat Yazdi, the dissident's sister, said: ``Our people are wise enough to know what are the reasons behind such organized politically motivated statements in the name of justice.''  She told AP that intelligence agents had searched her brother's house and then ''(claimed) to have found firearms in the house of a political leader whose party has always rejected violence and seeks only peaceful democratic reforms.''  Esmat Yazdi's husband, Mohammad Tavassoli, is one of the Freedom Movement leaders arrested earlier this month on charges of seeking to overthrow the Islamic establishment. The detentions are part of a growing crackdown by hard-liners ahead of the June 8 presidential election, in which the hard-liners fear another landslide victory by the pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites). He has not said if he will run for another four-year term. The hard-liners, who control the courts and several other key institutions, have closed down dozens of reformist publications, jailed and harassed Khatami's allies and brought serious charges against dissidents in what is seen as a campaign to clear the field ahead of the election.  Khatami has championed greater social and political freedoms - moves that conservatives view as undermining the 1979 Islamic revolution.


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