DEMAND THE US GOVERNMENT TAKE ACTION IN IRAN
DEMAND THE US GOVERNMENT TAKE ACTION IN IRAN
Why this petition matters
As the violence and unrest in Iran continues, many Iranian-Americans - your neighbors, your coworkers, your friends - are wondering what action the United States government will take to support Iran on a tactical and tangible level. While we can’t help on the ground, we can push our own government here in the US to take action.
What’s happening in Iran? In September 2022, Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian regime’s morality police for allegedly wearing her compulsory hijab improperly. She was killed in police custody due to forced trauma to her head by the police. Mahsa’s murder sparked nationwide protests in Iran that are still ongoing. Since Mahsa’s death, the Islamic regime has increased their violence on their own citizens, killing children and teenagers, such as 16-year-old Nika Shakarami, 20-year-old Hadis Najafi, and 16-year-old Sarina Esmailzadeh, while arresting others.
Amnesty International reported that between September 19 to October 3, 144 men, women, and children have been killed by the regime, with children representing 16% of the deaths. On October 13, CNN reported more than 1,000 people have been arrested during the uprising. On October 16, Reuters reported through the Iranian activist news agency, HRANA, that more than 240 protestors have been killed, including 32 minors, and over 8,000 protestors have been arrested.
This is not the first time the Iranian people have fought vigilantly against the Islamic Republic to free themselves of oppression, tyranny, and violence. But with the help of governments and people like you all around the world, we can make it the last.
On October 14, former President Obama acknowledged on Pod Save America episode that his failure to act during the 2009 protests in Iran was a mistake. Today, we do not have to repeat history. The Biden administration can and should act.
We have put forth a list of consolidated requests from the Iranian community in the United States, and hope you will sign, share, and support us.
1. RESIGNATION OF ROBERT MALLEY, SPECIAL ENVOY TO IRAN.
Mr. Malley currently serves as the Special Envoy For Iran. However, for over a month, Mr. Malley has neglected his duties in serving the United States government and the people of Iran, failing to grasp the underlying nature of the current revolution unfolding in the country.
On October 7th, NPR reported the following statements from Robert Malley reducing the protests to the hijab, and pushing for a deal with the regime:
-In regards to the revolution:"What the United States wants is a government in Iran that is respectful of the fundamental rights of its people. It's not a policy of regime change. It's a policy of backing... people who are protesting peacefully, because they want to be able not to wear a headscarf or to live their lives in ordinary ways, and yet they face an oppressive system…”
-In regards to JCPOA: "There was a deal on the table... and all the other participants were okay with it in March. Then again over the summer. Then again in August. And each time Iran has come up with some new requests, some new demands, most of the time either an unrealistic demand or one that was extraneous to the nuclear talks, something that had nothing to do with it."
Robert Malley continues to nurture a relationship with the violent Iranian regime and fails to understand the will of the Iranian people. He is unqualified for this position.
Since the revolution began over a month ago, Robert Malley has only communicated a dozen times on the envoy's Twitter account regarding the unfolding situation in Iran. He continues to keep Iranians around the world in the dark about what's happening on the ground, and also the US government’s efforts to address the escalating situation. He is unfit for the role of Special Envoy. Mr. Malley believes in negotiating with a violent regime and does not have the best interest of the US government, nor Iran.
Robert Malley should submit his resignation immediately. The Biden administration should put forth an Iranian Special that meets the moment and acts as a voice for the people of Iran.
2. RENOUNCE JCPOA.
On October 13, 2022, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price stated the following: "[JCPOA] is not the US' focus right now. Our focus right now is on the remarkable bravery Iranian people are exhibiting, and on supporting and shining a spotlight on their peaceful demonstrations.”
This is not enough. The focus of the US government should be the immediate renouncement of JCPOA and full withdrawal from all dialogue regarding a nuclear deal with a violent regime. The JCPOA would channel billions of dollars back into the hands of a murderous, terrorist organization and continue their violent aggression towards the people of Iran.
3. PROVIDE INTERNET ACCESS TO IRAN.
On September 23, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced “Advancing the Free Flow of Information for the Iranian People,” lifting restrictions to allow technology firms will be able to provide more digital services to people in Iran, from access to cloud computing services to better tools to enhance their online security and privacy. As reported by TechCrunch, activists on the ground in Iran are working relentlessly to obtain internet access through ToR networks, and we should work more diligently in support of them.
Weeks after Blinken’s announcement, little initiative has been taken from US companies. On October 14, Google announced its Jigsaw division would open VPN to Iran, yet many still have challenges accessing the servers. On September 24, Elon Musk tweeted that he will activate Starlink in Iran. However, Karim Sadjadpour, Senior Fellow at Carnegie and powerful voice of information on the Iranian protests, tweeted his conversation with Elon, illuminating the need for Starlink terminals for the service to be active, and the logistical challenges of getting Starlink to Iran.
We have seen what the US government has done in countries like Ukraine in regard to connectivity. It’s essential to the free flow of information and gives the world a window into the atrocities being committed in Iran. We ask the US government to elevate its push to deliver internet to Iran immediately. It is not enough to pass off the request to private US tech organizations.
4. EXPEL REGIME OFFICIALS’ FAMILIES FROM US.
While regime members reside and rule in Iran, murdering innocent children, their own family members continue to live freely in the United States - working, studying, and forming US business entities to launder money.
On October 7th, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced increased sanctions of the highest order on regime family members in their country, including members of the IRGC, even moderate ones. And on October 13, the Canadian government acted on this by announcing sanctions on 17 Iranian individuals, including the former Foreign Minister of Iran, Javad Zarif.
We ask the US government to follow Canada’s lead and form a task force to specifically locate, apprehend, and extradite the regime’s children and families in the United States as they pose a national security risk to our country and Iranian-Americans.
5. PRESSURE THE PRESS.
On October 2nd, the New York Times released an article titled, “‘Out-of-Reach Dreams’ in a Sickly Economy Provoke the Rage in Iran.” The article sought to quell the protests and blame the citizens of Iran for their uprising. The US media needs to do better. The framing of this revolution is incredibly important. What is happening in Iran is the result of decades of violence, oppression, and violations of human rights brought down by the regime unto its people. The media should be the honest voice of Iranians' struggles with oppression, and reflect the realities of the revolution.
We ask that the US media (CNN, WSJ, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, NYT, WSJ, Daily Beast) treat these protests with the same journalistic standards they approach other wars and uprisings. Foster direct relationships with Iranians fighting on the ground, and be their microphone. We understand there are risks with sending correspondents into Iran, but finding journalists within the country, already fighting in the protests, is not out of reach.
On October 13, Alex Shams of NYMag released an article speaking directly to protestors on the ground in Iran, and giving them a voice through a major publication. We ask that news publications follow Alex's lead and provide more coverage, and more accurate reporting, as they have done time and time again during other national uprisings and in warzones.
Thank you for taking the time to read our petition. We hope you will sign it, share it, and support us. Together, we can collectively work towards empowering the people of Iran against 43 years of violence and oppression from their government. We hope through your signatures, we can provide the United States government with tactical steps on how we can aid and support these brave Iranians risking their lives for a more democratic future.