Iran-based dissidents urge Biden to keep sanctions on Islamic Republic

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Iran-based dissidents, many of whom have been persecuted by the clerical regime, sent a letter to US President Joe Biden urging his administration to continue the robust sanctions campaign against the Islamic Republic.

The letter was dated February 1, and stated as part of its requests: “Recognition of the majority of the Iranian people’s aspiration and interest for a Secular Democratic Constitution over the survival of the Islamic Republic Theocracy;  Maintaining maximum political, diplomatic, and financial pressure on the regime;  Advocacy for human rights in Iran and release of all political prisoners and those imprisoned for their personal views;  Supporting the Iranian’s determination in seeking a secular democratic government through a non-violent, free, and fair referendum.”

The dissidents wrote that the regime used the benefits of sanctions relief from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,  to spend “billions of dollars gained from the Iran nuclear deal on exporting its totalitarian ideology by providing funds to terrorist networks, developing missile technology as offensive leverage to dominate the Persian Gulf and beyond, and causing chaos in the Middle East.”

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The JCPOA was designed to curb Iran’s drive to build a nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The letter continued that the “Iranian people for a long time have been expressing their discontentment with Islamic Republic Government and their determination for a fundamental change. The nationwide protests in the Winter of 2017-2018 and in November 2019 are the latest affirmation of the Iranians resolve in establishing a democratic rule of law.”

According to a Reuters investigation, the regime’s security forces suppressed the 2019 protests against the regime, leading to more the murders of more than 1500 Iranians. The letter stated that the Iranian regime authorities ”arrested more than ten thousand innocent people” during the peaceful demonstrations.

The US government-run news outlet Voice of America reported that “The Iranian dissidents who wrote to Biden include 11 of the 28 activists who signed 2019 letters urging the resignation of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the replacement of Iran’s Islamist constitution with a democratic one. Most of the signatories of the 2019 letters were arrested for doing so.”

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VOA added that at least 21 of the 38 signatories of the new letter to Biden have been arrested or imprisoned in Iran for peaceful political and social activism.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Jerusalem Post that it  “admires [the] courage of Iranian Citizens signing this letter to  President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken. They have put their  lives on the line. We pray our leaders will heed their pleas.”

According to the letter, “The signatories represent a sample of the cross-section of Iranians. The Declaration has the support of millions of Iranians demanding the resignation of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (under the Islamic Republic Theocratic Constitution) and the elimination of the Islamic Republic Constitution in favor of a non-violent transition to a secular Democratic Constitution through an organized referendum under the supervision of the United Nations and other appropriate international organizations.”

The dissidents argued that the Islamic Republic is close to collapse and “the theocracy in Iran has lost its legitimacy with its people. In March 2020, the absolute majority of people in Iran demonstrated the lack of legitimacy of the Islamic Republic by boycotting the parliamentary elections. The events in Iran in conjunction with the signing of the Abraham Accords signals a significant geopolitical shift in the Middle East.”

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