The Declaration of Formation of the Democracy Network of Iran
We, hereby, declare the formation of the Democracy Network of Iran as an Internet-based group of individuals committed to campaign for the promotion of democracy, improvement of human rights conditions in Iran and provision of equitable and just economic, social and political opportunities for all sectors of Iranian society. As a group of Iranians we believe that adoption of the freedom of expression, press, and assembly and the formation of political parties, and therefore an opening up of the political atmosphere in Iran is the required first step toward such ends. WE believe that the outlined concerns are shared by an overwhelming majority of the Iranians both at home and abroad.
Events leading to the formation of the Democracy Network of Iran
After years of living abroad, our patriotic feelings towards Iran has not diminished in the least. At this point in our country's life and on the edge of the year 2000, we have come to the realization that the only way to dissuade violent discourse and threat of Iran's disintegration is "opening up of the political atmosphere". We would like to see ourselves as a small part of the movement for democracy in Iran which started in the late 19th century with the vanguards of the constitutional movement and continued with the struggles for the nationalization of oil, and finally with the 1979 revolution that ended the monarchy system in Iran.
Our observation of the current deterioration of the social, political and economic institutions in Iran has led us to believe that true prosperity in Iran can only be achieved through an open political atmosphere and a peaceful and democratic participation of all members of society. We strongly believe that without these provisions, the social and economic future of Iran will remain bleak. Furthermore, a continuation of the current path will lead the country to chaos, violence and disintegration. The quest for democracy has intensified in the past year as demonstrated by the following events:
November 1994: Freedom of Expression:
Suspicious death of Saidie Sirjani The process of arrest, type of charges, and finally his suspicious passing away is extremely alarming to all concerned with
human life and freedom of expression.
October 1994: Freedom of thought and expression:
134 writers demand removal of censorship in Iran The writers declared: "condemnation of a writer by simply resorting to her/his moral and ideological
disposition is against democracy and violates a writer's principles and dignity".
December 1994: 500 Journalists demand better working conditions in Iran
500 Journalists warned us of perils of being journalists in Iran and demanded better working conditions in an open letter following the letter of 134. Since the
revolution, all opposition papers have been shut down. The most recent one was "Mizan" of the late Bazargan's political party. Revocation of the
Jahan-E-Eslam license in Feb. 1995 for alleged violation of the Press Act, Banning of the literary Journal TakaPou in March 1995 and finally, recent suspension
of "Payam Daneshjoo's" license are some other examples of violation of Freedom of Press in the past year.
April 1995: Freedom to protest and assembly : IslamShahr
In an open political environment, protests such as the ones in Mashhad, Qazvin, ArAk, NajafAbad, GhaemShahr, Islam Shahr and Akbar AbAd, would not have
occurred. People do not resort to violent forms of protest if legal venues exist. We strongly condemn the use of force in dealing with these protests. Once the
disenchanted find a voice in the political system, the probability of violent discourse and total break up decreases drastically.
June 1995: Lack of freedom to form political belief
Case of Mr. Amir Entezam, former speaker of the provisional government of late Mehdi Bazargan, the longest held political prisoner in IRI simply highlights the
fact that in Iran there are prisoners of conscience. The opposition newspapers have reported that the lives of 42 Iranian political prisoners and two members of
the Baha'i faith are in imminent danger.
June 1995: 214 Film Makers call for lifting of state supervision and control on Film Making in Iran.
214 Film Makers issued an open letter in June 1995 calling for removal of state control and supervision on Film Making in Iran today.
May 1995: Opposition Political Activists demand Free Election
We as a "pro-democracy group" cannot determine the efficacy of tactics employed by the political forces inside and outside Iran. We can ,however, support
their right to political freedoms. Case in point is the open letter and call by 86 well-known Iranian Political Activists for Free-Elections which was issued in May
1995. Regrettably, the state's response to this has been banning of the Nehzate Azadi [the last dissident Party operating openly in Iran].
July 1995: 122 Opposition Activists in Iran call for change of the Election Law
122 well known Political Activists called for changes in the election laws to minimize the role of the "Guardian Council" in the Election process .
July 1995: Disruption of Dr. Karim Sanjabi's Memorial Service
5,000 Iranians attended a PEACEFUL memorial service held for late Dr. Karim Sanjabi in Tehran last month. The memorial service was rudely and violently
disrupted by "hooligans".
August 1995: Freedom of expression
107 Professors objected to disruption of Dr. A. Soroush's speech in Esfehan in an open letter.
September 1995: Freedom of Press
The banning of the book by Mahmmad Reza Khoshbin Khoshnazar titled,"And Gods Laugh on Monday" and illegal attack on the Morgh-e-Amin Publishing
house by "Hooligans" prompted more than 40 publishers to demand state protection. In an open letter, they asked the government to ``deal legally with
anti-cultural elements and book burners.''
The main objective of our group is the promotion of democracy and freedom in Iran. The formation of this group is the result of our collective concerns for the cause of democracy, unconditional provision of "freedom of expression and thought" through freedom of press, freedom of assembly and freedom of political campaign and activity for all political denominations in Iran. Central to fulfilling this demand is the repeal of laws that discriminate on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity and faith in the current constitution of the IRI.
In conclusion, We would like to emphasize that better human rights conditions, as well as an "open political atmosphere" will facilitate the return of the Iranians living abroad, it will improve Iran's image in the world, will decrease the probability of disintegration and violent discourse, attract foreign and domestic investments in industries and thus will facilitate Iran's sustained and healthy growth.