Iranian human rights and democracy activist Akbar Ganji went on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman:
ANJALI KAMAT: Let’s bring this back to the present, Akbar Ganji. What are you calling for? You, along with several other Iranian intellectuals, have sent a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. You’re very clear in the letter that this is not a call for economic sanctions. This is something that some right-wing politicians in the US continue to call for. It’s also not a call for military intervention. But what are you calling for?
AKBAR GANJI: [translated] I have repeated this several times, and a large number of Iranian intellectuals concur on this, that we disagree with military action. We also oppose economic sanctions. Economic sanctions did not weaken Saddam; they weakened the Iraqi people.
We have to two major requests. In the hunger strike that we held, our request was for the Secretary-General of the UN to send an envoy to Iran to visit prisons and to meet with prisoners and to ask for the release of all political—prisoners of conscience.
The new campaign that we have launched is against crimes against to humanity. The International Criminal Court considers crimes against humanity. And it is our belief and our suggestion that the leaders of the Islamic Republic have perpetrated crimes against humanity.
What we are suggesting to the West and to the United Nations is that if you launch an attack on Iran and if you enforce military sanctions, this will destroy the Iranian people. Why would you punish the Iranian people? You should not punish the Iranian people; punish the Iranian regime, rather. Whoever has taken part in oppressing and suppressing the Iranian people, including and especially Ali Khamenei, should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
update:Translation of Ganji’s letter to UN Secretary General:
Translated from BBC Persian:
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In an open letter to The United Secretary-General, Akbar Ganji, Human Rights activist and Iranian Journalist asked Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday, August 12, to pay more attention to the world-wide Iranian protests, and take initiatives to address Iranian rights and democratic demands. In this letter which is signed by 79 academic scholars in the US, election in Iran is represented as not to be “free,” “competitive,” and “fair. Thus, it will never truly transfer the power within political structures in Iran. In his letter, Ganji suggests six options to the UN Secretary-General how to restore Iranian’s rights immediately.
1- To establish a special international probe committee to investigate the election’s process in Iran, as well as counting votes, and possible irregularities or fraud within it
2- To put pressure on the Iranian government to cancel 12 June election’s result and call for a free, competitive, and fair reelection under the direct UN’s supervision
3- To put pressure on the Iranian government to release all post-election’s prisoners
4- To put pressure on the Iranian government to lift the ban on opposition media, and to recognize people’s rights for free speech and non-violent protest against the election results
5- To put pressure on the Iranian government to stop any violence and suppression against people
6- To not recognize the “coup d’état” government of Ahmadinejad, and isolate it by all states and international organizations.