Shirin Neshat's Sarbazan|
Organization for Support of the Surviving Families of the Unsung Heroes Members of the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces
October 1, 2006
The Honorable Sir Menzies Campbell
The University of St. Andrews
St. Andrews, Fife, KY169AJ
RE: The Granting of an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Law to Mohammed Khatami, ex-President of the Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI)
Dear Sir Campbell:
I have learned that the University of St. Andrews, under the influence of a well-known apologist for the Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI) regime, Dr. Ali Ansari, has decided to grant an Honorary Doctorate degree in Law to the former President of the Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI), cleric Mohammad Khatami. It is absolutely critical that you and the members of the University Council be cognizant of Khatami's background, and the completely unacceptable imprimatur your University's official action grants him and the abhorrent ideology and regime he embodies.
Khatami is one of the longest-serving members of the clerical regime in Iran. He has held high positions there ever since the inception of the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79. In 1979, he was appointed as the head of Iran's Islamic Center in Hamburg, Germany. He was chosen as a member of the first Islamic Majlis (Parliament) in 1980. In 1981, Khomeini also appointed him as the head of the country's largest government controlled daily newspaper, Keyhan. In 1982, he was elevated to the position of Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, serving in that capacity for 10 years. Illegimate censorship of books, newspapers, radio and television programs, periodicals, films and plays, and all other manner of media production was routine and occurred with his direct participation and authorization. Arrests, imprisonment and death of writers, artists, newspaper reporters, singers, composers, musicians, cineastes, and poets, were identically routine and similarly occurred with his own provable involvement. It is a matter of public record that all of this took place under his watch as the Minister of Islamic Guidance for the IRI regime.
During 1980-1988 War with Iraq, Khatami also served as the Chairman of the War Propaganda Headquarters. He was responsible for the wartime practice of taking tens of thousands of children 9 years of age and upward to the front, brainwashing them in mobile war front mosques, and subsequently drugging them for use as human mine sweepers in the battlefields. In 1992, he was named as Cultural Advisor to the President and Head of the Iran National Library. In 1996, on the recommendation of cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, he was appointed by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, to the High Council of Cultural Revolution. In May 1997 and in June 2001, Mohammed Khatami was elected President of the Islamic Republic under the false banner of freedom, equality and civil society. In 1997, he said in a moment of complete Orwellian duplicity for Western consumption, that "Today democracy is the most important desire of our people! We have advanced over the past two decades to a state secure enough in our religious beliefs to tolerate diversity of political and social views‚€Ě.
I ask all of you at St. Andrews University only this: is this man's rhetoric sufficiently skillful to have convinced the Chancellor and University Council of your institution that such a systematic repressor of human rights and purveyor of mass murder is worthy of a Western law degree under the aegis of your hallowed institution of higher education? It must also be noted that on February 5, 2001, Genevieve Abdo wrote the following in The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times: "For the past four years Khatami has done more to preserve the system established by the Islamic Revolution than any conservative politician could have hoped to do. Many of his original key loyalists are now in prison, after harsh sentences by Revolutionary courts. At least forty progressive newspapers and journals have been shut down. Pro-democracy student demonstrators are serving long prison sentences." And Newsweek, in its July 9, 2001 international edition, called Iran under Khatami the worst country in the world for journalists. Many disappearances and killings of freedom protagonists internationally known and documented as targeted serial killings took place under his presidency. Again, I ask the Chancellor and University Council of St. Andrews University of Scotland: is such a neo-fascist suppressor of human rights and provably murderer worthy of an Honorary Law Degree from your historically enviable and prestigious perch as one of the most well-known educational centers in the Western World? What on earth, one may ask, is in your collective minds as spokespersons for such a world-renewed place of decency, learning, multiculturalism, and fair debate?
Mohammad Khatami is not simply a neo-fascist and a mass murder according to any standard of international law. He is also a palpable liar. In a PBS television interview with Charlie Rose on November 9, 2001 he said, "The Islamic Republic does not support any terrorist groups or acts of terrorism in the world." He concurrently painted a very rosy picture of life in Iran. In the New York Times interview of November 10, 2001, he similarly indicated that, "The Islamic Revolution in Iran has created a good model for all Islamic countries that want to have their religion and at the same time move towards democracy and freedom. I want to state that under no condition will we allow any terrorists, as individuals or a group, to enter Iran. There are no terrorists in Iran."
Please, Sir Menzies, take a look at the 9/11: U.S. Congressional Commission report which states that during the years of Khatami‚€™s Presidency, Al Qaeda terrorists in Europe hid their movements to and from Afghanistan by going thru Iran by air--without entry or exit stamp placed in their passports. If there are no terrorists in Iran today, why do Ali Fallahian (condemned as terrorist by a German Court); Sheikh Attar, the organizer of the Shapur Bakhtiar assassination (condemned by a French court); Anis Nakash (who tried to kill Shapur Bakhtiar in France in 1981); Davoud Salahedin, the assassin of Tabatabai; and Imad Mughniyeh, the Beirut hostage-taker and terrorist par excellence, live in Iran today with the full knowledge and approval of the Islamic Republic in Iran (IRI) regime in Tehran? And these instances, as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch organization would publicly acknowledge, are merely the tip of a very ugly iceberg, which includes the extra-judicial murders of my own father, General Ali Neshat, the Commander of His Imperial Majesty Shahanshah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi's Imperial Guard and thousands of Generals and Officers and ex-Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda, in April of 1979, many heinous acts which will live forever in infamy where true lovers of human rights in Iran maintain an eternal memory and flame, even as we await the final legal disposal of the murderers and theocratic fanatics who presently rule Iran with an iron fist of terror, murder, and repression--to be replaced forever by a government dedicated to freedom, respect for law and human life, and the return of our Constitutional Monarchy governed by our Iranian Constitution of 1906.
In short, there is still time for the Chancellor and University Council of St. Andrews University in Scotland to rescind this terrible decision, followed by a formal recognition and regretful acknowledgment of a cataclysmic mistake in the form of an official apology to freedom-loving Iranians around the world, and the international community at large. Cleric Mohammad Khatami is a demonstrable criminal operating on behalf of a criminal regime in Tehran, a terrible blight and stain upon the wonderful 2,500 year old history of the Persian Monarchy and Nation. Let not St. Andrews University become an identical blight and stain upon your own Scottish nation and Western civilization, by honoring such a despicable man with an honoris causa Doctorate in Law.
U. S. A.
cc: Dr. Brian Lang, Vice Chancellor; Dr. David Corner, Deputy Principal, St. Andrews University
Ms. Claire Granger, St. Andrews University Press Office
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