OIAC online conference: “Iran: Global Threat, Domestic Repression, Prospects for Change”
OIAC 2020, virtual conference – U.S. May 21, 2020
More than 500 prominent Iranian American scholars signed an open letter to U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday, April 12, calling on the administration to maintain the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). This initiative was spearheaded by the Iranian Professionals’ Ad Hoc Committee on Iran Policy. Most of the signatories are supporters of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the ten-point plan of NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi.
The letter emphasizes that the IRGC is Tehran’s instrument to fuel and expand terrorism abroad while imposing harsh crackdown measures on the Iranian people across the country.
Prominent Iranian American scientists, scholars, professors, physicians, industry executives professionals, and successful entrepreneurs, highlight the fact that “removing IRGC from the FTO list will project blatant disregard for the hope and legitimate struggle of Iranians for freedom and dignity.”
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“For over a century, the people of Iran have struggled for freedom from the tyranny of the Shah (and his predecessors) and the mullahs currently ruling in Iran,” the signatories underscored. The letter urges the Biden Administration to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people in their ongoing struggle to establish peace, democracy, and freedom in a non-nuclear republic in Iran.
“While we welcome President Biden’s opposition to removing IRGC from the FTO list, we remain vigilant and concerned about any concession toward Tehran’s terrorist regime. There is no distinction between the IRGC and the Quds force. They operate as one unit to fund, promote and implement Khamenei’s agenda. The current designation is justified and should remain intact,” said Professor Kazem Kazerounian of the University of Connecticut, one of the main organizers of this letter and leading coordinator of the Iranian Professionals’ Ad Hoc Committee on Iran Policy, in a media interview.
“This regime has survived on two pillars,” University of Connecticut professor and dean of the School of Engineering, Kazem Kazerounian, told Fox News Digital. “One is repression at home and terrorism abroad. IRGC has been the main instrument in securing its survival and pursuing these two sinister objectives… That’s why they are so keen on removing IRGC from the FTO list.”
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Despite the fact, that the State Department’s FTO list focuses on terrorism activities, the international community should not forgo the IRGC’s long history of repression against the Iranian people, especially the killing of over 1,500 protesters during November 2019 nationwide uprising.
“The letter reflects the views of many Iranian Americans who are in contact with their family members in Iran, many of whom are victims of the IRGC’s brutal repression at home,” said Ms. Sima Yazdani, a renowned information technology expert.
“When you look at the ongoing anti-regime protests inside Iran, they want this regime gone. This regime is weak, lacks legitimacy, and the main opposition, the MEK, is gaining ground inside Iran,” Kazerounian told Fox News Digital in reference to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). “We must look at Tehran’s issue more holistically for the sake of world peace and stability.”
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It is also worth noting that the IRGC overlooks and controls the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program and missile developments, and they seek to benefit enormously from a potential nuclear deal in Vienna and being delisted from the State Dept’s FTO list.
“The Vienna talks only legitimize a brutal and terrorist regime in Tehran. No concessions should be offered to the mullahs, IRGC, or their murderous president Ebrahim Raisi. If anything, America must verifiably hold mullah’s regime accountable for its human rights abuses at home, terrorism abroad, and destructive support for terrorist proxies in the region,” Dr. Shahin Toutounchi, a distinguished engineer from Lattice Semiconductor Corporation, said in an interview with Al Arabiya English.
“It is not accidental that the Iranian regime has placed the demand of removing IRGC from the terrorist list above any other issue. Such action by the US will unleash this horrible group again – on the Iranian people and on the other countries in the region,” she added, emphasizing many of those who signed Tuesday’s letter and their families had first-hand experience of the atrocities by the IRGC.
“It is certainly noteworthy that IRGC has not shown the slightest indication of good faith efforts in halting malign behavior or advancing democratic institutions. On the contrary, the IRGC is playing a bigger role in creating proxy naval terror units, employing UAVs for terror operations, and funding terrorism around the globe,” the letter read.