Open letter of complaint to CHIN Radio regarding the interview with Mr. Kambiz Sheikh Hassani
Open letter of complaint to CHIN Radio regarding the interview with Mr. Kambiz Sheikh Hassani, Chargé d’Affaires, Head of Mission at Embassy of Iran in Canada
We are writing to strongly object to Dr. Qais Ghanim, the host of 97.9 FM CJLL CHIN, Radio Dialog with Diversity‘s interview with Mr. Kambiz Sheikh-Hassani on CHIN radio Ottawa.
Given the myriad of documents about the gross human rights violations in Iran for the past 33 years; it is disappointing and alarming that Mr. Sheikh-Hassani was given such a warm reception. It is our belief that, this interview was irresponsibly unbalanced and inaccurately portrayed the current situation in Iran under the dictatorship of the Islamic Republic.
For the sake of accuracy and respect to those who have lost their lives in the hands of the present government in Iran, we would like to direct your attention to the nature of the authoritarian regime of Islamic Republic of Iran, which was given a voice on your radio station through its envoy Mr. Kambiz Sheikh Hassani.
Systematic arrests, lengthy imprisonments and torture are regular occurrences in Iran as the present regime has actively cleansed its populace of opposition parties, human rights activists, journalists, women’s rights advocates, lawyers, labor activists, LGBT, Christians, Jews and Baha’is; all under the umbrella of political prisoners. These crimes range from daily beatings, floggings, electrocution, eye gauging to having ones children raped before one’s eyes.
Furthermore, the Islamic Republic of Iran holds the world record for the highest number of executions second to China. The criminal regime of Iran routinely hangs juveniles, amputates hands and feet for alleged theft, and rapes men, women and children to obtain coerced anti-government confessions. We would also like to mention the three Iranian born Canadian residents: Mr. Malekpour, Mr. Ghassemi-Shall, and Mr. Derakhshan who are presently held in Iranian jails as “political prisoners” and subjected to severe torture; two of whom have been given death sentences and await execution. Additionally, one must not forget the case of Zahra Kazemi; the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist who was tortured and raped and died while held as a prisoner. These are merely examples of hundreds of thousands of cases during the 33 year reign of this despotic regime.
In March 2012, Mr. Ahmad Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur for Iran, presented a report on the gross human rights violations in Iran to the United Nations. Mr. Shaheed has been repeatedly denied access to Iran by Iranian authorities. In January 2012, Mr. Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former Shah of Iran, prepared a 45 page report documenting unspeakable torture and lawlessness in Iran, which was sent to most heads of state as well as the United Nations. In addition, Mr. Geoffrey Robertson, a prominent UN jurist, wrote a 145 page report documenting the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. The United Nations, Amnesty International, Stop Child Executions, Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran, Human Rights Watch, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Activists News Agency, are just a few of the organizations dedicated to the plight of the Iranian people.
It is also most noteworthy that the Iranian President has boldly dismissed the Holocaust as a myth and has repeatedly threatened to annihilate the state of Israel along with the Jews, whom he has compared to “cancer cells that must be removed.” Additionally, the Iranian government heavily finances terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and many others in North Africa.
CHIN Radio’s coverage was simply shocking and irresponsible in its blasé approach to the situation in Iran. To forget massive crimes against humanity unparalleled in Iranian history and to speak of the climate and tourist destinations in Iran is inconceivable and morally reprehensible, not to mention grossly inaccurate. Mr. Sheikh- Hassani states that Iran is a multicultural country where many religious minorities live together in peace. The systematic cleansing of the Baha’is along with the confiscation of their properties, degrees and businesses, imprisonment of Christians , closing of all churches along with forbidding Sunni Mosques all have been documented in Iran.
Furthermore, to add insult to injury, Dr. Ghanim introduces and refers to Mr. Sheik Hassani as “His Excellency”. Not only is the use of this title most inappropriate and erroneous; one must remember that Mr. Sheikh Hassani is a representative of a regime which has been responsible for unprecedented mass executions and human right violations in Iran which continue strongly to this day. Why the interviewer would choose this particular high title which is usually reserved for ambassadors and not Chargé d’Affaires remains puzzling.
All above mentioned issues regarding the nature of the Iranian regime have been well publicized by the media; CHIN Radio cannot claim ignorance on this topic. Moreover, CHIN Radio has a history of providing a welcoming platform for the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran; some in the Iranian community have even called it a “love fest”.
We, the human rights activists who have worked arduously against all odds to expose this unjust regime would like to express our immeasurable disappointment and shock regarding this issue and would like to kindly ask you to refrain from providing an arena for this despotic regime, if for nothing else but simply for the sake of decency. Such sunny, fluffy views of the Islamic Republic of Iran accomplish nothing except helping the Islamic Republic in covering up their crimes.
In short, the inaccuracies and problems with this interview, both factually and morally are so vast that many more documents are required in order to address them in their entirety.
To indicate its understanding that the aforementioned show grossly omitted an issue of significant importance, we urge CHIN to host a show to discuss the horrific human rights situation in Iran with activists who work on documenting the regime’s human rights violations. We would be pleased to speak with you about how this can be accomplished.
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing…” Albert Einstein
March 6, 2012 UN report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-66_en.pdf
Full report to The United Nations by Reza Pahlavi: http://www.rezapahlavi.org/media/related/articles/225.pdf
Shadi Paveh, Spokesperson for Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran in Canada,
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Human Rights Activist; President and Co-Founder of Stop Child Executions,
Reza Moridi, MPP Richmond Hill (Ontario),
Hon. David Kilgour, Co-chair, Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran,
Shabnam Assadollahi, Human Rights Activist; Freelance Broadcaster; Board Member, Neda for a Free Iran; Former Political Prisoner,
Soheila Nikpour, Board member, The New Iran; Director, Iranian Refugee Amnesty Network; Representative, Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran in Philadelphia; Member, Neda for Free Iran,
Arash Irandoost, Founder: Pro Democracy Movement of Iran (PDMI), www.pdmi.org
Banafsheh Zand, Journalist and Middle East Analyst, Co-founder of Alliance of Iranian Women, President of The Zand Foundation,
Goretti Fukamusenge, Lawyer; Human Rights Activist,
Kaveh Shahrooz, Lawyer
Mansur Rastani, PhD, University Professor, USA
Blake Parker, WFP Committee of Boston & Amnesty-MIT
Reza Khalili, Former CIA-spy in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Author of A Time to Betray; Member, Advisory board of Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI)
Fred Litwin, Free Thinking Film Society, www.freethinkingfilmfest.ca
Pardis Irani, Transparent Movement of Iran,
Valerie Price. Head of ACT! for Canada
Sogol Ayrom Political Activist, Austria
Iraj Javid, Secretary General, Iranian Cultural Society,
Iranian Society for Peace and Justice
Ramin Joubin, Human Rights Activis, Canada