125 former world leaders seek accountability in Iran

UPDATE, 9 July 2023: Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown are among more than a dozen distinguished former world leaders who have announced their support for the Open Letter on Iran.

UPDATE, 17 July 2023: Mario Monti, former Prime Minister of Italy; Joseph Deiss, former President of Switzerland and former President of the UN General Assembly; and Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden, have also confirmed their support for the letter.

UPDATE, 28 July 2023: President Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland, has also confirmed her support for the letter.

UPDATE, 9 October 2023: George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece, has also confirmed his support for the letter.

The international community must support Iran’s pro-democracy protesters and blacklist the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), more than 100 distinguished former world leaders representing 56 nations announced in a new global initiative. The call was made in a collective letter to the world powers on Tuesday, just days after the regime executed three protesters.

The three men were executed for taking part in the nationwide uprising that began last September. In the past three weeks, there has been an alarming surge in state-sanctioned executions in Iran, exceeding a staggering count of 100 as the regime tries to suppress protests with impunity.

The collective letter by 125 former heads of state or government called on the leaders of Canada, the EU, UK, and US to hold the “leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran to account for its crimes.”

“We encourage you to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran in their desire for a secular and democratic republic where no individual, regardless of religion or birthright, has any privilege over others. Through their slogans, the Iranian people have made it clear that they reject all forms of dictatorship, be it that of the deposed Shah or the current theocratic regime, and thus reject any association with either,” the open letter states.

“We believe it is for the Iranian people to decide their future. However, we recognise that for four decades, the democratic coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has constantly and tirelessly pursued democratic change. In this respect, we believe the Ten-Point Plan articulated by the NCRI President, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, deserves support. Its commitment to free elections, freedom of assembly and expression, abolition of the death penalty, gender equality, separation of religion and state, autonomy for Iran’s ethnicities, and a non-nuclear Iran is in line with our own democratic values,” the former world leaders wrote.

Signatories to the letter include 54 former Presidents, 59 former Prime Ministers, one former Chancellor, and nine other former Heads of State from across the world. A former UN Secretary General, a former President of the UN General Assembly, two former Presidents of the European Commission and three Nobel Peace Prize laureates are among the signatories.

European signatories to the letter include the former Prime Ministers of the UK, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Ukraine. In South America, signatories include the former Presidents of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico and two former Secretaries–General of the Organization of American States (OAS). Other notable signatories include former US Vice President Mike Pence and two former Prime Ministers from Canada.

Highlighting the crackdown on the “popular uprising in Iran,” which includes the death of some 750 protesters and the arrest of another 30,000, the former world leaders reiterated that the international community has a “responsibility” to support the Iranian people’s human rights.

“Decades of apparent silence and inaction by the international community have helped fuel a culture of impunity in Iran. Since the 1980s, the authorities in Iran have executed tens of thousands of protesters and political prisoners. Tragically, in the summer of 1988 alone, over 30,000 political prisoners – the vast majority of whom were members of the opposition MEK – were brutally massacred,” the letter said.

The signatories condemned the Iranian regime’s meddling in the Middle East and Europe, including its provision of drones to assist Russia’s war against Ukraine and its terrorist attempts and cyber-attacks in Albania.

“We urge your nations to stand with the Iranian people in their quest for change and to take decisive steps against the current regime. This includes blacklisting the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and holding regime officials accountable for their crimes against humanity,” the letter added.

Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI)
23 May 2023

Click here to see the text of the open letter by former world leaders

Click here to see the profiles of the open letter’s signatories

Solidarity message to the people of Iran by former President of Costa Rica Miguel Angel Rodriguez E.
Solidarity message to the people of Iran by former President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski
Solidarity message to the people of Iran by former Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Jansa
Solidarity message to the people of Iran by former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski