Open letter by former world leaders to the leaders of Canada, the EU, UK, and US

Joe Biden, President of the United States
Charles Michel, President of the European Council
Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Leaders of the 27 Member States of the European Union

10 July 2023


Since September 2022, the world has witnessed a sweeping popular uprising in Iran, demanding freedom and democracy. Reports suggest that some 750 protesters have been killed and 30,000 arrested. While any change should come from the people of Iran, the international community has a responsibility to support their 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.

We believe it is time 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.

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.

We condemn 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.



Ban Ki-moon – Former United Nations Secretary General

Mike Pence – Former Vice President, United States

Jean Claude Juncker – Former Prime Minister, Luxembourg; former President of the European Commission

Romano Prodi – Former Prime Minister, Italy; former President of the European Commission

Lech Wałęsa – Former President, Poland; Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Juan Manuel Santos – Former President, Colombia; Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Oscar Arias Sánchez – Former President, Costa Rica; Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Liz Truss – Former Prime Minister, United Kingdom

Horst Köhler – Former President, Germany

Bernard Cazeneuve – Former Prime Minister, France

Yulia Tymoshenko – Former Prime Minister, Ukraine

Stephen Harper – Former Prime Minister, Canada

Gordon Brown – Former Prime Minister, United Kingdom

Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Echeverría – Former President, Costa Rica; former Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS)

César Gaviria – Former President, Colombia: former Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS)

Matteo Renzi – Former Prime Minister, Italy

Mariano Rajoy – Former Prime Minister, Spain

Janez Janša – Former Prime Minister, Slovenia

Aníbal Cavaco Silva – Former President and former Prime Minister, Portugal

Guy Verhofstadt – Former Prime Minister, Belgium

Mary McAleese – Former President, Ireland

Joseph Deiss – Former President, Switzerland; former President of the UN General Assembly

Tarja Halonen – Former President, Finland

Heinz Fischer – Former President, Austria

Göran Persson – Former Prime Minister, Sweden

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca – Former President, Malta

Ricardo Lagos Escobar – Former President, Chile

Mauricio Macri – Former President, Argentina

Danilo Türk – Former President, Slovenia

Sebastián Piñera E. – Former President, Chile

Vicente Fox – Former President, Mexico

Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas – Former Prime Minister, Yemen

Carlos Alvarado Quesada – Former President, Costa Rica

Giuliano Amato – Former Prime Minister, Italy

Pedro Angulo Arana – Former Prime Minister, Peru

Andrus Ansip – Former Prime Minister, Estonia

Mercedes Aráoz – Former Prime Minister, Peru

Rosalía Arteaga Serrano – Former President, Ecuador

Alexandru Athanasiu – Former Prime Minister, Romania

José María Aznar – Former Prime Minister, Spain

Gordon Bajnai – Former Prime Minister, Hungary

Jan Peter Balkenende – Former Prime Minister, Netherlands

Nicolás Ardito Barletta – Former President, Panama

Jaume Bartumeu-Cassany – Former Prime Minister, Andorra

Gian Nicola Berti – Former Captain Regent, San Marino

Georgi Bliznashki – Former Prime Minister, Bulgaria

Emil Boc – Former Prime Minister, Romania

Luca Boschi – Former Captain Regent, San Marino

Felipe Calderón – Former President, Mexico

Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier – Former President, Costa Rica

Micheline Calmy-Rey – Former President, Switzerland

Kim Campbell – Former Prime Minister, Canada

Miro Cerar – Former Prime Minister, Slovenia

Youssef Chahed – Former Prime Minister, Tunisia

Laura Chinchilla Miranda – Former President, Costa Rica

Matteo Ciacci – Former Captain Regent, San Marino

Emil Constantinescu – Former President, Romania

Carlo Cottarelli – Former Prime Minister, Italy

Édith Cresson – Former Prime Minister, France

Elio Di Rupo – Former Prime Minister, Belgium

Iván Duque – Former President, Colombia

José María Figueres – Former President, Costa Rica

Ántero Flores-Aráoz E. – Former Prime Minister, Peru

Federico Franco – Former President, Paraguay

Mario Frick – Former Prime Minister, Liechtenstein

Carlos D. Mesa Gisbert – Former President, Bolivia

Lawrence Gonzi – Former Prime Minister, Malta

Dalia Grybauskaitė – Former President, Lithuania

Alfred Gusenbauer – Former Chancellor, Austria

Geir H. Haarde – Former Prime Minister , Iceland

Avdullah Hoti – Former Prime Minister, Kosovo

Osvaldo Hurtado – Former President, Ecuador

Toomas Hendrik Ilves – Former President, Estonia

Enda Kenny – Former Prime Minister, Ireland

Anatoliy Kinakh – Former Prime Minister, Ukraine

Andrej Kiska – Former President, Slovakia

Bronisław Komorowski – Former President, Poland

Andrius Kubilius – Former Prime Minister, Lithuania

Milan Kučan – Former President, Slovenia

Aleksander Kwaśniewski – Former President, Poland

Zlatko Lagumdžija – Former Prime Minister, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Vytautas Landsbergis – Former Head of State, Lithuania

Yves Leterme – Former Prime Minister, Belgium

Moritz Leuenberger – Former President, Switzerland

Igor Lukšić – Former Prime Minister, Montenegro

Jamil Mahuad – Former President, Ecuador

Pandeli Majko – Former Prime Minister, Albania

Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz – Former Prime Minister, Poland

Moncef Marzouki – Former President, Tunisia

Mario Monti – Former Prime Minister, Italy

Giuseppe Maria Morganti – Former Captain Regent, San Marino

Mireya Moscoso – Former President, Panama

Michele Muratori – Former Captain Regent, San Marino

Joseph Muscat – Former Prime Minister, Malta

Peter O’Neill – Former Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea

George Papandreou – Former Prime Minister, Greece

Jiří Paroubek – Former Prime Minister, Czech Republic

Pedro Passos Coelho – Former Prime Minister, Portugal

Andrés Pastrana – Former President, Colombia

Ernesto Pérez Balladares – Former President, Panama

Jorge Fernando Quiroga Ramírez – Former President, Bolivia

Iveta Radicova – Former Prime Minister, Slovakia

Eugene Rhuggenaath – Former Prime Minister, Curaçao

Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé – Former President, Bolivia

Taavi Rõivas – Former Prime Minister, Estonia

Petre Roman – Former Prime Minister, Romania

Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle – Former President, Chile

Francisco Sagasti – Former President, Peru

Antonis Samaras – Former Prime Minister, Greece

Semisi Sika – Former Prime Minister, Tonga

Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera – Former President, Costa Rica

Vladimír Špidla – Former Prime Minister, Czech Republic

Hanna Suchocka – Former Prime Minister, Poland

Johnson Toribiong – Former President, Palau

Aníbal Torres Vásquez – Former Prime Minister, Peru

Aminata Touré – Former Prime Minister, Senegal

Elbegdorj Tsakhia – Former President and former Prime Minister, Mongolia

Guntis Ulmanis – Former President, Latvia

Raimonds Vējonis – Former President, Latvia

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga – Former President, Latvia

Juan Carlos Wasmosy – Former President, Paraguay

Andrea Zafferani – Former Captain Regent, San Marino

Rosa Zafferani – Former Captain Regent, San Marino

Guerrino Zanotti – Former Captain Regent, San Marino

Valdis Zatlers – Former President, Latvia

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