Iran-based dissidents urge Biden to keep sanctions on Islamic Republic

"Maintaining maximum political, diplomatic, and financial pressure on the regime"

US President-Elect Joe Biden in this file photo from July 14 2020  (photo credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)
US President-Elect Joe Biden in this file photo from July 14 2020
(photo credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)
Iran-based dissidents sent a letter to US President Joe Biden last week, urging his administration to continue the robust sanctions campaign against the Islamic Republic.
The letter, dated February 1, requested: “Recognition of the majority of the Iranian people’s aspiration and interest for a Secular Democratic Constitution over the survival of the Islamic Republic Theocracy; Maintaining maximum political, diplomatic, and financial pressure on the regime; Advocacy for human rights in Iran and release of all political prisoners and those imprisoned for their personal views; Supporting the Iranians’ determination in seeking a secular democratic government through a nonviolent, free, and fair referendum.”
The regime used the benefits of sanctions relief from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to spend “billions of dollars gained from the Iran nuclear deal on exporting its totalitarian ideology by providing funds to terrorist networks, developing missile technology as offensive leverage to dominate the Persian Gulf and beyond, and causing chaos in the Middle East,” wrote the dissidents, many of whom have been persecuted by the clerical regime.
The JCPOA was designed to curb Iran’s drive to build a nuclear-weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.
“Iranian people for a long time have been expressing their discontentment with [the] Islamic Republic Government and their determination for a fundamental change,” the letter said. “The nationwide protests in the winter of 2017-2018 and in November 2019 are the latest affirmation of the Iranians’ resolve in establishing a democratic rule of law.”
The Iranian regime “arrested more than 10,000 innocent people” during the peaceful demonstrations, it said.
According to a Reuters investigation, Iranian security forces suppressed the 2019 protests against the regime, leading to the deaths of more than 1,500 Iranians.
The US government-run Voice of America reported: “The Iranian dissidents who wrote to Biden include 11 of the 28 activists who signed 2019 letters urging the resignation of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the replacement of Iran’s Islamist constitution with a democratic one. Most of the signatories of the 2019 letters were arrested for doing so.”
“At least 21 of the 38 signatories of the new letter to Biden have been arrested or imprisoned in Iran for peaceful political and social activism,” VOA reported.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Jerusalem Post it “admires [the] courage of Iranian citizens signing this letter to President Biden and Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken. They have put their lives on the line. We pray our leaders will heed their pleas.”
The dissidents said that the signatories represent a sample of the cross-section of Iranians and that the declaration has the support of millions of Iranians demanding the resignation of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Islamic Republic is close to collapse, and “the theocracy in Iran has lost its legitimacy with its people,” they wrote. “In March 2020, the absolute majority of people in Iran demonstrated the lack of legitimacy of the Islamic Republic by boycotting the parliamentary elections. The events in Iran, in conjunction with the signing of the Abraham Accords, signal a significant geopolitical shift in the Middle East.”