During the eight years of Mohammed Khatami’s presidency of Iran
- More than 200 people were executed
- There was a ten-fold increase in women being sentenced to death by
- Many homosexuals were arrested and flogged, tortured, jailed or
- Tens of thousands of Ahwazis, members of Iran’s persecuted Arab
minority, were forcibly removed from their land, with little or no
- Hundreds of workers’ strikes and demonstrations, including strikes by nurses and teachers, were savagely attacked and suppressed
So why is Sir Menzies presenting Khatami with an honorary doctorate of law at St Andrews University in Scotland a week from tomorrow? Why have Chatham House invited him to London to give a speech.
Several groups are calling for Sir Ming and Chatham House to come to their senses.
The National Union of Students wants the award to be withdrawn unless Ahmad Batebi, a student jailed in 1999 following pro-democracy protests, is freed. Khatami was President at the time of Batebi’s arrest and imprisonment. He sanctioned the crushing of student protests.
The Worker-Communist Party of Iran are demanding sterner action. “Khatami is a criminal! He must be arrested and put on trial!” they say.
“Khatami has always been introduced to the world by the governments and media in the West as the ‘smiling’ and ‘reformist’ face of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is known for his ‘dialogue of civilizations’ – a term he first used in a speech to the UN General Assembly in September 1998. But the reality is far from the general picture the western media draws of Mohammad Khatami,” they said in a press statement, presenting the bullet points that open this post.
“The Worker-communist Party of Iran is against giving the criminal leaders of the Islamic regime any opportunity to travel around the world and pretend that they are opening civilized dialogues, while at the same time murdering and torturing people and supporting international Islamic terrorism.”
OutRage! is also backing the protests.
“Sir Menzies agreement to honour a homophobe like Khatami contradicts
the Lib Dem’s supposed commitment to lesbian and gay human rights. It
is a big disappointment,” said Mohamed Ali bin Mahmoud, Muslim Affairs
spokesperson for OutRage!.
Protest against killer Khatami
Wednesday 1 November 2006
16:30 – 18:30
10 St James’s Square
London SW1Y 4LE
Nearest tube stations: Piccadilly Circus and Green Park
Email your protests to:
The Chatham House Press Office: shard[AT]chathamhouse.org.uk
Foreign Secretary: foraffcom[AT]parliament.uk or Fax: 020 7219 5365