One Free World International Calls On U.S. Congress to Halt Iranian Agreement Until Regime Addresses Systemic Human Rights Abuses

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OFWI is urging Congress to use all means at its disposal to prevent the draft agreement from going ahead and to show Iran and the world the United States still stands for basic, universal values that are worth fighting for.

One Free World International

OFWI is urging Congress to use all means at its disposal to prevent the draft agreement from going ahead and to show Iran and the world the United States still stands for basic, universal values that are worth fighting for.

The draft Iranian nuclear agreement reached by world powers contains no mention of Iran’s systemic human rights abuses against its own people. Without tangible action on the regime’s shameful past, Rev. Majed El Shafie is calling on the United States Congress to halt the agreement in its tracks.

The Iranian people counting on us for support are the real losers of this draft deal. Millions of ordinary Iranians continue to suffer from the human rights abuses (Washington Times, June 28, 2015) of their government and religious leaders:

  • Bahá’í’s are not recognized and cannot legally attend school without denying their faith.
  • Converts to Christianity are jailed, tortured, and executed.
  • Jews are imprisoned and accused of spying for Israel.
  • Men and women are stoned to death in public if they are found guilty of homosexual activity or adultery.
  • Young men and women who attempt to demonstrate in the streets on behalf of democracy are arrested and imprisoned, briefly or indefinitely, or simply shot in the street, leaving the Green Revolution of 2009 a footnote in history.

We are asking all Americans, its friends, and allies who are concerned with peace and human rights to contact their representatives in Congress or US Ambassador and make their views known. Americans deserve better. And the Iranian people certainly deserve better – we must not leave them behind.

A full statement by One Free World International Founder Rev. Majed El Shafie is included below that provides the needed historical context and underscores the grave mistake it would be to move forward with implementing this agreement as is.

FULL STATEMENT:

One Free World International (OFWI) is calling on the United States Congress to prevent a historic mistake of monumental proportions by using all means at its disposal to bury the recent nuclear agreement with Iran. If this agreement is allowed to go through, it will weaken the United States and endanger not only the Middle East but also America, its interests and its allies everywhere. Most importantly, however, it will reward a regime that supports terrorism around the world and denies the most basic human rights of its own citizens.

Since the agreement over Iran’s nuclear program was announced last week, political analysts and commentators have been busy dissecting the deal for its strengths and weaknesses. Supporters see the agreement as the best among poor options in light of the very real limits on American power, and they focus on the hope that the agreement will prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons for another ten years while glossing over its serious flaws. Critics, on the other hand, have focused on the illusory inspection regime, the potential for up to $150 billion to flow to the Iranian regime and its terrorist protégés in the Middle East, and the fear that in ten years Iran will have nuclear weapons with the approval of the world powers.

OFWI does not wish to diminish the concerns over specific terms of the agreement or those over individual human rights cases that the American government appears to have abandoned with this deal. These are real, significant, and must be pursued. However, OFWI’s concerns are much more fundamental and go to the very premises of the agreement and the circumstances under which it was negotiated.

President Obama is tragically mistaken – this deal will not prevent war or a nuclear arms race any more than Chamberlain’s negotiations with Hitler prevented World War II. On the contrary, the deal will be the certain and direct cause of both a nuclear arms race and war in the Middle East even if neither materializes instantly. Israel will understandably not stand by while a state that has committed to its destruction gains nuclear weapons. On the other hand, Sunni Muslim states like Saudi Arabia or Egypt, which want to strengthen their own position in the region and quite justifiably distrust Shia Iran, will now make obtaining nuclear weapons their number one priority. Overnight the world became a very dangerous place.

The most unsettling part is that we have seen all this before. When Prime Minister Chamberlain was negotiating with Hitler in the late 1930s, the circumstances were very similar to today. British power was on the wane and negotiating was seen by many as the only practical alternative. When the United Kingdom finally declared war on Germany, there were no alternatives – and there were no guarantees. There was only the hope of freedom on the one side and the certainty of tyranny on the other. We are not naïve – we recognize that there are limits to American diplomatic and military might and, unlike in World War II, there is no white knight standing in the wings, no new “America” to come to the rescue. Yet sometimes truth, freedom, and human rights require us to stand firm even in the face of uncertain victory and in this case we are called to do just that.

The people counting on us, the real losers of this nuclear deal, are the Iranian people. Millions of ordinary Iranians continue to suffer from the human rights abuses of their government and religious leaders. Bahá’í’s are not recognized and cannot legally attend school without denying their faith, not to mention raids, arrests, and other forms of persecution. Converts to Christianity are jailed, tortured, and executed. Jews are imprisoned and falsely accused of spying for Israel. Men and women are stoned to death in public if they are found guilty of homosexual activity or adultery. Young men and women who attempt to demonstrate in the streets on behalf of democracy are arrested and imprisoned, briefly or indefinitely, or simply shot in the street, leaving the Green Revolution of 2009 a footnote in history. These scenes are not from the pages of a medieval book or from a dystopian Hollywood thriller – they depict real life in Iran in the 21st century.

Under these circumstances, OFWI believes there should be no be deal without the inclusion of real reforms within Iran to halt the systemic human rights abuses against its people and demonstrate tangible reforms for the benefit of its own people. Only if Iran demonstrates the ability and willingness to treat its own citizens with dignity and respect and to live up to its international responsibilities in this area, and only then, should an international agreement be reached that begins to lift the sanctions that are stifling the regime.

OFWI is urging Congress to use all means at its disposal to prevent this agreement from going ahead and to show Iran and the world that the United States still stands for basic, universal values that are worth fighting for. We are asking all Americans, its friends, and allies who are concerned with peace and human rights to contact their representatives in Congress or US Ambassador and make their views known. Americans deserve better. And the Iranian people certainly deserve better – we must not leave them behind.

Rev. Majed El Shafie
Founder and President
One Free World International

OFWI is an international human rights organization that focuses on religious freedom and promotes tolerance, understanding and respect for religious minorities. It was founded by Rev. Majed El Shafie, himself a refugee from torture and a death sentence for his Christian faith and human rights work in Egypt.

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