Statement from Kave Milani, representative of “Burn the Cage, Free the Bird” campaign in Europe, and

Statement from Mariam Claren, daughter of political prisoner Nahid Taghavi



Statement from Kave Milani, representative of “Burn the Cage, Free the Bird” campaign in Europe

The documentary shows the fascist nature of the juridical system in Iran. This regime’s repression is not something new. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) 42 years ago, there have been constant and continuous campaigns of terror and suppression waged to crush and subdue years of opposition and rebellions of the people, by utilizing all means of repression, prison, torture, execution and mass executions.

But the recent mass uprisings of December 2017 and particularly, November 2019 have been extremely important developments. These rebellions oxygenated all of Iranian society and were taken by the fascist theocratic rulers as a potential threat to their whole system. The regime was and is dead serious about not allowing such an actual threat to their rule to go unpunished. They want to make sure that these upsurges do not get infused with the outlook and program of the most radical revolutionary societal change.

This repression has intensified since October 2020—to prevent the commemoration of the anniversary of the November 2019 rebellion. This violent repression is still going on, new people arrested every day.

The new campaign of suppression by the IRI is two pronged. On the one hand search and arrest of political activists with the aim of “identifying” and breaking up, presumed or actual organized revolutionary forces. To this end, they are making sweeping arrests of all sections of society known for their oppositional views and activities against this regime. And on the other hand there have also been mass arrests of all strata of people who have taken part in many ways protesting atrocities of this regime, which IRI often accuses these political dissidents of “threat against the national security” or another outrageous charge of, “spies of the imperialists” or “conspiracy against national security.

This is a fascist ruling class that has wielded a lethal mix of theocracy, anti-imperialist demagoguery, legal and practical discrimination against oppressed nationalities and women, securitization of society under the guise of safe guarding “Islamic Revolution” from “foreign” harm.

These are some specific examples:

  • During the November 2019 uprising, hundreds of people were killed during street protests and in the marshland of a major Iranian port city that exports gas and refinery products.
  • Between six to eight thousand people were arrested—published by many human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.
  • More than 20 people have been executed in the past month, 16 of them Balochi (another oppressed nationality) prisoners who were executed charged with threat against the security of the state, with NO access to a lawyer or a fair trial.
  • The past three months alone, more than 200 people have been arrested or detained by the brutal Evin prison authorities. Many have not been identified by the human rights groups and lawyers because the norm is to make arbitrary arrests. People are taken off the street and from their homes without even informing their families. Many are taken to unofficial dungeons by the police of the Sepah Pasdaran (the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” IRGC), and in many cases ambulances that are supposed to take injured bodies to hospitals are used to take protesters to prisons.
  • The lawyers of the arrested (i.e., those appointed by the relatives and not those designated by the regime) are desperately overwhelmed. The arrests are of all strata of people: workers, students, women, teachers, lawyers, literary intelligentsia of the left, and liberals. The Kurdish and Arab peoples (oppressed minorities in Iran) are accused of wanting to “disintegrate Iran,” as are people of the Bahá’í and Dervish faiths. This includes, men and women students, intellectuals, teachers, oppressed nationalities, religious forces of different persuasions like Bahá’ís, Dervishes, and Sunni Muslims. Add to that many impoverished youth who constituted the heart of these two rebellions that this regime absolutely have nothing to offer but increasingly gallows, prisons and torture chambers.

The IRI regime sees a convergence between repeated mass rebellions and the possible development of a revolutionary organized movement as a death blow to its existence, amongst other unresolved contradictions.

And on the other hand, people have no other choice but to stop the machinery of cruel persecution of the masses. In this context it is crucial to take up the Call for “Burn the Cage, Free the Birds” to Free All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW! It is imperative for revolutionaries and all social movements in Iran to defeat this and future waves of state repression.

This is a crucial necessity for all just social movements, to stop these repressions, pure and simple. So literally is the question of being crushed or carry our struggles to the future—no matter how different each of us sees what that future is. So this is the situation in Iran which has made such a Call by “Burn the Cage, Free the Bird” so timely and urgent necessity.

It is true that today this regime is facing threats from the U.S. and other Western imperialist powers, which the regime tries to offset by clinging onto Chinese and Russian imperialists. But in this contention, both sides have punished the masses of people to make them choose one side over the other when in fact none of these two rotten sides have one iota of interest of the people in mind.

Thus; the “securitization” of any political opposition also flows from the theocratic nature of this regime. Since it considers itself a representative of God on Earth, this regime considers any opposition to its “Islamic Revolution” and its holy Leader as a “war against God,” which according to Sharia law is punishable by death. All of these are written into its fascist laws. It is a regime that imposes anti-scientific superstition and religious ignorance on the people, but buys the most technologically advanced tools of espionage and repression from China, Russia, Germany, France, and other traders of torture and repression, instruments and military hardware and technology, while BUYING VAXIN from the West is forbidden!

The regime has to respond violently to struggles of the masses and the revolutionaries because it wants to survive. That is safeguarding “national security.” Through widespread repression and killing of the masses and political activists AND THIS SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED. And under no circumstances should we let the atmosphere of fear and despair settle in.

It is crucial to confront the attacks of the ruling powers who want to destroy the movement for revolution and its leadership. The cruel and illegitimate nature of the IRI’s class rule and theocracy must be exposed, their repression reversed, and their police state defeated!

Make no mistake, our struggles have stacked up against “their” repression. They want to crush us. But we must send a clear and resolute message: we will not swallow your crimes in silence and on our knees!

To be sure, the ranks of this regime are riddled with conflict. But they are united like a fist against us when they want to crush us. We undoubtedly have differences amongst us in various ways. But it is necessary to strive to unite in the face of their repression.

We may have differences over various issues. We may have contradictions over how we think and approach events and affairs. But nothing is more clear than the obvious truth that we must all defend every and all resistance movements against their repression. Any kind of refusal to call out the crimes of this regime cannot be justified. It is cowardly not to come to terms with a regime that is executing people at a lightning pace based on false confessions and torture. Silence in the face of this will have terrible consequences for every decent body and for all just struggles. We have to fight against any form of oppression and unite to support all resisters and activists in their struggle.

Statement from Mariam Claren, daughter of political prisoner Nahid Taghavi

First of all, I want to thank Marcia Ross and Jeff Kaufman for shining a bright light on the heroism of Nasrin Sotoudeh and through her story let the world know what is happening in Iran. Like Nasrin, my mom, Nahid Taghavi, is a political prisoner in the Islamic Republic of Iran who fought for the rights of other human beings. By their works, people like Nasrin and my mom set an example to care about other people, about the world we live in, and to struggle for the world to be a better place.

My mother is 66 years old with high blood pressure and other serious medical needs. She had moved us from Iran to Germany in 1983. Since 15 years, she’s commuting between Germany and Iran. On October 16, 2020, my mom was taken away by the security guards from her home in Tehran. The security guards used ambulances to cover their act of kidnapping my mother. Since then she’s being held in Evin Prison Isolation Section 2A under the control of the Revolutionary Guard, and the reasons for her arrest have not been disclosed. She has no access to a lawyer and no consular support despite her German citizenship.

For several weeks we don’t even have a sign of life—she was not allowed to call. At the 100th day of her detention her brothers were allowed to see her, separated by a pane and in the presence of the Revolutionary Guard. They talked to her for about 30 minutes. Then my mom was blindfolded and taken away by a guard.

The prosecutor’s office is refusing her choice of lawyer. They told my uncles that only certain numbers of lawyers trusted by the government can see the files. They also said my mother’s case would not be brought to court until she confirms her charges. This is ridiculous and shows a court case has no real value in Iran. The prisoner is placed in solitary confinement for months, broken through brutal interrogation methods and forced to make false confessions. Unfair trials and arbitrary prison sentences are the results.

Mariam Claren stands in front of a bank of life-size posters of her mother, Nahid Taghavi, a women’s rights activist held in solitary confinement since mid-October by Iran’s oppressive Islamic fundamentalist regime.



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