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Iranian Political Prisoners Welcome Castro’s Comments

Recently, the American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg paid a visit to the island of Cuba at the invitation of the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The journalist subsequently conducted an extensive interview with Castro in which he excoriated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for fanning the flames of war by encouraging anti-Semitism. The interview which had come at the heels of important proposed reforms in the Cuban economy has sparked much interest among the Iranian public.

On September 15, four Iranian prisoners of conscience, including labor leader Mansour Osaloo, penned an open letter to the Cuban leader in which they thanked him for his comments and asked him, among other things, “to take yet another step forward” by declaring his support for Iran’s Green Movement.

Iran Labor Report offers a translation of this important text for the English-speaking readers here.

Your excellency, Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban revolution:

We Iranians have a famous proverb: “the moon does not stay hidden behind clouds”. It means truth can not always remain concealed as one day its rays will inevitably shine through.
Your excellency’s recent words about certain revisions to methods and patterns of economic and socialist governance for bringing them up to date as well as the remarks you made about Mr. Ahamdinejad reaffirm these facts in today’s world, particularly among the freedom and peace seekers every where.

We are aware that your excellency are personally acquainted with many leaders of Iran’s Green Movement, have held discussions with them for long stretches on regional and global issues, and in both youth and in the middle age have held several similar positions on world and regional issues especially in the framework of the non-aligned movement. You are well-aware that many reformists, freedom-seekers, and democracy-seekers in Iran are currently incarcerated merely because they held certain opinions or on account of their engagement in politics, journalism, student or labor activism. Every day brings new revelations about more pressures imposed on them which includes “red” and “white” torture. Many are among the revolutionaries which in their youth had emulated revolutions in Cuba and Algeria while the life and struggles of people like yourself, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and Che Guevara along with religious and national personalities such as Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh had been their role models. Among the latter, are many who have played various roles in the oil nationalization campaign and the struggle against the Coup d’etat against Dr. Mosaddegh. Not a few have even spent jail time in the previous regime for having read Jean Paul Sartre’s essays on Cuba Revolution “Hurricane Over Sugar” so that through a popular uprising, the dictatorship could be ousted and a system based on freedom, independence, justice, progress, and human rights could be established. Yet the system replacing the old one for the last thirty one years has gradually moved away from those initial goals and ideals while once again individuals have come to occupy positions of power who have returned yesterday’s freedom-seekers back to confinement.

Now, we the political prisoners and the prisoners of conscience expect from you to take yet another step forward and by declaring your unequivocal support for the just struggle of the people of Iran crystallized in the Green Movement, condemn the policies of suppressing human rights and repression against freedom seekers by the totalitarian and authoritarian forces in Iran against freedom-seekers.
What is certain is that taking such a clear stand by your excellency shall be a historic event and shall alight the path for the socialist-oriented governments in Latin America and other non-aligned movement members.

When combined with the imperative of establishing peace and dialogue in the world and respect by governments of their people’s rights, such a stance could thwart the region and even the world of a disastrous clash and confrontation.

We wish you and the Cuban people further democracy and freedom.

Mansour Osaloo, labor activist
Rasoul Bodaghy, teachers union activist
Isa Saharkhiz, journalist
Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, political activist and journalist

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