Nobel laureates call on UN High Commissioner to take action to release political prisoners in Iran

Nobel laureates call on UN High Commissioner

Nine Nobel laureates wrote a joint letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights calling for the release of two elite Iranian students. They warned that the Iranian regime’s arrest and detainment of the students, Amir Hossein Moradi and Ali Younesi, will only allow for further repression against students and dissidents.

The Nobel Prize winners that sent this letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights are Professor Barry Barish, Professor David Wineland, Professor John Lewis Hall, Professor Richard Roberts, Professor Elias Corey, Professor Thomas Cech, Professor Jerome Friedman, Professor John Polanyi, and Professor Sheldon Glashow.

Both individuals are award-winning students at the Sharif University of Technology in the Iranian capital. After almost a month of not hearing any news, the regime finally admitted that the two men had been arrested, simply because of their opposition to the ruling regime.

In the letter, the Nobel laureates highlighted that Mr. Moradi received the silver medal in 2017 for the Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics. Mr. Younesi won both the silver and gold medals in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

They are both supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) – the main opposition to the Iranian regime. The PMOI / MEK is working towards freedom, democracy, the respect of human rights, and equality for all in Iran and it has a wide network of supporters both inside and outside of Iran.

The Iranian regime, as highlighted by the Nobel laureates, is extremely concerned about the likelihood of another major uprising in Iran. The last major uprising was in November last year and it rocked the foundations of the regime, making it realize that it is not invincible and bringing home the fact that the people are the main force behind the regime’s inevitable collapse.

It is for this reason that the regime is resorting to suppressing the people – arresting those that present a great threat to the regime’s power and using violence against protesters and demonstrators. During the November 2019 uprising, thousands of people were arrested, imprisoned, and even killed. Yet this has only served to make the people of Iran more determined to see the regime collapse.

In their letter, the Nobel laureates also brought up the issue of the Coronavirus outbreak that is spreading across the country, in particular in prisons where the inmates are extremely vulnerable because of the poor conditions and widespread overcrowding.

Speaking about the consequences of the arrest of Mr. Younesi and Mr. Moradi, the laureates said that human rights experts believe their arrests “will serve to prepare the ground for widespread and brutal repression of all opponents, in particular of the student movement, which would amount to an egregious breach of human rights in the post‐Coronavirus months”.

They urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to take appropriate and urgent action so that these two individuals, and all political prisoners, are released imminently.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) announced the names of 18 others, among the many who have been arrested.