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Published on June 21st, 2012 | by Jasmin Ramsey

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Message to Iran’s Leaders: “Bend to the will of the people”

To honor Iran’s civil rights movement and the democracy activists who bravely rose up in the summer of 2009, South African nobel laureate and human rights defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu sends a message (in English and Persian) to Iran’s leaders and the Iranian people. The clip above and the text below are provided by the Iranian rights advocacy group, United4Iran.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Message of Solidarity with the Iranian People

Hello my Iranian sisters and brothers. I am Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Three years ago the world witnessed millions of you standing up against repression, demanding democracy and human rights.  The spark that you lit in Iran has inspired unprecedented change in the region.

However, in Iran, your demands have yet to be realized. Oppression continues.

Many great nations have gone through such struggles, which often take decades to resolve. If South Africa could change, change, therefore, is possible any and everywhere. Continue on your path. Remember it is always darkest before dawn.

To the rulers of Iran: bend to the will of the people. Your Excellency, Ayatollah Khameni, set the children of Iran free. Ayatollah Larijani, close Evin prison, just as Robben Island prison was closed in South Africa.

To Iran’s religious leaders: oppose the use of imprisonment, torture, and murder in the name of religion. These actions do not reflect the Muslim faith.

To all world leaders on this anniversary: let us renew our commitment to support the Iranian people and their struggle for democracy and human rights. Imprisonment should not be the reward for courage and dignity.

To Iranians abroad, and indeed all people everywhere: our lives and future are intertwined. Use your freedom to demand theirs.

Change begins with people of great courage. My children Narges and Majid, you are in our hearts. Hossein Maleki, our prayers ring out for you. And to the rest of brave Iranians striving for a better Iran, continue on your path. We are with you.

“fardA az Ane mAst.”

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About the Author

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Jasmin Ramsey is an Iranian-born journalist based in Washington, DC.



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