This letter of testimony is designed to offer support to the political asylum application of Dr. Roya Araghi. I was in contact via email 3 to 4 times a week with Dr. Roya Araghi for four months between April, 2010, and September, 2010. I also chatted with her on facebook 3 to 4 times a week for one hour each. By virtue of her status as a political dissident and a follower of the imprisoned pacifist Ayatollah Boroujerdi, Dr. Araghi would undoubtedly face the threat of severe persecution, imprisonment, torture, and even death if she were forcibly returned to Iran. She is a passionate advocate of peaceful regime change and secular democracy, and her demonstrated and courageous pattern of resistance to the evil Islamist totalitarian regime renders her a worthy recipient of political asylum.
I have printed copies of much of our email correspondence and would be glad to send it to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as additional documentation in support of her political asylum request.
In our emails, we discussed in detail the strategic planning necessary to achieve peaceful regime change. We talked about steps that Westerners, Jews, Iranians inside Iran, and Iranians outside Iran could take to support secular democracy and regime change in Iran. We had many extensive intellectual exchanges on various aspects of this complicated topic, and her commitment to peaceful regime change alone would put her in grave danger in the tragic event that she were forcibly returned to Iran. At one point I sent her a list of suggestions for domestic and foreign allies that Iranians inside Iran could seek to challenge the regime. At another point I sent her a list of media organizations that Iranians inside Iran could contact to share information about their struggle. In addition her fluent English allows her to communicate and strategize with sympathetic foreigners who support the regime change, and her willingness to work with foreigners is another threat to the regime.
I shared with her information about the efforts of an Iranian exile to meet with Israeli officials to seek Israeli and Jewish support for regime change in Iran. Based on this information, she was tortured by the Iran regime on false charges of being an Iranian spy for Israel and the Jews. Given that this regime is openly committed to the destruction of Israel and the Jews and denies the Holocaust, her friendship with me as a proud American Jewish Zionist and her support for my people Israel and the Jews clearly endangers her safety. This regime regards the Jews as mortal enemies, and thus any Iranian who openly associates with Jews would face mortal danger. We also talked about how a potential Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear plants would affect the Iranian freedom movement.
She also drafted and translated a statement by Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s followers inside Iran in July, 2010. She sent me an English translation of Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s letter from inside prison. Together she and I drafted a letter to Senator McCain which I sent to him after her second arrest in November, 2010. We also strategized in regards to the protests on June 12, 2010, to mark the first anniversary of the fraudulent “elections” of June 12, 2009. And we talked about Americans campaigning to remove President Obama from office in 2012 and replace him with a Republican President who would be more sympathetic to Iranian freedom movement.
She actively campaigned for Ayatollah Boroujerdi to receive the Nobel Peace Prize based upon the belief that he would be spared regime repression, imprisonment, and torture if he were to receive this prize. She sent me constant appeals and updates on his condition as a political prisoner who suffered severe torture. She encouraged me to get in touch with Akbar Atri, co-founder of www.tavaana.org, a political dissident sites for Iranians inside Iran which is used to help empower Iranians inside Iran to challenge the regime via peaceful resistance.
Ayatollah Boroujerdi is a staunch opponent of the merger of religion and state in Shi’ite Islamist Iran because his theological interpretation of Islam leads him to believe that religion and state should be separated. Ayatollah Boroujerdi rejects the idea of the Supreme Jurist, and he promotes a peaceful vision of Shi’ite Islam including gender equality, democracy, and respect for human rights. His theological and spiritual vision of Shi’ite Islam is a threat to a regime which regards the Shi’ite cleric as the Supreme Jurist. Ayatollah Boroujerdi received an 11 year prison sentence in 2006 and has been severely tortured and starved during his time in prison. The barbarically brutal treatment of Ayatollah Boroujerdi is an indication of how viciously the regime would also treat his followers inside Iran.
She also connected with my friend Frederick Katz III, a Catholic American gay man who is a strong opponent of the regime. She worked with him on the campaign to seek the Nobel Peace Prize for Ayatollah Boroujerdi and to increase Catholic support for the free Iranian struggle. She participated in a facebook discussion group with Iranian exile supporters of secular democracy and peaceful regime change.
She has already suffered grave persecution at the hands of the Iran regime. She was arrested for a week in 2006 for participating in the attempt of Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s followers to defend him from arrest at his home. She was abused and also she lost her university professor position. She was arrested for the second time in November, 2010, and imprisoned and severely tortured. She suffered medical illness as a result of being tortured in prison, and she fled Iran after receiving medical leave because she feared for her safety and life if she remained in Iran. The regime retaliated for her departure by taking away the deed to her family home and by arresting her sister as a hostage. This brutal treatment of a political prisoner’s family foreshadows the grave danger she would face if she were forcibly returned to Iran. As long as this regime remains in power, there is no safe way for her to return to Iran.
I strongly support the application of Dr. Roya Araghi for political asylum. I am proud to call her my friend, and I hope she is invited to remain in the free world where she can continue her noble fight for a free Iran at peace with the West, Israel, and the Jews. I also am encouraging anyone who wishes to get involved in her case to contact me at email@example.com