Open Letter to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier


Berlin and other places, February 5, 2020


Dear President Frank-Walter Steinmeier,

we write to you as an alliance of citizens who stand in solidarity with the protests in Iran. Many of us come from there. We turn to you because we ask you to stand by the Iranian people, who are fighting for freedom, on February 11, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

February 11 marks the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. On this day, Islamists under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini set up an Islamist dictatorship, which has since then acted with extreme brutality against the people in Iran.

Protests against the dictatorship in Iran have been going on since its inception, but since the end of 2017, they have stopped ebbing away. In November 2019, the world saw the most brutal wave of repression in decades. 7.000 people were arrested. In a few days, more than 1,500 people were shot dead by the dictatorship’s security forces according to sources from the news agency Reuters, which refers to information from Iran's Ministry of the Interior. The fatal shots on head, heart and neck were authorized by the Supreme Leader and the Minister of the Interior. Despite such extreme violence and danger to life at every protest and demonstration, people took to the streets again in January 2020: this time they protested after a civilian airplane was shot down by the Revolutionary Guards.

The protests show: The people of Iran don’t want the oppression, paternalism, mismanagement and corruption of the ruling regime. They are fed up with the oppression of women, forced hijabs, the executions and torture. The slogans leave no doubt that the people of Iran are fed up with the regime as a whole. They are shouting: "Revolutionary Guards, shame on you. Leave Iran!" or simply: "Death to the dictator!"

And behind the brave ones who risk their lives in public protests are millions more who think the same way but do not yet dare to take to the streets.

The regime has completely lost its legitimacy in Iran. Therefore, it must not be supported from outside. The Iranian people do not expect the German or any other government to overthrow the Islamic regime from the outside. However, they expect that the German government no longer supports the regime. Germany should no longer court the regime and stop sending compliments to its representatives. We should also stop to support the regime with financial means and with commercial contracts.

Each day the regime persists means more crime, murder and destruction, and that means war against the Iranian people.

Each day prolongs the war against the protesters in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, which is led by militias controlled from Iran. And every day the regime persists makes the existential threat to Israel more acute.

In contrast, pictures from people in Iran are encouraging. We see people who publicly refuse to follow the antisemitic and anti-Western ideology of the mullah dictatorship. They no longer step on the flags of Israel or the United States, which regime forces paint on the streets and in front of entrances to public buildings in order to stir up the hatred of the population against Israel and the West.

The slogans that are heard on the streets of Iran are different: “Our enemy is here. If someone says the United States is our enemy, it is a lie," and:" No support for terrorist organizations in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria". With slogans like these the people reject the expansionist policies.

The problem of the atomic bomb would also be solved with the end of the Iranian regime, because the people on the streets already spoke out a simple truth in 2009: "A flourishing Iran does not need an atomic bomb".

Dear Mr. President, the people of Iran are making it clear that they want to live in peace with the entire region, including Israel. They accuse the regime, they are fed up with the Islamist and antisemitic dictatorship. And they keep appealing to us because they need the moral support of the Western world.

Where do you stand, Mr. President? A year ago, you congratulated those in power in Tehran on the 40th anniversary of the revolution, a fact that caused protests also in Germany. Now, during your visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, you said: "We fight antisemitism! We stand with Israel! No to antisemitism! No to hatred!"

Therefore, the courting of the mullah dictatorship must come to an end. Holocaust denial and the hatred of Israel are part of the ideology of the Iranian regime. The plan to annihilate Israel is the regime's raison d'état, and Tehran has played a key role in spreading political Islam, hatred of Israel and antisemitism around the world.

After 41 years, there is now a historic opportunity to stand by the people of Iran who are fighting for freedom and democracy. Never before has the pressure on the regime - from within and from the outside - been as great as it is now.

Germany must not stand in the way of those who want to finally put an end to this antisemitic terror regime in Iran. We must stop stabilizing a dictatorship that brutally oppresses its own people and kills all those who stand in the way of their power interests in neighboring countries.

We therefore call upon you to send an important political signal. Refrain from making any concessions to Tehran. Do not send a letter of congratulations to Tehran like you did last year. Do not receive any more representatives of the Iranian regime in Schloss Bellevue and do not invite any representatives who are influenced by the Iranian regime, such as representatives of the "Islamic Community of Shiite Communities (IGS)", who recently demonstratively mourned the killed terrorist Ghassem Soleimani.

Send a signal that points to the future, that encourages the people in Iran and the entire region: Receive a delegation of democratic opposition members from Iran at Schloss Bellevue.

Yours respectfully,

  • Aghdas Shabai, Sozialarbeiterin Hannover
  • Dr. Ahmad Rahimi
  • Ali Ertan Toprak, Präsident Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Immigrantenverbände in Deutschland (BAGIV), Bundesvorsitzender Kurdische Gemeinde Deutschland (KGD)
  • Ali Sadrzadeh, Journalist Frankfurt a.M.
  • Ali Utlu, Aktivist Köln
  • Amir Yahya Ayatollahi, Vechta
  • AmirHossein Etemadi, Iran Revival (Farashgard), Former political prisoner
  • Andreas Benl, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin
  • Arash Sobhani, iranischer Musiker und TV-Host/Producer
  • Ashkan Monazam, Parliamentary Monarchy Iran for Human Rights e.V.
  • Dr. Brigitte Scheuerle, Bildungspolitikerin Frankfurt a.M.
  • Cameron Khansarinia, National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI)
  • Christian Zimmermann, Herausgeber Spotlight Menschenrechte
  • Elisabeth Abendroth, Lehrerin Frankfurt a.M.
  • Farshid Monazam, Parliamentary Monarchy Iran for Human Rights e.V.
  • Fathiyeh Naghibzadeh, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin
  • Gert Weisskirchen, MdB 1976 – 2009
  • Günter Wallraff, Journalist und Schriftsteller
  • Hamideh Kazemi, Iranische Menschenrechtsinitiative Hamburg
  • Herbert Kramm-Abenroth, Lehrer Frankfurt a.M.
  • Hiwa Bahrami, PDKI’s Head of Foreign Relations
  • Hooshang Javid, Parliamentary Monarchy Iran for Human Rights e.V.
  • Hourvash Pourkian, Vorsitzende der Kulturbrücke Hamburg e. V.
  • Dr. sc. Jilla Siassi, Mathematiker
  • Jochen Feilcke, MdB 1983 - 1998, Vorsitzender Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft Berlin und Brandenburg
  • Dr. h.c. Johannes Gerster, MdB 1972-1976 und 1977-1994, Ehrenpräsident der Deutsch-Israelischen Gesellschaft
  • Jörg Rensmann, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin
  • Dr. Konrad Götz, wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter Frankfurt a.M.
  • Lala Süßkind, Jüdisches Bildungswerk für Demokratie- gegen Antisemitismus, JBDA
  • Prof. Dr. Lars Rensmann, Universität Groningen
  • Lea Rosh, Vorsitzende Förderkreis Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas e.V.
  • Prof. Dr. Ludger Schiffler, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Mahshid Pegahi, Frauenrechtlerin Langen
  • Manijeh Erfani-Far, Frauenrechtlerin Frankfurt a.M.
  • Maria Kireenko, Bundesvorstand Junges Forum Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft e.V.
  • Mariam Memarsedghi, Democracy Activist
  • Maryam Naderi, Parliamentary Monarchy Iran for Human Rights e.V.
  • Dr. Matthias Küntzel, Politikwissenschaftler
  • Matthias Schröder, Bundesvorstand Junges Forum Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft e.V.
  • Maya Zehden, Direktorin ILI - I like Israel e.V.
  • Michael Spaney, Direktor Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin
  • Mina Ahadi, Menschenrechtlerin und Vorsitzende des Zentralrats der Ex-Muslime
  • Monireh Kazemi, Frauenrechtlerin Frankfurt a.M.
  • Morteza Tehrani, Parliamentary Monarchy Iran for Human Rights e.V.
  • Nasrin Amirsedghi, Exiliranerin, DaF- und DaZ-Dozentin
  • Nazanin Keymasi, Parliamentary Monarchy Iran for Human Rights e.V.
  • Nilofar Beyzaie, Theaterpädagogin Frankfurt a.M.
  • Parto e.V. Essen (iranischer Frauenverein)
  • Parviz Dastmalchi, Berlin 
  • Paul Nellen, Dipl.-Pol., Autor und Journalist, Mitglied Grüne Hamburg
  • Peter Schwanewilms, Iran Solidarität Hamburg
  • Philipp Butler, Vizepräsident der Deutsch-Israelischen Gesellschaft e.V.
  • Pouya Bahrami, Iran Liberation Congress
  • Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director at Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies
  • Roya Hakakian, Autorin, Journalistin, Dokumentarfilmerin, Mitbegründerin des Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
  • Saba Farzan, Iran Revival (Farashgard)
  • Sacha Stawski, Präsident Honestly Concerned e.V. und ILI  - I like Israel e.V.
  • Samuel Salzborn, apl. Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Uni Gießen
  • Shahin Najafi, iranischer Sänger, Songwriter, Rapper
  • Sheina Vojoudi, National Iranian Congress (Zohreh Vojoudijarrah)
  • Shiva Moghaddam, Iran Liberation Congress
  • Dr. Stephan Grigat, Wissenschaftlicher Direktor der STOP THE BOMB Kampagne
  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter, Professorin für Ethnologie an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M.
  • Thomas Eppinger, Herausgeber des unabhängigen Nahost-Thinktanks „Mena-Watch“
  • Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, Geschäftsführer von Wadi e.v. und freier Publizist
  • Tilman Tarach, Jurist und Publizist
  • Turan Nazemi, Menschenrechtlerin Frankfurt a.M.
  • Ulrike Becker, Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin
  • Wilfried Albishausen, Erster Kriminalhauptkommissar a.D., Duisburg, Ehrenvorsitzender Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter Nordrhein-Westfalen