Geneva/Tehran, 10 June 2014 – The Iranian campaign group Naame Shaam  today appealed to US officials negotiating with an Iranian delegation in Geneva about Iran’s nuclear programme, asking them to link the nuclear issue with the human rights situation in Iran and with the Iranian regime’s role in Syria.
US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman are taking part in the two days of talks in Geneva, on 9 and 10 June 2014.
Naame Shaam’s spokesperson Ali Rahimi said: “Any talks with Iranian officials about trade or Iran’s nuclear programme must be linked with the human rights situation in Iran and with the Iranian regime’s interference in Syria.”
“US negotiators should tell the Iranian delegates that there will be no lifting of economic sanctions if the Iranian regime does not protect universal human rights in Iran and if it does not pull out its foot soldiers from Sepah Pasdaran, Hezbollah Lebanon and Iraqi militias out of Syria,” Rahimi added. “They should also demand that the Iranian regime ends all the financial and military support that it has been providing to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.”
Peyman Kaamvar, another Naame Shaam spokesperson, said; “The US cannot forget the unimaginable plight of millions of Iranians and Syrians for the sake of minor concessions from the Iranian regime regarding its nuclear programme. The US and its allies must uphold the highest moral and political standards when negotiating with the Iranian regime. They cannot turn a blind eye to the Iranian regime’s repression against dissidents and to the adventure of the Sepah Pasdaran in Syria.”
20 July 2014 had previously been designated as an unofficial deadline for reaching a comprehensive deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers (the US, Russia, China, Britain, France plus Germany) but the negotiations could be extended further.
An interim deal reached in November 2013 limited Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, in exchange for easing some of the economic sanctions imposed onIran.
“Any extension of the nuclear talks means that the US policy of ‘bleeding Iran and Hezbollah in Syria’ will continue,” warned Kaamvar. “Meanwhile, more and more Syrian will lose their lives and homes, and more and more Iranians will suffer economic hardship and repression.”
For further questions:
Please contact Naame Shaam’s spokesperson Hossein Amir at [email protected].
Notes for editors: Naame Shaam (نامه شام), or “Letters from Syria”, is a group of Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese activists and citizen-journalists who work to raise awareness about the Iranian regime’s policies and involvement in Syria. In addition to protests and campaigns, the group monitors and debunks the pro-Syrian regime propaganda coming from the Iranian regime and its media. It also reports and comments on major events in Syria from an independent Iranian perspective, in both Farsi and English. There are no other Iranian media outlets that do this. For more details about Naame Shaam, please see our website at www.naameshaam.org.
On 8 April 2014, Naame Shaam activists held a peaceful protest outside a hotel in Berlin where the Iranian Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade, along with other Iranian officials, were attending a conference with German business representatives. On 3 May 2014, Naame Shaam activists staged another peaceful protest at a conference center in Vienna, where the European Union’s foreign policy chief and the Iranian foreign minister were discussing Iran’s nuclear programme.
Various Iranian and Hezbollah officials have stated that Bashar al-Assad’s regime would not survive long without the massive military and economic support it is receiving from the Iranian regime. All major battles in Syria are now being fought by Sepah Pasdaran and Hezbollah, rather than the Assad forces. Many checkpoints in Damascus are manned by Iraqi militias, and Sepah Pasdaran commanders have admitted being in charge of all major military operations against the Syrian rebels.
It is estimated that billions of Iranian Tomans, from the Iranian public purse, are being spent every month to keep al-Assad in power. The Iranian regime has been financing a big part of the economy in regime-controlled areas, pumping billions of dollars into the Syrian Central Bank so that the regime can pay salaries and import food and other goods for its supporters. The Syrian Pound would have long collapsed if it wasn’t for this financial support.
The Iranian regime has also been paying all the bills for the Russian arms shipped to al-Assad’s forces, as well as funding all the military operations of Sepah Pasdaran, Hezbollah and the Iraqi militias fighting in Syria.
The de facto ruler of regime-held areas in Syria is Gen. Soleimani, the chief of Sepah Qods, a division of Sepah Pasdaran (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards). Sepah Qods fully controls the armed forces of the Assad regime, as well as its policies and economy. Al-Assad has been dubbed as Gen Soleimani’s ‘deputy’.
Meanwhile, more and more ordinary Iranians are suffering economic hardship. Poverty and deprivation are on the rise in Iran. Naame Sham believes that Iran is bleeding in Syria, and that Syria has become Iran’s Vietnam.
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