Tehran/Damascus/Beirut, 7 July 2014 – The campaign group Naame Shaam today appealed to four of the P5+1 powers to link their negotiations with Iran about the latter’s nuclear programme with the human rights situation in Iran and with the role of the Iranian regime in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
In an open letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, UK Secretary of State William Hague, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the group said:
“You have to tell the Iranian regime that there will be no lifting of economic sanctions if it does not guarantee basic human rights in Iran and if it does not pull Sepah Pasdaran, Hezbollah Lebanon and the Iraqi militias out of Syria. You have to demand that the Iranian regime ends all its financial and military support to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and ends its interference in Iraq and in Lebanon.”
Naame Shaam did not send a copy of the letter to the foreign ministers of Russia and China because “we are convinced that their governments are fully supportive of the Iranian and Syrian regimes and would not listen to any critique of their foreign policies,” it said.
Nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 powers (US, UK, France, China and Russia + Germany) started in Vienna on 2 July and are scheduled to end on 20 July.
Naame Shaam spokesperson Peyman Kaamvar said: “Linking the nuclear negotiations with the Iranian regime’s role in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq presents the only realistic chance of ending the bloodshed in Syria and Iraq at the moment, and of finally stabilizing Lebanon. Unless the Iranian regime pulls out its Sepah Pasdaran and Hezbollah fighters from Syria and Iraq and disbands Hezbollah or integrates its fighters into the Lebanese army, there will be no stability in the region.”
“The main reason behind the Iranian regime’s heavy involvement in the wars in Syria and Iraq is to keep arms and missiles flowing to Hezbollah Lebanon, so as to keep the latter a strong deterrent against Israel and the West in case of an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities,” he added.
Ali Rahimi, another spokesperson for Naame Shaam, said: “The Iranian regime must see clear red lines to seriously consider ending its hegemony in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon or face further international isolation and tougher economic sanctions. Democratic countries like the US, the UK, France and Germany cannot overlook the suffering of millions of Iranians, Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese for the sake of minor, temporary concessions from the Iranian regime”.
For further questions:
Please contact Naame Shaam’s spokesperson Hossein Amir at
Email: [email protected]
Note for editors: The full text of the open letter can be found at:
http://www.naameshaam.org/en/open-letter-foreign-ministers  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 and to influence the public narrative about the Syrian revolution. For more information, see our website at http://www.naameshaam.org.
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, which is a division of Sepah Pasdaran (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) responsible for foreign operations. 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.
For more details about Iran’s role in Syria, see:
To raise awareness about Iran’s role in Syria, Naame Shaam activists on 8 April 2014 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. For more details, see: http://www.naameshaam.org/en/activists-protest-irans-involvement-in-syria-as-iranian-minister-attends-business-conference-in-berlin/
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. For more details see: