In a letter to the United States President Joe Biden, Nobel Laureates called for holding the Iranian regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi to account for crimes against humanity and refuse to grant him a visa to attend the UN General Assembly.
“We, the Nobel Laureates, join the growing number of activists, NGOs, and human rights defenders across the globe and call for barring Raisi from attending the UN General Assembly,” the letter reads in part.
The full text of this letter is below:
Joint Letter of Nobel Laureates
to the United States President Biden
September 3, 2022
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
Dear Mr. President,
We have been informed Ebrahim Raisi, the current president of Iran, intends to attend the upcoming UN General Assembly session in New York in September.
Ebrahim Raisi, the Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran in 1988, was part of the four-member Death Committee in Tehran. This committee executed 30,000 political prisoners over several weeks in the summer of 1988 after being interrogated by the so-called Death Committee for two or three minutes.
More than 90% of those executed were members and supporters of the MEK who refused to condemn the MEK.
After Khamenei appointed Raisi as the president of Iran in 2021, we Nobel laureates in a joint letter signed by 25 of us on September 8, 2021, called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Gutierrez, underscoring the need to set up an international commission by the United Nations to investigate this enormous crime.
Raisi’s crimes are not confined to the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.
As the Judiciary Chief, he personally oversaw the murder of at least 1,500 protesters crying for freedom during the November 2019 uprising.
His record since becoming president in August 2021, includes some 600 executions, including the 22 women and eight juvenile offenders. This is double last year’s figure.
In June 2021, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard stated that he should have been investigated for his involvement in past and ongoing crimes against humanity. She described Raisi’s ascension to the presidency as a sign of a continued culture of impunity that must end.
Survivors of the 1988 massacre as well as relatives of the regime’s victims from the MEK have filed a lawsuit against Raisi in the federal court for the southern district of New York, seeking accountability for crimes against humanity and genocide. The case will provide an opportunity for the world to probe the Iranian regime’s flagrant human rights abuses, particularly the 1988 massacre.
We, the Nobel Laureates, join the growing number of activists, NGOs, and human rights defenders across the globe and call for barring Raisi from attending the UN General Assembly.
We request you to use your good offices to bar Raisi from attending the UN General Assembly.
We believe that there cannot be business as usual with such a regime. It should be shunned by the international community and should be held accountable. The presence at the UN of Raisi, who has committed crimes against humanity, is an affront to the very principles and values that constitute the foundation and the charter of the UN.
- Professor Barry Barish, Nobel Prize, Physics 2017, USA
- Professor Elias Corey, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1990, USA
- Professor Jerome Friedman, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1990, USA
- Professor Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Prize, Physics, 1979, USA
- Professor John Mather, Nobel Prize, Physics 2006, USA
- Professor Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize, Medicine 1993, USA
- Professor Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize, Literature 2010, Peru
- Professor David Wineland, Nobel Prize, Physics 2012, USA