Joint letter of 22 Noble Laureates to UN Secretary General

Joint Letter of Nobel laureates to the United Nations Secretary-General

13 December 2019

His Excellency Antonio Guterres United Nations Secretary-General

Dear Secretary-General,

We, the Nobel laureates signing this letter, seek to express our grave concerns over the recent deadly crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators in Iran and condemn the security forces’ use of lethal force against innocent people demanding their rights to be respected.

The protests began on November 15th over the tripling of gasoline prices, but quickly morphed into a nationwide uprising, in which hundreds of thousands of Iranians, especially the young people, the army of the unemployed and the hungry and the impoverished, enraged over 40 years of repression, incompetence, mismanagement, and corruption, took to the streets, challenging the regime’s leaders. The uprising spread to more than one hundred fifty cities.

Amnesty International reports that at least 200 citizens are killed but the actual figure is believed to be higher.  While referring to the regime’s organized crackdown on protestors Amnesty wrote, “top government officials including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have issued statements describing protesters as ‘villains’ and giving security forces a green light to crush demonstrations.”

At the same time, the Iranian regime has shut down the internet to create an information blackout for brutal crackdown.

So far, 3,700 people have been injured and at least 7,000 have been arrested. Official Iranian media emphasized that those who led the protests and arrested will be executed by hanging. This is widely believed to be the official position of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader. The Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a statement made similar threats.

Most of us, in our previous correspondences with your predecessor expressed our gratitude for helping save life of the residents of Ashraf in Iraq, who as members of the opposition to the Iranian regime were brutally attacked and murdered by the Iranian regime forces.

Mr. Secretary General,

In addition to our scientific obligations to advance science and improve human life we strongly believe that defending human rights across the globe is our duty. Therefore, we urgently request that the United Nations intervene immediately to prevent further atrocities by the Iranian regime against its own people and suggest that the UN membership meet as soon as possible to address this crisis and take steps to hold those responsible to account. Accordingly, we ask that the UN appoints a multinational fact-finding commission to visit Iran and conduct a detailed investigation of the situation and specially to obtain information on those killed, injured and arrested.

All of us who care must offer our full support and solidarity to the brave people of Iran. They deserve nothing less.

Yours Sincerely,

Signatories:

  • Professor Michael Rosbash, Nobel Prize, Medicine 2017, USA
  • Professor Robert H. Grubbs, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 2005, USA
  • Professor Gerhard Ertl, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 2007, Germany
  • Professor Randy Schekaman, Nobel Prize, Medicine, 2013, USA
  • Professor David Wineland, Nobel Prize, Physics 2012, USA
  • Professor Joachim Frank, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 2017, USA
  • Professor Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize, Medicine 1993, USA
  • Professor Elias Corey, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1990, USA
  • Professor Barry Barish, Nobel Prize, Physics 2017, USA
  • Professor John Lewis Hall, Nobel Prize, Physics 2005, USA
  • Professor Oliver Hart, Nobel Prize, Economics 2016, USA
  • Professor Tim Hunt, Nobel Prize, Medicine 2001, U.K.
  • Professor Jerome Friedman, Nobel Prize, Physics 1986, USA
  • Professor Georg Bednorz, Nobel Prize, Physics, 1987, Germany
  • Professor Roger Guillemin, Nobel Prize, Medicine 1977, USA
  • Professor Roger D. Kornberg, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 2006, USA
  • Professor John Polanyi, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1986, Canada
  • Professor John Mather, Nobel Prize, Physics 2006, USA
  • Professor Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1986, USA
  • Professor Hamilton Smith, Nobel Prize, Medicine 1978, USA
  • Professor Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Prize, Physics, 1979, USA
  • Professor Thomas Cech, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1989, USA