UPDATED 7 NOV, 2006
Proposed letter to Siamak Zand's employers CBS News and Sky News. Please review it and see what we can do to make it better even if it's only wording that needs to be changed...
We'll then present this to various personalities and groups to sign before sending it off to those concerend.
Lets not drag this out. It's already overdue!
Dear Sir or Madam,
In reference to Mr. Siamak Zand’s interview with Voice of America (VOA) Persian service on 22 Oct, 2006, we would like to express our strongest displeasure.
Mr. Siamak Zand is one of your Tehran-stationed producers who works for both CBS News and Sky News. While we do understand the pressures involved with the job of being a news correspondence under the totalitarian theocracy, we would like to point out the fact that in presenting the realities of Iran, Mr. Zand has crossed the boundaries of ridiculousness well into deceit. We believe in his anxiousness to keep his job, and all parties happy, he is deliberately misrepresenting the facts, and misleading the western public as well as decision makers.
During this interview your producer in Tehran, Mr. Zand, tried to downplay the significance and brutality of STONING women in Iran, by arguing the number of occurrences!! Does Mr. Zand value life and humanity at all ? Isn’t one innocent life taken away, through stoning, ENOUGH for condemnation and outrage? Does the gentleman understand the impact of such human rights violations on the population witnessing the events? Tens of Iranians have been executed by STONING in only these past few years, with the numbers being in the hundreds since the inception of this inhumane regime, and Mr. Zand has the audacity to come on an internationally viewed program and try to downplay its significance. This regime, whose atrocities Mr. Zand is trying to downplay, has a penal code which on the issue of stoning states: "...the stones should not be too large so that the person dies on being hit by one or two of them; they should not be so small either that they could not be defined as stones" (Article 104, Islamic Republic’s penal code). I do not want to discuss the barbarity of this Islamic practice, but do hope that you are aware of it; there are smuggled videos from Iran of this barbaric practice which I can direct you to.
Also, in conjunction with the current policies of the mullahs, and in his anxiousness to glorify Mr. Ahmadinejad, Mr. Zand gloated about his personal take that Mr. Mike Wallace came out short in his recent 60 minutes interview with Ahmadinejad !!! We would appreciate to know what exactly was said, by which Mr. Zand was so impressed.
This should be an ever-lasting shame on Mr. Zand’s conscious, but from the emails full of profanity, which I’ve received from his CBS News email account, it seems he could care less about the people of Iran who suffer under this regime. I am ready to put those emails at your disposal if requested. These shameful actions of Mr. Zand have tarnished the impartiality of his two employers CBS News and Sky News.
The Islamic Republic’s human rights records are well documented as is its crimes against the Iranian people. Several resolutions by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Commission have condemned the Islamic Republic for restricting freedom of speech, gender equality, religious freedom, freedom of assembly and other freedoms. The universal declaration of human rights is not adhered to by the Islamic Republic. Despite this Mr. Zand has the audacity to come before millions of people and say that these FACTS are blown out of proportion and stressing that journalists in Iran are free to go wherever they want without government supervision and are free to report freely!
Reporters without Borders and many other international bodies have condemned the Islamic Republic for its permanent restriction of the press and have denounced an application of censorship found to be systematic in the country. Iran under the Islamic Republic is one of the ten most repressive countries of the world concerning freedom of the press. Hundreds of newspapers have been closed down since the coming to power of what some naïve quarters call “the reformist” Mullah Khatami (1997-2005); not knowing that those who serve this regime are none other than those whose mission is to preserve its existence by all means. Journalists detained in prison are often harassed and humiliated and as I will mention below even murdered!
It must have slipped Mr. Zand’s mind that Mrs. Zahra Kazemi a Canadian-Iranian journalist covering a demonstration outside the infamous Evin prison in Tehran was detained by the Islamic Republic, imprisoned, tortured, raped, and finally murdered by officials of the Islamic Republic’s own judiciary! Despite official accounts of rape and torture by a doctor who examined Mrs. Kazemi's body, Mr. Zand claims that Mrs. Kazemi died by accidentally hitting her head in her cell! Not surprisingly this is the account of the criminals in power in Tehran!
One should tell Mr. Zand that, yes people are free to do whatever they want in Iran under the Islamic Republic but it is what happens after they have exercised their freedom which matters – Mrs. Kazemi serves as an excellent example. Unlike Mr. Zand, the Canadian-Iranian journalist Mrs. Kazemi was trying to report the TRUTH on what is happening in Iran and she paid the price for doing so. Mr. Zand seems to have found himself in a much more comfortable situation where serving as the mouthpiece of the Islamic Republic is more appealing and profitable to him than reporting on the true events taking place in Iran today – especially the human rights abuses of the Islamic Republic, this is also reflected in his reporting for CBS News and Sky News.
To further attest to the impartiality and shamelessness of this producer of yours in Tehran, Mr. Zand was asked about the disturbance in the Iranian province of Azerbaijan, earlier this summer, where tens of thousands of Iranian Azeri’s had taken to the streets in a grand manifestation to have their rights, which are denied, to be respected. There are a plentitude of pictures and videos depicting the massive size of these demonstrations and subsequent brutality by the Islamic Republic’s forces in violently trying to put an end to it. In regards to this major event Mr. Zand replied that nothing important worthy of covering had taken place in Iranian Azerbaijan! Is this really a man you’d like working for you as a journalist/producer?
Dear Sir or Madam, news regarding Iran are not “blown out of proportion”, as Mr. Zand states, but are rather not given the media coverage they deserve! With employees like Mr Siamak Zand working for CBS News and Sky News this should come as no surprise! The international community is not aware of the gross human rights situation in Iran. Foreign reporters allowed into Iran have official supervisors assigned to them which make sure that they report what the regime allows them to and takes them to places which will promote a positive image of the Islamic Republic. As we have seen in the past, any foreign journalist whose reports are contrary to the Islamic Republic's interests will be immediately expelled from the country. The main stream media needs to pay much more attention to the human rights situation in Iran rather than focusing on one issue – namely the Islamic Republic’s quest for nuclear weapons. The Islamic Republic operates like a mafia and Mr Zand seems to be on good footing with these criminals in his deliberate neglect of the Iranian peoples’ plight.
Dear Sir or Madam, I hope that you understand the feelings that myself and millions of freedom-loving Iranians go through when we see such a seemingly shameless man making these kind of statements and by doing so immensely tarnishing the impartiality and credibility of stations like CBS News and Sky News, who have chosen this individual as their producer in Tehran. What is more disturbing is that people like Mr Zand are deceiving western public opinion regarding Iran portraying a false picture of the brutality of this totalitarian theocracy. I have already raised awareness of this issue and am willing to go further for this man to be removed from his position which he is currently abusing and by doing so hurting your respective news stations.
Dear Sir or Madam, if I was to state every inhumane act and crime that the Islamic Republic has committed over these past 27 years that it has held Iran hostage it would require several volumes of books. I sincerely hope that your relationship with this individual, Siamak Zand, is reviewed and that he is dismissed of his position as this relationship has done nothing more than immensely tarnishing the reputation, impartiality, and credibility of your two respective stations CBS News and Sky News and distorting your audience about the true nature of the Islamic Republic.
Name of Blog(s)
Name of Website(s)
Name of Organization(s)
Name of Individual(s)
Human Rights in Iran:
Stoning in Iran:
The murder of Canadian-Iranian journalist, Zahra Kazemi by the Islamic Republic: