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Nobel Laureates condemn arrest of Iran students

Nobel Laureates condemn arrest of Iran students

Nine Nobel laureates have written a joint letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet regarding the arrest of two elite Iranian students.

They say that this action by the mullahs paves the way for the widespread and brutal repression of students and dissidents after the coronavirus crisis has passed because the regime fears another uprising.

The May 15 letter read: “We, the Nobel Laureates signing this letter, urge you, to use your good offices in making every effort to ensure that political prisoners, in particular [the students] Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi, are released immediately.” 

Moradi and Younesi, who are both students at Sharif University of Technology, were arrested last month for their opposition to the Iranian regime, but the mullahs hid these arrests for 26 days.

This meant that their families were unsure where their relatives were for nearly a month. These are students who have won international scientific awards for their country; how would the regime act for regular students?

Younesi , who won the gold medal at the 2018 International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Moradi, who won the silver medal in the 2017 Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics, were both arrested on the charge of sympathising with the Iranian Resistance group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

The Nobel Laureates wrote: “Terrified of another uprising, the Iranian regime finds no other option than resorting to intimidation and suppression of citizens.”

The issue is compounded by the spread of coronavirus in the overcrowded and unhygienic prisons, where all new detainees might be at risk of catching the virus or even dying.

The Nobel Laureates explained that the Iranian security forces extort confessions through torture and that these recent arrests “prepare the ground” for a widespread, brutal repression of opponents and an “egregious breach of human rights” in the coming months.

The letter was signed by:

  • Professor Barry Barish, Nobel Prize, Physics 2017, USA 
  • Professor David Wineland, Nobel Prize, Physics 2012, USA 
  • Professor John Lewis Hall, Nobel Prize, Physics 2005, USA 
  • Professor Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize, Medicine 1993, USA 
  • Professor Elias Corey, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1990, USA 
  • Professor Thomas Cech, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1989, USA 
  • Professor Jerome Friedman, Nobel Prize, Physics 1986, USA 
  • Professor John Polanyi, Nobel Prize, Chemistry 1986, Canada 
  • Professor Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Prize, Physics, 1979, USA