To the Editors:

We are told by the Western press that the Shah of Iran is buying the most sophisticated weapons and that he is handing out loans and aid to developed and underdeveloped countries. But very little is known about the Shah’s torture chambers, death sentences and the Savak, the secret police who rule the country. Hundreds of writers, intellectuals and political thinkers have lost their lives in the last ten years. Samad Behrangi, the famous writer for children and winner of a prize at the 6th International Children’s Book Fair at Bologna (Italy) in 1969, for example, was mysteriously drowned at 29 years of age. Jalal Al-Ahmad, a leading modern novelist, died of a heart attack at the age of 46 in 1970 after continual pressure and attempts to suppress his writing. Khosrov Golisorkhi and Danishyam (poet and artist) were executed by firing squad six months ago because they were Marxists. Parviz Hekmatjoo, a member of the Tudeh Party (the Iranian Communist Party, banned by the Shah), died about four months ago in prison after many years of torture and maltreatment by the Savak. Gholam-Hossain Sa’edi, the famous playwright, whose plays (for example, The Cow) have been shown at international festivals, has been in prison for the past five months, and no one knows what condition he is in or why he was arrested.

We protest against the arrest and torture of intellectuals and political thinkers and writers in Iran, and demand the release of Gholam-Hossain Sa’edi and others.

Noam Chomsky

Ali Farshbaf

This Issue

January 23, 1975