To the Editors:

The following letter is an appeal signed by prominent American and Iranian writers and sent to the Prime Minister of Iran.

Public opinion in the West has had tremendous impact on the situation of human rights in Iran. Many Iranian civil libertarians, writers, intellectuals, and lawyers have recently voiced their opposition in Iran to the Shah’s system of terror. Their individual and collective actions have heartened many others to join with them and ask for the restoration of democracy in Iran. I have received several statements from Iran which show that a solid base for the battle for human rights is being built up in that country, and I hope our American colleagues will join their Iranian counterparts in this battle for democracy.

Reza Baraheni

150 W. 225 St., Apt. 14K

Bronx, New York 10463

His Excellency

The Prime Minister of Iran

It has come to our attention that the Iranian writers are striving to revive the Writers’ Association of Iran which was forced to go out of operation early in this decade under conditions of extreme censorship. In their open letter of June 13, signed by forty prominent writers, they raise the following demands:

  1. The Writers’ Association of Iran be activated as a gathering for the dialogue of Iranian intellectuals.

  2. All existing obstacles to the creation of centers or clubs for the gathering of members of the Association in Teheran and other cities of the country be removed.

  3. Legal facilities be provided for the publication and unhampered distribution of an organ by the Association.

We admire the courage and forthrightness of the writers of the Open Letter to Your Excellency, and we hope that by meeting their legitimate demands you will take some of the basic measures required for the restoration of freedom of the press, the freedom of speech and the freedom of the publication of books without any government censorship and official restrictions.


Erwand Abrahamian, Reza Baraheni, Eric Bentley, Philip Berrigan, Edwin Brooks, Henry Carlisle, Olga Carlisle, Phyllis Chesler, Jerome Clinton, Marchette Chute, Richard Falk, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Irene Gendzier, Allen Ginsberg, Francine du Plessix Gray, Ahmad Karimi Hakkak, Denise Levertov, John Livengood, Ebad Mahmoudian, Christopher Middleton, Kate Millett, Joan Mellon, William Millward, Taghi Modarresi, Edwin Moise, George Novack, Wayne O’Neil, Grace Paley, Evelyn Reed, Stuart Russell, Ralph Schoenman, Mahmoud Seirafizadeh, Ahmed Shamlu, Bahman Sholevar, Benjamin Spock, Paul Sweezey, Anne Tyler, Louis Untermeyer, Robert Penn Warren, David Wevill, Howard Zinn

This Issue

September 15, 1977