September 21, 1996

Dr. George Rupp

President of Columbia University

New York, NY 10027


Dear Dr. Rupp:

We are shocked that the Middle East Institute has invited the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Akbar Velayati, to be the keynote speaker of the Caspian Sea Symposium at Columbia University on September 26.

Velayati and the other leaders of the illegitimate Islamic Republic have committed heinous crimes against the Iranian people. Reports by the United Nations and Amnesty International clearly document the Islamic Republic's brutal record of violating the human rights of the Iranian people. Presently, there are thousands of political prisoners in the Islamic Republic. Every year, hundreds of political prisoners are executed, many on trumped up charges. The mullahs routinely abduct, torture and execute Iranian dissidents inside and outside Iran.

During the past few weeks, the former President of the Islamic Republic Abolhassan Banisadr testified in a Berlin court that the leaders of the Islamic Republic, Khamenei and Rafsanjani, personally ordered the murder of the Iranian Kurdish leaders who were assassinated by the regime's terrorists in a Berlin restaurant in 1992. Germany has issued a warrant for the arrest of the Islamic Republic's Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian for these murders.

During the past 17 years, the clerical dictatorship has consistently sponsored terrorist activities around the world. As a result of the Islamic Republic's persistent support for terrorism, the regime is considered to be the most dangerous sponsor of terrorism in the world. The mullahs will continue these policies as long as they remain in power, even though the overwhelming majority of Iranians strongly disagree with the Islamic Republic's policy of interfering in other countries and its terrorist activities.

Velayati has approved the Islamic Republic's terrorist activities and the attacks against Iranian dissidents. He also supports Khomeini's death sentence against Salman Rushdie. Moreover, the Islamic Republic's Embassy in Germany is the headquarters for the regime's terrorist activities in Europe. Clearly the participation of terrorist Velayati at the Symposium will reflect adversely on Columbia University.

We respectfully urge you to carefully consider the barbaric actions of Velayati and the Islamic Republic, and prevent Velayati's participation at the Symposium in Columbia. We sincerely thank you for your attention to this urgent issue.


Dr. Khosrow Akmal

Secretary General