Several senior members of the Iranian American Medical Association have announced their resignation over the IAMA's refusal to support antigovernment protests.
In a letter obtained by Iran International, the group criticized the IAMA’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors for their lack of action in support of the Iranian protesters, on the pretext that the IAMA must remain 'apolitical'. The five signatories all are past or former officers of IAMA’s leadership.
The doctors argued that “defending basic human rights, social justice or public health issues are not political matters,” announcing their decision to disassociate themselves from the “dominating leadership” of IAMA.
"In recent turmoil in Iran where people are fighting for their basic human rights, and our medical and dentist colleagues in Iran are shot at, injured, detained and a few, so far, have lost their lives, we need to show our solidarity as a medical community," read the letter.
They said the Association should never be “silent or indifferent” in the face of the Islamic Republic’s human rights violations, particularly pertaining to public health, adding that there is “a strong resistance from a fraction of the Board members, particularly, from the founder” for taking any action. They said the members want to support their fellow physicians in their basic rights to protest in Iran but “the same fraction preferred to look another way.”
“We will start a new Medical and Dental organization, which, beside the scientific activities, humanitarian tasks, it can also give us the freedom and space to stand for human rights activities and social justice anywhere in the world, including the US and Iran, without fear of stigma,” they said, welcoming all healthcare professionals who share their visions to join them. “We must stay united and focus on the issues that our birthland is suffering from right now.”
Doctor Parisa Bahmani killed by security forces in Iran
Referring to the ongoing crackdown on the uprising, ignited by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, they said “our birthland Iran, needs us, the brave people of Iran need us, the physicians and dentists in Iran need us, so, we must do something and will do our best to help them, to raise their voices inside and outside Iran and show our solidarity with them.”
The association has some apparent links to the clerical regime, as was revealed by a meeting of its former head Dr. Shervin Mortazavi with President Ebrahim Raisi during his visit to New York City.
Late in September, the IAMA issued a statement saying that the association will no longer be silent in the face of appeasement of and association with “this evil regime,” announcing the firing of Dr. Mortazavi.
“We, as IAMA members, like other Iranians all over the world, strongly condemn what has happened to Masa Amini, a young innocent girl as a distinct violation of human rights,” it said at the time.
There are more than 10,000 medical doctors of Iranian origin in the United States.
During a protest rally of doctors in Tehran late in October, at least one surgeon -- Doctor Parisa Bahmani -- was shot in the head and killed by security forces. She was killed during the gathering of doctors in front of Tehran Medical Council, after government forces opened fire on demonstrators.
Later in the month, a group of 130 neurosurgeons called on the Islamic Republic to stop violent crackdown on protesters, especially on “children and teenagers.”
Up to now, the Islamic Republic has not taken responsibility even for a single death during the demonstrations. Iran’s government either says victims died when they fell off the roofs, committed suicide, had some background disease, or lost their lives in car crashes.
The regime has killed over 304 people, including 41 children and 24 women, during the protests since mid-September. The Oslo-based Human Rights Organization said Saturday that the number of yet-to-be-verified reports of casualties is much more than this.