Like other prominent Iranian dissidents, Hamed Esmaeilion of Canada is urging the West to “stop appeasing the Islamic Republic” and “not hinder” the anti-regime movement.
In a note published Monday on his Instagram account ahead of last year’s nationwide protests anniversary on September 16, Esmaeilion accused the regime of simultaneously continuing its “hostage-taking policy” and “obeisance to China and Russia” to force the West into deals with the Islamic Republic.
Esmaeilion also said he would join other Iranians in Toronto, Canada, on September 16 “to chant “Woman, Life, Freedom”, the signature slogan of the movement that was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police. “I know that sooner or later the Iranian people will topple the Islamic Republic.”
“We will neither forgive nor forget,” Esmaeilion, a dentist-writer who turned into a fierce activist when he lost his wife and young daughter in the downing of a commercial flight over Tehran in January 2020 by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), wrote.
Expatriate Iranian have been planning anniversary demonstrations in several major world cities on Saturday some of which, including in Montreal, Canada, will be held outside US embassies and consulates.
A small group of Iranians staged a rally Monday outside the US Consulate in Toronto to protest what they allege is US government and Canadian “appeasement of the Islamic Republic.”
They were referring to the Biden administration’s decision to unfreeze $6b of the Islamic Republic’s frozen assets in South Korea and “encouraging hostage diplomacy by paying ransom” as well as demanding the US to impose maximum pressure on the regime.
On Monday, the US Congress was informed that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has signed a waiver to allow international banks to transfer $6 billion of Iran’s frozen assets in a hostage release deal with Tehran. The State Department says Blinken determined that waiving the sanctions was in the national security interests of the United States.
Both Washington and Tehran since announcing the prisoner swap deal in August had claimed that the prisoner swap deal and the unblocking of the frozen funds were unrelated, but the waiver clearly links the two as one agreement.
"Allowing these funds to be transferred from restricted Iranian accounts held in the (Republic of Korea) to accounts in Qatar for humanitarian trade is necessary to facilitate the release of these US citizens," a US document seen by Reuters on Monday said.
The deal involves the release of five American citizens held in Iran and five Iranians held in the US. American lawmakers have been harshly criticizing the Biden administration for what they say is effective paying a huge ransom, which will only encourage the Iranian regime and endanger more Americans.
Other Iranian figures including exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi and activist Masih Alinejad have on many occasions in the past few years criticized the West for “appeasing the terrorist regime”.
In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece in August last year, the former crown prince said the way Western powers interacted with the Islamic Republic had emboldened it to continue its repressive measures against Iranians with greater immunity.
“Iranian people are not asking the Western countries to save them, they are asking the West to stop saving the Islamic Republic,” Alinejad said in a speech at Italy’s Senate in February.
“The West has always shown weakness against the Islamic Republic’s hostage-taking strategy and still wants to continue appeasing this government,” Canada-based data scientist and activist Ali Ashtari told Iran International TV in February, demanding that Western politicians and expatriate Iranians who “surrender to such humiliation be disgraced.”