In a video message addressing the Iranian people, Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran and the head of Iran Action Group has paid homage to an Iranian blogger who died in prison seven years ago and praised the friendship between the people of Iran and the U.S.
Sattar Beheshti was an Iranian blogger who died on October 30, 2012, several days after being arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police unit for criticizing the government of the Islamic Republic on his Facebook page.
Reportedly, the Islamic Republic agents killed Beheshti behind bars after he made a signed complaint of being tortured. His death drew international condemnation and led to the dismissal of the commander of Iran's cyber crimes police unit.
Commemorating Sattar's birthday, August 23, Hook said in his video message, "Seven years ago a corrupt religious Mafia, also known as the Iranian regime, arrested, tortured and murdered Sattar; because he expressed his opinion online."
The video message was circulated a day after Sattar's mother, Ms. Gohar Eshqi, wrote an open letter to President Donald Trump asking him to officially assign his son's birthday, August 23, as the annual day of friendship between the people of Iran and the U.S.
Responding to the request, Hook said in his video message, "Today we remember Sattar and recognize the friendship between the people of Iran and the United States."
Addressing Trump as “Dear President Trump”, Sattar’s mother, Ms. Eshqi says “you may ask yourself why I am writing this letter to you rather than [the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, the person responsible for my son's murder, Ms.Eshqi says in her letter”, adding, "The answer is simple. To me, Khamenei is no more than a corpse. He has been dead for decades. He died when he lied to Iranians when he tainted his hands with the blood of the children of this land. Khamenei has no ties or allegiance to Iran or Iranians."
Meanwhile, Ms. Eshqi who has never changed her mourning dress since her son's death also stressed, "Seven years ago, before my eyes, Khamenei's agents dragged my son out of our home and took him to an interrogation center. Three days later, they returned his dead body to me. His only crime was that he was a blogger talking about social issues."
Furthermore, Gohar Eshqi has expressed her regret for the slogans, such as "Death to America!" that echoes in official ceremonies in Iran.
"Without any reservation, I declare that we were wrong when we sided with the regime in chanting 'Death to America', 'Death to England', and 'Death to Israel.'"
The bereaved mother has also insisted, "I am in the final stage of my life, and I am mature enough not to hate anyone, not to seek revenge or death for my son's murderers. Many times I have said that if my son's murderer comes to my house as a guest, I will host him and treat him as such."
However, Ms. Eshqi has asserted that she wished death for none, save the Islamic Republic.
Highlighting Article 23 of the Islamic Republic's Constitution, Hook said in his video message to the people of Iran, "It prohibits prosecuting anyone for holding a belief. Article 24 guarantees the freedom of expression, adding, "The Iranian regime has made the Iranian Constitution a 'sad joke.'"