WHEREAS: Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari have been set to go to trial by Islamic Revolutionary Court of Iran on Monday April 17th;

WHEREAS: Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari, husband and wife (legally married in a civil court in the U.S.), independent art gallery owners, were arrested and have been held in Tehran’s Evin prison without due process since July of 2016;

WHEREAS; They hold dual nationals, which is not a crime;

WHEREAS; Days after the arrest, the couple are taken to their home and a search is conducted. Karan is taken outside and made to sit in a vehicle. Meanwhile, Afarin Nayssari is filmed and photographed by the security agents in flagrant violation of a woman’s privacy in order to denigrate and produce propaganda;

WHEREAS: They are denied access to a lawyer during their imprisonment or access to the contents of the prosecution files and briefs of the baseless charges against them

WHEREAS: They were ordered by the presiding judge to dismiss their selected lawyer;

WHEREAS: They are facing trumped up political charges of “spying and overthrowing the government”; Karan and Afarin are not political; they have never worked for any government or had held any governmental positions;

WHEREAS: The dangerous and trumped up charges of "espionage" were gradually and arbitrarily motified to "attempt to overthrow the regime" to "conferring to conspire against national security" in order to prevent them from posting bail;

WHEREAS: Karan Vafadari is a Zoroastrian religious minority recognized by the Iranian constitution;

WHEREAS: During days of duress and interrogation and while being kept in blindfolds and forced to face a wall, investigation of their private home, investigation of their business, and invasion of their privacy have not resulted in any evidence of wrongdoing;

WHEREAS: Afarin Nayssari is kept under harsh prison conditions and interrogation and pressured to spy on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Service on friends, business clients and associates, and even her husband; her refusal worsens her condition in prison;

WHEREAS: Outside of the false espionage-related charges, the security forces’ evidence against them consists of two bottles of liquor taken from the privacy of their home and a number of art pieces deemed “questionable” by authorities. It is not clear whether these questionable items belong to their collection of hundreds of art pieces or to the security forces;

WHEREAS: Karan and Afarin have committed their lives to the appreciation and advancement of Iranian culture via the Aun Gallery and the Aun Foundation;

WHEREAS: Jazieh, the practice of infringement on rights and property of Zoroastrians has been rescinded in Iran since 1880s, during reign of the Qajars.  The current practice by Sepah Passdaran and Islamic courts on seizing the private property of this minority is against the rights of citizens;

THEREFORE: We, the undersigned, urge the Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran and the Judiciary to drop all charges brought against Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari and to release them IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDITIONALLY.

In case of any trial, we call upon the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure that the trial is open to the public with the presence of independent press and representation by national and independent international lawyers and a jury of their peers to consist of women, artists, and Zoroastrians.

Please send your letters to:
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
contact@leader.ir or info_leader@leader.ir
c/o Mr. Gholamali Khoshroo
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
iran@un.int or iranun.ny@mfa.gov.ir

AND to:
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani, Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur Street, Vali Asr Avenue, South of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran

Copies to:
President Hassan Rouhani
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Iran

AND to:
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@mfa.gov.ir
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Bagh-e Melli
Tehran, Iran