On December 31, 2016, a group of 299 Iranian students, political activists, and journalists, both inside and outside Iran, issued a communique apologizing to the Syrian people for the Iranian regime’s role in the massacres perpetrated against them and stressing condemnation and rejection of its part in the fight against the Syrian people. The Iranian people, it said, had no part in this.
It should be noted that most of the signatories are academics and activists living in Iran. One of the most well-known signatories is dissident Ahmad Batebi, in the U.S. since 2008. Batebi fled Iran in 2005 after being imprisoned and sentenced to death after a photo of him in the 1999 student demonstrations holding aloft the bloody shirt of a fellow student was published on the cover of The Economist magazine. Other notable signatories are former Iranian deputy foreign minister and diplomat Professor Abbas Maleki; journalist and political activist Behzad Mehrani, who has fled Iran; and poet and writer Mohammad Reza Shafaei. MEMRI has on file the names of all 299 signatories.
Ahmad Batebi, The Economist, July 1999
Following is the communique:
"In the name of the God of the soul and the mind,
"We, the signatories named below, are shamed by the wounds that have been inflicted upon the Syrian people for the past several years. It has been several years now that governments, in both the East and the West, that thirst for expansion have been attacking the oppressed Syrian people. We consider ourselves duty-bound to renounce any part played by our government in this war that was forced upon the Syrian people. The Iranian people does not have, and has never had, any part in determining the Iranian government's Syria policy.
"The signatories below harshly condemn the official positions of the Iranian government on Syria, because it is playing a part in this great global evil, and we seek to apologize vocally to the Syrian people that is suffering and in pain."