I am writing to you on Christmas Eve as a fellow Iranian in tech, urging you to use your platform and influence to support the brave individuals who are on the 100th day of their current fight for freedom in Iran.
As luminaries in our industry, you have the unique opportunity to make a real impact on the world by speaking out on behalf of those who are fighting for their basic human rights. The people of Iran are currently facing immense brutality and increasingly, death, as they bravely stand up against an oppressive regime that denies them the freedom to have a normal life and speak their minds without fear of harm, imprisonment, or inhumane execution.
I understand that as business leaders, you may feel the need to remain neutral to avoid alienating customers, investors, or other stakeholders. However, the situation in Iran is much bigger than just a business decision — it is a matter of human rights, justice, and unlocking the real potential of a great nation. Your help now will be an important part of your legacy.
We’re all aware of laws preventing direct money transfers to Iran, but that’s not what the people are asking for. Here’s a list of ways I think you can help collectively:
- Speak up: I have stayed silent for years, always justifying it for various reasons. This time is different. We are in the proverbial “if not now, then when?” scenario that history has shown can be incredibly pivotal. Continually raise your voice on social media and in interviews to show you support the freedom fighters in Iran. This serves as a morale boost to those fighting on the ground and also signals to the world that they should act too.
- Utilize your products’ influence: In addition to your personal platforms, create corporate campaigns that are directly shown to your customers via the product experience and marketing. Uber’s Ukraine-related work provides a great example of this, along with posts in support of the cause. See examples from Google, Balenciaga, and Vogue.
- Provide expert know-how: Elon’s vocal support on Twitter and gifted Starlink terminals are examples of this. Iran’s internet is currently under heavy censorship and moving more towards a North Korean intranet model. Even VPNs which have been used for years to access the web are increasingly useless. Engineers who understand the details of how these systems work can provide support by advising those creating workarounds.
- Influence politicians & representatives: You pay millions in taxes personally and via your corporations — these people will listen to you. Advocate for policies that help the people by cutting off oxygen to the regime. You may fear that this kind of advocacy could lead to other superpowers going to war in the region. Not a single influential voice in this space is asking for military support. You can help by pushing politicians to cut off financial support to the regime and reducing its influence in global affairs. Our awe-inspiring women and brave countrymen will do the rest.
In your advocacy, I urge you to share your empowering personal journeys. These inspire the world and your community of fellow Iranians. Many of you suffered discrimination, stress, and heartache as young people outside of Iran while both the Islamic revolution and hostage crisis were taking place. Maybe you felt culturally homeless and these current events are likely bringing up many of those painful memories again. Your voice will help get more people to tune in by adding motivational storytelling which can counter demoralizing headlines. As entrepreneurs, you know first-hand just how key stories are to bring about large-scale cooperation in the world.
As we take time out to spread joy and reflect on what we value this holiday season, please show your support alongside the Iranian community and other prominent artists, activists, and politicians. Our window to effect change by speaking out against these injustices won’t last forever, we must collectively act now.