Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and many other antiwar activists signed this
Please see the link Campaign for Peace and
Democracy and it said
We Oppose Both Saddam Hussein
and the U.S. War on Iraq:
A call for a new, democratic U.S.
Can antiwar movement
including SBM consider this position? Vida
ZNet | Activism
IRAN: NEITHER U.S. AGGRESSION NOR THEOCRATIC REPRESSION
by Campaign for Peace and Democracy; Campaign for Peace and Democracy; May 18,
[To add your name to this statement, please see below.]
Just as it did before its invasion of Iraq,
the Bush administration is manufacturing a climate of fear in order to prepare public
opinion for another act of aggression -- this time against Iran. Three
years ago it was the specter of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass
destruction; today it's the threat of a possible Iranian nuclear bomb. Washington's immediate goal is to get the U.N. Security
Council to impose sanctions on Iran
and, in all probability, to justify a military attack on Tehran's
nuclear facilities -- a job that may be outsourced to Israel. The
White House even insists on keeping the catastrophic "nuclear option"
on the table -- that is, using tactical nuclear weapons to strike Iranian
nuclear facilities, many of which are located in or near civilian population
centers. Although a full-scale invasion of Iran is highly unlikely at the
moment, there can be little doubt that the neoconservatives in the Bush
administration have a grand strategy that includes, eventually, "regime
change" in Tehran as a way of further enlarging U.S. imperial power.
We strongly oppose the U.S.
occupation of Iraq: it has
brought appalling suffering to the Iraqi people with fatalities in the tens of
thousands, descent into civil war and the strengthening of the most
authoritarian elements in Iraqi society -- as well as more than 2,400 U.S. soldiers
dead and thousands more wounded. Likewise, the U.S.
government's attempts to bully Iran
are succeeding mainly in terrorizing the Iranian people and weakening internal
opposition to the mullahs. The Bush administration's claim that it is promoting
democracy in these two countries is the grossest hypocrisy; its only interest
is power and control of oil resources. We, on the other hand, care very much
about the ability of the Iraqi and Iranian people to control their own
societies, about civil liberties and the rights of women, gays, workers, and ethnic
minorities there. That is why we raise our voices against the current threats
to Iran and call for
immediate withdrawal of all U.S.
forces from Iraq.
We too would like to see a regime change in Tehran,
but one brought about by the Iranian people themselves, not by Washington. For 26 years
has been ruled by a repressive theocracy. Behind the formal trappings of
democracy, real power is held by an un-elected oligarchy of clerics; all
electoral candidates must receive their approval, and their authority is
enforced by gangs of religious thugs. President Ahmadinejad
is a Holocaust denier who has called for the elimination of Israel.
Iranian women lack some of the most basic human rights. They cannot dress,
work, travel or choose spouses freely. "Honor killing" is legal, and
by law women can be hanged or stoned to death for "unchaste
behavior." Millions of Iranian women find ways to at least partly
circumvent these restrictions, and relatively few suffer the most extreme
penalties. Women vote and sit in parliament, and there are significant numbers
of women both in university and at the workplace. But the fact remains that
there are few countries in the world where women face legal handicaps as severe
as those in Iran.
Workers who try to strike or form independent trade unions are often violently
put down. Large numbers of workers have not been paid for months and in some
cases for years. Attempts to organize are frequently attacked by club- and
knife-wielding mercenaries, security forces and the military. Despite this
repression, workers are continuing to organize, however, and independent unions
are gaining a foothold.
As in many countries, homosexuality is outlawed, but Tehran has gone further
than most by making homosexual conduct by men or women punishable by death and
unleashing a vicious pogrom against Iranian gays, many of whom have been
tortured, beaten, and publicly executed. The government is carrying on a
massive campaign of entrapment through the Internet; victims are subjected to
constant surveillance, loss of employment, arrest, and violent blackmail that
forces them to reveal the names of other homosexuals. Torture is used to make
gay people confess to crimes they never committed. The basiji
and other religious parapolice forces kidnap gay
people, who are sequestered and tortured until they name names. Gays on the
government's lists are forbidden to leave the country. And now Iran has exported its violent anti-gay crusade
In recent years there has been growing resistance within Iranian society,
particularly from workers fighting privatization and unemployment and young
people chafing against social and political repression. This resistance holds
the promise of bringing grassroots democratic change to Iran. The
threat of military action or broader and harsher sanctions from outside -- and
especially the horrifying menace of nuclear strikes -- only serve to rally
people around the regime and to give it another excuse to clamp down on
dissent, inhibiting a potentially revolutionary process and strengthening the
right-wing clerics. U.S.
threats have already served to legitimize nuclear weapons to the Iranian
Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to develop
civilian nuclear power, though the Bush administration has tried to obscure
this fact. Many of us oppose the use of nuclear power by any country, both for
environmental reasons and because of its link to nuclear weapons -- but that is
not the issue in the present U.S.-Iran confrontation. While there is reason to
doubt Tehran's assurances that it only wants to develop civilian nuclear
energy, Iran is probably still several years away from being able to produce
nuclear weapons. And if Tehran
acquires the bomb, it is unlikely that the ayatollahs, who
hold decisive power, would use it since it would be suicidal to do so. Israel alone has between 200 and 300 nuclear
warheads capable of striking Iran,
and this is not counting the thousands of warheads the U.S. can launch at Iran. Nevertheless, there is no
guarantee that Iran,
or any other state armed with nuclear weapons, won't use them or make them
available to others. As long as these barbaric weapons exist, they can be used,
and the more countries that possess them the more likely it is
over time that they will be used.
We therefore strongly oppose any effort by Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. But as
long as a handful of nations arrogate to themselves the exclusive right to
possess nuclear weapons, the have-nots will always be able to point to the
threat posed by the nuclear powers and will constantly seek to acquire such
weapons for themselves -- as North
Korea has already done, withdrawing from the
Non-Proliferation Treaty regime. Likewise, Iran,
which has been menaced by the U.S.
for more than two decades and was a charter member of Bush's "axis of
evil," may opt out of the NPT.
An end to Washington's belligerence is a
crucial step in preventing Tehran
from joining the nuclear "club." Beyond that, the only way to stop
proliferation is for those countries that have nuclear weapons to begin
disarming -- something the Bush administration and previous administrations of
both parties have refused to do, despite the fact that the U.S. is a signatory
to the Non-Proliferation Treaty which commits it to "pursue negotiations
in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms
race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament." At the same time the
nuclear powers must work toward nuclear-free zones around the world, but especially
in the Middle East, a particularly volatile
and dangerous region.
We call for a new democratic U.S. foreign policy that would deal with the
threat posed to all of us by terrorist networks, and by weapons of mass
destruction, and promote real democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere, by:
· Renouncing the use of
military intervention to extend and consolidate U.S. imperial power, and
withdrawing U.S. troops and bases from the Middle East.
· Ending U.S. support for authoritarian and corrupt
regimes, e.g. Saudi Arabia,
the Gulf states and Egypt.
· Opposing all forms of
terrorism worldwide -- by Al Qaeda, Iraqi death squads, and Palestinian suicide
bombers, and by U.S.-backed forces like the Colombian paramilitaries and the
Israeli military in the Occupied Territories -- as well as the brutality and
humiliation inflicted on Iraqis every day by U.S.
occupation forces and Washington's ominous
threats against Iran.
· Supporting the right of
national self-determination for all peoples in the Middle
East, including the Kurds, Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Ending support for Israeli occupation of the West Bank and
oppression of the Palestinian people.
· Taking unilateral steps
toward renouncing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and
vigorously promoting international disarmament treaties, instead of obstructing
even minimal efforts to end the arms race.
· Abandoning the effort to
impose, through the IMF/World Bank or unilaterally, neoliberal
economic policies of privatization and austerity that bring mass misery to
people in large parts of the world. Initiating a major
foreign aid program directed at popular rather than corporate needs.
The majority of people in this country now believe that the invasion of Iraq
was disastrously wrong and that they were systematically lied to by the Bush
Administration about the reasons for going to war, and they are wary of new
U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. At the same time, the administration's
scare tactics may succeed in generating popular support for aerial attacks on Iran. It is
therefore imperative to speak out now against Washington's threats, to educate
public opinion, and to build organized opposition to aggression against Iran, as
well as support for immediate, complete withdrawal from Iraq. It is time to
demand a new democratic U.S.
foreign policy that genuinely expresses solidarity with the aspirations of
people for liberty everywhere, renounces once and for all imperial intervention,
and is committed to real disarmament.
[Statement revised on May 15, 2006. Please join Michael Albert, Tom Ammiano, Stanley Aronowitz,
Rosalyn Baxandall, Eileen Boris, Jeremy Brecher, Noam Chomsky, Martin Duberman,
Rusti Eisenberg, Carlos R. Espinosa, Samuel Farber, Mansour Farhang, Barbara Garson, Larry Gross. Mina Hamilton, Thomas Harrison, Howie Hawkins, Adam Hochschild,
Doug Ireland, Joy Kallio, Larry Kramer, Joanne Landy, Jesse Lemisch, Rabbi
Michael Lerner, Nelson Lichtenstein, Norman MacAfee, Marvin & Betty Mandell, David Oakford, Barbara
Watson Pillsbury, Henry Pillsbury, Frances Fox Piven,
Ruth Rosen, Peter Rothberg, Matthew Rothschild, Jennifer Scarlott,
Jay Schaffner, Sydney Schanberg,
Stephen R. Shalom, Wallace Shawn, Meredith Tax, Cornel West, Edmund White,
Reginald Wilson, Howard Zinn and others in signing
this statement. (If you signed the previous version, we invite you to sign
again to have your name listed. New signers are welcome!) See the full list of