Iranian women appeal for international solidarity with people in Iran (against the oppressive regime & imperialist threats)

[This appeal by Iranian women–feminist and democratic–spells out a position of opposition to imperialism AND to the repressive Iranian regime.  We post it here as a contribution toward building internationalist solidarity with Iranian people.  Our posting does not imply agreement with the views of the authors.  —  Frontlines ed.]


Solidarity and Its Discontents

by Raha Iranian Feminist Collective

While building solidarity between activists in the U.S. and Iran can be a powerful way of supporting social justice movements in Iran, progressives and leftists who want to express solidarity with Iranians are challenged by a complicated geopolitical terrain. The U.S. government shrilly decries Iran’s nuclear power program and expands a long-standing sanctions regime on the one hand, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes inflammatory proclamations and harshly suppresses Iranian protesters and dissidents on the other. Solidarity activists are often caught between a rock and a hard place, and many choose what they believe are the “lesser evil” politics. In the case of Iran, this has meant aligning with a repressive state leader under the guise of “anti-imperialism” and “populism,” or supporting “targeted” sanctions.

As members of a feminist collective founded in part to support the massive post-election protests in Iran in 2009, while opposing all forms of US intervention, we take this opportunity to reflect on the meaning and practice of transnational solidarity between US-based activists and sections of Iranian society. In this article, we look at the remarkable situation in which both protests against and expressions of support for Ahmadinejad are articulated under the banner of support for the “Iranian people.” In particular, we examine the claims of critics of the Iranian regime who have advocated the use of “targeted sanctions” against human rights violators in the Iranian government as a method of solidarity. Despite their name, these sanctions trickle down to punish broader sections of the population. They also stand as a stunning example of American power and hypocrisy, since no country dare sanction the US for its illegal wars, torture practices and program of extrajudicial assassinations. We then assess the positions of some “anti-imperialist” activists who not only oppose war and sanctions on Iran but also defend Ahmadinejad as a populist president expressing the will of the majority of the Iranian people. In fact, Ahmadinejad’s aggressive neo-liberal economic policies represent a right-wing attack on living standards and on various social welfare provisions established after the revolution. And finally, we offer an alternative notion of and method for building international solidarity “from below,” one that offers a way out of “lesser evil” politics and turns the focus away from the state and onto those movement activists in the streets.

We hope the analysis that follows will provoke much needed discussion among a broad range of activists, journalists and scholars about how to rethink a practice of transnational solidarity that does not homogenize entire populations, cast struggling people outside the US as perpetual and helpless victims, or perpetuate unequal power relations between peoples and nations. Acts of solidarity that cross borders must be based on building relationships with activists in disparate locations, on an understanding of the different issues and conditions of struggle various movements face, and on exchanges of support among grassroots activists rather than governments, with each group committed to opposing oppression locally as well as globally. Continue reading

Danger of War Grows..U.S.-Israeli Assault on Iran Escalates

3 January 2012--the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has ordered US warships out of the Strait of Hormuz, where nearly one-fourth of the global petroleum shipments pass every day. The US is maneuvering to cutoff Iranian exports while ensuring ongoing oil exports of neighboring countries. The EU says it will join the call for US sanctions on Iran, by the end of the month

by Larry Everest, Revolution

The danger of a U.S.-Israeli war on Iran is escalating rapidly. The U.S. and its allies are ramping up their all-around assault on Iran, including new crippling sanctions, and openly threatening to attack. Ground is being laid daily in the headlines and statements by politicians of every stripe in mainstream U.S. politics calling for aggression against Iran—all justified by unsubstantiated assertions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

Whether or not Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons technology (and there is no proof they are), this U.S. imperialist narrative and framework is an outrageous effort to turn reality upside down—the reality of which of the clashing oppressive forces in the region is the dominant threatening oppressor and bully.

Iran is a non-nuclear, Third World country. The U.S. is the world’s most powerful nuclear weapons state—with over 4,000 warheads.  It’s the only country to ever use nuclear weapons, killing 150,000-240,000 people in the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan (with many more dying of the effects of radiation for years after). It’s the main backer of the one country in the Middle East that actually does have nuclear weapons—Israel.

Now the U.S. and its allies have launched a massive, all-around campaign of aggression against Iran in the name of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. These weapons are horrible, and they should be banished from the earth. If the U.S. rulers were really against these tools of mass murder they’d insist everyone get rid of them—but they’re not. They and their media mouthpieces aren’t saying word one about getting rid of their nukes, or Israel’s nukes, or Britain or France’s nukes.

Instead, the U.S. and its allies are threatening war over the possibility that Iran could get a bomb, a war that would be terrible for the people of the world. In a 2006 statement, Kurt Gottfried, Chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University, said: “The [Bush] administration is reportedly considering using the B51-11 nuclear ‘bunker buster’ against an underground facility near Natanz, Iran. The use of such a weapon would create massive clouds of radioactive fallout that could spread far from the site of the attack, including to other nations. Even if used in remote, lightly populated areas, the number of casualties could range up to more than a hundred thousand, depending on the weapon yield and weather conditions.” And any attack by the U.S. and Israel on Iran would be military aggression to preserve their military dominance—including their nuclear monopoly—in the Middle East. There is absolutely no justice in anything the U.S. is doing in pursuit of this criminal goal.

• • •

The last half of December saw a sharp spike in the U.S.-led assault on Iran’s Islamic Republic. On December 31, President Obama signed a defense authorization bill that included by far the harshest sanctions the U.S. and its allies have yet imposed on Iran. These new sanctions target Iran’s oil exports (which account for well over half of government revenues) for the first time, as well as its financial sector. (One provision calls for punishing foreign firms and banks which purchase Iranian oil, including through its central bank.) Continue reading

Iran: New crackdown on students and supporters of woman facing death by stoning

Iranian police prepare woman for death by stoning

[The Islamic Republic of Iran, which claims that big advances have been made by women under its rule, continues to demonstrate its true nature by stoning to death women who violate its reactionary codes of conduct.

By way of background for the second article, Evin prison, where a number of arrested student activists have been taken, is the notorious prison where the Shah’s secret police, the SAVAK, imprisoned and tortured revolutionaries and political activists. These practices were continued at Evin by the new Khomeini regime. In 1988, the Iranian government executed  at least 20,000 members of communist and revolutionary Islamic organizations who had been held in Evin for years.  These executions were supervised by the Prime Minister at that time–Mir Hussein Mousavi, the leader of last year’s Green Movement.  For more on Mousavi’s role in 1988, see the FRS article from June 2010:

Note that the second article, below, is from the Wall Street Journal, which like other bourgeois papers in the US has centered its news coverage on the largely student-based Green Movement that demands that the Islamic Republic be reformed. The Iran coverage by the US press does not include the severe repression the government is bringing down on workers and the oppressed nationalities in Iran, such as the Kurds and Azeris.–Frontlines ed.]

Associated Press, November 4, 2010

Iran: Group Urges Release of Two Connected With Condemned Woman

The rights group Amnesty International has urged Iran to immediately release the son and the lawyer of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, saying the two were only trying to save her life. According to the London-based group, the woman’s son, Sajad Ghaderzadeh, and her lawyer, Javid Houtan Kian, were arrested Oct. 10, along with two German citizens who were seeking to interview the son.

Iran has temporarily suspended the stoning verdict against the woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, and suggested that she might be hanged instead for her involvement with the murder of her husband.  Ms. Ashtiani remains on death row in Tabriz and “could be scheduled for execution at any time,” Ann Harrison, Amnesty’s Iran expert, said Thursday.

Iran Arrests Students Amid New Crackdown

BEIRUT-Four prominent Iranian student activists were arrested over the weekend amid a fresh crackdown targeting students. Continue reading

Death by stoning for Iranian women under the Islamic Republic

[The Guardian (UK) on 22 July 2010 reported, “Iran has put fresh pressure on the woman it last month sentenced to death by stoning, demanding the names of those involved in the campaign for her release….The 43-year-old mother of two has been interrogated inside Tabriz prison over the names of the people who have been in touch with her family and the way her photo has been distributed among the media, the Guardian has learned.”-ed.]

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

19 July 2010. A World to Win News Service.

The news that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was about to be executed by stoning stunned and outraged millions of people everywhere.

The 43 year-old widow, a mother of two, was arrested by the Iranian Islamic regime in the northern city of Tabriz in 2005. She was convicted of an “illicit relationship” in May 2006 and received 99 lashes with a whip. Later the authorities opened another investigation against her for the murder of her husband, but in the end she was found guilty of “adultery” instead and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic upheld the verdict. The death sentence for adultery in Islamic Republic is usually carried out by stoning.

In the face of international disgust the Islamic regime had to back down. On 12 July the country’s judiciary chief announced that her execution “will not be carried out for the moment.” If she is not killed by stoning, this does not reduce the threat of her being executed by other means, such as hanging. Continue reading

Iran: Mir-Hossein Mousavi ‘involved in 1988 massacre’, says report

Mousavi's hands: how bloody?

Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the leader of Iran’s opposition green movement was involved in the massacre of more than 10,000 political prisoners in 1988, according to a report.

By Con Coughlin
Published: 10:00PM BST 08 Jun 2010

Mr Mousavi, the defeated candidate in last June’s presidential election, served as Iran’s prime minister when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the regime’s spiritual leader, issued a fatwa that sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death without trial, according to the report by one of Britain’s leading human rights lawyers.

Mr Mousavi is one of several prominent Iranian politicians who are accused of implementing the order. According to a detailed report published by Geoffrey Robertson QC, who specialises in human rights law, the prisoners were executed for refusing to recant their political and religious beliefs.

“They were hung from cranes, four at a time, or in groups of six from ropes hanging from the stage of the prison assembly hall,” the report states. “Their bodies were doused with disinfectant, packed in refrigerated trucks, and buried by night in mass graves.” Continue reading