Hands off the people of Iran

7 August 2007

Neither Washington nor Tehran. A war against Iran would be another disastrous neo-imperial adventure, which would strengthen the Tehran dictatorship. The overthrow of the clerical regime by the Iranian people – not US military intervention – is the best way to resolve the nuclear crisis and prevent a needless, unjustified war.

Peter Tatchell interviews Mark Fischer of Hands Off the People of Iran and Yassamine Mather of Workers Left Unity Iran.

Peter Tatchell writes:

The Iranian regime is a neo-fascist state. It is notorious for unfair trials, detention without charge, torture, executions, media censorship, gender apartheid, bans on non-Islamist political parties, the violent suppression of peaceful protests and strikes, and the persecution of left-wingers, trade unionists, students, feminists, gay people and religious and ethnic minorities.

The case for regime change is overwhelming, but it must come from within – by and for the Iranian people themselves – not as a result of US neo-imperial diktat. Many Iranians are hoping for a non-violent Czech-style ‘people power’ democratic revolution, involving mass protests by socialists, liberals, secularists, democrats, women, students, trade unionists, religious dissenters and minority nationalities.

A democratic, progressive Iran would pose no threat to anyone. President Bush would therefore find it much harder to persuade the American public and military to go to war. He would lose the main argument he uses to incite public opinion in favour of military action – namely, that Iran is a dangerous, terroristic, fundamentalist, anti-Semitic dictatorship, which is striving to develop nuclear weapons and which poses a serious threat to international peace and security.

If Iran was no longer a fanatical religious tyranny, the case for war would evaporate. Bush would lose the battle for hearts and minds. Public opinion would desert him. US politicians and grassroots opponents of war would be empowered and strengthened.

In contrast, US military intervention would strengthen the position of the hardliners in Tehran; allowing President Ahmadinejad to play the nationalist card and portray himself as a heroic war leader. It would also give him an excuse to further crack down on dissent, using the pretext of safeguarding national security and defending the country against US imperialism. This would setback the struggle for democracy and human rights.

Moreover, a US attack on Muslim Iran would increase the sense of grievance felt by Muslims worldwide; radicalising Muslim youth, fanning the flames of fundamentalism, increasing support for Islamist parties and resulting in thousands of new recruits to the ranks of Jihadis and suicide bombers.

Tragically, the leadership of the UK and US anti-war movements are sleeping walking into making the same mistakes over Iran as they made over Iraq. They are silent about the regime’s despotism and oppression. Mirroring Bush and Brown, they refuse to show solidarity with the Iranian peoples’ struggle for secularism, democracy, social justice, human rights and self-determination for national minorities like the Baluch, Ahwazi Arabs and Kurds.

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