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March 20th, 2012

Letter to the OWS Peace Committee

Hi Geoff,
Although we haven’t been to an Anti-War meeting since the first one, we feel the need to weigh in on the Iran issue. We have been somewhat involved with  OWS since the beginning, and support every aspect of its mission. So it is distressing to read the emails regarding the stance that OWS is considering in relation to the threats against Iran.

I am an American-born Iranian citizen  (member of the Granny Peace Brigade) married to a native Iranian for over 40 years. We go to Iran frequently. In fact we just returned last month and are making a return trip this month due to family illness. We have a huge family in Iran and so are involved with daily life and attitudes there. Iran, like all countries , has societal problems, and Iran is no exception. But as an American, for every human rights violation I read about in Iran, I think about the number of crimes in my own country, from Guantanamo  to our prison industrial system, to the increasing abuse of power by our government on human rights – invasions and murders, secret prisons around the world for “extraordinary rendition[sic]; domestically, the death penalty, HR 347, the Military Commissions Act, NDAA, Patriot Act,  torture, rapes and assassinations; and locally, as you know, the unending harassment and arrests of so many of us out on the street.

Iranians are more than capable of making changes in their own country. We cannot forget that Iran is one of the few countries that had a successful revolution to overthrow an American puppet regime. Because of this, it has been under attack and sanctions for over thirty years. In addition, some of the people who have written to you seem to think that everyone in Iran and abroad are against the current regime. This is not true. A majority of Iranian citizens , despite their suffering from high prices and hardship caused by the sanctions, are still supportive of the government. Whether we or anyone else in the US is in favor of a theocracy-and obviously most of us are not- this is strictly for Iranians living in Iran to decide. The opposition to sanctions and constant threats of war which are illegal under international law must be unconditional.

Human rights violations is an international issue–whether they occur in Iran, the US, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, or anywhere else. Yes, we must all oppose and work for change, beginning with our own government. But to isolate this issue regarding Iran gives the US an excuse to attempt to bully Iran into submission, to give up their rights in order to install another puppet regime and again steal their resources.

The last thing Iran needs is another CIA-orchestrated regime change like the one in 1953. The majority of Iranian people are very aware of the efforts of the US and its allies to destabilize and overthrow their government.  This is a time for us in the anti-war movement to stand with ALL the Iranian people against attack and sanctions, not just those with a particular agenda.

We really would like to be part of this most crucial conversation.

In solidarity,

– Ann and Ahmad Shirazi
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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