Iranian dissidents oppose US aggression

Not for the first time. From AFP, Sept. 24:

UNITED NATIONS — Iranian pro-democracy activists strongly oppose any military attack on their country but want the world to condemn Tehran’s human rights violations, Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji said in a petition seen Monday.

“We categorically reject a military attack on Iran,” the high-profile dissident said in an open letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

The prominent dissident, who is currently in the New York area, said talk of a possible attack on Iran over Tehran’s refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program was making “things extremely difficult for Iranian human rights and pro-democracy activists”.

“No Iranian wants to see what happened to Iraq or Afghanistan repeated in Iran,” said Ganji, who spent five years in prison for articles linking officials to a string of killings of intellectuals in Iran.

Ganji’s call came in the wake of rumblings out of Western countries, most recently France, about a possible military response to Tehran’s alleged effort to develop nuclear weapons.

It came to light also just as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began his third visit to the United States to address the UN General Assembly.


Ganji also said that Iranian democrats also “watch with deep concern the support in some American circles for separatist movements in Iran.”

But he urged Ban and “all of the world’s intellectuals and proponents of liberty and democracy to condemn the human rights violations of the Iranian state.”

“We hope that with your excellency’s immediate intervention, all of Iran’s political prisoners, who are facing more deplorable conditions with every passing day, will soon be released,” Ganji said.

His letter was endorsed by 300 prominent academics from around the world, including South African Nobel Literature Prize laureates Nadine Gordimer and J.M. Coetzee as well as Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and Italian novelist Umberto Eco.

Ganji also warned that “the dismemberment of Middle Eastern countries will fuel widespread and prolonged conflict in the region.”

He pointed out that Washington could best foster democracy in the Middle East by promoting “a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis and pave the way for the creation of a truly independent Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel.”

Ganji, 47, was detained in 2000 and sentenced to six years in prison in 2001 after he wrote articles implicating several regime officials in a string of gruesome murders of opposition intellectuals and writers in 1998.

See our last posts on Iran and Akbar Ganji.

  1. Idiot left “stands with” Ahmadinejad
    Unfortunately, big chunks of what passes for the “left” in New York and the US betrays principled dissidents like Akbar Ganji and undercuts its own anti-war position by engaging in moronic pom-pom waving for Ahmadinejad. This abhorrent jive comes from the metronomically predictable International Action Center (IAC), jointly issued with its front group Stop War on Iran:

    Stop the war drive against Iran
    No to the demonization of President Ahmadinejad

    We denounce the campaign of demonization against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that has preceded his visit to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York. We call on the anti-war movement, progressive organizations, students, workers and community groups to stand up to this racist campaign and say loudly and clearly: No war against Iran!

    What is the aim of this carefully crafted campaign by local, state and federal officials, the Republican and Democratic leadership, and the corporate media? To beat the drums for a new U.S.-led war against a sovereign, oil-rich Middle Eastern country, while diverting attention from the intractable crisis of the genocidal U.S. occupation of Iraq, which by the most recent estimate has cost 1.2 million Iraqi lives, and the growing economic crisis for poor and working people here at home.

    Whatever the intentions of some progressive student organizations who plan to join a protest planned against President Ahmadinejad’s Sept. 24 speaking engagement at Columbia University, their participation feeds into this pro-war campaign. The reactionary media and right-wing groups have taken complete ownership of the protest and will use it to feed the war hysteria. We agree with the Columbia Coalition Against the War, which says, “We call on those who do not support a war with Iran to be wary of the vilification of Ahmadinejad, to avoid Monday’s rally and to express vocally their opposition to military intervention.”

    The conduct of the New York City administration, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council head Christine Quinn, has been nothing short of criminal. The NYPD refused President Ahmadinejad’s request to lay a wreath at Ground Zero, citing so-called “security concerns.” At the same time, every statement by the Bloomberg administration has been calculated to stir up racist forces and threaten the safety of a visiting head of state, while implying that the NYPD will not provide him with the required protection. The Bush administration has been complicit in these threats, as have both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

    To his credit, President Ahmadinejad has refused to be intimidated by these threats and plans to go ahead with his scheduled public appearance at Columbia University.

    Media have reported on Pentagon plans to strike against 10,000 targets in the first hours of a military attack on Iran. The targets are not only alleged nuclear power and military sites, but the very infrastructure of this country of 71 million people, including roads, bridges, the electrical grid and water supplies. Two U.S. aircraft carriers are perpetually stationed off Iran’s coast, and U.S. military bases throughout the Middle East are targeting Iran with missiles and bombers. Covert U.S. military incursions in Iranian territory have been reported. The unprovoked Israeli attack on Syria Sept. 6, which had White House approval, has also been reported as a dry-run for that U.S.-sponsored, nuclear-armed settler state’s participation in a war of terror against Iran.

    Before the 1979 revolution, Iran was a virtual U.S. colony ruled by the brutal Shah. The nationalization of Iran’s oil industry since 1979 has meant social programs, education and literacy for both women and men, health care and other social benefits. The Iranian people, whether or not they support the Islamic establishment or the current government in Tehran, are determined to protect the gains of their anti-colonial revolution. Like the resisting Iraqi population, they will not return quietly to the days of Pentagon and Wall Street domination.

    We stand with the President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian people to say: Stop the war drive against Iran!

    See our last post on the idiot left, and its unfortunate position of leadership in the anti-war movement.

    1. The Angry Arab on the audience
      From the Angry Arab News Service, Sept 24:

      As for Ahmadinajad: I don’t understand why students (presumably leftists? or pro-Palestinian activists?) were applauding him. For what? Ahmadinajad is not a leftist and he does not even deserve the support of advocates for Palestine. If those who were applauding were just pleased to hear praise for the Palestinians and criticisms of Israel–rare indeed in the US–they should know that fascists and Nazis are often critical of Israel–but from their own anti-Semitic perspective. There is nothing worthy of leftist support in Ahmadinajad: the economic policies of his administration have squeezed the poor further, and his economic policies are not popular with the Iranian masses. More importantly, those who may sympathize with Ahmadinajad should note that his stupid and ignorant statements on the holocaust have hurt the Palestinian cause and not helped it. Ahmadinajad is the greatest gift to Zionist propaganda since Ahmad Shuqayri in the 1960s.

  2. Wit and Wisdom of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    Well, according to today’s newspapers, the audience was jeering, not cheering. But I find it flabbergasting that those idiot leftists would cheer the man who spews forth such gems as this:

    “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that. In Iran, we don’t have that phenomenon.”

    Fortunately, this came in response to a question from a gay Columbia student about persecution of gays in Iran (as the Village Voice notes). I’m glad someone remembers (for instance) the public hanging of two teen-aged gay men in Mashad two summers ago (on bogus rape charges), which sparked (insufficient) global outrage. Doug Ireland was one of the few “progressive” journalists to take note of it.

    Unfortunately, Ahmadinejad also said some stuff that was simply unarguable, like this:

    “If you have created the fifth generation of atomic bombs and are testing them already, who are you to question other people who just want nuclear power.”

    Of course, it is utterly facile to point out US hypocrisy on the nuclear issue. But such simple logic has become so rare—indeed, virtually taboo—in US political discourse that its utterance from the lips of a homophobic, anti-feminist, Jew-hating, union-busting wacko thug like Ahmadinejad makes the idiot leftists cheer for him… Which is, of course, part of the problem: the nearly complete evisceration of any real progressive voice in this country (or globally…)