An Iran we could love

The Iranian election is tough and unpredictable. The internet has become a key battleground in the struggle. This letter, published in the Guardian, offers an insight into a different future:

We are a group of Iranian academic and anti-war activists in Europe and the US who, in the past few years, have consistently defended Iran‘s national interests in all areas including its right to develop peaceful nuclear technology. Our varied activities in the face of anti-Iran propaganda by the neoconservatives in the west have included organising press conferences, taking part in radio and TV debates, creating anti-war websites, publishing bulletins and newsletters, writing opinion pieces and letters to editors, attending national and international anti-war conferences and petitioning and lobbying western politicians and parliamentarians.

We have campaigned against the policies of the US and its western allies which have unjustifiably targeted Iran – including sending Iran’s nuclear dossier to the United Nations security council, issuing security council resolutions against Iran, secret and public efforts to provoke strife in Iran and destabilise the country and threats by the US and Israel of military intervention and bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

As we approach Iran’s presidential elections, we are duty bound to share the lessons of our anti-war activities and highlight what national policies can defend Iran’s interests effectively in the international arena without isolating it or enduring UN sanctions.

In order to safeguard Iran’s national rights successfully, we think Iran’s president-elect must give priority to the following policies in his programmes and plans:

1) Discarding the questioning of the Holocaust, which has greatly aided the hawks in the west, and replacing it with a constructive foreign policy devoid of any provocative rhetoric.

2) Release of all political prisoners, freedom of press, organisation and political parties, as well as peaceful meetings and gatherings. Recognising the right of all citizens to run for election without any political vetting.

3) Abolishing medieval punishments, such as stoning and cutting limbs, public executions and execution of minors.

4) Recognising full and unconditional equality in all areas for women and ethnic minorities. Recognising the full citizenship and civic rights of official and unofficial religious minorities.

Disregarding these tasks will seriously hinder the social and political development of the country, and will divide the Iranian people in their resistance against the unwarranted neo-colonial pressure and double standards of the western powers. It will also provide powerful propaganda tools to hawks and their allies in mainstream media for isolating Iran and denying its fundamental rights in international organisations.

Taking steps to carry out these measures, on the other hand, will put our country on a fast track to progress, will unite Iranians of all walks of life and disarm the neoconservatives in their aggressive propaganda against Iran.


Professor Ervand Abrahamian, City University of New York
Dr Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor Haleh Afshar, University of York
Professor Mohammad Ala, Persian Gulf Task Force
Professor Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University
Professor Abbas Edalat, Imperial College London
Ali Fathollah-Nejad, University of Muenster and School of Oriental and African Studies
Dr Mehri Honarbin, Canterbury Christ Church University
Dr Farhang Jahanpour, University of Oxford
Mohammad Kamaali, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
Professor Mahmoud Karimi-Hakkak, Siena College, New York
Professor Fatemeh Keshavarz, Washington University in St Louis
Dr Ziba Mir-Hosseini, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, Tarbiyat Modarres University
Professor Davood Nabi-Rahni, Pace University in New York
Professor Azam Niroomand-Rad, Georgetown University
Dr Ali Rastbeen, International Institute of Strategic Studies Paris
Dr Elaheh Rostami, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor Nader Sadeghi, George Washington University Hospital
Shirin Saeidi, University of Cambridge
Professor Muhammad Sahimi, University of Southern California
Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation

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