We Oppose War, Sanctions and Repression: Statement by Iranian Women’s Rights Defenders

Iranian women’s rights activists have issued a statement condemning the threat of war and sanctions against Iran.  Citing the increased tensions between the US and Iran, the signatories to this statement urge the United Nations, European powers and international women’s movements and organizations to use all in their power to stop this unnecessary and preventable march to war. The statement also stresses the destructive impact of broad economic sanctions on the lives of  ordinary Iranians, especially vulnerable groups. The signatories to the statement have also criticized government officials for using increased threats from the US to further clamp down on civic space and limit the freedoms of citizens. To this end, they have insisted on the rights of Iranians to organize in civil society groups and engage in collective action aimed at improving their society.  The statement further emphasizes that Iran’s indigenous women’s movement has consistently and historically advocated for peace and opposed sanctions. The statement urges  international women’s organizations and movements to support their call by opposing economic sanctions and war against Iran.

Women human rights defenders, journalists, university professors, researchers, artists and university students are among the over 170 who have signed the statement. A translation of the statement follows:

 

We Oppose War, Sanctions and Repression of Civil Society–Statement by Iranian Women’s Rights Defenders

We a group of Iranian women’s movement activists and women’s rights defenders strongly condemn US efforts to stoke yet another war in the Middle East, this time against Iran. The Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign, its bellicose posturing and sanctions, hurt the Iranian people most, especially women, children, minorities, refugees, the chronically ill and those with disabilities.

Today sanctions and the threat of war have worn down peace loving Iranians, who struggle merely to survive. While sanctions proponents claim to care for the Iranian people, their policies have left an entire nation, weary, depressed and hopeless. Sanctions, and economic pressure, target the fabric of society and the heart and soul of an entire nation, and cannot be contained to only government entities. It is clear that sanctioning the main channels of the Iranian economy, such exports of oil and metals, as well as Iran’s central bank, will inflict irreparable damage on related industries and services, including the private sector its hard working employees and workers as well as their families. While the independent business sector is destroyed, powerful unaccountable mafia like groups and interests, which are able to evade sanctions, grow wealthier and more powerful.

In 2015 the peace loving Iranian people as well as the international community were pleased when a deal on Iran’s nuclear program was reached. They had hoped that the accord would end their isolation and reduce the economic pressures brought about by sanctions. The unilateral withdrawal by the Trump administration from the Iran Deal was coupled with renewed and intensified sanctions and a maximum pressure campaign that despite its claims hurts innocent Iranians. The resulting tensions have recently intensified and threats are being made on social media, which promise war and the “end of Iran.”

As multiple experiences in the region have demonstrated, US wars have consistently resulted in increased instability, violence and the emergence of terrorist and extremist groups, while strengthening the hands of the most regressive and authoritarian forces in the region. We remind all those who support war and contribute to ongoing and increased tensions, that another conflict in the war-torn Middle East, will destabilize the entire region and yield horrific destruction and suffering.

It is worth noting that Iranian civil society has been striving for over a century to ensure transparency, accountability, democracy, peace and equality. The constant threat of conflict, the ongoing economic war and regime change rhetoric and efforts, have resulted in increased closure of social and civic space domestically. As a result, the state has increased its efforts to crack down and repress civil society and social movements. To this end the Iranian women’s movement as well as the workers and teachers movements, journalists and human rights activists have consistently demanded that pressures and limitations on civil society and citizen’s be lifted so they can organize around issues of concern. Today, as Iranians, we see not only our livelihoods targeted by sanctions and war, but our civil freedoms and rights curtailed by our own government at a time when the state should be easing pressures on citizens. It is in the absence of the voices of genuine civil society inside the country, that opportunistic groups can speak in our stead, to advocate for isolation, sanctions and war.

These groups based outside of Iran, misguidedly defend and legitimize Trump’s maximum pressure campaign, which seeks to dismantle Iran’s economy, in the name of opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran. They defend sanctions and pressure against Iran, purportedly in the name of pressuring Iranian authorities and supporting the Iranian people.

Those advocating sanctions in the name of human rights, hope the pressure on the Iranian public will bring about a popular uprising or revolution but fail to grasp the reality that weakening the government does not automatically result in strengthening citizens or civil society. In fact, civil society is one of the main victims of these policies. In an environment where people are working primarily to survive and feed their families, human rights and defense of civil society become luxury demands.

Of particular concern to feminist activists are opportunistic celebrity activists, who have claimed fame in the West for speaking about women’s rights or human rights, though online campaigns or other efforts. These individuals are taking positions in support of sanctions and cozying up to warmongers, in the name of women’s rights, Iranian women and the Iranian women’s movement. Make no mistake about it, Iranian feminists and the indigenous Iranian women’s movement, like sister movements around the world, have steadfastly supported peace and opposed sanctions. We believe that positive change for women and society can only happen from within Iran and in an environment of calm and peace.

As such we insist on our right to establish organizations and engage in collective action, so that women’s rights and other civil society activists can engage in collective action, make demands and speak up in these critical times to raise the domestic as well as international concerns of Iranian citizens.

We Iranian women human rights defenders, who are either currently working in Iran or have worked to support women and vulnerable groups in practical ways call on the international community, the United Nations, European governments and international civil society alike, to take all steps possible to stop this unnecessary and completely preventable march to war. We also call on the US to end its maximum pressure campaign against Iranians and to live up to its obligations under the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Most important we urge the international women’s movements and organizations, peace and human rights groups to help amplify our voices in spaces we have been systematically excluded from as a result of state repression and sanctions. We strongly urge them to stand in solidarity with us and speak up against war and sanctions and the continued restriction of our civic space. We however caution them to be vigilant in calling out those who shamelessly and in the name of Iranian women coopt our legitimate demands while cozying up to and strengthening warmongers and proponents of sanctions.

 

Signatures:

Name Title
Afsaneh Chehregosha: Director and Photographer
Afsaneh Salari: Documentary Filmmaker and Producer
Aida Nosrat: Musician and Singer
Aida Saadat: Women’s Rights Activist
Aina Ghotbi Yaghubi: Women’s Rights Activist, Artist
Akram Ehghaghi: Journalist
Akram Khatam: Women’s Rights Activist
Akram Sadeghi: University Student
AbolFazl Haji-Zadegan: Social Researcher
Afsaneh Mostofi: Designer
Ali Darvazehghari: Professor and Political Activist
Ameneh Shirafkan: Journalist
Amir Ali AlamehZadeh: Journalist and Trainer
Aram Rashidi:
Arash Shahsavari:
Asieh Salimian: Women’s Rights Supporter and Curator
Ayat Najafi: Filmmaker
Azadeh Kian: University Professor
Azar Pazhouhandeh: Women and Refugee Rights Activist and Artist
Azin Mohajerin: Social Activist, Researcher
Azin Rezaeian: Women’s Rights Activist
Banafshe Jamali: Women’s Rights Activist
Delaram Ali: Women and Children’s Rights Activist
Elahe Mousavi: Journalist
Elham Afagh: Women’s Rights Activist
Elham Nejad Hossein: Designer
Elnaz Ansari: Women’s Rights Activist
Eshrat-ol-Sadat Razavi Rouhani:
Faezeh Tabatabie: Lawyer
Farangis Bayat: Women’s Rights Activists & Gender and Social Researcher
Fariba Chalabi Yani: Screen Writer and Film Critic
Fariba Pajooh: Journalist
Farideh Ghaeb: Women’s Rights Activist
Farideh Qalandari: Culture and Arts Activist
Farkhondeh Jafari: Women’s Rights Activist
Farnaz Abdali: Women’s Rights Activist and Graphic Designer
Farnaz Jamshidi Moghadam: Filmmaker
Farzaneh Ebrahim Zadeh: Journalist and Researcher
Fatemeh Farhangkhah: Women’s Rights Activists, Civil Society Activist
Fatemeh Govaraie: Women’s Rights Activist and Political Activist
Fatemeh Khorsand Moghaddam: University Student
Fattaneh Abdolhosseini: Women’s Rights Activist
Fereshteh Bahrami: Writer and Researcher
Fereshteh Zaker: Researcher
Fery Malek-Madani: Women’s Rights Activist
Ghazal B: Translator
Ghonche Ghavami: Women’s Rights Activist
Golaleh Bahrami: Women’s Rights Activist
Golnar Shahyar: Musician
Haleh MirMiri: Social and Cultural Researcher
Hamid Gheysari: Social Researcher
Hassan Ahmadpour: Worker
Hasti Vahdat: University Student
Hoda Siahtiri: Women’s Rights Activist and Artist
Jelveh Javaheri: Women’s Rights Activist
Jila Davarpanah: Women’s Rights Activist
Kurdistan Shahmoradi: Journalist
Leila Asadi: Women’s Rights Activist, PhD Candidate
Leila Roostaee: Women’s Rights Activists
Lida Azad Manesh: Women’s Rights Activist
M. Mortezavi: Journalist
M. Roshan: Engineer
Maede Soltani: Industrial Engineering Designer
Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh: Women’s Rights Activist
Mahboubeh Hosseinzadeh: Women’s Rights Activist
Mahdis Sadeghi Pooya: Women’s and Gender Rights Activist and Researcher
Mahnaz Afzali: Documentary Filmmaker
Mahnaz Mohammadi: Filmmaker and Women’s Rights Activists
Mahsa Jazini: Journalist
Mahshid Shamse’Din: Educator
Mahshid Zandi Asl:
Mahtab Mahmoudi: Women’s Rights Activist
Manijeh Moazen: Journalist
Mansoureh Mousavi: Author and Researcher
Mariam Rahmani: Women’s Rights Activist
Mariam Roostaee: Women’s Rights Activist
Marjan Laghaee: Journalist
Maryam Ashrafi: Social Documentary Photographer
Maryam Bahreman: Women’s Rights Activist
Maryam Rezaie: Journalist
Massoumeh Dehghan: Educator
Mena Mohammadi: Painter and Media Presenter
Mina Azizi: University Student
Mina Orang: Psychiatrist
Mina Rahimi: University Student
Minou Momeni: Journalist
Mira Ghorbanifar: Journalist and Women’s Rights Activist
Mojgan Ilanlou: Documentary Filmmaker and Women’s Rights Activist
Mojgan Rafaat: University Student
Molouk Aziz-zadeh: Women’s Rights and Civil Society Activist
Nafiseh MohammadPour: Women and Children’s Rights Activist
Nahid Hassanzadeh: Filmmaker
Nahid Jafari: Women’s Rights Activist
Nahid Motie: Researcher on Gender and Women’s Issues
Nahid Tavassoli: Women’s Rights Activists, Researcher and Editor
Narges Akbari:
Nargess Bajoghli: University Professor, Researcher
Nasim Abdi: Musician
Nasim Khosravi: Women’s Rights Activist, Theatre Director, Writer
Nasim Ramezani: Social and Arts Activist
Nasrin Maroof: Lawyer and Journalist
Nayereh Tavakoi: University Professor, Gender Researcher
Negar Dashti Moghadam: Chief Editor of Neda Student Publication on Women’s Rights
Negin Bagheri: Women’s Rights Activist
Niki Akhavan: Associate Professor Catholic University
Niloofar Fouladi:
Niloofar Vahdat: Trainer on Gender issues
Nima Ramezani:
Niusha BaniAsadi: Physician
Noushin Keshavarznia: Women’s Rights Activist
Okhtay Hosseini: Social Activist
Ouldouz Ahmadzadeh: Women’s Rights Activist
Parastou Sarmadi: Women’s Rights Activist and Political Activist
Pari Bazogh: Women’s Rights Activist
Pariva Haghighat: Educator
Parnian Rahimi:
Parvaneh AleBouyeh: Peace Activist
Parvaneh Fatemeh Hajilou: Educator
Parvin Fahimi: Peace Activist
Pershang Vaziri: University Professor and Filmmaker
Raha Askarizadeh: Women’s Rights Activist, Communications Expert
Roja Fazaeli: University Professor, Trinity College, Dublin
Saba Zavareie: Artist and Researcher
Sadigheh Sabaq Shahri: Social Activist
Saeedeh AsadiPour: University Student
Saeedeh Raja: Women’s Rights Activist
Sahar Maranlou: University Professor
Sahar Mousavi: Women and Children’s Rights Activist and Researcher
Sahra Akrami: Social Activist
Samaneh Khademi: Gender Equality Activist and Social Researcher
Samaneh Moazam: Women’s Rights Activist
Samaneh Vaezi: Civil Society Activist (Board Member Iran Cultural Association of Esteras)
Samin Ghaedi: Lawyer
Sanam Qiyasi: Translator
Sanaz HamzeAli: Women’s Rights Activist
Sara Karimi: Researher and Journalist
Sara Massoumi: Journalist
Sarah Loghmani: Women’s Rights Activist and Author
Sepideh Jodeiri: Women’s Rights Activist and Poet
Setareh Samavi: Filmmaker
Shadi Makki: Journalist
Shadi Mokhtari: University Professor
Shadi Tayebzadeh: Researcher
Shahrzad Hemmati: Journalist
Shima Ghooshe: Lawyer and Women’s Rights Activist
Shirin Maleki: Lawyer, Former Member of Human Rights Commission of Iran’s Bar Association
Shiva Nazarahari: Women’s Rights Activist
Shohre Ahadiat: Author
Sima Shakhsari: University Professor
Simin Forouhar: Women’s Rights Activist
Simin Minou: Filmmaker and Educator
Soheila Vahdati: Researcher on Women and Social Issues
Solmaz Eikdar: Journalist
Somayeh Ghodosi: Researcher ‌on Women and Social Issues
Somayeh Rashidi: Women’s Rights Activist
Sussan Tahmasebi: Women’s Rights Activist
Tahere Meysami: Office Employee
Tara Ahmadi: University Student
Tara Tiba: Musician and Singer
Touraj Saberivand: Social Activist
Zahra AmirEbrahimi: Filmmaker
Zahra Madah: Artist/Painter
Zahra Minouie: Women’s Rights Activist and Lawyer
Zahra Saberi: Women’s Rights Activist
Zara Amjadian: Women’s Rights Activist
Zeinab Peyghambarzadeh: Gender Equality Activist
Ziba Hajilo: Photographer
Ziba Mirhosseini: Researcher
Zohreh Shirafkan: Women’s Rights Activist
Zohreh Tonekaboni: Civil Society Activist

 


			

4 thoughts on “We Oppose War, Sanctions and Repression: Statement by Iranian Women’s Rights Defenders

  1. Pingback: Open Asia
  2. This is an excellent testimony to the vibrancy of Iranian civil society, especially women’s movements. It is clear that some of those abroad who support sanctions and war do not represent Iranian civil society and cannot speak on behalf of Iranians. I hope that this excellent and comprehensive statement will be read far and wide and will result in an end to cruel and illegal sanctions and war, as well as putting an end to domestic oppression in Iran, especially against women who have always been in the forefront of social movements. Their voices need to be heard and listened to.

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