Statement on Unfolding Events in Iran (2022-2023)

War Prevention Initiative stands in solidarity with the Iranian people

PORTLAND, OR – We stand in solidarity with the courageous women-led struggle in Iran for self-determination and against injustices and repression. We strongly condemn the cruel and unjust privacy violations, detentions, torture, trials, and public executions by the Iranian government, of the many Iranian people since the Mahsa Amini protests. At the time of this writing, and after more than 100 days of protests (which began on September 16, 2022, and on-going), the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported 524 fatalities, and 19,401 arrested in the brutal crackdown by the Iranian regime against its citizens. Less than half of the names of the deceased have been recorded here. To date, four people were executed for their participation in protests after what are widely described as sham trials, with an estimated 107 under the impeding threat of the death penalty.

The Iranian regime’s attempts of dissuading its own citizens from protesting via violence and intimidation tactics has only sparked further domestic outrage and international rebuke. Diana Elahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa, denounces the executions as “weapon[s] of repressions [that] serve as a chilling reminder that scores of others remain at risk of execution.” The Iranian regime often hides behind an Islamic facade, citing concepts such as “moharebeh”, or “waging war against God,” to justify mass state-level violence against its own citizens. Yet, their actions contradict the Islamic faith tenets of kindness, mercy and, compassion and must be viewed as a strategy to hold on to power amid calls for equality and freedom.

The Iranian government is autocratic and repressive, denying many of its citizens basic human rights and dignity. For immediate ways of support for Iranians, we encourage you to take action by engaging with U.S. government branches, international organizations, and businesses, as outlined by the nonpartisan National Iranian American Council (NIAC) or the Center for Human Rights in Iran.  

As a U.S.-based organization working for peace and justice, our task is to examine the impact of U.S. foreign policies abroad. In centering the experiences of everyday Iranians, we cannot ignore the impact of the decades-long sanctions that have been imposed on Iran, which has resulted in hurting the Iranian people more than it has the Iranian regime. In fact, the regime can consolidate its power with an external enemy by blaming the U.S. for causing economic hardships, limited access to medical supplies, and being cut off from the international banking and trade system. Our organization seeks to contribute to transformative work that is built around principles of a feminist foreign policy that has human security, human rights, and a focus on structural inequalities at its core. Talking about the context of Iran, Sara Haghdoosti from Win Without War notes, “building peace means that every single person gets to have dignity and thrive without the fear of violence.” We, at War Prevention Initiative, stand in full solidarity with the women and people of Iran exercising people power in the quest for their rights and liberation.