"Our government has done enough damage in Iran already," says Peace and Freedom Party chair.

Statement from Kevin Akin, California State Chair, Peace and Freedom Party, June 25, 2009.

The Peace and Freedom Party hopes that from the current political turmoil in Iran, the Iranian people are able to win greater freedom and opportunities for Iranian working people, who have been repressed by a regime dominated by clerics closely associated with the wealthiest Iranians. Labor rights have been minimal, union leaders jailed, working-class political organizations have been suppressed, and advocates of socialism have been arrested, tortured and killed. The Iranian left survives only underground or in exile. But this has not happened in a vacuum. The problems in Iran have many causes, but among those causes certainly must be numbered the past and current interventions by the government of the United States.

A series of statements by elected officials and party leaders of the two corporate parties in the United States, the Republicans and Democrats, have expressed sympathy with those in Iran who demand a new election after the recent presidential election whose announced results many consider fraudulent. Especially from the Republicans, those statements demand actions from the United States government ranging from "tough talk" to outright military intervention. Of course, those who demand military intervention were demanding it months ago, before the election, with other excuses. The Peace and Freedom Party says that there has been far too much U.S. intervention in Iran already, and all of it has hurt rather the helped the Iranian people.

The United States was part of an allied occupying force in Iran from 1942 through 1945, and aided the suppression of the left in Iran in 1946. In 1953 the CIA used reactionary politicians and reactionary industrialists and financiers in Iran to overthrow the elected Iranian government and install the former constitutional monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, as a dictator to act on CIA advice on behalf of American oil companies. With technical assistance from the CIA, the Shah established an utterly corrupt regime of oppression, torture, and murder. His rule lasted until 1979, when the whole people rose up to overthrow the Shah. He fell despite intense support for the Shah from the Democratic president of the United States, Jimmy Carter. The following year, with political, economic and military encouragement from the United States, Iraq under Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. This war continued for years, with military aid to Iraq continuing under the Reagan administration, including assistance with chemical weapons and other hideous weapons of annihilation, and direct targeting intelligence from U.S. spy satellites, used against both Iranian forces and Iraqi Kurdish forces and populations.

Ever since 1979, the United States has maintained an economic blockade of varying strictness against Iran. After Reagan's staff negotiated in secret to keep the U.S. embassy prisoners in Iranian hands until Carter was defeated in the U.S. election of 1980, Reagan aides carried on further secret negotiations with high Iranian officials, providing advanced weapons to Iran in exchange for money to finance Reagan's dirty war in Central America. At this time, Iranian officials suppressed the left in Iran, imprisoning tens of thousands of activists. At the height of the contacts between the Reagan administration and reactionary clerical leaders in Iran, a prison massacre included the extra-judicial killings of many thousands of Iranian leftists, including practically all the leaders and known activists of several parties. There were internal reasons for this bloodbath as well, and it would not have taken place outside the context of the war with Iraq, but it certainly must have pleased the Reagan officials involved in the negotiations.

At the present time, as was widely reported some months ago, there are U.S. military and spy teams in various parts of Iran, sent there originally by the Bush administration to prepare for an attack or invasion. The economic blockade of the last 30 years has been intensified, and there are U.S. troops occupying Iraq to the west, and Afghanistan to the east. This is an important part of the context in which the recent Iranian election and its aftermath must be seen. The question in the minds of the Democrats and Republicans is not whether there should be U.S. intervention, but rather how that intervention should change.

The position of the Peace and Freedom Party is quite clear: Our government has done enough damage in Iran already. All the intervention should stop, all U.S. troops should immediately be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan, the blockade should end, and mutually beneficial trade between the United States and Iran should resume. Internal Iranian political questions should be left to the Iranians to decide, without "assistance" from either secret spy-and-sabotage agencies or open threats and bullying. After so many years of destructive U.S. meddling in Iranian affairs, all will not immediately be well, but a strict policy of non-intervention would lay the groundwork for future improvements in Iran's internal situation, and in Iran's relations with the world.

A notable feature of statements from officials of the Republican and Democratic parties has been their hypocrisy. It is grimly amusing to see the Republican leaders suddenly take up the cause of scrupulous vote-counting, after their Supreme Court intervened to stop the vote-counting in Florida in 2000. Even as some members of congress attempt to prevent demonstrations outside their own offices, they take up the cause of the freedom to demonstrate in Iran. Surely some of the public who hear the pious declarations against the beatings of demonstrators must remember that these same officials have presided over the beatings and mass arrests of demonstrators in Seattle and outside the conventions of both political parties in recent years. And those who criticize the process that limits the number of presidential candidates in Iran to those approved by the small circle of unelected clerical leaders associated with Iran's wealthiest men, appear completely unable to see the analogy with the process by which the national debates in the United States are limited only to the candidates of the two big-money parties. These candidates have already gone through the so-called "money primary," in which the only candidates who survive are those who gain the approval and backing of the unelected financiers who bankroll the campaigns.

Some of the U.S. officials who denounce violations of human rights in Iran are the same people who enthusiastically support violations of human rights by the United States and its allies. Native American hero Leonard Peltier, framed up by the FBI for murder but clearly innocent of the charges, remains in prison decades later because Barack Obama will not free him. The entire Chagossian people remain in forced exile from Diego Garcia and the rest of the Chagos Archipelago because Barack Obama will not permit their return. The "Cuban Five" remain in prison, after the recent Supreme Court decision not to interfere with the results of their absurdly biased show trial, because Barack Obama will not send them home to Cuba. The list, the long list, goes on and on. And yet this same President expresses his concern about violations of human rights in Iran. We, too, are concerned about human rights in Iran, as in every country, but we direct our main efforts toward achieving human rights for the oppressed and exploited in our own country, and toward keeping our country from making things worse abroad.

Statement issued on 25-June-2009 by Kevin Akin, State Chair, on behalf of the Peace and Freedom Party.
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