FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2010
Joanne Landy (212) 666-4001, cell (646) 492-1218
Stephen R. Shalom cell (973) 801-2377
U.S. PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS
VISIT U.S. AND IRANIAN MISSIONS ON FEB. 25:
CALL FOR AN END TO U.S. WAR THREATS AND SANCTIONS PROGRAM
AND FOR AN END TO REPRESSION WITHIN IRAN
NEW YORK, N.Y., February 25, 2011 – A delegation of 12 U.S. peace and human rights activists will visit the U.S. and Iranian missions to the United Nations Friday, February 25, to deliver a statement drafted by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD), "End the War Threats and Sanctions Program against Iran, Support the Struggle for Democracy inside Iran," and the list of more than 1,150 statement signers including Noam Chomsky, Hamid Dabashi, Frances Fox Piven, Cindy Sheehan and Cornel West.
The delegation will meet at 11am with Mr. Joshua Black, Adviser at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, located in Manhattan on 45th Street at First Avenue. CPD has tried since January to make an appointment at the Iranian Mission to the U.N., with no success to date. If no appointment is confirmed, the delegation will walk to the Iranian Mission (located at 622 Third Ave., at 40th St.) after the visit with Mr. Black, and attempt to deliver the statement at that time. The visit with Mr. Black should end at about noon or 12:30pm.
“A great democratic revolt is sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East — from Tunisia and Egypt to Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Djibouti, Palestine and Iraq,” said Joanne Landy, CPD Co-Director “Neither the dictatorships that have for so many years been the ‘partners’ of Washington, nor the authoritarian countries like Iran that have been U.S. adversaries, are immune from this wave of political and economic discontent.” “ In our view,” she added, “the democratic upsurge, as its spreads and deepens, has the potential to transform the region.”
CPD has been a long-time supporter of the struggle for democracy in Iran, and will reiterate that support when it goes to the Iranian mission. At the same time, the CPD statement notes that: “Far from helping the Iranian people, sanctions and war threats strengthen Ahmadinejad’s regime, helping it to shift the blame for worsening economic conditions from itself entirely onto the external enemy." In the past the Iranian elite has proven able to circumvent sanctions, but if Washington actually succeeds in preventing Tehran from importing refined petroleum, developing its energy sector and conducting normal trade and banking activities, over time millions of ordinary Iranians will suffer.
The delegation will call on the United States to promote a new, democratic and socially just foreign policy. Specifically, it will ask the U.S. government to:
- Withdraw the threat, contained in the Obama Administration’s April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, to use nuclear weapons against Iran
- Cease any support for acts of sabotage or military intervention in Iran.
- Pledge that the administration does not consider the military option to "remain on the table."
- Initiate both nuclear and conventional disarmament, encompassing missile “defense” as well as more obviously offensive weaponry.
- Support a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East, to include Israel
- Revoke the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 and stop pressing others to impose crippling sanctions, which will harm the Iranian people.
- End its wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The delegation will call on the Iranian government to respect the rights of the Iranian people. Specifically, it will ask the Iranian government to:
- Ensure the right to freedom of assembly.
- Enact a moratorium on the death penalty.
- Release all political prisoners, including trade unionists, feminists and human rights defenders.
- End torture and forced confessions.
- Ensure full rights for women, gays, Bahais, and other sexual and religious minorities.
- Guarantee freedom of the press, the Internet and electronic communication, including Facebook, Twitter, email and text messaging.
The delegation was convened by the New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy, and includes the following individuals (affiliations listed for identification only):
- Dana Balicki (Member of CODEPINK Women for Peace, where for six years she served as Campaign Director, Communications Manager and more)
- Thomas Harrison (Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy)
- Nader Hashemi (co-editor with Danny Postel of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future)
- Bill Henning (Vice President, CWA Local 1180, and founding member, US Labor against the War)
- Madelyn Hoffman (Executive Director, New Jersey Peace Action)
- Kathy Kelly (Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence)
- Joanne Landy (Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
- Bitta Mostofi (Immigrant rights attorney in the Immigration Law Project of Safe Horizon and co-founder of Where Is My Vote, New York)
- Rosemarie Pace (Director, Pax Christi Metro New York, a regional chapter of the international Catholic peace movement.)
- Danny Postel (Communications Coordinator, Interfaith Worker Justice; co-editor with Nader Hashemi of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future)
- Azadeh Shahshahani (Executive Vice President and International Committee Co-Chair, National Lawyers Guild)
- Stephen R. Shalom (Professor of Political Science, William Paterson University in New Jersey, where he is also Director, Gandhian Forum for Peace and Justice; member, editorial board, New Politics.)
"Military threats and broad sanctions make Iran more rather than less eager to pursue its nuclear program, and repression makes Iran more rather than less vulnerable to foreign interference, " commented Landy. "The threats, the sanctions, and the repression need to end."
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THE CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY advocates a new, progressive and non-militaristic U.S. foreign policy — one that encourages democratization, justice and social change. The Campaign sees movements for peace, social justice and democratic rights, taken together, as the embryo of an alternative to great power politics and to the domination of society by privileged elites. Founded in 1982, the Campaign opposed the Cold War by promoting "detente from below." It engaged Western peace activists in the defense of the rights of democratic dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and enlisted East-bloc human rights activists against anti-democratic U.S. policies in countries like Nicaragua and Chile.
Recent CPD campaigns include: support for the democratic revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia; New York Review of Books letter to Iranian officials in defense of human rights leader Shirin Ebadi and support for Iranian trade unionists; Opposition to the U.S. Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Gaza statement entitled “No More Blank Check for Israel!”
Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Co-Directors Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison, 2790 Broadway, #12, NY, NY 10025. Tel (212) 666-4001, Cell (646) 492-1218, Fax (212) 866-5847. Email: email@example.com Web: www.cpdweb.org
Attached: Brief Biographies of delegation members, text of CPD statement "End the War Threats and Sanctions Program against Iran, Support the Struggle for Democracy inside Iran" and list of 1162 statement signers.