A TALE OF TWO MISSIONS
Report on Campaign for Peace and Democracy Feb. 25, 2011 Delegation of 12 Peace and Human Rights Activists to the U.S. and Iranian Missions to the United Nations
(all photos by Madelyn Hoffman except where indicated)
A delegation of 12 U.S. peace and human rights activists visited the U.S. and Iranian missions to the United Nations Friday, February 25, to deliver a statement “End the War Threats and Sanctions Program Against Iran, Support the Struggle for Democracy Inside Iran,” drafted by the New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD), and the list of more than 1,150 statement signers including Noam Chomsky, Hamid Dabashi, Frances Fox Piven, Cindy Sheehan and Cornel West. Don't miss the video about the visit.
|Azadeh, Rosemarie, Kathy, Danny, Bitta, Steve, Madelyn, Bill, Nader, Joanne at the U.S. Mission. Photo by Danny Postel|
The delegation included 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); 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). Brief bios of the delegation members.
|Bitta, Rosemarie, Dana, Kathy, Azadeh, Nader, Danny, Steve at the U.S. Mission|
The delegation met at 11 am with Mr. Joshua Black, Adviser at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Following the visit with Mr. Black, the group walked to the Iranian Mission in attempt to deliver the statement. CPD had been requesting an appointment with the Iranian Mission to the U.N. since January. The request had been neither accepted nor denied. After more than an hour in the lobby, a single individual, Joanne Landy, was allowed into the Mission’s offices, where she met with the Iranian Ambassador to the U.N., Mr. Mohammad Khazaee, for about 15 minutes.
VISIT TO THE U.S. MISSION
The key demands of the delegation were:
- 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.
VISIT TO THE IRANIAN MISSION
The delegation hoped to meet with the Iranian Mission to deliver its statement calling on the Iranian government to respect the rights of its people. Specifically, it intended to 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.
Presentation the Campaign for Peace and Democracy would have given
if the delegation had been received at the Iranian Mission
|The group waits in the lobby trying to meet with the Iranian Mission|
To learn more about the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, go to the CPD website . website. 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!”