MEDEA BENJAMIN, Political Activist / Author Speaking on her latest book: Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran. “As I travel around the country speaking about my new book I explain how the consequences of the 1953 CIA coup that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected government persist to this day. There would probably never have been an Islamic revolution in 1979 or a decades-long conflict between Iranian leaders and the west. Now we are poised at another critical moment in history. President Trump’s reckless move of withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal exacerbates conflicts in the Middle East, alienates us from our European allies and increases the possibilities of a catastrophic, senseless war with Iran.
This is precisely where Trump’s team seems to be headed. Newly installed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his first week on the job, traveled to Saudi Arabia and Israel—Iran’s greatest adversaries and opponents of the nuclear deal—calling for concerted international action against Iran.
Israel immediately followed Pompeo’s visit by striking an Iranian-linked target in Syria on April 30, killing 11 Iranians and ratcheting up regional tensions.
How could Iran respond? Iran and its allies, such as Hezbollah, could retaliate by attacking both Israeli and US troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and on military bases throughout the Middle East. The conflicts that have consumed the Middle East for the past 16 years would get infinitely worse, and drag the United States deeper into the abyss.
The Iranian currency has taken a tremendous hit in the last six months, losing a quarter of its value. The economic crisis in Tehran has the hardliners in Trump’s cabinet smelling blood, thinking that with enough pressure on the economy, the regime itself could fall. Both John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have made no secret of their desire to see regime change in Iran. This is the ultimate goal of Trump’s war cabinet, but it doesn’t have the slightest idea of the chaos that would follow a collapse of the Iranian government.
The great tragedy of the horrifying specter of another Middle East war is that it is wholly fabricated by the US administration. The Iran deal is a good one (it would be amazing if Trump could negotiate as good a deal with North Korea) and Iran is fully complying with its end of the bargain.
We cannot remake the past, but we can help shape the future if we are well-informed about Iran. This primer on Iran is meant to give the public a basic understanding of the country, both domestically and internationally. It starts with a brief history of Iran’s long and proud past, setting the scene for the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It then looks at how the new regime cracked down on human rights and religious minorities, and circumscribed the role that women could play in society. It covers the economy, including how decades of western sanctions have affected daily life. In terms of foreign policy, it delves into the tumultuous relationship with the United States and its neighbors in the region. Throughout, I strive to highlight the pushback and heroic efforts by Iranians eager to live in a more open, more democratic society free of outside interference. I hope that this book, designed to give readers a better understanding of the history and dilemmas facing modern-day Iran, can help ignite more passion and creativity to forge new people-to-people initiatives that model the government relations we want to see—and that can help stop the path toward war.”
Medea is traveling around the US (and the world!) with her book. If you’re interested in bringing her to your community, or scheduling a press interview email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 13th 7.00 PM East Side Freedom Library St Paul MN.
Aug. 12th 2.00 – 2.30 PM Garden Party Venice, Ca.
Aug. 12th 4.00 – 6.00 PM The Peace Center Culver City, Ca.
Sept. 20 6.00 – 8.00 PM OCAD University, Toronto, ON
Please check Codepink Calendar for more details on the event near you.
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