On November 5, 2018 the U.S. government enacted new brutal sanctions against Iran that target their banking, oil and shipping sectors. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared “These sanctions are the toughest ever put in place on the Republic of Iran,” and are intended to “alter Iran’s behavior.” U.S. sanctions and threats against Iran, coupled with a constant campaign against Iran in the mainstream media, are an important escalation in ongoing U.S.-led wars and occupations in the Middle East and North Africa which began 17 years ago with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
To discuss these recent U.S. aggressions against Iran, on December 14 Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) organized a public forum titled “U.S. Hands Off Iran! Sanctions and Threats of War, What Next?” in downtown Vancouver at the Vancouver Public Library.
The first speaker for the evening was Arash Sharifi, an Iranian community activist and organizer with the Iranian Community Against War (ICAW). Arash, who recently returned from visiting Iran, spoke about the human effects that the brutal U.S. sanctions are having on the Iranian people, and the great danger that the U.S. poses for Iran and the whole region. He also reminded the audience that for many years Iran has endured crippling U.S. sanctions, and won’t now submit to U.S. imperialism.
The second speaker was Ali Yerevani, the political editor of the Fire This Time Newspaper. Ali gave a historical perspective into the politics and culture of Iran, highlighting the mass and revolutionary movements over the last hundred years, up to his own experience from the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Ali also described the influence that Iran has in the region, both politically in their steadfast resistance the U.S. imperialism and formerly British colonialism, as well as culturally as Iran’s diverse ethnic makeup connects Iran to ethnic groups across the region. These factors and the central and strategic position of Iran in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia explain the U.S. imperialist motivations against Iran, as they cannot have a total hegemony in the region so long as Iran remains independent from imperialist powers and a sovereign country.
The event wrapped up with a discussion period, in which participants discussed the U.S./Iran relationship as well as Canada’s sanctions and hostilities against Iran. Also discussed was the role of the antiwar movement in defending Iran against imperialist aggression, and in this MAWO’s ongoing campaign against war on Iran with both protest and education.
To find out about upcoming antiwar events and actions in Vancouver visit www.mawovancouver.org or follow on Facebook or Twitter @MAWOVan
Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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