"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."


May 18, 2006

There are no valid moral or legal justifications for bombing Iran on the pretext that it is developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons, and aggression against Iran would run counter to American interests and strengthen the regime in Iran that the Bush administration says it opposes.

The American public has been subjected to a massive propaganda campaign against Iran in which the mainstream media have been actively complicit. Naming Iran as a part of an imaginary "Axis of Evil," falsely asserting that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of the Iranians involved in the illegal seizure of Americans in the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, and preposterously identifying Iran as the U.S.'s greatest "challenge" in the National Security Strategy promulgated by the White House in March 2006 — all these are elements in the campaign. To counter this disinformation, United for Peace of Pierce County has declared May and June Iran Education Months. Its book discussion group, "Digging Deeper," is studying seven recent books about Iranian history, culture, and politics, and a number of educational events will be held in the month of June, beginning with a fundraiser at the Antique Sandwich Company in Tacoma on June 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Is there anyone who has not heard that the U.S. is actively preparing a massive bombing campaign to inflict damage on Iran's nuclear program? Two days ago the Glasgow (U.K.) Herald reported that the Pentagon is "updating" a plan that would involve "a rolling, five-day bombing campaign against 400 key targets in Iran, including 24 nuclear-related sites, 14 military airfields and radar installations, and Revolutionary Guard headquarters," using "B2 [Stealth] bombers flying directly from bases in Missouri, Guam in the Pacific, and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean" as well as "submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles" and "carrier aircraft flying from warships in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf."

United for Peace of Pierce County has posted on its web site abundant material by Seymour Hersh, Scott Ritter, William Arkin, and many others demonstrating that the Pentagon has been actively preparing war plans against Iran at least since 2003. In a longer historical perspective, the United States government has, since the fall of the Shah in January 1979, been aiming at the overthrow of Iran's Islamist regime, which it has never formally recognized, but which has caused it to revamp both its military structure and its foreign policy: Central Command's predecessor, the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, was created in April 1980, three months after President Jimmy Carter declared that the U.S. would use its military forces to defend "national interests" in the Persian Gulf region — the so-called "Carter Doctrine."

UFPPC is no supporter of the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the theocratic principle of Velayet-e faqih (often translated as "guardianship of the jurisprudent") is contrary to our fundamental beliefs. But the triumph of clericalism in Iran was largely the fruit of interference in Iranian affairs. Many historians attribute the rise of Islamism (as well as of Middle Eastern terrorism) to the failure of other political forms of nationalism to resist outside powers effectively. It was an MI6- and CIA-engineered coup that overthrew democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq in August 1953. The U.S. then helped the Shah set up a repressive regime supported by the brutal practices of the CIA- and Mossad-trained SAVAK, which tortured and killed thousands of Iranians. U.S. oil companies and banks, meanwhile, profited enormously, and the U.S. set itself up as "the major player in the oil, and the volatile politics, of the Middle East" (Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power [New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991], p. 477; emphasis in the original). Given this history, further Western interference can only strengthen the clerical regime. In any event, Iranian culture possesses deep and strong centuries-old secularist currents that are quite capable of reasserting themselves without assistance from American neoconservatives or wealthy expatriates nostalgic for the days of the Shah.

For years the Bush administration has been asserting unequivocally that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. In fact, as Jeffrey Richelson's new book on atomic spying demonstrates (Spying on the Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea, W.W. Norton, 2006), it is all but impossible to know what another country is doing in the way of nuclear weapons research without insider information, which, in the case of Iran, the United States does not possess. Contrary to the impression one gets from headlines, Iran, so far as is known, has adhered scrupulously to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it signed in 1968. The same cannot be said of the U.S. Some nations that never signed and developed nuclear weapons instead now enjoy close relations with the U.S. (Israel, India, and Pakistan). In any case, nothing is known about Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, despite assertions to the contrary from hawkish propagandists like U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, installed at the U.N. by the Bush administration against the will of the U.S. Senate as part of an anti-Iran campaign whose chief proponents are Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Legal and moral considerations aside, not only would an attack on Iran be wrong, it would also be foolish. It would likely lead to wider war in the Middle East, seriously disrupt the global economy, strengthen the hand of the clerical regime in Tehran, greatly increase the danger from terrorism that Americans face in Iraq and at home, and further damage the image of the United States in the eyes of the world.

UFPPC calls on Americans to connect the dots. The campaign of disinformation about Iran is part and parcel of the policies that have mired the United States military in a hopeless quagmire in Iraq (U.S. military fatalities so far: 2,454). Many grassroots movements opposing aggression against Iran are mobilizing, including Velvet Revolution, After Downing Street, and the Stop the War on Iran! Campaign. On April 13, 2006, U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR 4th) wrote to President George W. Bush informing him that "should you decide that force is necessary, seeking congressional authority prior to taking military action against Iran is not discretionary. It is legally and constitutionally necessary." We urge Pierce County residents and all Americans to join us in standing against the illegal, immoral, and foolish push to bomb Iran.


"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."