Iranian Civil Society ‘Raising Their Voices’ Against A Military Strike On Iran

Posted with permission of Think Progress

Because neoconservatives who advocate for a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities also operate under the pretense of supporting democracy and human rights in Iran, they’re often forced to do logical jujitsu to defend the notion that an attack would not harm efforts of Iranians to affect these changes within their own societies.

Take, for example, Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, who’s stated her preference for a U.S. attack, positing that a strike would actually help Iran’s opposition. She wrote that “an attack would serve as a tipping point rather than a rallying point.”

Or Reuel Marc Gerecht, a pundit with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and supposed Green Movement admirer, who advocated for an Israeli strike on Iran in the Weekly Standard and wrote:

Too much has been made in the West of the Iranian reflex to rally round the flag after an Israeli (or American) preventive strike… Neither the Israelis nor anyone else need fear for the Green Movement.

Now, a report from the leading international organization monitoring human rights in Iran offers a strong rebuttal to sophistic arguments that regular Iranians won’t be harmed or — more absurdly — stand to gain from a U.S. or Israeli military strike.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) released a report today where leading civil society activists in Iran stated that they strongly disagree with contentions like those made by Gerecht and Rubin.

For the report, ICHRI interviewed35 of the most prominent members of Iranian civil society, a diverse array of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, writers, cultural leaders, student activists, academics and members of the political opposition” — voices that, because of Iran’s isolation and fears of repression, are rarely heard outside Iran. ICHRI sums up their views:

Repeatedly, the interviewees expressed concerns that an attack would (1) lead to further militarization of the state, exacerbating the human rights crisis in Iran and undermining Iranian civil society and the pro-democracy movement; and (2) strengthen the current regime by stoking nationalism and dividing the opposition, while undercutting the Iranian public’s goodwill toward the United States.

ICHRI quoted numerous Iranians contradicting neoconservatives like Rubin and Gerecht and their close allies (Lindsey Graham, the Project for a New American Century, and John Bolton). Iranian people’s reactions to these American hawks would be “terribly negative,” said human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. A playwright identified as Pedram Z. was more plainspoken: “Any foreign intervention would lead to unity and opposition to the United States.” Others still noted that an attack would stoke nationalism and work in the regime’s favor.

Many Iranian human rights and opposition leaders have already spoken out on these matters. Last year, human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi told ThinkProgress that an attack would be “the worst option,” saying that she and other Iranians “will resist any military action.” Dissident journalist Akbar Ganji has said the U.S. should not even talk about the military option or regime change because such rhetoric would be “detrimental” to growing indigenous movements for democracy and human rights inside Iran.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.



  1. Just can’t let go of this issue, huh? Nobody except the incestuous circle of neocons and leftists is even thinking about a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. IT’S OFF THE TABLE, guys. The Western financial system is teetering on the brink of collapse, a presidential campaign is about to start up in the U.S., and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are slowly drawing to what will be (for the U.S.) an ignominious close. Broke and dispirited, the U.S. is not about to launch a new war in the Persian Gulf. Nor is Israel going to strike. What is it about this that you guys don’t understand?

  2. The US has been broke for some time, and dispirited for at least as long however those BEHIND the con(nard)s or neocon(nard)s do not care about it. They push their cause until it is achieved whether or not the US/West can afford it. Reason has no place in this. In a horse race the jockey runs his horse to win and cares not about it. Sometimes the horse actually cannot make it and dies. The history is full of imperia that rose and died because that did not know they had risen too high. In the last century alone there were no less than four: the ottomans, the germans, the english and the soviets. For the US the glory might last even shorter!

  3. I agree with you Jon, however I wonder if Laos and Cambodia might be instructive. Could it be that as we resign ourselves to leave the encirclement of Iran that we will bomb the radii of our troops’ encircled enemy? I don’t discount the possibility that there could be a similar bombing campaign, precipitated by some provocative act by Iran, real or staged.

Comments are closed.