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Open Letter to STWC from Political Association of Iranian Refugees

Pigeon | 18.03.2005 10:12 | Anti-militarism | Repression | Social Struggles | Birmingham | London | World

Iranian refugee group criticises STWC for refusing to give platform to voices equally critical of US imperialism and the stutus quo in Iran.


Dear Friends,

You are aware that in an act of protest against the threats of military intervention by the US and its allies inIran, 5 Iranian asylum seekers have set off on foot from Birmingham on 12th March to join the national anti-war demonstration in London on March 19th. They are undertaking this action both to highlight and oppose the threats against Iran and to appeal to progressive and freedom loving people in Britain to support their struggle against the barbaric regime in Iran. We phoned your office on Friday, 11th March to ask for support for the protest walk and to ask about the possibility of a representative from the walk saying a few words from the platform at the end of the march. We were told to explain our position and, upon my explanation, were told STWC "can not allow any statement against the Islamic regime in Iran from the platform."

We see ourselves as part of a movement for democracy in Iran that is moving towards overthrowing the reactionary Islamic regime. We see any intervention or even threats of intervention by the US and its allies against Iran as detrimental to our movement. We will vehemently oppose and resist such intervention. The reality of our movement is such that we can not drop our opposition to the Iranian regime because of the threats by the US, or drop our opposition to US threats because of the barbarity of the Islamic regime.

We are aware that the campaign Action Iran that you are promoting on your website believes that "ordinary Iranians are making advances towards democracy". We strongly disagree with this analysis, which is promoted by the Islamic regime and its agents internationally. We believe that, while the movement for democracy is growing in Iran, democratic rights are suppressed in increasing measure in Iran and ordinary Iranians are not amking progress towards democracy.

We beleive STWC should be a broad based camapign, and should not exclude the views of opponents of the Islamic regime while promoting the views of supporters of this barbaric regime.

Arash Shakib (Organiser of the protest walk)
Political Association of Iranian Refugees.



Hide the following 8 comments

The Stop the War Coalition

18.03.2005 13:26

Is the aim of the Stop the War Coalition to 'struggle against the barbaric Islamic regime in Iran'? No. The Stop the War Coalition exists to stop Bush and Blair's war on 'terrorism', defend civil liberties and oppose the racist backlash in Britain. Full stop.

The STWC does not therefore 'see ourselves as part of a movement for democracy in Iran that is moving towards overthrowing the reactionary Islamic regime.' The STWC think the future of Iran should depend on what Iranian people want - unlike Bush and Blair who want to bomb it - and in this respect it is not the STWC's role to support one particular view of what should happen over another.

rebel warrior
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18.03.2005 15:16

I invite Arash Shakib to show us where the anti-war moveemnt has "promoted support for the Islamic Regime".

Come off it.


one problem with what you say rebel warrior

18.03.2005 16:44

...the STW coalition doesn't limit itself to that, it has no problem for instance dragging the issue of Palestine into it every time - a worthy cause undoubtedly but more irrelevant than Iran. If the anti-war movement is ever to be successful it has to advance beyond crude oppositionism. Many people were uncomfortable with the Iraq war but saw no alternative to 'bring democracy'. This was a failure of the anti-war movement to demonstrate convincingly that other more valid, genuine and sincere means existed, namely democracy from within as these Iranians appear to be fighting for. They deserve our support however due to the political opportunism coupled with short-sightedness within the STW coalition I can't see the anti-war movement progressing in this direction


On the other hand

18.03.2005 19:27

Maybe the "Political Association of Iranian Refugees" is another exile group just like the gang of wolves that have been let loose on Iraq. It just sham propaganda to undermine the anti-war movement on behalf of the Gucci Gang that want to reinstall the Peacock Throne.

Aunty Beeb

Sad to see the STWC trying to silence dissent again

19.03.2005 02:40

It is just soo soo ridiculous, and very very insulting
to say that the group of 5 Iranian asylum seekers, who have walked from Birmingham to join the anti-war demo in London tomorrow, are some kinda western stooges.
Believe me, habibi, Ahmed Chalabi or any of those CIA friendly creeps that rode back into Baghdad with the invasion haven't walked anywhere in years- they strictly travel by limo, honey

I am sure many of us who will be on the march tomorrow - support Iranians who are both opposed to Western Intervention and are against the Islamic regime

However the StWC which claims to represent and speak for all of us who turn out on the march tomorrow is dominated by a clique of leninists leftists (SWP) who cannot tolerate criticism of the any Islamic State, even that of the Shia Theocracy in Iran, incase it alienates their allies in the Muslim Association of Britain and in the mosques, who they need to mobilise the vote for RESPECT for the 5th of May election.

So they turn to insults and smears.
Political opportunism gone mad.

Abu Nuwas

Abu, baby

19.03.2005 07:35

Why the heck should anyone take you seriously when instead of "highlighting and opposing the threats against Iran" YOU "turn to insults and smears" clearly aimed at the anti-war movement. You are what you condemn.

You may not ride in a limo but you certainly appear to be doing the work of those who do.

Aunty Beeb

From Stop the War Coalition

30.03.2005 10:23

Dear Arash Shakib

I have been given a copy of the leaflet you issued attacking the StWC at the demonstration on March 19.

Firstly, we have no record whatsoever of you having contacted our organisation about having a speaker on the demo. Perhaps you could clarify who you spoke to and when.

Secondly, it is not the case that we would refuse to provide a platform to critics of the Islamic Republic. We would be happy do so, provided only that they also oppose an attack on Iran. In fact, I read out a message at the rally from the Committee to Defend Iranian People’s Rights, bitter opponents of the regime, in just that spirit.

Thirdly, we have not and would not give a platform to supporters of the regime, as you allege. Where is your evidence for this assertion?

I hope you will now withdraw your expensively-produced leaflet and explain why you issued it to being with.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Murray


Stop the War Coalition

Andrew Murray

A statement from who?

26.04.2005 19:51

What is this organisation - Committee to Defend Iranian People's Rights - that Andrew Murray talks about? I can't find any reference to it anywhere on the web - not decisive, I know, but unusual.
Does anyone have any information about it?

Vicki Morris
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