The Cultures of Resistance Network agrees with the Campaign for Peace and Democracy when they state, "The Iranian democratic movement holds the promise of bringing freedom to Iran. But far from aiding the struggle for Iranian democracy, war threats and sanctions from the United States, Israel and leading European nations make that fight much more difficult."
In early 2012 the Israeli government was pushing hard for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, and it was unclear whether or not the White House would cave to the pressure. Media coverage of the confrontation has relied heavily on anonymous officials and members of the U.S. Congress who think taking a hard line with the Ahmadinejad administration, rather than engaging in serious diplomacy, is the only way forward. As a result, many people worry that we are traveling down the same road that led to war in Iraq less than a decade ago.
Despite these dispiriting signs, it appears that cooler heads may prevail. As Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) co-director Mark Weisbrot has argued, the Obama administration would not condone an Israeli military strike on Iran at least until after the U.S. presidential election, and top military brass have publicly warned that war with Iran would have disastrous consequences for America and the Middle East. As of April 2012, diplomatic talks were scheduled to begin between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States.
On March 9, 2012, CoR-ally Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) joined Jon Stewart on The Daily Show to discuss escalating tensions with Iran and the prospects for diplomacy.
In 2007, during a previous round of escalating tension between the White House and Iran, our friends at Agit-Pop Communications created an animated short about the Bush administration's drive for war with Iran and the many voices of reason standing against it.
The 2009 Green Revolution in Iran demonstrated the enormous desire of the Iranian people for true democracy and presented the world an opportunity to stand in solidarity with them. Yet one year later, rather than developing a way of engaging with this popular movement, Western governments signed a new round of harsh sanctions against Iran. In the summer of 2010, Cultures of Resistance Network director Iara Lee wrote a blog entry at the Huffington Post, reflecting on the White House's policy in the Middle East,
"This recent round of sanctions is an unjust act of economic warfare against the people of Iran, and another step in the wrong direction on our calamitous approach both to that country and to the region at large."
Citizen diplomacy and cultural solidarity are areas that CoR has been interested in for many years. We believe that the interests of both Iranians and Americans are best served by grassroots solidarity and cross-cultural exchange. We must at once condemn counter-productive sanctions that move us closer to war and support popular movements that are standing up for free-speech and democracy in Iran. To find out ways you can stand in solidarity with the people of Iran and demand a more just foreign policy, scroll down to the bottom of this page.
The Cultures of Resistance Network supports citizen diplomacy and the sharing of creative expression and education. In particular, we work to promote cross-cultural exchange with Iranian artists, including Iranian rapper Hichkas and kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor—follow the links to check out their profiles!
Solidarity with the people of Iran, opposition to sanctions, and the promotion of free speech and democracy are important components of the CoR Network's work. Having collaborated with many organizations working on these issues, we recommend the following action steps: