Thursday, July 03, 2008

National Peace Council in Iran

The National Peace Council was formally launched on July 3, 2008 in Iran by Shirin Ebadi and more than 70 other prominent intellectuals, academics, dissidents and human rights defenders to advocate a peaceful solution to the current standoff between Iran and the United States. Found members include Ibrahim Yazdi, head Freedom Movement; Hashem Aghajari, who was sentenced to death but pardoned for apostasy; film director Jafar Panahi, winner of the top prizes at the Berlin and Venice film festivals and Iran's leading female film-maker Rakhshan Bani Etemad.

Below is a statement of support from the Nobel Women’s Initiative. The International Herald Tribune, AFP and Associated Press also ran articles on the launch of the National Peace Council.

Nobel Women’s Initiative Supports National Peace Council in Iran

We six women Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI) express our support for the National Peace Council in Iran. Spurred by increasing concerns over the possibility of military attacks on Iran and the consequences for the human security of the Iranian people, the National Peace Council was founded by prominent Iranian intellectuals, academics, dissidents and human rights defenders to advocate a peaceful solution to the current standoff between Iran and the United States. We join with the National Peace Council in opposing any military action or threats of military action against Iran and in demanding a negotiated resolution to the crisis.

With the threat of war more imminent than ever, Nobel Women’s Initiative believes it is imperative for the international community to support the National Peace Council and efforts of the peace movement inside of Iran as they take a more visible and vocal stand against those both at home and abroad who threaten or advocate military confrontation.

We believe that military action will not resolve any of the outstanding and far-reaching issues between the U.S. and Iran. Military action against Iran will only exacerbate the situation, bringing further chaos to the region and worsening the situation for human rights and democracy. Nobel Women’s Initiative shares the concerns of the National Peace Council that military attacks would have staggering humanitarian, economic, and political consequences for the peoples of Iran and the U.S.

We believe U.S. threats of military attacks, regime change, isolation and sanctions against Iran are counterproductive to the cause of democracy and human rights in Iran. Iranian authorities have used the Bush administration's posturing towards Iran as a pretext to clamp down on Iran's civil society with extensive arrests and prosecutions. Scores of women's rights activists and human rights defenders in Iran have been summoned, arrested and sentenced on charges for threatening “national security.” A military attack on Iran would only further deteriorate the situation for women’s rights activists and human rights defenders.

Instead of threatening military action, sanctions and regime change, we urge the U.S. to drop all preconditions and engage with Iran in comprehensive negotiations on the broad range of outstanding issues between the two countries. Nobel Women’s Initiative also supports the National Peace Council as they call on their own government to engage with the U.S. in comprehensive negotiations for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

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