On June 29, 2018, Medea Benjamin spoke at the Friends Meeting House about her latest book "Inside Iran." Many of our Peace Action members were there. Ms. Benjamin has worked internationally for years as the co-founder of CODEPINK and the fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange.
After listening to her talk on Iran and reading her book, there are several ideas that I took away. So much of the problem between the United States and Iran stems from the 1953 coup d’etat of the democratic government of Iran by the U.S. and the U.K. at the behest of the international oil companies. Our country (the supposed defender of Democracy) supplanted a democracy with a monarchy! This monarchy of Mohammad Raza Shah Pahlavi brutally maintained power for 26 years until 1979 when the Islamic Revolution took back their country. The Islamic Revolution is not as democratic as one would like, but they continue to have elections. Three times since 1979, they have elected moderate Presidents who have tried to move Iran in the direction of broader human rights and liberties.
The Iran Nuclear Treaty, negotiated under Pres. Obama, would have continued to move Iran toward more democratic control by the Iranian people. The key to this is that the Treaty would have been in effect for 15 years. During that time, the elders of the Islamic Revolution would probably have passed on and certainly have been out of power. The young people of Iran would have taken over and they seem to be ready to move toward greater economic and human freedom. They might not always do what the US and its oil companies want, but their people would make their own decisions for their future. Now President Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the treaty, endangering our future relationship with Iran. John Bolton and others in the Trump administration are itching to go to war. It would be disastrous for the entire region.
A major problem with Trump breaking international agreements such as the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Paris Climate Accord, is that other nations may never trust the commitment of the U.S. president again. In the business world, when the president of a company signs a contract, the next president of that company cannot break the deal or will be taken to court for breach of contract. What other country would trust this U.S. President if he does not respect international treaties and agreements?
Medea Benjamin's book, "Inside Iran," is a very comprehensive history and analysis of Iran. I encourage more of our PA members to read this book. My copy will be available at the PA office if anyone would like to borrow it.