Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) is an organization dedicated to peace and social justice for all, with programs and campaigns on nuclear disarmament, a peace economy, healthcare over warfare, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. We oppose war, sanctions, and violations of popular and state sovereignty. And we support the right of people to engage in peaceful protest without fear of repression, reprisals, or imprisonment.
In that spirit, we join the worldwide chorus of solidarity for the Iranian people who have taken to the streets to protest the death in police custody of Mahsa (Jina) Amini, the young Kurdish woman apprehended for inadequate hejab, by the so-called morality police. The women-led tsunami of protests across Iran, at great peril to their own safety, has been joined by many women who wear hejabs. They are among the protestors condemning Mahsa’s death, along with men, people of all ages, social classes, and ethnicities. This courageous response is an unprecedented show of shared anger over police brutality, the unjust targeting of the young Kurdish woman, and the Islamic regime’s authoritarian rule. Those grievances are inscribed in the slogan heard across the country: Woman, Life, Liberty (Zan, Zendegi, Azadi).
We also recognize that decades of harsh U.S. sanctions have generated the onset of inevitable economic austerities. This has led to unemployment, rising prices, and severe shortages of essential goods. A series of protests in 2017-2019, centered on these problems. Today, the protesters who are condemning Mahsa’s death and calling for an end to the morality police, are also rightly pointing out that at a time when Iran is suffering from punitive US sanctions, the Iranian government’s emphasis should be on tackling the economic difficulties, not on policing women’s dress.
MAPA stands for the right of Iranians to choose their own system of government, and to be able to protest peacefully without facing state repression. As a U.S.-based organization, we oppose any efforts by our government to violate popular and state sovereignty through regime change. In fact, we believe the Iranian people will be best served by the end of U.S. sanctions. Our responsibility as Americans is to demand the lifting of U.S. sanctions that have irretrievably harmed the Iranian people, especially women and girls, and a return to the negotiating table for the revival of the 2015 international nuclear agreement (JCPOA).
The women of Iran have the right to live in dignity, without fear of assault, and with their physical security and welfare guaranteed. We call on the Iranian government to halt the repression; we call on the U.S. government to lift all sanctions on Iran to help ease the people’s economic pain.
This statement was drafted by Valentine Moghadam and edited and approved by MAPA’s Middle East Working Group and Executive Committee. Posted November 1, 2022