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Forum to discuss Iran’s election and U.S. strategy

Published Jul 29, 2009 2:58 PM

They stood together to make their announcements like a traditional soft-cop, hard-cop duo. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned the Iranian government that if they didn’t abandon their nuclear plans, the U.S. would withdraw its offer for talks. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was against any negotiations with Iran and would not take a bombing strike against Iran off the table.

Their news conference on July 27 in occupied Jerusalem was a reminder that the debate in the U.S. anti-war movement over how to relate to the Iran issue is far from academic. Whatever the political orientation of those inside Iran protesting against the current government, the imperialists’ orientation is clear: to weaken and, if possible, bring down the current Iranian government, with the goal of eliminating Iranian sovereignty in the long run.

With the intention of countering this goal, the Stop War on Iran coalition, in alliance with the International Action Center and other anti-war organizations that work to bring understanding about developments in Iran to the U.S. public, has organized a forum for Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. at the Solidarity Center in New York. That’s at 55 West 17th St. in Manhattan.

Participants in Saturday’s forum will include Ardeshir Ommani, co-founder of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee; Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center; John Catalinotto, International Action Center; Phil Wilayto, Campaign Against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran; Manijeh Saba, an Iranian human rights and women’s rights activist; and Dustin Langley, a Navy veteran and organizer with the Stop War on Iran campaign. Catalinotto is also a managing editor of Workers World newspaper.

The idea for the forum grew out of a debate at an anti-war conference in Pittsburgh in early July. Some of the participants at the conference argued for supporting coordinated actions July 25 that publicly supported the Iranian opposition to the election victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president.

Those organizing the SWOI forum, on the other hand, argued that to participate in those actions would give aid and comfort to the imperialist designs to reverse Iran’s 1979 revolution and turn that country of 73 million people back into a client state, as it was under the shah.

For the sake of clarity in the movement, the forum’s organizers said they intend to hold an in-depth discussion to take up U.S. plans for the Middle East region, imperialism’s strategy toward the Iranian revolution, the role of the corporate media in misleading both the general public and the progressive movement, and the internal political and class struggle in Iran.

For more information see stopwaroniran.com, call 212-633-6646, or look at workers.org for recent WW coverage of Iran.