U.S.-Backed European Union Oil Boycott Against Iran Goes Into Effect;
Iranians & Allies Demonstrate in front of U.N. Missions & Call Sanctions “Collective Punishment”
July 1, 2012, New York – Today, as the European Union went ahead and launched an oil embargo against the Iranian people, many Iranians and Iranian-Americans in New York were joined by human rights and social justice advocates, peace groups, and allies from around the world to protest the embargo and escalating U.S. and European Union sanctions.
They began their demonstration in front of the German Mission to the United Nations, and also made stops at the British, French and U.S. missions, demanding that these world powers cease their sanctions policies and accompanying threats of military strikes. At each stop, they provided testimony about the impact of sanctions on the Iranian people.
Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, said, “Sanctions are hurting ordinary people, the very same people who in their millions poured into the streets as recently as three years ago. These newest rounds of sanctions come on the heels of the Iranian government’s brutal crackdown on the democratic opposition of its own people, and do further damage to that opposition by closing the space in which it can breathe.”
Havaar: Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions and State Repression, the grassroots group that organized the demonstration, issued the following statement:
Today, the European Union, backed by the United States, has launched what stands to be a crippling oil embargo against the Iranian people. This follows escalating U.S. sanctions that as of June 28 further punish any company that does business with Iran’s Central Bank and increasingly decimates the country’s capacity to make financial transactions. At the same time, third country buyers of Iranian oil continue to face growing U.S. pressure to cut their purchases as well.
These increasingly aggressive measures together exacerbate the suffering of the Iranian people who are already facing the grave impact of sanctions and their government’s inequitable economic policies as they confront rising prices in food, medicines and other basic needs. These sanctions constitute collective punishment. They are not an “alternative to war,” but are war by other means. They are an assault on the lives and aspirations of the Iranian people, including their aspirations and struggles against state repression to create a just and meaningfully democratic society.
Today brings further shame to the European Union and to the United States. We demand an end to their cruel and brutal sanctions policies, and an end to their threats of military aggression. We stand in solidarity with people everywhere who bear both the brunt of foreign intervention and the tyranny of domestic repression. We stand against all militarists, warmongers, and torturers, whether they be in the White House, Paris, or Tehran, whether they destroy bodies in federal Supermax prisons in the United States, in Guantánamo, in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, or at the receiving end of the Obama administration’s expanding drone strikes and targeted killing program.
The demonstration was co-sponsored by Brooklyn For Peace, Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD), Occupy Wall Street -Global Justice (OWS-GJ), Pakistan Solidarity Network (PSN), Raha – Iranian Feminist Collective, South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), War Resisters League (WRL), and Where is My Vote–NY (WIMV-NY).
“Havaar: Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions and State Repression” is a grassroots group of Iranians, Iranian-Americans and allies who have joined together to categorically oppose any military action and sanctions against Iran. Havaar stands in solidarity with the Iranian people’s struggle against war and sanctions and against state repression, asserting that all of these forms of violence hurt the lives and aspirations of ordinary Iranians. Visit havaar.org and http://www.facebook.com/HavaarForJustice.