The 2013 Iranian Presidential Elections

Solidarity with the democratic movement in Iran!

Lift U.S. sanctions against Iran! End collective punishment of the Iranian people!

Along with millions of people both inside and outside of Iran, we are deeply inspired by the determination of the Iranian people to use the June 14th elections to press the realization of their own democratic aspirations. Hassan Rouhani won a decisive victory over five other candidates in the first round of voting, securing 50.7 percent of the more than 36 million votes cast in a massive turnout, with 72.7 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots. Rouhani describes himself as a “moderate,” and he has not challenged the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic. Nor does his election change the fact the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard continue to control the most important levers of power. Nonetheless in the course of the election campaign Rouhani took several stands that encouraged people who are dissatisfied with the Iranian government to vote for him: for example, he criticized the morality police, called for lifting restrictions on the Internet, lamented the fact of widespread unemployment, and declared that, “in consensus with higher officials,” political prisoners would be freed.

Despite relentless political repression and massive economic instability, medical shortages, inflation, unemployment, etc., exacerbated by U.S. sanctions, the popular democratic movement in Iran has shown itself to be remarkably resilient: tens of thousands of Iranians marched in cities across the country on June 15th to celebrate the election results, and their chants and slogans such as the following showed the enduring momentum for change and a desire to keep alive the memory of those who lost their lives during 2009’s post election uprisings:

  • Green movement! Happy Birthday!
  • This is the remembrance of 2009 protests
  • Hassan (Rouhani)! bring the key, and open the Evin prison
  • June 14th gets our stolen votes back
  • Green movement/reform has not died, it has brought Rouhani
  • Rouhani do not forget, Mousavi must be released

In response to the Iranian elections, the White House and Secretary of State John Kerry praised the “courage” of the Iranian people, attempting to position the United States on their side against their government. But the administration’s tribute is blatantly hypocritical: U.S.-led sanctions are directly contributing to the suffering of these “courageous” people, particularly most recently. In the run up to the elections, the U.S. escalated sanctions against the petro-chemical industry, the car industry and the Iranian currency itself, greatly exacerbating the difficulties Iranians already encounter in meeting the needs of everyday life. Instead of offering empty phrases of admiration for the Iranian people, the U.S. should lift sanctions now and stop the collective punishment and intimidation of ordinary Iranians.

As the Iranian people continue to resist from below the many sources of oppression they face, both internally and from U.S./Israeli aggression, we in Havaar call on the Obama administration to lift all sanctions on Iran immediately and stop the devastation of millions of Iranians’ lives. For example, there is an urgent and proliferating health care crisis caused directly by sanctions on “dual use” goods and on hard currency needed to buy medicine and medical supplies. As Iranian hospitals run out of essential medications and the parts to fix medical equipment, more patients will die prematurely of easily preventable deaths. Havaar has launched a campaign to enforce the exemption for humanitarian goods, including medicine, and we urge the Obama administration to issue an unequivocal statement to banks that they will not be penalized for facilitating the purchase of items that fall under the exemption clause and to provide a clear exemption from banking sanctions for humanitarian transactions. This can be a first step towards alleviating the harsh effects of the U.S. sanctions program.

We congratulate the millions of Iranians who seized this electoral moment to show yet again the political force they are. And we call on President Rouhani and the new Iranian government to live up to the hopes of the people who voted for change. We call for the freeing of Green movement leaders Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and all political prisoners, and for an end, at last, to state repression in Iran. Movements for women’s rights, labor rights, and all human rights need the freedom to organize without fear of governmental punishment.

We furthermore call on our government here in the United States to stop adding to the burdens Iranians face and lift the sanctions and end the war threats now!



Havaar’s campaign against sanctions on Iran is gaining steam

A few weeks ago Havaar launched our campaign calling on major bank CEOs to allow financial transactions for purchases of medicine and medical supplies for Iranians.

We feel very encouraged and empowered by the responses we have received from some of the people who signed the petition:

Sanctions, “smart” or comprehensive, are a form of warfare and a blunt weapon of aggression on the most vulnerable citizens, including infants, children and the aged. When the Health Sector is endangered as in Iran today, loss of life results – demonstrating how Sanctions constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Sanctions do not destroy governments, they destroy the basic human rights of human beings.

Denis J. Halliday
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq from 1 September 1997 until 1998.

Campaigners dedicated to ending economic sanctions against Iraq learned from Iraqi mothers and children about how lethally punitive economic sanctions could be.  The pediatrics wards of Iraqi hospitals were like death rows for infants.  Now, ordinary Iranians with minimal capacity to control their government are nevertheless being punished by economic sanctions which forbid them access to life saving medicines.  The Havaar campaign needs and deserves support from civil society around the world.

Kathy Kelly
Co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end economic sanctions against Iraq.

The U.S.-imposed sanctions regime has inflicted great suffering upon the Iranian people.  As people of conscience, have to speak out and act decisively to end the sanctions and to ensure that Iranians have adequate access to life saving medicine and other necessities.

Azadeh Shahshahani
President, National Lawyers Guild.

We cannot condone the use of sanctions that are causing untold suffering to the Iranian people, as they deprive them of the most basic necessities in life, and are directed against a country that does not pose a danger to the United States. it is important then that we support the campaign HAVAAR is organizing.

Silvia Federici
Professor emerita and Teaching Fellow at Hofstra University, where she was a social science professor.

Other prominent signers include Anthony Alessandrini, Tariq Ali, Stanley Aronowitz, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Arun Gupta, Chris Hedges, Zachary Lockman, David McReynolds, Molly Nolan, Vijay Prashad, Chris Toensing, Adaner Usmani and Julia Wrigley.

What can you do for peace?

1. “Not in my name”

Tell your Senator and your House representative: I oppose sanctions on Iran because they cause suffering for ordinary Iranian people. Sanctions have raised the price of everyday items like food and placed life-saving medicines beyond the reach of many Iranians. They have forced businesses to lay off workers and are leading to the impoverishment of more of the population. I oppose any form of military attack on Iran. Even a “targeted’ attack on nuclear facilities would kill thousands of innocent people and unleash radiation into the air, water and land. I do not support my government invading Iran and do not consent to have my tax dollars used for aggression against innocent people.
Find your congressperson here:
U.S. House of Repersentatives
U.S. Senate

2. “Knowledge is power”

Contact Havaar if you would like to organize an educational forum about Iran on your campus or in your community. Visit our website for articles and downloadable pamphlets you can use to educate yourself and those around you. Make sure you and the people around you have access to information that is not driven by the agendas of governments or media corporations.

3. “The other side of the story”

You can help gather information about the actual impact of sanctions on Iranians. If you or anyone you know has been affected by the sanctions currently imposed on Iran, please send a report to the Sanctioned Life project.