Iran's civil society speaks up about US war with Iran


Iran's civil society speaks up about US war with Iran
by Ari Siletz

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has just released an opinion poll report of 35 of the most highly informed and well respected members of Iran’s civil society regarding an attack on Iran by the US and allies. Bottom line, there is unanimous agreement by these democracy advocates inside Iran that such an attack would devastate the fledgling Iranian civil society and greatly exacerbate the already abysmal human rights conditions in the country.

The polling interviews were conducted between January and June of 2011 and included well known Iranian human rights activists, and household names in writing, journalism poetry, filmmaking and other cultural leadership positions, in addition to lawyers, political opposition leaders and others with intellectual, artistic and political influence over the thinking of Iranians living inside Iran. The age range of the interviewees was 25-84.

Here are some highlights:

Tahmineh Milani, filmmaker:
“We must not forget that Iranians are nationalistic and will not give even one molecule of their soil to foreigners…I believe there is a probability that the Iranian government would use war to establish its own political power…The government can use the war as an excuse and delay people’s demands.”

Simin Behbehani, poet:
“Conditions for writers do not improve after a war. What a bad person would I need to be to wish a war, so that my [banned] books could be published. Even if I am buried under a ton of dirt and not even one line of my writings remain I would never agree to a war…”

Mohamad Ali Dadkhah, human rights lawyer:

“…Iranian society’s attitude towards anyone who would advocate war under the guise of human rights and democracy would be terribly negative.”

Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, author:

“…in the case of a potential war between Iran and the US, I believe the relations between the two countries will be ruined forever.”

Mohammad Ali Sepanlou, poet:

“…[even] assuming that the country’s rule changes, it will be followed by civil war…”

Payam D. prominent journalist (name withheld for safety reasons):

“…among Iran’s ruling strata, there is a group that is deeply and wholeheartedly open to the idea of military action against Iran. It is evident that welcoming military action does not stem from their wish for improvement in civil society or human rights…Rather, military action against Iran from their perspective provides the excuse of an external threat…using these excuses the government will prepare the grounds for the oppression of political opposition, human rights defenders, and civil society activists.”

Kambozia Partovi, filmmaker:

“I have thought a lot about your question of “What would I do if a war breaks out?”and I think it’s clear that I will defend, because I care about my country and my people.”

Finally, to press an important message for we in the diaspora, here’s author Natasha  Amiri:

“I believe that we who live inside of Iran have a more accurate view of Iranian society…As a writer who hears outsiders’ criticism, I feel that their analysis is far from reality because they have no contact with the Iranian people.”

I may add that those in the diaspora that do have contact, have a smaller stake in the matter because they (and their children) live their lives under the laws and conditions of their host countries, always having the option of parachuting out.

For my part, I choose to listen to and follow our most informed intellects inside Iran. Listening to outside of Iran voices that even remotely, conditionally, indirectly, sadly with a sigh, angrily with a flag, passionately with calls for liberty, favor war with my country is like letting the casino blackjack dealer tell me whether to “hit” or “stand.” I may be stupid, but not that stupid.


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And that is why the usa will not directly create war with Iran

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

But it may either use the mek

or indirectly start one using israel

war is in the cards, just not directly with the usa, in the past they had saddam, that was still the usa all the way, just not directly.


Take note of Mash Ghassem's Comment

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

 And thank you for a great post Ari.

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Shifteh jan: Couldn't agree

by vildemose on

Shifteh jan: Couldn't agree with you more on the IRI's goading of the West to attack it....It would be the second treasonous act by a group of anti-iranian clergies in the 2500 years of Iranian history.

I continue to appreciate your clear and level-headed assessments.


Thanks Ari, Your report

by MM on

Thanks Ari,

Your report plus Shifteh's words say it well.  No need to repeat.  Let's now hear it from "the drummers".

Maryam Hojjat

Ari, Thanks for Posting

by Maryam Hojjat on

This news.

I think Shifteh Ansari explained it very well along with Iranians in the blog which I support.


Delicate question, typical answers

by choghok on

I think most of the people in Iran including the writers are patriots in Iran so they would of course say no, but I think US do not care about patriotic side of the question, they are interested in practical things, like how much this would cost them and if the aftermath is going to be good for them. Some of the answers in this poll has answered those questions, but many answers have been patriotic.

Shifteh Ansari

A military attack would devastate Iranians

by Shifteh Ansari on

Most of the people who participated in this report remember the Iran-Iraq war and the horrible repression, imprisonment, torture, and executions that Iranian people had to endure on the pretext of "foreign enemies and the war."  I believe there is consensus now that one of the factors that strengthened the Islamic Republic during those shaky initial years of its existence was the Iran-Iraq war which muted Iranian students, political activists, and intellectuals.

I believe the heightened hostile language of the Islamic Republic over the past several years, its silly, empty military exercises, and its isolationist foreign policy have all indicated that the Islamic Republic would not mind a limited military attack, whereby it can appear wronged to the outsiders and to officially announce the military state that it has slowly become, further cracking down on poor Iranian citizens and shutting down all avenues of expression.

Caught between a government that violates their human rights on a daily basis, and a group of warmongers who these days claim it may be necessary to attack Iran on human rights grounds (!), the Iranian nation is the one that has to deal with threats, bullets, and bombs.  

It is upon us to make sure these voices are heard and that military attacks are prevented, while Iranian inside Iran themselves figure out what to do with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and make no mistakes, they will deal with this fascist state.  This may not be instantaneous like some people would like, but it is happening even if we cannot see its effects on the streets yet.  We must support them.

Mash Ghasem

بسیار بسیار عالی

Mash Ghasem

دست شما درد نکند ، و دم جامعه مدنی ایران گرم!
یک پروژه بعدی میتواند از سازمانها و تشکلات (سندیکا اتوبوس رانان، مادران
صلح،سازمانهای مستقل دانشجوی،...) در این مورد مهم نظر خواهی کند.