Five members of the Political Association of Iranian Refugees, who are marching from Birmingham to London to protest against the possibility of US intervention in Iran, spoke at a meeting of Oxford Labour Party on 15 March. Sara Frouzyar translated.
We became involved in the anti-war movement after the invasion of Iraq, because we felt that it set a precedent for US intervention in Iran or any other Middle Eastern country. We are doing this march because it is our duty. It’s all we can do to express our protest. We want to speak out to the freedom-loving people of the world against US imperialism, and we have no other way to communicate with people.
Aside from all the bloodshed and mayhem that war brings with it, an American intervention would give the Iranian theocratic dictatorship an excuse to kill off and imprison all their opponents in Iran. Every time there has been a mass progressive movement in Iran, the US has intervened to set it back. If there was a war, the hard-pressed fighters for democracy in Iran would have to fight both the Americans and the dictatorship.
The British government says it wants democracy in Iran, but then it turns around and refuses asylum to Iranian democrats. There’s a massive contradiction in this. We feel oppressed from both sides — the Iranian dictatorship and the governments of the West. If only the British people knew some of the “reasons” why people are denied asylum in this country — it’s like a stand-up comedy show. The Home Office comes up with somehilarious nonsense.
The invasion is the root cause of the insecurity and chaos in Iraq at the moment. The US and British troops should leave Iraq to those who have been fighting for democracy in Iraq for many years. Only an uprising of the Iraqi people can produce democracy — a military occupation can’t do it.
About eight years ago there were mass demonstrations against the Iranian regime, but the state is still as repressive as ever and some activists like us, have been forced to flee. There is still mass opposition, though. Iranian democracy can only arise from within Iran.