Monday, April 17, 2006

Three Women Dare to Speak the Truth

On Monday, April 17, 2006, Financial Times published a letter from three female professors of Iranian origin—Prof Haleh Afshar (University of York), Dr Ziba Mir-Hosseini (London Middle East Institute) and Dr Elaheh Rostami-Povey (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London). I reproduce the letter, below, in full.

Essential that we do whatever possible to prevent a war on Iran
By Haleh Afshar, Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Elaheh Rostami-Povey
Financial Times, April 17 2006, p.12.

Sir, As three Iranian British academics, we are writing to express our grave concerns about the growing threat of war against Iran. It is essential that we do whatever is possible to prevent such a disaster.

We would like to clear a number of misunderstandings about Iran. As a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), Iran asserts its right under Article IV of the NPT to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The announcement last week of a nuclear breakthrough is part of this right and is intended for peaceful purposes.

Iran has complied with Articles I and II of the NPT not to acquire nuclear weapons, and Article III, where it accepts full safeguards. It has signed the NPT additional protocol and has allowed intrusive inspections beyond what is required by compliance with the NPT. Numerous inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have failed to provide any shred of evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons programme.

Iran has repeatedly announced that it is committed to replace the course of confrontation with good-faith interaction and negotiations, as equal partner, for a peaceful solution to its nuclear issue. It has stated its commitment to non-proliferation and to the elimination of nuclear weapons, and considers nuclear weapons detrimental to its security.

It has declared its readiness to abide by its obligations under the NPT and to work for the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. It has invited the west and the world for cultural and technological collaboration.

Iran strongly condemned the September 11 attack and participated in overthrowing the Taliban regime in late 2001. In return, under the pressure of the neoconservatives in the US and their supporters globally, Iran has faced intimidation based on speculations about its intention of producing WMD.

For the majority of Iranians in Iran and outside Iran, this hostility towards Iran is about returning Iran to a client state for the benefit of US oil corporations and denying Iran's rights to research and development for generating electricity in the future, independently.

Iran is not a threat in the region or to the world as was suggested by the American Jewish Committee's full-page "statement" in the Financial Times recently. Iran is surrounded by India, Pakistan, Russia and Israel, which have nuclear weapons.

The US, UK and Israel, which perceive Iran as a threat, themselves possess WMD and refuse to commit to nuclear disarmament. Iranians believe that Israel may well use its nuclear weapons against them. They are all too aware that Israel has refused to sign the NPT and has not allowed the IAEA to inspect its nuclear programme.

The only chance the world has of avoiding another disastrous US military adventure in the Middle East is to resolve Iran's nuclear issue through diplomacy. It is essential that all voices opposed to the devastation of a new war in the Middle East speak out now. We need funds for human needs, not endless wars and conflicts.

Haleh Afshar,
University of York

Ziba Mir-Hosseini,
London Middle East Institute

Elaheh Rostami-Povey,
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

1 comment:

Zohreh said...

Thank you very much for this post