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04/03/12

A Policy of Peace Instead of War in the Iran Conflict: An Immediate End to Sanctions and Threats of War

A Declaration from the German Peace Movement and Peace Researchers

The conflict with Iran is dangerously escalating. Both the planned oil embargo and boycott of the Iranian Central Bank by the West are perilous interventions. Once in the past, in the 1950s, Britain and the United States imposed an oil embargo on Iran. This led to the overthrow of the democratically elected Mossadegh government. The impact of today's oil and financial embargos will primarily be felt by the ordinary people of Iran. And in light of the historical parallels, these measures will only serve to vindicate the current regime's claim to be a victim of Western aggression and enable it to present itself as the legitimate defender of Iran's independence, an uppermost political goal of all Iranians. Militarists in the Islamic Republic now even feel justified in threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. This escalation of sanctions is perfectly suited to lead to war. This would not only have catastrophic consequences for the people of Iran, but also destabilize the entire region for many decades to come.

All evidence suggests that the Iranian people have no desire either for war or an Iranian nuclear bomb. They refuse to accept, however, any foreign military threat. Israel's nuclear arsenal and the military encirclement of Iran by the U.S. which at present maintains military bases in almost all of the countries neighbouring Iran, are important motives behind Iran's armament efforts. By tolerating Israel's nuclear arsenal while simultaneously opposing the Iranian nuclear programme, the U.S and the EU must bear the primary responsibility for the fact that hardly any opposition politician in Iran dares to question the nuclear policies of the Islamic Republic.

We in Germany and in Europe as a whole also feel confronted with the growing danger of war, as it would clearly pose serious consequences for Europe and the world. Those aiming to eliminate the Islamic Republic through foreign intervention simply ignore realistic solutions to resolving the nuclear conflict. We therefore warn influential forces in the U.S. and their exiled-Iranian followers against attempting to instrumentalize the nuclear conflict in order to push for regime change. The claim that a nuclear armed Iran can only be prevented through war is a deceptive one that we firmly reject.

We call upon the President of the United States, Barack Obama:

Stop the embargoes against Iranian oil and the Iranian Central Bank. Do not allow the American presidential campaign to plunge the U.S. administration and Israel into a war with unforeseeable consequences. In return to a controlled curtailment of its nuclear programme in accordance with the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, offer Iran a mutual non-aggression pact, preferably along with Israel.

We demand from the German Chancellor:

Rule out publically any German participation in a war against Iran and put a halt to the risky escalation of sanctions. Support, preferably with other European governments, the United Nations Middle East WMD-Free Zone Conference, which is scheduled to begin in 2012 and which has received next to no public attention. Yet, this undertaking, which could be complemented with a Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East (CSCME), would offer a whole new perspective for peace and cooperation for the entire region. Only a policy that requires all states in the region, including Israel, to pursue nuclear disarmament and the renunciation of nuclear weapons can overcome mutual distrust as well as enemy images between the region's religions, peoples and states. The arms race and regional dictatorships would lose their raison d'etre.

We ask the United Nations to convene the planned conference as soon as possible, even if it is initially boycotted by Israel or Iran. In the long run, no one in the region can afford to close its mind for the perspective offered by the conference without losing its credibility and legitimacy. A permanent Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East (CSCME) would raise hopes that a new framework for peace policies would arise to help solve - in addition to the current nuclear dispute - other existing problems, in particular, the Mideast conflict.

Note: The above text is a translation from the German original.

* * *

At the invitation of Andreas Buro, Christoph Kramer, and Mohssen Massarrat, the following individuals have expressed their support for this declaration:

Franz Alt, Elmar Altvater, Johannes M. Becker, Hanne-Margret Birckenbach, Reiner Braun, Daniela Dahn, Hans-Peter Durr, Theodor Ebert, Iring Fetscher, Ute Finkh, Johan Galtung, Ulrich Gottstein, Peter Grottian, Matthias Jochheim, Heiko Kauffmann, Karlheinz Koppe, Ekkehart Krippendorff, Wiltrud Roesch-Metzler, Christine Morgenroth, Wolf-Dieter Narr, Oskar Negt, Bahman Nirumand, Norman Paech, Bergrun Richter, Clemens Ronnefeldt, Werner Ruf, Christine Schweitzer, Eva Senghaas-Knobloch, Gert Sommer, Hans von Sponeck, Eckart Spoo, Otmar Steinbicker, Mani Stenner, Peter Strutynski, Helga Tempel, Konrad Tempel, Renate Wanie, Herbert Wulf and Christian Wellmann.

Complete list of the signatories (as of 31 March 2012, over 80 organizations and about 1800 individuals have signed).

The declaration appeared as an ad in the weekly Der Freitag on 29 March 2012 and in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the largest German national subscription daily newspaper, on 31 March 2012.

The Declaration can be signed, and financially endorsed for further newspaper ads, here.

Berlin, 23 February 2012

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