Anti-imperialist statement on U.S. sanctions and war threats against Iran

Feb. 4, 2012: International Day of Action: NO U.S. War on Iran. Actrivists rally in Times Square, NYC and march to UN and Israeli Embassy to protest war mongering against Iran, sanctions and drone strikes. Photo: Debra Sweet

Samidoun is one of the organizational signatories of the following anti-imperialist statement on Iran and sanctions. To add your name, please use this link:

This statement, signed by many people listed at the bottom, demands an end to U.S. sanctions on Iran, and seeks to prevent war. While we stand in solidarity with the Iranian people who have risen up over recent weeks against domestic repression and neoliberalism, as people in the U.S. we highlight the culpability of U.S. imperialism.

As anti-imperialist activists, scholars, artists and lawyers located in the United States, we stand in solidarity with the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Asia in their calls to end imperialism, sectarianism and neoliberalism, and we view the recent protests in Iran within this broader international context of resistance.

The global turn to the right has led to the increasing liberalization of the international economy and worsening political repression in countries throughout the world. From Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Haiti to Guinea, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, people have put their lives on the line to confront the twin evils of monopoly capital and U.S. imperial domination, manifesting in different forms including coup governments, war mongering, and sanctions regimes.

As part of the current U.S. imperial project, President Trump has imposed the most severe sanctions regime in world history on Iran, seeking to choke the economy of the Islamic Republic out of existence. But it is the people of Iran who suffer. They no longer have proper access to medical supplies, industrial equipment and basic food staples. The air quality has hit an all-time low, resulting in high levels of illness, and inflation is worse than it has ever been.

In 2018, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) developed a restructuring plan to address the economic shortfalls created by the sanctions regime. In this plan, the IMF recommended “mobilizing tax revenue, removing exemptions, reducing fuel subsidies, and reforming the pension system”, alongside a “medium-term debt management strategy.” The IMF claimed these policies should be pursued “despite the challenging domestic and geopolitical environment” that the nation faces, with the overall objective of supporting Iran as it “transition[s] to a market-based monetary policy framework.”

Just weeks ago, the Islamic Republic succumbed to one of the most severe proposals in the IMF plan, announcing a more than 100 percent increase in the cost of fuel on the first 60 liters purchased, and a 300 percent increase on anything above 60 liters. This reduction in subsidies has led to massive protests throughout the country because Iranians recognize that it would lead to a dramatic and sudden decline in their standard of living.

In essence, the United States’ imperial sanctions regime has opened the space for neoliberal economic institutions such as the IMF to facilitate the ravaging of the Iranian economy.

This project is not without its Iranian native informants and cheerleaders, who serve as functionaries of U.S. imperialism. These functionaries seek regime change no matter the cost, even though Iran has only recently stabilized after the horrors of the Iran-Iraq War. If Iran loses its sovereignty and descends into civil war like its immediate neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan, or proxy war like Syria and Libya, it is worth the cost because these functionaries stand to profit and benefit from war, reconstruction, and the exploitation of the nation’s resources.

Such functionaries are supported in their cause by Iranian native informants, so-called intellectuals who opportunistically appropriate the protests under the guise of supporting human rights and liberal democracy, when in fact what they seek is a return to neocolonial governance in the form of a U.S.-backed regime, not unlike that of the deposed monarchy, or a regime led by the National Council of Iran, a front organization for the U.S.-backed fringe group Mojaheddin-e Khalq, also trained by the CIA to execute the demands of the U.S.

We believe that if the Islamic Republic falls under the weight of the U.S. sanctions regime or as a result of Israeli and American aggression, not only will the Iranian nation suffer catastrophic losses, but whatever form of government that follows will be far more violent and destructive, considering all the external pressures on Iran.

The people of Iran are resisting the economic, political and militaristic violence imposed on them both by international and domestic elites. The majority of the Iranian people do not seek regime change because they have already lived through two monumental events that destabilized their lives – the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War that lasted from 1980 until 1988. The elder generations can still recount the horrors that followed the toppling of Prime Minister Mossadegh during the U.S. and British-backed coup of 1953.

Iranians seek economic and political stability, and above all, they seek to maintain their national and individual dignity. We stand by them and their calls for domestic reform, and as people in the United States, we demand the end of the sanctions regime and U.S. and Israeli interference in the lives of the Iranian people.

Hamid Dabashi
Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature
Columbia University

Nasrin Rahimieh
Howard Baskerville Professor of Humanities
Professor of Comparative Literature
Director of Humanities Core Program
University of California Irvine

Angela Y. Davis
Distinguished Professor Emerita
History of Consciousness, Humanities Division, Feminist Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Professor Emerita
Ethnic Studies
California State University, Hayward

Robin D. G. Kelley
Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair
University of California, Los Angeles

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi
Professor and Director
Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies
San Francisco State University

Moustafa Bayoumi
Brooklyn College
City University of New York

Sunaina Maira
Asian American Studies
University of California, Davis

Asad Abukhalil
Political Science
California State University, Stanislaus

Bill Mullen
American Studies
Purdue University
Member, Organizing Collective
U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Alex Lubin
African American Studies
Penn State University

Joshua Clover
University of California Davis
University of Copenhagen

Nada Elia
Arab American Studies
Western Washington University

Elliott Cola
Associate Professor
Arabic and Islamic Studies
Georgetown University

Baki Tezcan
Associate Professor
University of California, Davis

Junaid Rana
Associate Professor
Department of Asian American Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Devra A Weber
Professor Emerita
University of California, Riverside

Flagg Miller
Religious Studies
University of California, Davis

Immanuel Ness
Professor and Interim Department Chair
Political Science
Brooklyn College
City University of New York

Lennox S. Hinds
Professor Emeritus
Program in Criminal Justice
Rutgers University

Marjorie Cohn
Professor Emerita
Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Maryam Kashani
Assistant Professor
Gender & Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lead Coordinator, Believers Bail Out

Nick Estes
Assistant Professor
American Studies
University of New Mexico

Josh Stacher
Assistant Professor
Political Science
Kent State University

Suzanne Adely
National Lawyers Guild
International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Max Ajl

Kali Akuno

Audrey Bomse
National Lawyers Guild

William Camacaro
Venezuelan Activist
New York City

Joe Catron
Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat

Berna Ellorin
International League of People’s Struggle

Yoshie Furuhashi
Community Organizing Center

Tim Horras
Philly Socialists

Charlotte Kates

Rania Khalek

Lucas Koerner
Venezuela Analysis

Jeanne Mirer
International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Corinna Mullin
Adjunct Professor
John Jay College and the New School

Ben Norton

Sina Rahmani
The East is a Podcast

Devyn Springer
Walter Rodney Foundation
Journalist, Groundings Podcast


National Lawyers Guild
Catalyst Project
Ecumenical Peace Institute/Clergy and Laity Concerned
Haiti Action Committee
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network


Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ)

National Union of People’s Lawyers

Khaled Barakat
Palestinian Writer

Ray Bush
Leeds University

Liliana Cordova Kaczerginski
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Fatima Demirer
Lawyer, Izmir/Turkey

Osamu Niikura
Professor Emerita
Aoyama Gakuin Japan University
Former Secretary General and Current Board Member
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
Vice President, Japanese Lawyers for International Solidarity Association (JALISA)

Samah Idriss

Ali Kadri
London School of Economics

Fabio Marchelli
International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Boaventura Monjane
Centre for Social Studies
University of Coimbra, Portugal

Jana Yasmin Nakhal
Lebanese Communist Party

Vanessa Ramos
Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ)

Micol Savia
Secretary General Elect
International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Ajit Singh
Lawyer, Graduate Student

Paris Yeros
International Economics
Federal University of ABC, Brazil