People burning the US flag during a regime-sponsored rally in support of Iran’s attacks against Israel (April 2024)

Iranian Activists Condemn Tehran’s Confrontational Policies

Wednesday, 04/17/2024

As the Iranian government pressures critics to endorse its missile and drone strikes on Israel, Iranians abroad and some activists within Iran oppose Tehran’s ideological stance on the regional conflict.

Hundreds of Iranian political activists have expressed concern about the possibility of a widespread war in the region and called on Iranians to voice their opposition to Iran's involvement in such a war.

A statement they issued by activists pointed out that while Iran is facing multidimensional economic, political, and social crises, the escalation of tensions with Israel will impose more authoritarian measures in Iran. The regime's lack of accountability in this and other crises paves the way for further suppression of protest movements in Iran.

The signatories are mainly foreign-based reform minded individuals, as opposed to those advocating regime change. They represent various political affiliations including human rights activists, former political prisoners and advocates of civil rights and social equality.

"In an atmosphere in which the Islamic Republic's repressive policies and non-democratic and inefficient foreign policy is dragging the country into an all-out war, we call on everyone to distance themselves from warmongering and call for protests to exert pressure on the government."

A tougher statement by the trade Union of Students in Iran "condemned the Islamic Republic's warmongering" and said: "The people of Iran are at war with the Islamic Republic and call for the victory of Woman. Life Freedom movement as well as calling on foreign government to put Iran's revolutionary guards on their terror list.

Meanwhile, a Statement released by the Association of the Families of Flight PS572 Victims, a passenger flight downed by the IRGC in 2020 killing over 170 civilians, also condemned "the Islamic Regime’s warmongering," arguing that the Islamic regime and the IRGC think only of their own survival and continuation of their reign of power.

The statement added that "The Islamic regime has put Iran and millions of Iranians in danger of war with a shameless disregard for their safety and security." It added: "The world needs to stand up to the war mongering policies of the Islamic Republic regime, designate the IRGC in the list of terrorist organizations, bring to justice all regime officials who commit crimes against the people of Iran, and support Iranian civil society to overcome this brutal regime."

On official media and platforms inside Iran, it is all praise for the attack and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as its commander. Tehran's firebrand Friday prayers imam Ahmad Khatami on Tuesday said, "the attack was an honor for the Iranian armed forces who have a commander such as Khamenei." He added that although some people tried to scare the nation about Israel's reaction, Israel has not been able to do anything.

Meanwhile, former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, in what appeared to be a stage-managed statement, stated that Iran's attack on Israel was “thoughtful, brave, and legitimate." Khatami further stressed that "Protecting the region and Iran's security is a priority for the Islamic Republic."

He added that the message of Iran's attack on Israel was that Israel should not think that it can do anything without fearing the consequences of what it does.

Iranian journalist Naimeh Doustdar commented that "Khatami has shown his true face while he should have at least kept silent and not add to his bad records." She reminded Khatami that "All wars are hateful, and no decent individual can have a positive attitude toward war." Doustadar further accused Khatami of not thinking about Iran's future.

Meanwhile, in a move that shocked many Iranians, human rights activist Nasrin Sotudeh said in a statement posted on social media praised Tehran’s attack on Israel and condemned Israel’s April 1 bombing of a building in Damascus that killed two senior IRGC generals, precipitating the current tensions.

In another development, Hossein Dehbashi, one of the Iranian journalists who came under pressure by the Prosecutor's Office for writing a critical post about Iran's attack on Israel, wrote a new defiant tweet: "People like me have not learned their faith and religion from the clerics. So, we will not lose our faith by seeing their mistakes and negligence."

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