Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has spent the last year boasting about the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran, just shifted the narrative last weekend, telling reporters that the Trump administration is open to holding talks with Iran without preconditions.
Talks are exactly what is needed and we are glad to hear that Pompeo is on board, but for a true no-conditions approach, the U.S. needs to stop its campaign of unilateral coercive economic warfare and preparations for war. For genuine, good-faith, no-conditions talks, the US must stop:
- Reimposing and tightening economic sanctions on Iran
- Cancelling sanctions waivers to countries importing Iranian oil, to force Iranian oil exports to zero
- Deploying aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran
- Bypassing Congress to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the pretext of curb Iranian “threats,”
While Pompeo is saying the US is open to talks, he is also demanding that Iran first start acting like a “normal country.” But what are the features of a normal country? Is Israel behaving “normal” by continuing a 52-year-long military occupation of Palestine? Is Saudi Arabia “normal” when it murders journalists, imprisons women activists and bombs Yemeni children? Is the US behaving like a normal country when it orchestrates a coup in Venezuela? The Trump administration does not have the legitimacy to define what a “normal country” looks like.
Talks are key to deflating the conflict; bullying Iran to the negotiating table is not the way to get there. The Trump administration claims that it cares for the Iranian people, but Iranian civil society is the victim of Trump’s maximum pressure campaign. If the Trump administration wants to engage in effective talks to reenter a nuclear deal and avoid war, it should first remove the sanctions that are hurting the lives of ordinary Iranian citizens, especially vulnerable populations like women, children, minorities, and people with disabilities. Add your name now to the petition to Secretary Pompeo, asking him to lift the sanctions.
In fact, U.S. sanctions have strengthened corrupt entities inside Iran that are able to evade sanctions, while destroying the independent business sector. In response to the increasing threats of war and sanctions, a renowned group of 170 prominent Iranian women’s rights defenders released a statement last week condemning U.S. sanctions and threats of war. The signees insist that the constant fear of military intervention and economic sanctions hurts the women’s rights movement inside Iran, spreading widespread feelings of hopelessness.
The Trump administration should listen to these voices — the voices of people INSIDE Iran who are feeling the harsh effects of U.S. sanctions. Tell Pompeo that it in order to engage in genuine good faith talks with Iran, the U.S. must lift economic sanctions.
P.S. CODEPINK is organizing two fascinating, low-cost trips to Iran in the Fall. Reserve your spot today!