CODEPINK Statement on the Protests Occurring in Iran


Contact: Ariel Gold | CODEPINK co-director | | 510 599 5330 

Medea Benjamin | CODEPINK co-director | | 415 235 6517

WASHINGTON DC — Since Friday, November 16, 2019, people across Iran have been protesting a fifty percent hike in gasoline prices. Iranian authorities have responded to the protests with violence, deploying riot police and tear gas and limiting internet access to a near-total shutdown. 

CODEPINK condemns the tactics of violence and repression being used by the Iranian authorities against the protestors and supports the Iranian people’s right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest. CODEPINK also condemns the U.S. role in fomenting protests by imposing brutal sanctions on Iran to intentionally try to destroy the Iranian economy so that it is unable to serve the needs of its people.

“The US has imposed a matrix of sanctions on Iran that are so burdensome and complex, including sanctioning the National Bank of Iran, that Iranians are finding themselves unable to access imported, life-saving medicines and food at affordable prices,” said CODEPINK co-director Ariel Gold. “The Trump administration’s policies are making the Iranian people suffer, as prices of ordinary commodities are escalating and hardline factions in the government are being emboldened.”

CODEPINK calls on the U.S. to lift the coercive sanctions that harm ordinary Iranians and undermine efforts for reforms in accordance with principles of human rights. CODEPINK also calls on the Iranian government to end its use of violence against protesters and to reopen internet access. 

“Over the past year, CODEPINK has brought delegations of Americans to Iran to see the effects of US sanctions and express their desire for peace between our two countries,” said CODEPINK co-director Medea Benjamin. “The people we met within Iran spoke about the hardships being imposed on them by the U.S. sanctions and appealed for the world to know that they, like all people, deserve to live with dignity.”

The protests in Iran are occurring within the broader context of protests taking place right now throughout the Middle East, including in Lebanon and Iraq, in response to government corruption and mismanagement resulting in price hikes on fuel, food, and other necessary commodities.


November 19 UpdateAccording to Amnesty International, at least 106 protesters have been killed in 21 cities in Iran. Amnesty cited "verified video footage, eyewitness testimony & information gathered from activists outside Iran" for the source of this information. 

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