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'Stop the war': Prominent Iranian-Americans petition against US-Iran conflict

Reza Aslan was among dozens of prominent Iranian-American signatories. [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 May, 2019

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Dozens of prominent Iranian-American figures, including Reza Aslan, have grouped together to sign a joint letter pleading US lawmakers not to go to war with Iran.
Dozens of prominent Iranian-American figures have grouped together to sign a joint letter published by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), pleading US lawmakers not to go to war with Iran.

One of the signatories, well-known scholar and TV host Reza Aslan, has also voiced a promotional video for the campaign, in which he warns that the "same architects" of the 2003 Iraq invasion  - notably Mike Pompeo and John Bolton - are now pushing for another "unnecessary conflict" with Iran.

"It's our responsibility as Iranian Americans to unite our two great nations in peace, and to resist those who, for their own benefit, seek to divide us through war," he says in the video.

Other signatories include historian Ervand Abrahamian, actor and comedian Maz Jobrani, and academics Hamid Dabashi and Asef Bayat.

The letter emphasises the danger of National Security Advisor John Bolton's threats to use "unrelenting force" against Iran, which it says echoes the propaganda campaign prior to the 2003 Iraq invasion.

"Bolton has long sought to goad the US and Iran into a war and has no qualms about distorting intelligence to advance his hawkish agenda," the letter reads.

"Under Bolton's watch, the Trump administration is repeating the George W. Bush playbook for war with Iraq— inaccurately tying Iran to al-Qaeda, baselessly stating that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, and politicizing intelligence assessments on Iran."

"These warning signs for a war with Iran cannot be overstated," the letter reads.

It warns that those who will bear the brunt of any confrontation are the Iranian people, who it claims "are being crushed in a vice of draconian sanctions and state repression".

"Congress must block Trump's path to war and push to return the U.S. to compliance with the nuclear deal and the negotiating table without delay," the letter concludes.

Some observers fear an all-out conflict between the US and Iran following US deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers forced to the Gulf over alleged threats from Iran.

Tensions have been rising since US President Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear deal in 2018. The deal meant an easing of sanctions on Iran in exchange for halting its nuclear programme.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani announced last week that his country would press on with nuclear development by producing enriched uranium and building reserves of heavy water.

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