Ann Wright reports on a citizen peace delegation’s recent trip to Iran, which included a meeting with the country’s foreign minister.
By Ann Wright
Special to Consortium News
We knew that a CODEPINK: Women for Peace delegation to Iran would wind up in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. While he was campaigning, Donald Trump made his animosity toward Iran very clear by referring to the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran as the “worst deal ever.”
Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency’s evidence that Tehran was complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, one of Trump’s first actions upon becoming president was pulling the U.S. out of the treaty and imposing brutal sanctions on the people of Iran.
These sanctions have resulted in the slashing of purchasing power of the national currency by two-thirds. We knew that U.S citizens going to Iran to talk with Iranians about the impact of the sanctions would not be popular with the Trump administration.
Despite the visas that Tehran issued to our delegation, we knew our delegation would also be under Iranian scrutiny while we were there. American journalists, IT professionals, retired UN officials and retired and former U.S. government officials have been imprisoned.
Despite such considerations, our group still takes these trips. We endure the suspicions of governments to travel as citizen diplomats to areas of the world where our government does not want us to see the effects of U.S. policies on the lives of people in targeted countries.
As citizen diplomats, we have been labeled as “naïve tools of repressive governments” when we visited Iran, North Korea, Gaza, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen, countries where U.S. interference, invasion, occupation or support for other countries’ wars, have made life miserable and dangerous for their citizens. We encounter ordinary citizens who are concerned about the future of their children, their health and education because of military conflict or sanctions touted as a humane substitute for…