Opinions

Letter to President-elect Trump

January 6, 2017
Guest Blogger
3 min read
Letter to President-elect Trump

Dear President-elect Trump,

As Iranian-American artists, scientists, business leaders, human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists, we all drew a sigh of relief when the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal was reached. To us, it meant ensuring that a disastrous war between the United States and Iran was avoided.

As prominent scientists and arms control experts in the United States and around the world have observed, this was a good deal because it dramatically reduced the chances of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

While the easing of sanctions that resulted from this deal has yet to have a tangible impact on the lives of ordinary people in Iran, it has without a doubt given millions hope that the country’s economy has backed away from the edge of the cliff.

This is precisely why we are worried about any effort to undo this agreement. As you have pointed out, the war in Iraq greatly destabilized the region and needlessly cost both the United States and Iraq dearly in blood and treasure. Instead of the flourishing of democracy that the advocates of that war promised, major parts of the Middle East continue to deal with sectarian violence and brutal suppression of dissent.

We respectfully ask that you not allow the same forces of war and conflict to worsen these already tragic circumstances by raising tensions with Iran.

Despite the fact that millions of Iranians disagree with many of the decisions made by their government, they welcomed the Iran nuclear deal. Furthermore, a majority of them believed that ending the cycle of confrontation with the United States would foster the political space in which they could raise their voices and demand change.

Only an indigenous movement from within Iran can lead to a more open society and a more accountable government. After all, hardliners and authoritarian forces can easily shut down democracy and human rights activism when they can unite the nation behind the threat of foreign aggression.

As we witnessed over the course of the last decade, sanctions and the threat of war only serve to empower Iran’s hardliners while harming ordinary citizens who represent the backbone of any possible positive change.

Abandoning the JCPOA would not only prove that the hardliners in Iran were correct to claim that the United States could never be trusted to uphold its end of any deal, it would also once again put the United States and Iran on the path of war. That would be a disaster for both nations.

More than any other time, the United States and Iran should pursue engagement and dialogue. This will be effective in furthering the cause of democracy in Iran while ensuring that you abide by your promise of reduced foreign entanglements and enhanced national security.

For these reasons, we respectfully request that you choose diplomacy over sanctions and war in your dealings with Iran and uphold the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal.

Sincerely,

 

Ervand Abrahamian, Professor of History, City University of New York

Shohreh Aghdashloo, Actress

Mohammad Aghebati, Artist

Azam Ali, Composer

Yahya Alkhansa, Musician

Reza Aslan, Professor, University of California, Riverside

Narges Bajoghli, PhD, Watson Institute, Brown University

Narges Baniasadi, Vice President, Roche

Abdolali Bazargan, Architect, Author

Asef Bayat, Professor of Sociology, Illinois University

Dara Daraee, Musician

Firoozeh Dumas, New York Times Bestselling Author

Kamran Elahian, Chairman, Global Catalyst Partners

Zohre Elahian, Managing Director, Global Catalyst Foundation

Farideh Farhi, Affiliate Graduate Faculty, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, Filmmaker

Maz Jobrani, Comedian

Tara Kamangar, Musician

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, Professor of Persian, University of Maryland

Ahmad Kiarostami, Co-founder & CEO, Koantum

Mohsen Moazami, Managing Director, Columbus Nova Technology (Venture Capital)

Roy Parviz Mottahedeh, Professor of History, Harvard University

Ebrahim Nabavi, Writer & Satirist, Winner of Prince Claus Award 2005

Ava Nazar, Musician

Shirin Neshat, Artist

Hamed Nikpay, Vocalist, Producer, & Songwriter

Neda Nobari, Nobari Foundation

Trita Parsi, President, National Iranian American Council

Hazhir Rahmandad, Associate Professor, MIT

Hamid Rahmanian, Artist

Somaya Ramezani, Architect, Artist

Khodadad Rezakhani, Historian, Princeton University

Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, Filmmaker and Professor, Columbia College Chicago

Melody Safavi, Singer-Songwriter

Mohammadsharif Tabebordbar, Biomedical Scientist, Harvard University

Ramin Loga Torkian, Composer

Caveh Zahedi, Filmmaker

 

This letter was originally published on Medium

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