You can do both

Peter Tatchell asks some pointed questions.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has executed three more Arab political prisoners…There have been no protests from Britain, the EU or the UN. The UN’s silence comes on top of the truly appalling vote by UN Human Rights Council to abandon its monitoring of human rights abuses in Iran…While condemning Israel for abusing the Palestinian people, Arab states are silent about the abuse of fellow Arabs by the Iranian regime. The anti-imperialist left is also mute. Why the double standards? Palestinian Arabs get the support of progressives and radicals everywhere; Iranian Arabs get no support at all. They swing from nooses in public squares like cattle hanging in an abattoir. Does anyone care? Ahwazi Arabs accuse Tehran of Persian chauvinism, racism and ethnic cleansing, as I previously revealed in Tribune. The response to that article from some Islamists, left-wingers and anti-war activists was to denounce me as racist and anti-Muslim. But how can it be Islamophobic or racist to defend Arab Muslims against Tehran’s persecution?

Ummmmmm…because by criticizing Iran you are playing into the hands of the neocons who want to bomb the bejeezus out of it? Yeah, that’s it. The neocons, pleased with the triumph in Iraq, want to carry on the good work in Iran, therefore – therefore, I say – Iran’s repressive reactionary government can do no wrong, and anyone who says it can is (of course) racist and anti-Muslim – not to mention ‘Islamophobic.’

Quite rightly, most Arabs do not support a US attack on Iran. Military intervention would strengthen the position of the hardliners in Tehran; allowing President Ahmadinejad to play the nationalist card and, using the pretext of defending the country against imperialism, to further crack down on dissent. Many Ahwazis believe the route to liberation is an internal “people power” alliance of Iranian socialists, liberals, democrats, students, trade unionists and minority nationalities.

And outsiders can give moral support and publicity, just as they did with apartheid.

Some anti-war leftists refuse to condemn the Tehran dictatorship and refuse to support the Iranian resistance; arguing that to do so would play into the hands of the US neocons and militarists. I disagree. Opposing imperialism and defending human rights are complementary, not contradictory.

Yeah. Third Camp, you see. It opposes both US militarism and Islamism.

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