Show common sense

A letter from Iran to members of US Congress


Show common sense
by Mehrdad Shahabi

Honorable Ladies & Gentleman!

It was with great dismay that I, and many of my fellow Iranians in Iran and abroad, learnt of the regrettably widespread support by you in the U.S Congress, for the Resolution HR 362. This resolution which imposes a naval blockade of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to stop all shipment of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran and to inspect all vessels approaching or leaving Iran, is an act of war waged on our country and the Iranian nation.

If passed, this resolution, would be yet another instance in a chain of flagrant violations of international law committed by the US and a war crime under the United Nations Convention on Genocide, executed against one of the most peaceful nations on earth who has not attacked any other nation, at least, for the past two and half centuries, a nation that has suffered a most brutal eight- year-long war of aggression by the ruthless dictator, Saddam Hussein, with the full political, financial, intelligence and military support of the United States, including the provision of the WMD.

Whereas the surviving victims of Saddam’s chemical attack on Halabja in the Iraqi Kurdistan and on Iran (in which thousands of innocent civilians were massacred) are still dying in agony, and the US hireling, Saddam, was conveniently disposed of as the witness and the executor of such crimes after the US “Mission” was “Accomplished” in 2003, the main perpetrators are still at large to move on from the bloodbath in Iraq to a genocide in Iran.

From a teenage admirer of the US and its culture in the early 60s who was deeply saddened by the assassination of JFK, I, and many people of my generation, have grown disillusioned and disgusted with the iron-fisted policies of your country unleashing wars of aggression, waging coups and toppling democratically-elected governments all over the world, installing ruthless regimes in developing countries and giving your full blessing to the massacres of their peaceful political opponents (1953: Iran, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh; This US-engineered coup became the blueprint for many of the future black operations. 1954: Guatemala, president Jacobo Arbenz. 1965: Indonesia, president Dr. Sukarno, with more than a million people massacred, many on the basis of execution lists supplied by the US embassy in Jakarta. 1960s: Congo, Dr. Patrice Lumumba. 1960s: Greece. 1973: Chile, Dr. Salvadore Allende. 1976: Argentina; then Panama, Haiti … just to name a few. You well know that the terror list goes on).

The recent revelations by Seymour Hersh, in the New Yorker magazine, of the US Congress secretly funding of Bush’s request for 400 million dollars to escalate major covert operations in Iran involving assassinations, abductions, fomenting and supporting ethnic unrest and terror campaigns by such despised terrorist groups as MKO, to force a regime change, is a full circle since the 1953 US overthrow of the popular and democratically -elected government of Dr. Mossadegh in Iran. Under the circumstances, it is fully understandable why the US has exempted itself from prosecution under the International Criminal Court.

Honorable ladies and Gentlemen! The United States’ deeds towards Iran and the larger Middle East, rather than “promoting democracy”, have earned it the reputation of the “The Assassin of Democracy".

We, the recipients of your terror, tie our hopes only on the conscientious efforts of the peace-loving and humane American individuals and organizations in the anti-war movement to open your eyes to the catastrophic consequences of signing on to resolutions which usher incalculable human suffering and war. The pending Resolution HR362 is a war resolution which would potentially conflagrate your manufactured conflicts in the Middle East and the chain of its uncontrollable reactions and reprisals would spread and burn the globe. Violence breeds violence, ladies and gentlemen! Learn from the history! Learn from your recent mistakes. Do not flare up an unending chain of hostilities, to then naively and cynically question: "Why do they hate us?".

Perhaps a second go at Joseph Heller's brilliant Catch 22 is a timely read. Remember Yossarion's wonder at people on the ground raising their fists and shouting when he was flying up there only to do his job of bombing!! Let us not doubt for a moment that only acting wisely and humanely on the part of US statespersons would bring back respect and admiration for what US once stood for.

If your belief and love for "Democracy" and a “Free World” is sincere and genuine, then please respect the spirit of of democracy and the rights of other nations to live with dignity, to decide their destiny free of foreign interference, and to prosper as you do. A genuine celebration of your "Independence Day" would require celebrating the spirit of independence and respecting the independence of other nations too. Only God knows how, in the 21st Century, the US would have treated the poor Tom Paine whose "Common Sense" we have translated into Farsi and is just about to reach Iranian readers. If the American public and the US Congress do not reign in this ruthless hostility towards our nation, we wonder whether those who might escape becoming your “collateral damage”, would still be interested in reading on American ideals of liberty or whether they would rather spit us (the translators) in the face for propagating American “values” and “ideals”.

I sincerely hope that your wisdom, common sense and sound judgment would prevail over the elaborate false propaganda and agitations aimed at manufacturing a most vicious consent. This consent, if given, could not only devastate our lives, but would also, ultimately, be to the great detriment of the US itself.

Yours, with hope and in anticipation,

Mehrdad (Khalil) Shahabi, Tehran

Mehrdad (Khalil) Shahabi is a writer and translator, based in Tehran. His joint translations with Mir Mahmoud Nabavi (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins and Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism & Its Triumphs edited by John Pilger) have been timely additions to the political literature in Iran, well received and widely reviewed. His further works to appear shortly in Iran include a foreword to Common Sense by Tom Paine (translated by Mir Mahmoud Nabavi).



Iran,Iraq and America must follow.

by trampledclass (not verified) on

If America would have listened to the majority of the world after 9-11-2001 the world would have been more stable today. But at that time our leadership was at the lowest mental level possible.So now almost 8 years later we are still being told endless lies in order to keep the killing machine rolling.I pray that the people in Iran,Iraq and America do what the God who created you wants you to do. Love each other and overcome those in the world that guide you into hatred towards each other.


How ironic you attempt to

by reagal (not verified) on

How ironic you attempt to apply the United Nations War convention on genocide to the united states, especially considering the fact that your nation has continuously ignored The UN's disapproval of Iran's uranium enrichment programs. Furthermore, the United States has always been a supporter of democracy but when a nations leader calls for the destruction of our closest friend Israel and tells its people to envision a world without the United States what more do you expect?

Mr.Shahabi, I respect you and your people but if you wish for Americans to truly take Iran seriously, maybe you should challenge your government first! For instance, why are your woman treated like slaves? You claim that you are a nation of 200 years of peace but since when was it humane to force woman to completely cover their bodies and beat them if they choose not to(I have seen several videos of this). Or why are homosexuals(don't deny they exist like Ahmadinejad!) treated like animals and even killed for being who they are? Americans do not hate Iranians, but do fear the radical aspects of both your religion and culture. Our nations are essentially the antithesis of one another, each representing its own opposite beliefs.Americans believe in separation of church from state, While Iran does not. Their are several reasons for justifying the blockade, but the most obvious reason rests in the absurdity of allowing Nuclear weapons in the hands of the oppressive and theocratic nation of Iran.


Bigan1 - correction

by nima (not verified) on

Pen-ultimate paragraph must read:
"I gather from your letter that you DO DISAGREE with the aggressive US intentions",

but are mistaking the wood for the trees.


Adding insult to Injury - Bijan1

by nima (not verified) on

Bijan1, You say to Mehrdad Shahabi that "However since you are living under a repressive regime, you have had to censor yourself", "But doesn't this self-censorship turn your excellent article into endorsement and support for the repressive regime that should bear at least half of the responsibility for the war they are hoping to start?" This is not only untrue but it is untruthful and I tell you why:

This man who lives in Iran writes an article in relation to an impending aggressive resolution directed at Iranian people, using his own name, Mehrdad Shahabi. He and his work can be verified on the internet, that is, he is not hiding under a false name or "half", such as Bigan1. If you are living outside of Iran and do not return there, there is no danger to you introducing yourself (still you are not) and saying whatever you wish and that is what most attackers of anti war campaigners do! If however you are living in Iran, it is as you say understandable that you would use a false name considering your views. But serious journalists, writers, activists, translators, artists, etc can't work if they hide under a false identity to protect themselves! Are you then suggesting that these people's resistance to foreign aggression is endorsement of the regime if they don't directly blame the regime in Iran or talk about human rights abuse and domestic repression and media closures ... etc? Do you do that yourself giving your full name? NO.

Secondly, your premise is wrong. Domestic repression and human rights abuse, corruption and theocratic rule bear no relevance to US foreign policy towards Iran. The US would have attacked any regime, with or without pants, with or without turbans, with or without native democracy and observance of human rights, if that regime or government was not a subordinate client state that did not do US/Israeli bidding.

The only relevance of the issue of domestic repression and human rights to the current situation of threat is its negative impact on the level of national unity. Under circumstances where people feel to be genuine participants in decision making of course they can organise and resist foreign aggression a lot more effectively. Another relevance is that the domestic situation in iran has worsened corresponding to the level external threat. Iran Democracy Fund and now this 400 million dollars covert funding to destabilise and terrorise the country for the purpose of regime change, how do you expect that to feed into the dynamics of domestic democracy and civil liberties? It would further tighten the repression because of a sense of real external threat, as well as, provide AMPLE PRETEXT for those who benefit from policies of repression.

Now, as for the issue of "at least half the responsibility", this is not the case. Iran, despite the bullish domestic policies, is not in an equal 'war' and does bear equal share of the responsibility. As well as the distortion and exaggeration of Ahmadi-Nedjad's statements and his real power and remit (which is very limited), the plan to attack Iran preceded him by a long shot. Iran was assigned to the "Axis of Evil" under Khatami who reached out for a raproachment with the US and even offering to accept the Saudi initiative (recognition of Israel) and using its influence to curb the activities of Hezbollah and Hamas. You must have heard of the letter in 2003 to the American administration approved by Khamenei which was ignored by the US. The aggressive policies of the US towards Iran is as part of its doctrine for the New American Century and the uncontested global power. I gather from your letter that you do not disagree with the aggressive US intentions. These intentions would be the same under a different regime. A truly democratic Iran where no deals could have been made behind people's back would have been viewed as much more of threat to the US interests.

We must be grateful to those who fight and campaign against sanctions and war on the people of Iran and instead of accusing them cruelly when they are bearing the brunt of these acts of aggression, we must do whatever we can to support them and save our country with an open eye, looking the geopolitical realities rather than allowing a turban to obstruct our views. Take care



by nima (not verified) on

It seems you are not following the news and the current affairs and don't read any worthwhile papers. No wonder you talk such utter nonsense. It is not New York Times, it is NEW YORKER! And yes, you don't know much and that explains your callous arrogance. In Iran despite the clerical rule and domestic repression, there is access to New Yorker ... and New York Times. Did you know there is internet access in Iran and that people despite the restrictions on the press get to follow what is happening inside and outside. How do you think they did it under the Shah? If people have a desire and urge to know they reach out and get. It is a shame that you have such free access and such abundance of literature and media that could help you understand but you are imprisoned by your prejudices and arrogance. You see, prison does not have to have visible bars.

K Nassery

I'm impressed, do you get all of the New York Times?

by K Nassery on

I had no idea that our newspapers were available in Iran.  I read rooz on line every day and it was my impression that your own newspapers and publishers were controlled and  shut down if they uttered one single word against your government.  It's refreshing to know that Hersh is freely read in Iran.

If these are the things you believe, may I suggest that you try to read more and discover that it takes two to bring our nations to this horrible place.  I'm sure you are convinced that you are correct in all of your assertions.  I've discussed with Iranians for 35 years and the thought "stubborn as mules"  comes to my mind. 

I am so glad that you wrote this open letter to the US Congress from Iran.  So...can Obama have your home address too?  We will open negotiations with you immediately since you love us because of the 60's which many of us consider our best decade...the hippies and free love stuff....Since you are under Sharia law I can see the appeal of that decade to you.

 Please write again, I like knowing what all Iranians think.  My inlaws must be very strange people because they can't stand the clerics or the regime.



Excellent expression of half of the truth

by Bijan1 (not verified) on

I admire how excellently you have explained half of the truth.
When you talk about "... acting wisely and humanely on the part of US statespersons ..." perhaps at the same time you are also thinking about (the perhaps impossible)... acting wisely and humanely on the part of Iranian statespersons ... which is the other half of the truth. However since you are living under a repressive regime, you have had to censor yourself. But doesn't this self-censorship turn your excellent article into endorsement and support for the repressive regime that should bear at least half of the responsibility for the war they are hoping to start?


Thank you, Mehrdad, for this

by MEHRNAZ (not verified) on

Thank you, Mehrdad, for this brilliant expose of the US warmongers, Republicans and Democrats alike, and of their Iranian agents. The recent article by Seymour Hersh you refer to must be made known as widely as possible. Of course the issues of human rights and democracy lose their "significance" for these paid agents that Hersh clearly refers to, when it comes to the question of impoverishing the population and devastating the country through sanctions, causing instability through terrorism and fomenting ethnic unrest and preparing for an American/Israeli coup. Somehow the question of democracy, human rights and human dignity pops out of existence, empty bubbles as they are. Keep writing. There are still many Iranians outside the country that have kept faith and not sold their country. Our hearts and minds are with our fellow Iranians who are enduring such hardship and threats ... . For a Nuclear and Nokar Free Middle East.


Show common sense

by Surfer (not verified) on

You're lunatic president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and meddling in Iraq is going to bring great suffering to the Iranian people. The only thing preventing Iran from being obliterated by the U.S. is the will of the American people, peace willing or otherwise. America's reputation is already damaged on a global level. But it will repair itself as we liberate more people and countries than afflict any damages.

I wish you guys, luck, you've got a fucked up system.

I've asked hundreds of Iranian's in every facet of life in my city whether or not they'd wish to return. They look at me like I'm crazy and then explain why not.



to nimakhole

by Ali1 (not verified) on

well, it seems you're the one that's slandering me...
I never said I want to bush to come in and save us....the iranian people INSIDE IRAN know that the mullahs will crush any resistance or uprising- so what is your solution, to have the mullahs rule iran for another 1000 years while the oil runs out and the generations of our youth turn into brainwashed arabs....??!!!!!
The difference between the akhoonds and the shah was that the shah did not unleash hell on these murderers...the army was tricked into staying "neutral"....the mullahs however, will kill anyone who poses a threat to them.
that as far as rat goes, I think your the fat moosh, not me


Dear Mehrdad, Well Said!

by Kate (not verified) on

Dear Mehrdad,

Well Said! Good on you.


The real trouble maker

by reza-Sh (not verified) on

Members of Congress! What Mehrdad writes is what the majority of Iranians think. I am sure you know what the root cause of all the trouble in the Middle East is. It is not Iran. It is Israel. AS long as the Palestinian people are under occupation and constant repression, all forms of resistance and preparedness with regards to Israel and its nuclear arsenal is legitimate. This is what every fair and impartial observer will accept. So please end the occupation of Palestinian land, let the refugees return and eliminate Israel's nuclear weapons and there will be peace in the Middle East.



by nima (not verified) on

In relation to your pontifications to Raymond:

1. You say "If you are going to blame the WEST, you should blame the brits [SIC], french, RUSSIANS, and CHINESE", and then you complain: "you mock that I don't know where east and west lie!??". YES WE DO MOCK YOU FOR THAT, THAT IS AN INDICATION OF YOUR ARROGANT IGNORANCE!!!

2. You say to Raymond, "Looking at your NAME it is very likely you have never even set foot in iran", ! "let alone claiming to be the voice of the suffering iranian people"!

Well, that says it all!! And, I bet those 99% of Iranians you are informing us want "bush" to come and save them, would share the same talent for objective assessment and logical clarity as you!!

Well, you have not been able to make any comment on the article and IN YOUR OWN WORDS, your objective is that BUSH should come and throw the "Mullahs" out. You want sanctions, war and outside regime change.

Who is now a servant and has a paymaster? You RATS.


raymond or whatever your name is>>>>

by ali1 (not verified) on

here we go again....first of all you're the one who is slandering people- calling me a liar...
and you mock that I don't know where east and west lie!??my point was about outside powers
so I think you're the one with the bigass chip on his shoulder, not me....
and looking at your name it is very likely you have never even set foot in iran, let alone claiming to be the voice of the suffering iranian people.
I was there in ahvaz when the war began and when the bomb and rockets hit our neighbors' homes....I don't think you would any clue what that is like to try to move you're belongings in the middle of a bombing raid???!!!
so don't try to portray me as one who doesn't know what the mullahs have done to our homeland or what it is like to live under their sword...
everytime I'm visiting iran, 99% of the population is saying "when is bush coming to save us from these murderers????" so I don't know where you are getting your facts from, but the fact is the mullahs will not leave without a fight- it's time to cut the head of the monster!!


to Ali1

by Raymond (not verified) on

I begin with clarifying for you that Russia is not traditionally said to be part of the West! And as for China, oh well!! Perhaps you also imagine that Iran is part of the American south?!

So you say it is "poor and simple" that all problems in Iran emanate from "Mullahs". To say so certainly sounds 'simple' but definitely not 'pure'. So was it all a garden of roses before the Mullahs? What about SAVAK torture chambers and thousands of political prisoners and massive poverty and the atmosphere of terror? Of course that would not have aggravated the US and Israel because their bread was buttered by their cronies in Iran who in turn picked up the crumbs they were thrown at. The issues go beyond Mullahs and non-mullahs, the issue is Iran's geostrategic position and its energy resources: whoever acts as a faithful client is favoured, mullah or not: Look at Saudi Arabia! Do you hear a word about trade unions suppression, women's oppression, gay persecution?! And by the way, what happened to the secular democratically elected government of Mosaddegh? Was he a Mullah too, who "meddled" elsewhere and threatened to "wipe Israel off the map"?! The world is not confined to Iran either. Look elsewhere, as this article points out; the same murderous foreign policies have been and are applied anywhere and any time when it suits an elite minority in the US.

Now, for the sake of argument, let us assume that it is all the Mullah's faults and they are bloodthirsty and responsible for so much suffering and even possibility of war and the increasing sanctions on Iranian people. Fine. Let us imagine this to be the absolutely the case. ... Why is it then that when others like the author of this article and many other individuals speak and campaign against war and sanctions in defence of the people in Iran, you attack them? If it is the fault of Mullahs, why are you attacking those who are trying to protect the PEOPLE OF IRAN from more suffering? All these peace campaigners in Iran, all these ordinary people, millions who are frightened and are suffering and don't want sanctions and wars, are they n the pay of Mullahs? You know the answer: You are a liar who has no concern about the suffering of people in Iran and your crowing is made to order.


Mahmoud said, there is no war!!

by aaj sr (not verified) on

IRI is buying time for a) enhance and advance enrichment, b) get closer to US election where no one would think about war.
The so called "accepting the package", not accepting package, good cop bad cop scenario between Mottaki, Larijani , Ahmadi Mughabe Nejad, is to engage the 5+1 for couple of more months, then again a few more tactics will be used for further delay. Fortunately, West have learnt (and learning by day) how Mullahs are operating.
-IRI is confident that US is not attacking due to deep involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, unpopularity of opening a Third Front, financially and economically US cannot afford it due to increase of oil price.
-IRI is confident (at least Mahmoud Mughabe Nejad is) if there is any attacked, Mehdi will take care of the situation.

But the way things folding fast from both sides, including today's testing of Shahab, prelude scenario of Iraq attack is approaching.


To Brown and Raymond....

by ali1 (not verified) on

If you guys had your blind eyes checked, you would see that I mentioned no one, including myself, advocates war with iran....
Iran is the mess it is today because of the mullahs and their brutal regime, that is it, pure and simple- the Iranian people are suffering terribly because of this and not anything else. Lay the blame where it belongs! If you are going to blame the west, you should blame the brits, french, russians, and chinese who are simply after iran's oil for no money-they are the ones prolonging the suffering of the iranian people by supporting the mullahs
and obviously, you are the RATS that hide behind american names- it you are indeed non-iranians, then you should keep your mouths shut, and leave irans problems to iranians.


A great letter

by Alish (not verified) on

This is a really great letter, bringing up almost all the mischiefs of the US administration and its accomplices in the Congress in relation to Iran and other victims of the US.

iraj khan

National Call-in Day on Iran Blockade Resolution

by iraj khan on

Call your member of Congress and ask him or her not to support a blockade on Iran. Click on the following link to do so:



To Warmongers like Ali1

by Kareem Brown (not verified) on

I see people like you, cowards without name (and shame), repeatedly slander and target anyone who speaks against American or Israeli aggression towards Iran and is fighting against the destruction of our country and inhuman measures that are destroying the ordinary population. You have been tirelessly slandering and abusing any attempts, any individuals or movements who speak against sanctions and war on the people of Iran and the attacks on its international rights such as nuclear energy programme. However, in the context of these very real threats against the sovereignty and indeed the survival of our country, do you also have something to say about these threats and aggression and suffering? Do you have any views on the 400 million dollar secret funds to disintegrate and foment civil war in Iran, for instance? Do you have any views on how the sanctions and now the blockade hurt ordinary Iranians? Do you at all know about the effects of sanctions on the people in Iraq, and how it devastated that country? Of course not! As far as your agenda and the agenda of your paymasters are concerned these threats and suffering are irrelevant or indeed necessary. Come out of your rat holes and say these to the people in Iran.


"Funny you can claim Mullahs are peace loving" - Ali1

by Raymond (not verified) on

What astounds me is the degree of sheer ignorance of some folk and their hatred which is not about the regime in Iran and how they might have suffered or they might have concern about others suffering, it is directed against the PEOPLE in Iran. I have witnessed these people again and again and again attacking and slandering anyone outside or inside Iran who expresses opposition to sanctions and war which are affecting the people in that country. The only relevance of the discussion of the nature of the regime in Iran in this context that American foreign policy has historically and systematically undermined and destroyed genuine democracy in Iran.


In the best national interest of US and Iran

by Farhad S.S. (not verified) on

Great substance for the US Congress men,decision makers, and public, to read, think about, and act in the best national interest of the US, Iran and the world. US initiation of another war, this time agaist Iran, much more costly in human lives and resources, than the one still on-going in Iraq, is simply most insane and criminal. The only meaningful way ahead, is to conduct responsible negotiaitions with Iran aiming to build relations based on mutual respect and cooperation between the two great nations. Wouldn't that be great?


You guies are so gullible

by Danesh (not verified) on

...Actually I was openning a new line for the author to expand his paper a little bit more extensively...

The way it currently stands itt is quite a good paper but it is too short and in order for me to give him a good grade (A- A) he needs to elaborate the paper much further and to provide relevant fact and evidence followed by a extended bibliography--

At this time this paper can earn a grade between of B-


To Ali1 & Dr. Prof. Abol Danesh!!!

by Jackie (not verified) on

Dr. Prof. Abol Danesh!!!

Your remarks could not be more IRRELEVANT! What have your comments got to do with the letter's arguments? Absolutely nothing!!


Straight - to Dr Prof Abdol Danesh

by Nima (not verified) on

Is it not tragic that instead of doing what we can to prevent a catastrophe befalling our fellow human beings and fellow Iranians, these servants of NeoCons, just as the MKO serving Saddam during Iraq-Iran war, are doing what they can to prove their worth (read worthlessness) to their masters in the US and Israel, by attacking those honourable individuals who are fighting against sanctions and war. Worst still, slandering those who are living in Iran and are directly experiencing the hardship and mounting threats there, takes an extraordinary degree of viciousness. Who is paying you for this treachery, Dr Prof Abdol Danesh? And where is your evidence about this hornourable individual that he has a paymaster? Shame on you.


Straight ...

by Dr. Prof. Abol Danesh (not verified) on

Who is in charge in Iran? Who? Let's hear from them (public statement with action to be followed) who get hefty salary, vacation money, retirement package, and bonanza life comforting accomodation.

Jaaaaab! Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaab! JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAB!


To ali1

by Payam S (not verified) on

Nowhere in the article did I read the author claiming mullahs to be peace-loving. It is common knowledge, the nature of the IRI, but show some appreciation for the authors situation (writing inside Iran and deprived of protection and security from brutality), which prevents him from effectively criticizing the IRI.

It is upto the Iranians themselves to resist and defeat the IRI, not some imperial tyrant. And it is upto American to prevent imperial policies of US government.



funny how you claim the mullahs are peace-loving!!!! LOL

by ali1 (not verified) on

I don't think you know that you don't talk for the iranian people-
there is not one word mentioned about the akhoonds brutality and their financial support for terrorists abroad- what about the thousands of individuals who were murdered on the streets of europe since the mullahs were afraid they would topple them???
nobody wants iran attacked but before you criticize the US, try to get rid of the mullahs and their murderers!