NYC-DSA Anti-War Members Disrupt UANI Conference In Manhattan
Founded by some of the most notorious and outspoken enemies of peace like John Bolton, Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Meir Dagan, a former General Director for Mousad, United Against a Nuclear Iran is a gathering of the world’s most hawkish politicians and partisans pushing for war and sanctions on Iran.
At the UANI conference in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 25, 2019, activists from a variety of organizations (including Sepehr Makaremi and Dylan Awalt-Conley from NYC-DSA Anti-War Working Group) stood up and disrupted numerous speakers such as the Treasury Department’s Sigal Mandelker, who runs the Trump administration’s campaign of maximum pressure on Iran, and Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer. Meanwhile, protesters stood outside of the conference holding signs that read “Peace with Iran” and “No War On Iran.” They also distributed flyers about the true nature of the UANI conference.
The same week as the conference, Iranian President Rouhani visited New York to attend the UN General Assembly, sparking hope that a new round of peace talks between the U.S. and Iran might take place. UANI ignores these inconvenient facts. Instead, to further their mission of justifying military action against Iran, UANI would have you believe – as Trump’s special representative for Iran, Brian Hook would say – that “Iran is rejected diplomacy too many times.”
At the UANI conference, speakers like Ron Dermer proudly credited themselves with convincing Trump to keep in place his newly imposed sanctions on Iran. Dermer claimed in the conference that Iran is still exporting less than half a million barrels of oil and asserted that we need to strengthen these sanctions until this number drops to zero.
Next, Sigal Mandelker, boasted about the American strategy to block Iran from doing any business in the world. In the middle of her remarks, Dylan Awalt-Conley stood up and yelled, “Sanctions are an act of war!” An audience member started attacking him, trying to pull him down. He nevertheless continued,“You are blocking medicine from getting to the people of Iran!” at which point the security forcibly removed him from the room.
This disruption prompted the mediator to ask Mandelker about the effect of these sanctions and whether Awalt-Conley’s claim was true. Mandelker responded by saying that sanctions policy has been to avoid the blocking of humanitarian goods and food. This claim is misleading, however, because Iran’s health and welfare system is largely managed by the government, which is responsible for insuring most of the population. As a result of the blockade, there has been a shortage of necessary medicines such as insulin and cancer treatments which has caused a humanitarian crisis in Iran.
Sepehr Makaremi Interrupted her by shouting “You are killing my people! You’re killing the labor movement, you are killing the femenist movement in Iran” At which security proceeded to remove him from the room. While being forced out of the door he yelled, “You are pushing the people of Iran to the right!”