From the archives: A month of anti-war protests to defend Iran

This article and the video below, which cover the last anti-war protests to defend Iran from U.S. aggression in recent history, were assembled by the Indianapolis Liberator to provide a frame of reference for those who participated in the 2020 month of nationwide actions that helped prevent a war with Iran and to help those newer to the movement have a better historical and political understanding of the current situation.


The latest April 21 official ANSWER Indiana statement was prompted by Iran’s moral and legal right to retaliate against Israel for violating international law and bombing its embassy in Damascus, killing dozens of Iranians and several top military generals on April 1. As ANSWER Indiana wrote:

“For those in the U.S. anti-war movement and everyone who wants peace, it is absolutely imperative that we have an objective assessment of the balance of forces at play. We have to do everything we can to counter the imperialist propaganda that our friends, coworkers, neighbors, and others are subjected to on a daily basis.”

The U.S. has been at war with Iran ever since the Iranian Revolution overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah or, as Mohammad Reza Pahlav called himself, the “King of Kings” in 1979 and created the independent Republic of Iran. As an anti-war and anti-imperialist organization, the ANSWER Coalition and its branch in Indianapolis have a long history of protesting U.S. aggression against Iran, viewing it as part of a larger effort of the U.S. to dominate the region.

Background: Trump assassinates General Soleimani to provoke war

On January 3, then-President Donald Trump moved to start a war with Iran by illegally assassinating Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian military leader and Major General of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps while he was in Baghdad. There was no doubt the Pentagon and Trump administration intended to start a war with this act that violated the Constitution, War Powers Act, and international law. After all, imagine what the U.S. would do if Iran assassinated a top U.S. general and then boasted about it publicly? General Soleimani was not only popular in Iran but throughout the region. His funeral procession lasted several days and traversed Syria, Iraq, and other countries before arriving in Tehran.

During a talk to the Parliament, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi revealed the reason Trump was in Baghdad: he was delivering a proposal from Iran to be delivered to Saudia Arabia in an attempt to deescalate tensions in the region. In fact, Soleimani was scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister the morning of his assassination at the Baghdad airport. What’s more, it was Trump who asked Iraq’s top political leader to mediate the peace process between the U.S. and Iran. In other words, Trump and the Pentagon knew the general was acting in a diplomatic capacity to facilitate peace when they assassinated him.

The people respond

On January 4, 2020, the very next day, ANSWER Indiana led a demonstration in Indianapolis, one of 80 cities across the country to hold emergency anti-war demonstrations. Given the widespread demonization of the Iranian Revolution, its government, and its people, they didn’t anticipate a large turnout. Yet the protests grew, showing the necessity of an anti-imperialist peace movement in this city and across the country.

Media coverage of the month of action

Even after Iran retaliated by firing dozens of rockets at U.S. occupation bases in Iraq, ANSWER Indiana took to the streets and were surprised to find even more support amongst the people.

The movement exploded rapidly and, by the time of the January 25 Global Day of Action, the possibility of an immediate war faded. The action still proceeded because, as ANSWER Indiana organizer Eli Morey told WRTV, “We’ve sunk trillions of dollars into wars that have done nothing but destabilize the region and displace or kill millions of people.” As recent developments demonstrated, despite changing tactics, the U.S.’s goal remains the same: to overthrow the Iranian Revolution along with every independent and anti-colonial government that dares to stand up to U.S. imperialism.

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Featured photo: Protesters gathered at the January 25, 2020 Global Day of Action. Credit: Indianapolis Liberation Center.