US protester disrupts Iranian envoy’s think tank speech

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON

An address by the U.S. Iranian envoy was interrupted by a prominent human rights activist.

The U.S. Special Envoy to Iran Brian Hook spoke at the Hudson Institute here Wednesday, discussing the need to stop Iranian nuclear nuclear proliferation.

The envoy and advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Iranian missile program is a threat to U.S. allies, including Israel.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, a grassroots human rights group, stepped on the stage unexpectedly after Hook finished his address, and criticized Hook’s remarks and the points he made about Iran sanctions.

“I wanna ask: do you think these sanctions are hurting the regime, or are they hurting the Iranian people?” Benjamin asked as she was being cornered by security.

In May, President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, with world powers.

Before the U.S. left the agreement, Germany, France, and Great Britain said the deal was the best option to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Once the U.S. left, many countries supported protecting it the deal, including the European Union (EU).

“The Germans. The French. The British. They want to keep in this deal. The world community wants to keep the deal,” Benjamin said.

She also criticized U.S. allies who favored Washington leaving the deal, mainly Saudi Arabia.

“Let’s talk about Saudi Arabia. Is that who our allies are? They are the biggest threat to the world community… It is the Saudi bombing that is killing most people in Yemen.”

Hook responded to Benjamin’s protest by saying the priority of the U.S. is to help Iranians.

“The prior administration failed to stand with the Iranian people, and we corrected that mistake,” Hook said.

He said the U.S. administration was more than willing to speak with Iran, but Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Ayatollah Khamenei were unwilling to come to the negotiating table.

Benjamin said the U.S. was trying to justify a war with Iran.

“You are making a case for a war with Iran. How did the war with Iraq turn out? You’re doing exactly the same thing as we did in the case of Iraq,” Benjamin added.

“No more war. Peace with Iran,” she chanted as she was carried out by security guards.


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