Interview with CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin on her new book ‘Inside Iran’. First published in The Iranian on 5 June 2018:
Medea Benjamin’s entry into the public sphere came with disruptive vigor in May 2013, when she interrupted an address by former US President Barack Obama to object to his then policy on the use of armed drones.
Obama responded to Benjamin at the time saying, “The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to… these are tough issues, and the suggestion that we can gloss over them is wrong.”
The incident perhaps gave Benjamin a bigger audience for her activism via the organization CODEPINK, through which she had been involved for years. And through which she’s tackled a number of global issues across the world.
Having looked at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a book published in 2016, she’s now taking on Iran.
The publisher, OR Books, writes:
“In 1979, the Iranian Revolution brought a Shia theocracy to the 80 million inhabitants of the Middle East’s second largest country. In the decades since, bitter relations have persisted between the U.S. and Iran. Yet how is it that Iran has become the primary target of American antagonism, when Saudi Arabia, a regime that is even more repressive, remains one of America’s closest allies?”
Benjamin’s book Inside Iran attempts to look at this complex relationship from a multitude of angles. From the pre-colonial period to the CIA-engineered coup that overthrew the country’s democratic leadership in 1953, and then its emergence as the one nation Democrats and Republicans alike regularly unite in denouncing. She tackles the contradictions in Iran’s system of government, its religiosity, and its citizens’ way of life.
So we understand more of Benjamin’s drive behind the book, she sat down and answered a few questions for The Iranian.