Fars News in Iran held a press conference Tuesday with the American activist group Code Pink in which members of the group reportedly defended Iran's right to missile defense and claimed the US government was not allowed to critique Israel.
Code Pink has been in Iran since late February, according to a statement they put out on the Common Dreams website. Their 28-person "American peace delegation" had met with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on February 25. They held a press conference on February 28 slamming the Trump administration for leaving the Iran dealand claiming Israel and Saudi Arabia had carried out lobbying against the deal. "The Israelis got as a compensation more of our tax dollars," Medea Benjamin, Code Pink co-founder, was quoted saying by Press TV.
Fars News held a press conference with the group termed "anti-war organization Code Pink in Iran," at which several of the women activists held signs saying "peace with Iran." The women covered their hair with pink head-scarves to follow Iran's laws while the men on the delegation wore pink T-shirts. According to the report the activists told journalists that they believe their work will be effected "because the American people are tired of war and although the Trump administration claims that Iran is the source of all the challenges and conflicts in the Middle East, many Americans have come to believe that this claim is wrong."
The activists claimed that in fact, Americans were becoming suspicious of Saudi Arabia and dissatisfied with the US support for Israel. Despite being an anti-war group, several members appeared to praise the military in Iran. One activists was quoted in Fars News as saying that the US military is "aware of the strength of the Iranian army" and that Iran was a country of 80 million people. "The anti-war activists emphasized Iran's right to missile defense, adding that since the US has military bases around Iran, it is Iran's right to upgrade its defense capability." Another activist "said the US government was not allowed to criticize the Zionists in response to a question about the unequivocal support of the US government for the Zionist regime."
The group appeared in awe of their experience. "It was quite amazing to have a chance to speak for an hour and a half to the foreign minister," Benjamin told Democracy Now. She claimed they had "incredible" meetings, including with women and minorities.
Seth Frantzman is The Jerusalem Post's op-ed editor, a Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a founder of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.