Protest on the UI’s campus asks for an end to the US’s agression against Iran

On the steps of the Old Brick Church, Veterans For Peace stood in the cold to voice their concerns of the potential US Iran war.


Wyatt Dlouhy

Ed Flaherty, Secretary of Veterans for Peace speaks during an anti-war with Iran demonstration at the Old Brick Church in Iowa City on Jan. 25.

Eleanor Hildebrandt, News Reporter

Protestors stood in the ankle-deep snow on Old Brick Church’s steps holding a white banner that read ‘The People Still Don’t Want War,’ Saturday afternoon.

In windy and cold weather, Veterans For Peace, an organization that promotes alternatives to war and militarization, gathered outside and condemned recent U.S. government actions against Iran, calling for the withdrawal from Iraq.

The group took ire with the U.S.-backed assassination of Qasem Soleimani, which they called an ‘act of war’ against Iran. They also condemned the sanctions the U.S. is currently imposing on the Persian people, another name for Iranian people.

Ed Flaherty, secretary of Veterans For Peace Chapter 161 in Iowa City, helped coordinate the protest.

Flaherty read a letter addressed to the country of Iran written by Code Pink, a grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and support human rights initiatives. He told the group to take action by protesting and asking their representatives and senators to vote to stop aggression toward the Middle Eastern country.

“There are 200 rallies across the world, saying no war on Iran,” he said. “Our voices need to be amplified. Our voices may well be powerless, but if we don’t speak the truth to this, who’s going to?”

Wyatt Dlouhy
Members of Veterans for Peace gather during an anti-war with Iran demonstration at the Old Brick Church in Iowa City on Jan. 25.

Maggie Hogan, an Iowa City resident and supporter of Veterans For Peace attended the rally, holding a cardboard ‘Give Peace A Chance’ sign. Hogan had previously participated in rallies with Veterans for Peace, but believed her attendance was especially crucial after the U.S. took steps to assassinate Soleimani.

“I think any time we can speak up for peace in these trying times, we need to make our voices heard,” she said. “Peace on this planet is essential to the wellbeing of our species.”

Hogan and Flaherty were not alone in their concerns. Jeff Weiss, the military expert speaking at the 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum, The U.S. Role in Our Interdependent World, spoke to the protestors before the forum took place inside Old Brick. Weiss said the U.S. was already at war with Iran.

“The political assassination of the top general in Iran was a clear act of war,” he said. “These sanctions that the United States is currently waging on 82 million Persians is also an act of war.”

Weiss also discussed the importance of the Iran nuclear deal. He also discussed President Trump’s decision to leave the deal.

“For almost 800 days, the United States, Iran and countries around the world negotiated the most comprehensive nuclear treaty in the history of the world, literally,” he said. “When this president unilaterally pulled out of this treaty, it was a huge event in Iran and around the world. For the Persians, this is a collective punishment.”

Wyatt Dlouhy
Attendees enter the church to attend a forum following an anti-war with Iran demonstration at the Old Brick Church in Iowa City on Jan. 25

Listening to speakers, Blair Frank stood near the back of the protestors, holding a colorful painting depicting children. His decision to protest stemmed from the amount of people around the world who would be affected if there was a war as well as the potential impact it would have on the environment.

The doomsday clock, a symbol that shows how imminent a man-made global catastrophe is, was moved ahead to 100 seconds to midnight on Jan. 23. Two years ago, the clock read two minutes to midnight.

“I’ve been for wholeness and wellness and the absence of war for many years,” he said. “The Union of Concerned Scientists just moved the doomsday clock ahead to further than ever before because all of the access to weapons around the planet. I’m here to remind everyone that we are one global family.”