The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jean Stevens, CODEPINK media coordinator, 508-769-2138

CODEPINK Co-Founders on Peace Diplomacy Mission to Iran:

Meet with Iranian officials and community groups; urge Obama to meet with U.S. peace movement


Echoing the nation's incredible feelings of hope and
change following the presidential election of Barack Obama, two
co-founders of CODEPINK Women for Peace and a retired U.S. Army Colonel
are in Iran for a week-long citizen diplomacy trip to foster peaceful
ties between the two countries.

Jodie Evans, Medea Benjamin and Col. Ann Wright will meet with Iranian
officials, women's groups, NGOs and peace activists under CODEPINK's
"Let's talk!" initiative within its new "War is SO over" campaign inspired by Obama's historic election (listen to Evans describe the initiative and the trip on Air America radio here).

"We know that to achieve peace, it takes an engagement of the people of
the country," Evans said. "They counteract and humanize the war
mongering done by those in power."

"The Iranians we are meeting are so anxious to see a new relationship
under Obama's presidency," Benjamin said. "Still carrying the scars of
an 8-year war with Iraq and the daily hardships of sanctions, they,
too, are ready for hope and change."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited the women to Iran last
October, when they and 150 other leaders in the American peace movement
met with him in New York City during his trip to the United Nations
(read The Nation's story about the meeting here).
Benjamin and Evans asked Ahmadinejad why Iran had been denying their
and other peace activists visas to visit the country, denying their
vision for promoting peace through citizen diplomacy. The president
told them their visas would be granted and he hoped the United States
would be reciprocal in granting visas to Iranians.

In their weekly alert, CODEPINK asked its 200,000 members to request
that President-Elect Obama meet with the leaders of the US Peace
movement, another element of its "Let's talk!" initiative.

CODEPINK kicked off its "War is SO over" campaign Nov. 12 with a party in Times Square celebrating the end of the Iraq War as reported in a prank special edition of the New York Times distributed in several major cities, produced with help from CODEPINK. A major viral story
worldwide, the paper has continued to give people throughout the nation
a jolt of optimism about living in a nation at peace with its
neighbors. And last week, a dozen CODEPINK members in Washington, D.C.
formed a peace caravan and delivered doves, apple pies, flowers and
cards to the Embassies of Syria, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia --
five countries with which the Bush administration has had antagonistic
relations (view this story on the trip in the DC Examiner here).

To arrange interviews with Jodie Evans or Medea Benjamin to learn more
about this historic trip and CODEPINK's "War is SO over" work, please
contact Jean Stevens at 508-769-2138 or email at

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

(818) 275-7232