Nearly two-dozen college students and community residents held lit candles in front of Byrnes Auditorium at Winthrop University on Saturday night to condemn any hint of possible U.S. military intervention in Iran.
Billed as a "no war in Iran" candlelight vigil, the demonstration was co-sponsored by Winthrop's College Libertarians and Socialist Student Union, and stood as one of several concerted efforts by protestors in cities across the U.S. and other nations to speak against possible war with Iran.
"Peace in the Middle East...justice in the Middle East...we don't want to fight," said Judson Abraham, the event's organizer and president of the Socialist Student Union.
Abraham, who delivered a speech praising the Iranian labor movement, said the possibility of the United States going to war with Iran would not be in the nation's best interest, although it seems, he said, that the country has already provoked the conflict.
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"The drums of war are beating rapidly," said Abraham, a senior political science major.
"Republican politicians are salivating at the mouth" to attack Iran, he said, before declaring that U.S. and Israeli influence in Iran would help propel that nation back into an oppressive regime.
Several reports have insisted that Iran is harvesting nuclear energy, actions the nation's leaders claim is a cost-effective attempt to meet the electricity needs of its people. A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had enough supplies to possibly develop nuclear weapons.
The United States, Israel and Europe have imposed economic sanctions on Iran, preventing the nation from exporting oil. In response, Iran has threatened to close off the Strait of Hormuz, a critical oil hub for the world.
Faced with the possibility of losing their oil supply, American and European leaders have pressured Iran to refrain from blocking the strait and to disclose details of its nuclear program. With tensions mounting during recent negotiations, some fear that a military conflict between Iran and joint U.S., European and Israeli forces is inevitable.
For David Matos, such a scenario is "unacceptable."
Matos, a worker with the Carolina Peace Resource Center in Columbia, said Israeli influence is what's fanning flames of "hysteria" for an attack on Iran.
"Attacking Iran is worse than Iran getting a nuclear weapon," Matos said. "Hypocrisy is a lousy reason to attack a region, kill people and start a war."