Media Benjamin told The Real News Network on Sunday that she and Mary Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and retired US State Department official, had got “called to a secondary screening.”
“Not only did Ann Wright and I get called to secondary screening, but after that we were greeted by FBI agents who had a whole dossier on us of what we did, which mostly they got from our own website, our blogs,” said Benjamin.
She visited Iran at the head of a 28-member delegation last month to push for peace amid the Trump administration’s stepped-up hostility towards Tehran following Washington’s withdrawal from a nuclear deal.
The activists met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during their stay.
Benjamin said FBI authorities “had a packet of information for us about the sanctions on Iran, the US government policies towards Iran, the issue about registering as a foreign agent, indictment of Iranian groups to scare us away from talking to them.”
“And yes, it was not the warm welcome that we received when we went to Iran,” she said.
Code Pink activists blame Washington’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal on massive lobbying by Israel and Saudi Arabia, urging the US to stop its belligerent anti-Iran policies.
Benjamin slammed the US for withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the subsequent imposition of “very harsh” sanctions on the Iranian nation, saying they have affected the lives of ordinary Iranians.
“We did find that although Iran produces most of its own medicines, certain medicines for diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, or diabetes, it was difficult for them to find those,” she said.
“So we found from life choices to lifesaving medicines, the sanctions have made people’s lives quite difficult.”
The activist censured “both Saudi Arabia and Israel” for attempting “to squash any coming together between the US and Iran.”
“So it is a very sad history of US interference, and the US trying to make an Iranian government subservient to US interests instead of a sovereign country.”
The Iranian Medical Council says the US illegal economic sanctions restrict Iran’s access to medical and health services.
Margaret Flowers, another member of Code Pink delegation, echoed what Benjamin said, acknowledging that the US government is not “trustworthy”.
She described Iran as “a country with such a deep history and such a mature society,” saying “what a real loss it is to people in the United States to not be able to have a cultural and academic exchange with the people of Iran.”
Kevin Zeese, the co-founder of Popular Resistance and a member of the advisory board of World Beyond War, another member of Code Pink delegation, hailed Iran’s rich civilization, saying the US is “an adolescent bully to this really mature country”.
She praised Foreign Minister Zarif for “trying to do the best, not only for Iran, but for that region, and for the United States.
“Our security is weakened if we don’t have a good relation with Iran. It’s in our interest to have a positive relationship.”
Iran says it has strong support of the German, British, French, Russian and Chinese governments over the nuclear deal.
Tensions intensified between Tehran and Washington last year, when President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the nuclear accord, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran.
Since then, the US has been trying to coerce the Europeans into following its lead and withdrawing from the nuclear accord with Iran.