Solidarity group expresses concern over rising US/Iran tensions

6th February 2017
Press Release
For Immediate Use
Solidarity organisation, the Committee for the Defence of Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR), has expressed concern that the Iranian people will be the main losers in the current war of words between the United States and Iran.  CODIR’s Executive Council, which held an emergency meeting over the weekend, has called on labour, peace and democratic forces worldwide to be on the alert against the possibility of a conflict between the two countries.
Recent comments by US President, Donald Trump, and National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, that Iran is “on notice” following a ballistic missile test, have raised tension following Trump’s election.  However, concerns have now been increased further by US Defence Secretary, James Mattis, asserting that Iran is the world’s “biggest sponsor of state terrorism.”
The comments of Mattis, made on a visit to Japan, also included the statement that,
“We have seen their misconduct, their misbehaviour, from Lebanon and Syria to Bahrain and to Yemen and it’s got to be addressed at some point.”
The United States has imposed new sanctions on Iran, against particular companies and individuals, claiming that Iran is in contravention of UN Resolution 2231by carrying out missile tests last week.  This accusation is false. The UN resolution concerns the nuclear agreement with Iran, not other forms of weapons testing.
The tension between the two states has led Iran to respond in kind, announcing restrictions against US companies and individuals, “involved in creating and supporting extremist terrorist groups” or who are “helping in the killing and oppression of defenceless people”.
Iran is among the seven Muslim-majority countries included in a controversial US travel ban.US officials have suggested more action could follow.  President Trump has been a vocal critic of the nuclear accord, which saw Iran agreeing to curb its sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.
CODIR has expressed concern that the real victims of increased tension will be the people of Iran, as renewed sanctions could plunge the already fragile economy of the Islamic Republic into deeper recession.
“This war of words, between the United States and Iran, is in danger of punishing the people of Iran further and destabilising the entire region,” said CODIR Assistant General Secretary, Jamshid Ahmadi.  “There are belligerent voices in both the United States and Iran who have an interest in stirring up tension to suit their own purposes.  Any push towards a conflict between the two countries will have disastrous implications for the Middle East region and most importantly the peace process in Syria.  It will undermine peace.”
CODIR has stressed that the Iranian economy is still suffering from the impact of the previous round of US and EU imposed economic sanctions, claiming that any re-imposition will have a disastrous impact on the economy, working people and social justice in Iran.
CODIR has also expressed concern that the fundamentalist and Islamist radicals inside Iran, who have never been enthusiastic about the nuclear agreement with the West, will exploit the situation.  CODIR fears that this would take diplomatic relations between Iran and the US back to the days before the Obama presidency in 2009. 
“The political atmosphere could create a situation in Iran in which reform and the campaign for human and democratic rights take a back seat,” warned Mr Ahmadi.  “Iranian campaigners for human and democratic rights, including trade union rights, will no doubt suffer.  We could have pro war cliques in the US and Iran, intent on conflict and militarisation, exploiting the situation. This could easily open the way for advocates of discredited US-style regime change to move in and do their worst”
CODIR, which has campaigned for over 30 years to highlight trade union and human rights abuses in Iran, will continue to support the rights of the Iranian people and highlight the grave injustices perpetuated by the dictatorial regime in Iran. 
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CODIR is the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights.  It has been established since 1981 and has consistently campaigned to expose human and democratic rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
CODIR has worked closely with the trade union movement in the UK, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons. A number of major trade unions in the UK are nationally affiliated to CODIR and are supporting its campaigns.  Amongst them are: UNISON, NUT, NASUWT, UCU, FBU, RMT and the UNITE.
CODIR has published Iran Today, its quarterly journal, since 1981, explaining the latest developments in Iran and the most effective way that the British public opinion could demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Iran.
In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the Iran.
Jane Green
National Campaigns Officer
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