Solidarity organisation warns of dangers following assassination in Iran

28th November 2020

Press release

For immediate use

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has condemned the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, head of the Ministry of Defence’s Research and Innovation Organisation (referred to under its Persian acronym, the SPND) and appealed for calm in the Middle East in the interests of the beleaguered people of Iran and those across the region.

The killing of Fakhrizadeh was swiftly condemned “as an act of state terror” by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, while Western intelligence agencies suspected Fakhrizadeh of being behind a covert nuclear weapons programme in Iran.

The killing comes at a delicate time in relations between the United States and Iran as the US moves into the transition phase towards a new president.  The assassination underlines the danger of unsettling further the delicate balance of forces in the Middle East. 

The killing has the potential to increase the opposition of hardliners in Tehran to any engagement with the West at a time when a Joe Biden presidency offered the prospect of a change in relations between the two countries.  Some influential conservative politicians in Iran have threatened a swift revenge.  Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Regime, stressed that “severe revenge awaits the perpetrators of the assassination.”  

Iranian media also reported that Abolfazl Amoui, spokesman for the National Security Commission of the Parliament, took a similar stance with the hashtag “Revenge is our right.”  Another member of the National Security Commission, Fada Hossein al-Maliki, called the assassination of Fakhrizadeh “a stain on the foreheads of the Mossad and CIA services”, before going on to state, “In these last days of Trump presidency, the Israelis with these desperate moves aim to pursue a full-scale war in the region!”

Speculation inside Iran has pointed to the involvement of Israel in the assassination, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu known to be especially hawkish in his attitude towards Iran.  Certainly, a hard-line response from Tehran would present incoming President Biden with a significant foreign relations issue to deal with right at the start of his term of office, and would make any diplomatic attempt to bring Iran back to the table that much more fraught.

Both Netanyahu and outgoing US President Donald Trump have been openly hostile towards Iran and arguably have an interest in making life difficult for Joe Biden coming into office.  Just last Sunday (22 November) there are reports that Netanyahu and the Head of Mossad, Yosef Meir Cohen, took a private charter flight to Neom, Saudi Arabia – where they met secretly with Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, and outgoing US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, following the conclusion of the G20 Meeting held in the kingdom.  Neither the purpose nor subject of that meeting have been publicly divulged and there are growing concerns as to what this may portend for Iran and the region in the time between now and Joe Biden’s swearing in as president.

Increased uncertainty in the region will not benefit the people of Iran, already suffering under a corrupt regime, economic instability, and widespread impoverishment.    

CODIR Assistant General Secretary, Jamshid Ahmadi, called upon the UK and EU governments to condemn the assassination and call for calm in the region…

“The Iranian people have suffered enough in over 40 years since the establishment of the Islamic regime.  In recent years, non-payment of wages in Iran has been a major problem for workers which has resulted in protests and strikes in different parts of the country.  Further economic instability, which any form of conflict would create, would only exacerbate this situation and inflict greater hardship upon the Iranian people.”

CODIR will continue to monitor the situation following the provocative assassination and appeal for solidarity with the people of Iran, who could be faced with being victims of an external intervention or an increasingly hard-line regime at home.


Further information for Editors

Contact Information for CODIR: –

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Further information on CODIR

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 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.  Major trade unions in Britain are affiliated to CODIR and support its campaign for peace, human and democratic rights, and social justice in Iran.

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 nation.

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