Press release – Solidarity organisation raises Middle East peace concerns

20th January 2024

For immediate use

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has called for the international community to intervene to prevent the further escalation of conflicts in the Middle East, which has seen the continued bombardment of a number of facilities in Yemen by the US and the UK, firing of ballistic missiles by Iran’s IRGC at Israeli ‘espionage centres’ in Erbil in north Iraq and hitting ‘ISIL’ targets in Syria, and finally exchange of missile fire between Iran and Pakistan in the past week. 

These escalations have been followed, over the last day, with Israeli strikes in both Syria and Lebanon resulting in the deaths of a four IRGC personnel – two of whom are believed to have been high-ranking – and two members of Hezbollah respectively.

Israeli genocide in Gaza is showing no sign of slowing down, while threats from the US and UK governments against Iran continue. These are in response to missile and drone attacks against oil tankers and cargo ships on the Red Sea by Yemeni Houthi forces.  As a result, hardliners inside the Iranian dictatorship are putting pressure upon the regime to act in order to flex its military muscle in the region.

Any involvement of Iran in the war in Gaza so far has been by proxy in arming Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen.  Direct intervention against other states increases the likelihood of retaliatory strikes and the prospect of NATO powers being drawn even further into the conflict.  Strikes against Yemeni bases by the US/UK alliance has already shown willingness on the part of the West to intervene.

CODIR General Secretary, Gawain Little, emphasised the dangers of the present situation and the threat to world peace any escalation could bring.

“The Iranian regime is volatile and cannot be relied upon to act in a rational way” he said.  “The missile attack upon Pakistan in particular, a nuclear state, poses a real threat not just to peace in the Middle East but peace at a global level.  Key to this is an immediate total ceasefire, ending the occupation of Palestine and implementing UN resolutions calling for a two-state solution.”

The fate of the Iranian people who have suffered over forty years of dictatorship is also a key concern for CODIR and its trade union affiliates.

An ongoing strike wave, which has gripped Iran for the past two years, has developed in spite of the draconian approach to trade union rights taken by the Iranian regime.  This has included the imprisonment torture and execution of trade union and political activists engaged in basic human rights activity.

Any widening of war in the Middle East involving Iran will give the theocratic regime an excuse to increase its repression of the people of Iran and outlaw opposition activities and in particular workers strikes.

For the population as a whole the mismanagement of the economy, exacerbated by corruption at every level of government and sanctions imposed by the United States, has meant poverty and unemployment for many.

Mr. Little was keen to draw attention to the impact a regional war would have upon the people of Iran.

“Having suffered an eight-year long war with Iraq in the 1980’s the people of Iran know only too well what it is like to lose family members and live with the constant insecurity war brings. Thousands have already lost their lives as a result of the ongoing Israeli operations in Gaza.  We do not want to see that tragedy unfold across the Middle East. We should campaign against any widening of conflict in the Middle East.  This would be catastrophic for the working people of Palestine, Lebanon and Iran.”

CODIR implores the international community to be vigilant and, through the auspices of the United Nations, to call for an immediate halt to any offensive military action by Iran and by Western or regional actors, as well as a reversal in their war footings, so as to guard against the unnecessary escalation and spread of the conflict in the region. The only route to the de-escalation and proper resolution of the current tensions is through diplomacy and negotiation via the recognised channels at the UN.

CODIR requests that trade union affiliates write to the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to make clear their opposition to missile attacks on neighbouring countries.  All disputes should be resolved through dialogue and UN mediation.

CODIR is also asking for individuals to write to their local MP, drawing their attention to the worsening situation in the Middle East and requesting that they write to the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as using their platform in Parliament, to draw attention to the plight of the people of Iran should the conflict escalate.


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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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