The UK-based Committee for the Defense of the Iranian People's Rights (CODIR) today condemned the European Union move to impose sanctions upon the Islamic Republic of Iran as effectively a declaration of war upon the Iranian people.
The organization, which has campaigned for 30 years against human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic, has been a prominent voice in insisting that dialogue is the only way forward in the current crisis. The sanctions imposed by the EU are seen as a provocative escalation of an already unstable situation which could be a precursor to military intervention by the West.
CODIR Assistant General Secretary Jamshid Ahmadi made clear the position of human rights and peace organizations in relation to Iran, stating:
"We condemn the Iranian regime for its human rights violations, its ongoing repression of religious minorities and the regime's persecution of human rights activists. However, embargoing Iranian oil through the de-facto ban on trade with Iran's central bank ultimately has a negative impact upon the ordinary people of Iran."
CODIR is also concerned that the reality of Western sanctions and the threat of military intervention will hand the regime a propaganda coup ahead of parliamentary elections in March. "These sanctions are a boost for the Iranian regime in advance of the elections in March," said Ahmadi.
"There is no proof of a nuclear weapons program, only secret service suspicions and allegations. What we really need is the escalation of human rights dialogue and serious negotiations for a nuclear-free Middle East."
CODIR is unequivocal in its condemnation of any external interference in the affairs of the Islamic Republic, stressing that it is for the people of Iran to determine their own future. Human rights, peace and trades union organizations must show solidarity in assisting the people of Iran to establish a truly democratic state, the organization says.
The possibility of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations, making it one step removed from a direct U.S. intervention, has long been considered a tactical option by the West, and CODIR insists that the sanctions campaign makes such an attack more likely.
"We will continue to do all we can to support the people of Iran," said Ahmadi, "and we are looking to the peace movements across the globe to do everything they can to avert a conflict. The ordinary people of Iran will certainly be the first victims of sanctions or a war but many others may follow."
CODIR has declared its full support for demonstrations taking place on Saturday Feb. 4 in many cities across the world.