The ongoing killing of Iranian scientists has been condemned as a provocation to war by a leading solidarity organization campaigning for peace in the Middle East. The UK-based Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People's Rights (CODIR) last week pointed out that the assassination of 32-year-old chemist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was the fifth time a scientist associated with Iran's nuclear program had been killed in the past two years.
CODIR says that if such actions had taken place on U.S. or British soil they would have been seen as tantamount to a declaration of war. The organization warns that there are elements within the Iranian regime which will see these actions in the same way and may foolishly and disastrously respond accordingly.
CODIR is calling for peace activists in the United States, the UK and across Europe and the Middle East in particular to put pressure upon their governments not to push for conflict with Iran but to keep the door open for dialogue. The solidarity group says the Iranian people should not be made to pay for the provocative positions taken by the Iranian government or the belligerence of the United States and its allies.
"The interests of the people of Iran are not served by war," CODIR Assistant General Secretary Jamshid Ahmadi said on Monday. "It is only the leaders of the theocratic regime in Tehran, who see war as a distraction from their serious internal problems, and the United States, which sees it as a further chance to consolidate their influence in the region, who would regard war as an option." He continued, "The Iranian people, through their progressive intellectuals, peace activists, progressive forces and labor organizations, have made it clear that they have no interest in conflict."
While the U.S. has been anxious to distance itself from the assassinations, the Israelis, in the person of the Israeli military spokesman, Brigadier General Yoay Mordechai, have expressed the view that they are "definitely not shedding a tear." Experts in the intelligence community suggest that the killings have all the hallmarks of an Israeli operation.
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 and CODIR says the assassination campaign and its consequences could make 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 would certainly be the first victims of a war but many others would follow. We call for peace and respect for international law at all times."
Photo: An F/A-18F Super Hornet from the Black Aces of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41 launches off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Arabian Sea, Jan. 3. U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate/AP