This is a slightly edited version of a March 22 statement.

With the launching of rocket attacks by U.S. military forces in the early morning of March 20, the war against Iraq aimed at a “regime change” entered its final stage. Continuing air strikes and bombardment of Baghdad and other main cities of Iraq is a disaster the result of which not only affects the innocent people of Iraq, but also seriously endangers the future of the countries within the whole region.

Worldwide reporting of this inhumane and illegal war, which has been named “Shock and Awe” by U.S. leaders and described as “unparalleled in history” by General Tommy Franks, the U.S. operation chief, has caused anger and revulsion among supporters of peace and human rights. By bombing residential areas, and hospitals and deploying terrifying weaponry of which large numbers of civilians, among them children, are the victims, US military forces have indicated they are willing to topple Saddam’s ruling dictatorship at any price.

During these crucial times, by actively participating in the antiwar movement, we extend our fraternal solidarity with the people of Iraq and its progressive forces, including the Communist Party of Iraq.

Based on explicit statements made by Tony Blair, the British prime minister, the objective of the coalition of the warmongering countries is that the outcome of the “Shock and Awe” approach – the speed and the extent of its destruction-should make all forces opposing imperialism realize that the same fait is awaiting them. War against Iraq is a pretext to the “new order” that imperialism is planning to impose on the world.

By broadcasting sanitized and controlled television images from the war front, and effectively turning this tragedy into a lengthy war movie, the imperialism attempts to naturalize people’s antiwar sentiments – and to persuade the world’s opinion that any opposition to its mighty military machine is futile. Working people and progressive forces of all countries have organized an unprecedented and massive movement against war and for a just peace.

The first phase of the war that is being waged along our homeland’s western borders, including landing of a number of rockets inside Iran, have raised concern among progressive forces in our country.

According to several world news agencies, in recent days there have been efforts by high-ranking officials from Iran and Turkey (a NATO member) to coordinating their policies toward the war and especially with regard to the situation in Kurdistan. Also a secret mission by a senior American official to Tehran and his extensive discussion with senior officials from the government and the National Security Council reflects the nature of this adventurous and dangerous position.

We condemn the direct and indirect actions of the leaders of Iran’s regime in coordination with the American and British military invasion of Iraq, and Turkey’s adventurous campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan. We warn the people of our country against the consequences of the regime’s policies, which are opposed to our national interests and must be exposed.

The disastrous consequences of the war against Iraq and all its aspects seriously threaten not only the existence and the sovereignty of our neighboring country but also the political stability and security of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The decision of the governments of the United States and Britain in starting a war, which clearly violates the UN’s Charter and international law, and in light of unprecedented worldwide antiwar protests – once again demonstrates the warmongering essence of imperialism and its dissonance with the will of the people.

Iran’s progressive and democratic forces cannot under any circumstances agree with a military invasion and imposition of “regime change” by the imperialist forces, whether in Iraq or in any other country, including Iran. The Tudeh Party of Iran, along with all the supporters of peace in our country, calls upon the people and the working masses of Iran to raise the banner of peace in order to inhibit the ability of the warmongers within and outside our country.

The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that the working masses of the world can stop this dangerous adventurism. With our deep conviction in the instinctive peace loving nature of the working class movement and in the necessity of the working masses to unite – we propose that the communist parties and the international trade union movement take specific steps coordinating a worldwide campaign against the war. The Tudeh Party of Iran is asking its members, supporters and friends, wherever they are, to fully support the anti-war movement. The struggle for peace is inseparable from the struggle for democracy and socialism.

Founded in 1942 out of the struggles of the labor and communist movements, the Tudeh Party has been the main target of attacks by the reactionary governments and forces in Iran and of imperialism.

The party has been outlawed by various governments and Tudeh members sent to torture chambers and firing squads;

yet the party has relentlessly continued its struggle, remaining loyal to the lofty ideals of peace, democracy and socialism.