The assassination on Friday 3 January 2020 in Baghdad, Iraq of Qasem Soleimani, the Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) extra-territorial Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, Head of Iraq’s Kataib Hezbollah, together with several other Iranian, Iraqi, and Lebanese nationals, on the order of US President, Donald Trump, is a clear violation of both Iraqi national sovereignty and international law. Our parties condemn it unreservedly.
We also condemn the subsequent threats of Trump against Iran, threatening to strike 52 sites in that country, including cultural sites. Furthermore, we view the Iranian regime’s threat to hit US personnel and interests in the region as a dangerous and irresponsible position that serves only to escalate tension.
The missile strikes on US bases in Iraq on Wednesday 8 January, by the IRGC, clearly heightened tension and threatened to bring about an all-out war with USA. It is clear that these bellicose moves have the potential to transform Iraq once again into a regional and international battlefield and immerse a swathe of countries in yet another bloodbath.
Our parties urgently caution that this reckless brinksmanship is relentlessly pushing the US and its allies – including Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia, together with Iran and its regional supporters, closer to the point of no return, greatly increasing the danger of all-out war in the Middle East and even of catastrophic global confrontation. We condemn the fanning of the flames of conflict by the mass media of the US, Britain and Iran, whose jingoistic lies and distortions seek to justify unprovoked aggression and win popular support for escalation and war.
We note that the execution of the assassination plan was carefully and cynically timed by the US president to distract public attention away from domestic problems - his impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and major social issues in the forthcoming US 2020 elections. His action undermines the Constitution of the US and shows that he will stop at absolutely nothing in his ruthless pursuit of both US hegemony and personal power.
The assassination and its aftermath are taking place in an environment in which tensions have been deliberately stoked for more than two decades. The present ‘tinder box’ is a concoction fueled by the adventurous policies of US imperialism - including harsh sanctions against Iran, withdrawal from the JCPoA and continuing military presence in Iraq - together with the interventionist policies and actions of the Iranian theocratic regime, particularly its Quds Force, across the region. At the same time, the sectarian-religious divisions adopted by successive Iraqi governments over the past sixteen years have damaged that country’s national sovereignty.
Every effort must therefore be made to defuse tension, prevent an escalation of the current crisis and avoid another disastrous direct or proxy military conflict in the region. To this end, all foreign interventions in Iraq and Iran must be stopped. None of the protagonists should be allowed to drive the region into a bloody war, which will serve only the interests of the most reactionary and right-wing forces in the region and beyond and line the pockets of shareholders of the vast military-industrial complexes of the world. Even the threat of war further hurts the popular movements against corruption and mismanagement and for freedom and social justice in Iran, Iraq and other neighboring countries. These have already been met with brutal and violent suppression. All-out war will rain death and destruction on millions of innocent people and quash their long struggle for basic rights and the possibility of determining a future of their own choosing. It is only in peace that the ordinary working people of countries such as Iran and Iraq can continue this struggle.
Our parties call on the United Nations, its agencies and the international community to help find peaceful approaches to resolve the current issues in the region. We appeal to the peace movement across the world to mobilize public opinion against war and pressurize jingoistic, pro war governments and forces into retreat, while there is still time. US imperialism and the Iranian dictatorship are disarmed and toothless without them.
Finally, we commit ourselves to and call for the widest solidarity with the working class and people of Iran and Iraq in their difficult struggle through the dark days and months ahead. A peaceful solution is possible. Together, and only together, we can deliver it.
Communist Party of Britain,
Tudeh Party of Iran
Communist Party of the USA
8 January 2020