CUPE 4600 statement about Iran

English version (PDF)

Farsi version (PDF)

Dear CUPE 4600 members,

Sanctions and economic mismanagement have put tremendous financial pressure on people and the sudden increase in fuel prices has further deepened the economic troubles for Iranian people. Furthermore, the Trump Administration's assassination of Iran’s second most powerful man in Iraq has been extremely concerning for many analysts and advocates for peace and security in the Middle East. Several analysts predict the possibility that the tense situation in Iraq will be spread to Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and even Afghanistan where Iran is capable of responding and lead to a potential war in the region between US and Iran. 

To make tensions even worse in the region, on Jan 8th Ukrainian airline Flight 752 crashed shortly after takeoff killing 176 people aboard the plane. According to the centre’s tracking, of the 138 passengers that were destined for Canada and more than half had a direct connection to a Canadian university. Finally after three days of lies, non transparency and under international pressures, the Iranian officials released a statement admitting that they shot down Flight 752. It is said that this was done by mistake, but information on the matter and persons responsible have yet to be identified. All these have added steam to the ongoing nationwide protests in Iran in which over 1500 were brutally killed last fall and many more arrested. The Internet has also been shut down many times in an attempt to prevent the news leak and shutting off nearly all means of online communications for people inside Iran. 

It is with sadness that we learned that Mansour Pourjam, biology alumnus, and CUPE4600 member and PhD student Fareed Arasteh, who was also a part of our Mobilization Committee, were among the victims. Fareed went back to Iran to visit his family for the holidays and to marry his long time girlfriend, Maral. They got married three days before the fatal crash. He was a hard working and motivated student.

CUPE 4600 condemns those who have committed this crime of shooting down a passenger airplane and demands those who have been responsible in releasing false information during the first three days to be held accountable.  A transparent and thorough investigation of the tragedy must be completed. And there needs to be transparency, accountability and justice for all the victims, Iranians and Canadians. CUPE 4600 also hopes that the Canadian government continues their efforts in clarifying the situation and providing answers and also to mediate conflicts in an effort to de-escalate tensions in the region to prevent further loss of life. Canada must stand for peace.

Iranian students are a large part of CUPE 4600 and we would like to support the families and friends of the victims of this horrible tragedy in any way.

For any support contact us at