25 August 2007

To global unions and world’s labour organisations

Your continued support is needed to beat the current wave of repression and executions in Iran

Dear friends

Your August 9th international day of action was hugely welcomed and appreciated. Even if this has not yet led to the release of Mansoor Ossanlou and Mahmoud Salehi, it was a unique show of solidarity with workers and labour activists in Iran who are under constant persecution by the regime.

I’m sure you are aware that in the past few months the Islamic regime in Iran has stepped up its persecution of protesting workers, women and students. This is, of course, what the regime has been doing over the past 28 years. However, the current wave of repression and executions is specifically targeting the widespread protests and strikes and the general anti-government climate in the country. The regime wants to intimidate the people. That’s why it has put up gallows in most cities and hanged scores in public in the past few weeks. It has stepped up the number of arrests and is subjecting political prisoners to severe tortures. It is sentencing workers’ leaders to prison and to flogging. It has derided the August 9th day of action by dragging even more labour activists to court, hoping to dampen the resolve of international labour organisations…

The truth is that with the economic and political crisis it is in, the bitter hatred that people in Iran feel towards it and the international isolation it is under, the regime in Iran is in a very shaky position. International actions such as those on February 15th last year and August 9th this year are highly effective ways of exerting pressure on the regime in the face of its inhuman and anti-labour policies.

This is what the Islamic Republic regime has been doing towards workers just in the past few weeks:

On 9th August, the day of international action in support of Mansoor Ossanlou and Mahmoud Salehi, five executive-committee members of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, namely Ebrahim Madadi, Yaghoub Salimi, Ebrahim Nowzari Gohari, Seyed Davoud Razavi and Homayoon Jaaberi, as well as two other individuals by the names of Taher Sadeghi and Fatemeh Hajiloo, were arrested for gathering outside Mansoor Ossanlou’s house. Three of those detained have since been released. However, Ebrahim Madadi, Yaghoub Salimi, Seyed Davoud Razavi and Homayoon Jaaberi continue to be detained in Section 240 of Evin Prison.

On 15th August Sheis Amani, president of the Union of Unemployed and Dismissed Workers, and Sedigh Karimi, member of the union’s executive board, were sentenced to 2½ years in prison on charges of “disturbing the peace”, “actions against national security”, “collecting donations for the family of Mahmoud Salehi”, “membership in the National Union of Unemployed and Dismissed Workers” and contacts with the Worker-communist Party of Iran, Communist Party of Iran” and others.

11 other members of the National Union of Unemployed and Dismissed Workers, namely Khaled Savari (deputy president), Eghbal Latifi, Yadollah Moradi, Tayeb Mollaee, Fares Gavilian, Sedigh Amjadi, Abbas Andaryari, Habibollah Kalkani, Mahiyeddin Rajabi, Tayeb Chatani and Sedigh Sobhani, were arrested in the May Day gathering in the city of Sanandaj on the charge of “disturbing the peace” and on 5th August were sentenced to 91 days in prison and 10 strikes of the whip each.

A number of teachers’ leaders have been dragged to court in an attempt to pre-empt resumption of teachers’ fight over pay and conditions when schools return in September. Alireza Hashemi, general secretary of the Teachers’ Organisation of Iran, was sentenced to 3 years’ in prison on charges of inciting teachers to strike, assembly and sit-in and actions against national security. Seyed Hashem Khaastar and Hadi Lotfi, teacher activists in the city of Mashad, have been tried on similar charges. Iraj Tobihay Najafabadi has been asked to submit within 10 days his defence to the Security Office (Herasat) of his workplace.

Mahmoud Salehi, 5 months since his re-arrest and despite his serious health problems, and Mansoor Ossanlou, one month since his abduction, are still in prison.

I look forward to your continued efforts in support of the working class and people in Iran. Your actions have boosted their spirits and strengthened their resolve. For our part, we will continue to mobilise the world public opinion, and have no doubt that with your support we can beat the current wave of repression and executions.

Long live international labour solidarity!

Best regards

Shahla Daneshfar
International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran

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