January 11, 2010
Mission Free Iran
We write to you with an urgent request to encourage your members to join with Iranian activists on January 24 2010 for a global protest against the detention and execution of political prisoners in Iran. Workers are among those being targeted for detention and torture by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), and the world must come together now to support them in this struggle against oppression.
Iran is one of the oldest members of the International Labour Organization, yet the Islamic Republic fails to recognize the rights of Iranian workers, including the right to form independent trade unions. In 2006 it was noted that the Iranian government “routinely arrests and prosecutes workers demanding their most basic rights, such as demands for wages unpaid, sometimes for periods as long as 36 months.” (1) Security forces attack workers’ peaceful gatherings, harass their families, and even open fire at mass protests, killing them (Khatoon Abad, Babak Shahr and others). Assassination of labor activists is another common measure used by the fascist Islamic regime since its inception to push workers back.
The regime’s assault on labor activists has increased in the wake of the June 2009 elections. In November 2009, several Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Trade Union activists were sentenced to immediate imprisonment and a 5-year bar from union activity. (2) Mansour Ossanlou (leader of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company), whose health is precarious due to beatings by the regime, was recently moved out of Evin prison (which houses primarily political prisoners) and into Rajaei prison (which houses violent criminals). (3) On January 4, 2010, Reza Rakhshan, the public relations officer of the Haft Tapeh Union, was arrested by security forces and taken to an undisclosed location. (4)
The arrest, detention and torture of Iranian labor activists is happening in a context of a general failure to pay a living wage to Iranian workers, as well as widespread failure to pay any wages to workers at all.
It is time for labor activists around the world to stand up in solidarity with workers Iran, who even in the face of violent repression continue to stand up and demand their rights. We therefore ask you to join us on January 24 in Toronto Canada, Gotland Sweden, or Washington DC USA to protest the detention and execution of political prisoners in Iran, and to stand in solidarity with our Iranian brothers and sisters. They deserve to see the strength of our support for the battle they are fighting. It is a struggle that matters to all of us.
Toronto, Canada: 2-5pm, Mel Lasman Square
Gotland, Sweden: 2pm, Almedalen Park
Washington DC, USA: 12pm Freedom Plaza rally and march to the Lincoln Memorial
For more information, please see https://missionfreeiran.wordpress.com/take-action/stop-executions-in-iran/
(1) Workers’ Rights. International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
(2) Independent Sugar Union Leaders in Iran Now Behind Bars – Act Now! IUF.
(3) Labor Activist Imprisoned in Iran. Amnesty International.
(4) Haft Tapeh public relations officer arrested. Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network.