Repression against students continues: Borhan Baqaee and Mehran Koosha sentenced in Mashhad

bmBorhan Baqaee and Mehran Koosha two leftwing students of the Freedom and Equality Seeking Students (Daneshjouyan-e Azadi Khah va Beraber Talab) group have been sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment each though suspended for 5 years at the Revolutionart Court in Mashhad by Judge Kasuvi. This decision comes after the continued repression against the left in the students’ movement where in December 2007 the security forces arrested many left wing students, along with other activists Borhan and Mehran had received threats and faced intimidation from the Ministry of Security. They were arrested in the summer of 2008 in Mashhad where they were kept in detention for over a month subjected to physical and mental torture. After the security forces had received a guarantee they were released but then sentenced after a long delay.

Hands Off the People of Iran calls for their sentences to be dropped and for all of those arrested and imprisoned for fighting the regime to be immediately released without conditions.

In Farsi from HRA:

خبرگزاری هرانا – احکام قضایی دو دانشجوی آزادیخواه و برابری طلب، برهان بقایی و مهران کوشا که در احکام اولیه دادگاه انقلاب مشهد هر کدام به 5 سال حبس تعزیری که به مدت 5 سال تعلیق شده بود، مورد تایید قرار گرفت.

بنا به اطلاع گزارشگران هرانا، این دو فعال دانشجویی در تابستان 87 توسط ماموران وزارت اطلاعات در مشهد دستگیر شدند و پس از تحمل یک ماه بازداشت در بازداشتگاه اداره اطلاعات مشهد با قرار وثیقه آزاد شدند.

دادگاه بدوی این دو دانشجو پس از بارها به تاخیر افتادن در شهریور ماه 88 در شعبه 5 دادگاه انقلاب مشهد به ریاست قاضی کاووسی برگزار شد.

Imprisoned Journalist Abdolreza Tajik Tells Sister, “I Was Violated”

197BBC Persian talks to Abdolreza Tajik’s sister on her recent visit with her brother in prison. According to Tajik, he was “violated in prison.” Tajik is currently detained in Evin prison.

Listen to the audio of interview in Persian

Abdolreza Tajik’s sister: After following up with the Prosecutor’s Office, I was able to get an appointment with [Tehran’s] Attorney General. After talking to him, the Prosecutor gave me visitation time [with my brother Abdolreza Tajik].

Two days before the visit, Abdolreza called home. On Thursday I went to visit him in prison. Abdolreza stated in the visit that [the agents who arrested him] had no arrest warrant. He was very upset and angry and said, “When they brought me in, on the first night of detention, in the presence of the Lieutenant Attorney General and the magistrate of branch 1, I was violated (my self respect and dignity were violated).”

I asked him to explain what he meant. I really didn’t know what he meant [by violation]. He offered no explanation and just said, “Tell the Attorney General or Mr. Sharif (Mr. Tajik’s lawyer). They will know.”  He asked to immediately meet with the Prosecutor and his lawyer so he can inform them of the issue.

BBC: After the visit, what actions did you take? Apparently, you wrote a letter to the Judiciary Chief?

Tajik’s sister: In the past ten days, I have written three letters to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). You may not believe it, but I was at the AGO every other day asking for my questions [about Mr. Tajik’s ordeal] to be answered. Even if they don’t want to explain to me, I ask that he [I.e. the Prosecutor] and Mr. Sharif go and visit Abolreza. I have not received any reply. They say that no order about acting on my letter was given. Then, I went to the Judiciary Office and wrote a letter to Mr. Larijani (Head of the Judiciary). I explained to him the issue in question. I wrote that since AGO is not responding to my requests, I am writing to the higher authority. There, they told me that Mr. Larijani does not respond to these letters and they returned my letter. It wasn’t just me, my brother was there too, and he had signed the letter too. I took back the letter that now bore a stamp and mailed it to the Office of the Judiciary. I had not choice but to write the letter.

I am very distressed now. I feel the Attorney General and the Head of the Judiciary did not address my concern. I raised my voice so that they hear the voice of my brother, the voice of his innocence.

from Persian2English

LRC vs HOPI Annual Solidarity Cricket Match

Dear comrades,

We are writing to ask for your support for the second annual solidarity cricket match between Hands Off the People of Iran (Hopi) and the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) on Sunday August 29 2009 at 12 noon in Victoria Park, E9. The match is to raise money for Workers’ Fund Iran – a charity that is dedicated to raising much-needed funds for the inspiring struggles of the Iranian working class. These struggles have increased enormously in the recent period and been led by numerous sections of the workforce – from car workers to bus drivers, sugar cane workers to construction workers.

Last year we raised £1,500 and we are confident that we can get close to £2,000 this time around. These funds can certainly not match the funds raised for ‘regime change from above’ by the US and its allies, but they are absolutely crucial to our brothers and sisters in Iran and of great symbolic importance: their fight is our fight.

We have stepped up the plans for this year and are looking forward to more numbers, more fun and more funds being raised. But to take these steps forward we need your help! Can you?

-Play? Both male and female welcome players welcome so get in touch!
-Get your union branch/campaign/organisation to pass the draft motion?
-Help out on the day?
-Organise a stall for your union/campaign/organisation on the day?
-Provide a donation to help cover some of the costs we will incur during the day?
-Help to publicise the event amongst friends and on the internet or send a message of support for us to put up on our blog?
Yours against imperialist war and sanctions and in solidarity with the people of Iran,

John McDonnell MP Yassamine Mather
LRC Chair HOPI Chair

info[at]l-r-c.org.uk   office[at]hopoi.info
Andrew (LRC) – 07930 529828 Ben (HOPI) – 07792 282830

Web: www.hopivslrc2010.blogspot.com

Divided theocratic regime paralysed by sanctions

As the US steps up it efforts to provoke regime change from above, Yassamine Mather looks at the reasons for the failure of the working class to win leadership of the opposition movement

New sanctions imposed by the United States government last week were the most significant hostile moves against Iran’s Islamic Republic since 1979. They marked a period of unprecedented coordination led by the US to obtain the support of the United Nations and European Union.

After months of denying their significance, the government of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was forced to react by setting up an emergency counter-sanctions unit, whilst Iranian aviation officials accused the UK, Germany and the United Arab Emirates of refusing to supply fuel for civilian Iranian airplanes. As it turned out, this was not true. However, the EU banned most of Iran Air’s jets from flying over its territory, because of safety concerns directly related to previous sanctions. It is said that most of the national airline’s fleet, including Boeing 727s and 747s and its Airbus A320s, are unsafe because the company has not been able to replace faulty components.

The US is adamant that ‘severe’ sanctions are necessary to stop Iran’s attempts at becoming a military nuclear power. Scare stories are finding their way into the pages of the mass media. According to US defence secretary Robert Gates, Iran is developing the capacity to fire scores, or perhaps hundreds, of missiles at Europe. Ten days after making that claim, Gates alleged that Iran had enough enriched uranium to be able to build two atom bombs within two years.

However, it is difficult to believe the Obama administration’s claims that the new sanctions have anything to do with Iran’s nuclear capabilities, which is why we should consider other explanations.

Why is there such an urgency to increase the pressure on Iran? One likely possibility is that the Obama administration has observed the divisions within the current government (between neoconservatives, led by Ahmadinejad, and traditional conservatives, such as the Larijani brothers, who control Iran’s executive, parliamentary and judicial system) and sees an opportunity for regime change from above.

After weeks of infighting between Ahmadinejad and the conservatives, involving angry accusations and counter-accusations in parliament over Azad University, this week the reformist website, Rah-e-Sabz, posted an article claiming that “the supreme leader and former president Hashemi Rafsanjani had agreed a resolution of the conflict” over who controls Azad.

The university, one of the world’s largest, is part of a private chain with branches throughout the country and is considered a stronghold of Islamic ‘reformists’. Since 2004 Ahmadinejad has been trying to reorganise its board of governors in order to take back control. When the Islamic parliament opposed his moves to replace the board, the Guardian Council, which has to approve every bill, took the side of the Ahmadinejad camp, creating yet another stalemate between the two conservative groups within the ruling elite.

The supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, had no choice but to intervene. He did so by ordering the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution to stop Ahmadinejad’s attempts to overrule parliament (in other words, he supported Rafsanjani, who, together with members of his family, are trustees and on the board of the university), In return Rafsanjani publicly praised Khamenei.

Some see this as a clever move. For the first time since last year’s disputed presidential elections, Khamenei has been forced to take a public stance against Ahmadinejad, resulting in a retreat by the president and his allies in the revolutionary guards. Azad University remains under the control of Rafsanjani and his family. No doubt if the rift between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad continues, the balance of power could shift in favour of the former president.

Meanwhile, Tehran’s bazaar was on strike for most of last week, in protest at a decision by Iran’s government to raise bazaar taxes by up to 70%. The government declared July 11 and 12 public holidays in 19 Iranian provinces, citing hot weather and dust, but there were rumours that the real reason was to conceal the possibility of strikes on those days.

All this is a reflection of Iran’s political paralysis and the state’s inability to deal with a combination of economic crisis and growing opposition amongst the majority of the population.

Crippling effects

Successive Iranian governments have denied the effectiveness of 30 years of crippling sanctions, but most economists inside the country estimate that sanctions have added 35% to the price of every commodity. Iran had been forced to buy spare parts for cars, planes, manufacturing equipment, agricultural machinery, etc on the black market, and now it will be forced to buy refined oil in the same way, causing a further jump in the rate of inflation. The smuggling of refined oil from Iraq started earlier this month, but the quantity received is unlikely to be sufficient to meet demand even during the summer months.

The new financial restrictions that came with the latest sanctions have crippled Iran’s banking and insurance sector. Iran already attracted little foreign investment, but now even China is pulling out of industrial ventures, such as the South Farse oil project. The proposed policing of ships and containers travelling to Iran means shipping insurance rates in the Persian Gulf are now the equivalent of those in war zones.

Despite the absence of the large demonstrations that followed the rigged elections of a year ago, most Iranians agree that the religious state is today weaker than it was in June 2009 (at the height of mass protests) and that could explain renewed interest in the US for regime change from above. At a time when anger against Iran’s rulers and frustration with leaders of the green movement amongst youth and sections of working class is tangible, it is difficult to predict what will happen next. From bloggers to journalists, from students to the unemployed, opponents of the regime are blaming ‘reformist’ leaders Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi for the current stalemate – people’s patience is running out. Could it be that the Obama administration is planning to replace the Islamic Republic with a regime composed of selected exiles, à la Ahmed Chalabi in Iraq or Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan? After all, there is no shortage of former Islamists currently residing in the US who have converted to ‘liberal democracy’, including Iranian disciples of Karl Popper. Such people are paraded daily in the Farsi media and portrayed as the voice of reason.

In contrast to the hesitation and conciliationism of green leaders, others within the opposition have been stepping up their protests against the Islamic regime and two potentially powerful sections – the women’s movement and the workers’ movement – are conducting their own struggles. Yet here too Moussavi’s patronising attitude to both groups (he called on workers to join the green movement to safeguard their interests, while his wife claimed to support women’s rights) have backfired badly. In the words of one feminist activist, the green movement should realise it is one section of the opposition, but not the only voice of the protest movement.

Workers’ movement

Superficial analysts abroad labelled last year’s anti-dictatorship protesters in Iran as middle class. However, those present at these demonstrations were adamant that workers, students and the unemployed played a huge role. In May, the Centre to Defend Families of the Slain and Detained in Iran published the names of 10 workers who were killed in post-election street protests, and there is considerable evidence that workers, the unemployed and shanty town-dwellers were among the forces that radicalised the movement’s slogans (crossing the red lines imposed by green leaders, such as the call for an end to the entire regime, and for the complete separation of state and religion). In addition we are witnessing an increasing number of workers’ demonstrations, sit-ins and strikes against the non-payment of wages, deteriorating conditions and low pay. The workers’ protest movement has been dubbed a tsunami, and in recent months it has adopted clear political slogans against the dictatorship.

Last week was typical. Five hundred workers staged protests outside Abadan refinery against unpaid wages, blocking the road outside the refinery. Two of their comrades filming the action were arrested, but these workers are adamant they will continue the strikes and demonstrations next week. Three hundred Pars metal workers staged a separate protest against non-payment of wages and cuts in many of the workers’ benefits, such as the bus to and from work and the subsidised canteen, which managers of the privatised company intend to close. Similar protests have taken place in dozens of large and small firms throughout Iran. Most have moved on from purely economic demands to include political slogans against the regime.

However, we still see little coordination between these protests and workers have yet to make their mark as a class aware of its power and historic role. Despite much talk of mushrooming industrial action and even a general strike, so far we have not seen the Iranian working class taking its rightful place at the head of a national movement.

So how can we explain the current situation? A number of points have been raised by the left in Iran:

1. The working class and leftwing activists have faced more severe forms of repression than any other section of the opposition, even prior to June 2009. However, it is difficult to accept that fear of arrest or detention has played any part in the reluctance of workers to make their mark as a political force. Clearly repression has not deterred workers from participating in strikes, taking managers hostage or blocking highways. In fact incarcerated activists include the majority of the leaders of Vahed Bus Company, serving Tehran and its suburbs, the entire leadership of Haft Tapeh sugar cane workers and activists from the Committee to set up Independent Workers’ Organisations.

2. Workers have been misled by the leaders of the green movement. Yet throughout the presidential election debates they did not hear any substantial difference between the economic plans proposed by Moussavi and Karroubi, who, for example, defended privatisation, and those of Ahmadinejad and other conservatives. Workers are opposed to plans for the abolition of state subsidies. However, they remember that this was a plan originally proposed by the ‘reformist’, Mohammad Khatami, during his presidency, as part of the much hated policy of ‘economic readjustment’.

Workers are also well aware that the leaders of the green movement aspire to an Iranian/Islamic version of capitalism, where the bourgeoisie’s prosperity will eventually ‘benefit all’ – an illusion very few workers subscribe to. It should also be noted that the Iranian working class as a modern, urban force is primarily secular, with no allegiance to the Islamic state, and constitutes a growing wing of the protest movement that wants to go beyond adherence to legality and the reform of the current constitution. Kept at arm’s length by leaders of the green movement and yet incapable of asserting its own political line, the working class is facing a dilemma in the current crisis.

3. The opportunist left has diverted the class struggle. However, the Iranian working class is wary of claims made by leaders of the green movement, as well as sections of the opportunist left like Tudeh and the Fedayeen Majority, that the first decade of the Islamic Republic under ayatollah Khomeini constituted the golden years of the revolution. Older worker activists realise that it was the clergy and the Islamic regime that halted the revolution of 1979 and threw it into reverse. The Khomeini years coincided with the worst of the religious repression, and it was not only the radical left who were the victims (thousands were executed), but workers in general. The state was constantly calling on them to make sacrifices, to send their sons to the battle front and produce more for the war economy, while ruthlessly suppressing workers’ independent actions as the work of traitors and spies. So, contrary to the opinion of Tudeh and the Fedayeen Majority, the first decade of Khomeini’s rule – under Moussavi’s premiership, of course – were the dark years for Iranian workers and no amount of rewriting history will change this.

4. The current economic situation is so bad that the working class is unable to fight effectively for anything more than survival. Striking for unpaid wages is symptomatic of this, on top of which there is the threat of losing your job and joining the ranks of the unemployed. In other words, the defensive nature of workers’ struggles hinders their capability to mount a nationwide struggle. Of course, if this argument is correct, the situation will get worse once further sanctions bite. There will be more job losses, more despair amongst the working class.

5. Despite many efforts to create nationwide workers organisations – not only the Committee to set up Independent Workers’ Organisations, but the Network of Iranian Labour Unions (founded in response to the bus drivers’ actions and the imprisonment of their leader, Mansour Osanlou), workers have failed to coordinate protests even on a regional level.

6. The confusion of the left has had a negative impact. Workers have not forgotten how the Fedayeen Majority and Tudeh apologised for and supported the ‘anti-imperialist’ religious state. The majority of the working class was aligned with the left, and so went along with the dismantling of the workers’ shoras (councils) that played such a significant role in the overthrow of the shah’s regime. Later, during Khatami’s presidency (1997-2005), the Fedayeen Majority and Tudeh advocated collaboration with the state-run Islamic factory councils, although the majority of workers considered these anti-trade union organisations, whose main task was to spy on labour activists and support managers in both private and state-owned enterprises. The Shia state claimed to international bodies such as the International Labour Organisation that the councils were genuine trade unions, even though they were set up to destroy labour solidarity within and beyond the workplace. Despite all this the opportunist left not only refused to expose their true function: it called on Iranian workers to join them as a step towards the establishment of mass labour organisations!

Revolutionary left

Over the last few years the left has publicised workers’ demands and organised support for them. Yet there have been big problems. We have seen two distinct approaches regarding the form working class organisation should take. Some advocate the need to unite around the most basic of demands in trade union-type bodies independent of political organisation. Others argue that a struggle within such a united front between reformist and revolutionary currents over strategy and tactics will be inevitable and the revolutionaries will win over the majority of the working because of the superiority of their arguments.

Then there are those who emphasise the need for a different form of organisation altogether: underground cells of class-conscious workers capable of mobilising the most radical sections of the class. Of course, it is possible to combine both options, but proponents of both strategies imply that the two paths are mutually exclusive. Those calling for a workers’ united front label advocates of cells ‘sectarian ultra-leftists’, while the latter allege that those who want to work for the creation of mass, union-type bodies are succumbing to reformism and syndicalism.

While recent attempts amongst sections of the left to discuss these issues should be welcomed, it has to be said that the working class and the left have a long way to go before the ‘tsunami’ of workers’ protests becomes a class-conscious nationwide movement capable of overthrowing the religious state and the capitalist order it upholds.

From Weekly Worker

Strike erupts at Sanandaj's Javeh Dam again

Workers from Sanandaj’s Javeh dam have once again gone on strike as of  July 10, 2010. Workers of the dam have gone on strike several times in recent months over non payment of their wages dating back more than five months.

More than 300 workers building the dam have not received their wages for this year. Additionally, fifteen of those workers were laid off without payment of wages. As a result the workers of Sanandaj’s Javeh dam are facing very poor living conditions.

اعتصاب مجدد کارگران سد مخزنی ژاوه در سنندج

کارگران سد مخزنی ژاوه در سنندج صبج دیروز، شنبه نوزدهم تیرماه، دست به اعتصاب زدند

بنا به اطلاع گزارشگران هرانا، ایشان براي چندمين بار در طول ماه های گذشته و در اعتراض به عدم پرداخت 5 ماه حقوق معوقه خويش در مقابل دفتر شركت پيمانكار اين سد در محوطه كارگاهي اين سد اعتصاب کردند

ازمان اعتصاب قبلی ایشان برای احقاق حقوق خود مربوط به اواخر خردادماه سال جاری بود

بیش از 300 کارگر شاغل در پروژه ساخت این سد از اواخر سال گذشته تاکنون دستمزدهای معوقه خود را دریافت نکرده اند و دستکم 15 تن از ایشان در فروردین ماه سال جاری بدون دریافت حقوق معوقه از کار اخراج شده بودند

گفته می شود کارگران سد مخزنی ژاوه در سنندج، در وضعیت معیشتی بسیار بدی به سر می برند

From astreetjournalist

Video: Green betrayal in Iran

This is a new video of Yassamine Mather speaking about a year of resistance, working class struggle and betrayal in Iran. It was filmed during a fringe event of ‘Marxism 2010’ organised by London Communist Forum. Yassamine Mather is the Chair of Hands Off the People of Iran.

Green Betrayal in Iran: The Iranian working class movement a year after the rigged elections from Communist Party of Great Britain on Vimeo.

Iran's Grand Bazaar on strike in tax showdown

* Strike at Grand Bazaar enters second week

* Merchants historically influential in Iran

* Vendors want value added tax scrapped

TEHRAN, July 12 (Reuters) – With shops that sell everything from herbs and spices to carpets and gems now firmly closed, Tehran’s Grand Bazaar is on strike with merchants warning that higher taxes could force them to shut down for good.

The usually bustling corridors of the centuries old market, known as “Iran’s economic pulse”, have been deserted for the past week in a standoff between the hard-line government and merchants. Some shops were draped with black banners in protest.

Work stoppages are rare in Iran but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to raise the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods set off a strike that merchants have threatened to extend despite a government offer to suspend the increase.

“We cannot even pay salaries to our employees. How can we pay higher taxes?” said Ali Akbarzadeh, a bazaar jeweller.

“For sure closing shops damages us financially. What else can we do? Higher taxes will paralyse the bazaar,” said one vendor, declining to be named, adding: “We have families to take care of.”

The strike poses a political and economic challenge to Ahmadinejad, after last year’s election which the opposition says was rigged and the leadership said was fair. The vote triggered bloodshed and authorities are anxious to avoid unrest.

“I heard some angry merchants chanting slogans against Ahmadinejad,” said a shopkeeper, who gave his name as Ali, adding: “I also saw security forces clashing with some vendors … Police were forcing some merchants to open their shops.”

Opposition websites, including Norooznews, said: “Some people with sticks and stones shattered the windows of some shops that were closed in the bazaar.”

Reports of clashes could not be confirmed independently.

Iran’s economy is over 60 percent dependent on oil income and the sharp fall in oil prices threatens its finances. The government had hoped to fill the shortfall by increasing tax.

The tax forms part of wider economic reforms planned by the government, including a bill that will end subsidies on energy and food.

Iran’s government is locked in a row with the West over its nuclear programme which the West suspects aims to produce a nuclear bomb and which Tehran says is intended to generate power. Tightening sanctions also hurt Iran’s economy, analysts say, but the authorities deny this.

POWER OF THE BAZAAR

It was the second time traders had closed their shops on such a scale since the 1979 revolution, when the bazaar and its merchants played a key role in ousting the U.S.-backed shah.

In 2008, Ahmadinejad was forced to suspend implementing the plan to introduce a three percent VAT for two months after merchants in Tehran and other cities went on strike for a week.

Located in southern Tehran, the centuries-old bazaar sells anything from paper and copper to confectionary and watches. Conservative politicians traditionally adopt a low-tax, free-market approach to the bazaar.

Since its implementation, the VAT rate has been raised annually by between six and 15 percent, depending on the goods. But the government recently proposed increasing the top rate of VAT to 70 percent. This was so unpopular the plan was suspended.

“The government reached an agreement with merchants not to increase the tax more than its annual 15 percent,” said state media. But merchants want the plan to be scrapped altogether.

The government, however, has made it clear it has no intention of completely abandoning the tax.

Shopkeepers say the imposition of higher VAT will only push up further already high prices and hurt business.

Some shop-owners closed their businesses, fearing violence and only a few stalls were open. Police patrolled the bazaar’s empty winding streets and alleys.

One merchant in the steel section of the bazaar said the strike would continue on Tuesday.

“Today we came to our offices to sort out our financing issues but there are plans to carry on the strike on Tuesday,” the steel merchant, who asked not to be named, told Reuters by telephone.

Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005 on a pledge to share out Iran’s oil wealth fairly. But critics say his spending of petrodollars fuelled inflation, said to be running at an annual 10 percent. Some critics say inflation is more than 30 percent.

The opposition Jaras website said strikes were held in other cities like the northeastern holy Shi’ite city of Mashhad.

Judiciary officials were not available to comment.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing Peter Millership)

Basij: murderers and rapists

From Freedom Messenger

“According to HRANA, three members of the Basij militia misused their ID cards in the city of Tabriz to abduct, beat, assault, rape, and kill a young woman with a gun. They dumped her body in the outskirts of the city. The news has stirred a lot of emotional reactions from the public.

Based on information obtained by HRANA reporters, after Elnaz Babazadeh went missing, her family reported the disappearance to all official Iranian government agencies. After a week-long search, her body was delivered to the family by the coroner’s office while the coroner, after examining the body, confirmed assault, battery, rape,and murder by shooting. The police announced that the body was discovered near Emamieh Cemetery in Tabriz.

After the family filed a complaint against the murder of their daughter [demanding to press charges], the police arrested three citizens from Tabriz who are active members of the Basij [militia]. The main suspect and defendant confessed to all the above-mentioned charges in the police station. The defendant stated he entered the vehicle of the young woman in Tabriz’s Valiasr neighbourhood under the pretext of “*ordering to what is known to be virtuous”, and to give a notice to the young woman for “bad hijab”, in the context of the hijab and chastity program undertaken by the police and the Basij forces. The defendant then used his firearm to threaten the woman. The police forced her to drive to the outskirts of the city. That is where they raped her.  Then, she died from three gun shots to the chest.

It is reported that the main suspect of the case is currently held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) due to the sensitivity of the issues involved.

*It is an Islamic obligation that requires everyone to invite people to do the right thing. It is used by the Taliban, the government of Saudi Arabia, and the Iranian Islamic regime to justify interference with various aspects of the lives of citizens; for example, the way they dress, their involvement in intimate relationships, and private gatherings they hold.”

Free Mansour Osanloo Now! Interview with Parvaneh Osanloo

Free Osanlou NOW!
Free Osanlou NOW!

On 23 June security agents of the Iranian regime attacked Zoya Samadi, Mansour Osanloo’s daughter-in-law. Because of this attack Zoya Samadi sustained various injuries and subsequently had a miscarriage. Mansour Osanloo, the leader of the Vahed Bus Company drivers, is currently in prison because of his involvement in the struggles of the Tehran bus drivers to set up a trade union and defend their jobs and working conditions. The following is HRANA’s interview with Parvaneh Osanloo, Mansour’s wife, about the attack.

HRANA: Mrs Osanloo, there has been a news report published about an attack on your daughter-in-law. Is this true?
PO: Unfortunately, yes.
HRANA: Is there a precedent for this type of incident?
PO: Up until now my daughter-in-law has met Mr Osanloo just once, which was on her engagement night. But from the day she became connected with us, in addition to many nuisance phone calls and occasional threats against her, a few months ago they even pulled a gun (Colt) on her!!
We complained to the court about this but this issue was not followed up.
HRANA: Can you explain the details of this incident to us?
PO: Yes, my daughter-in-law is an engineer and in employment. Because of the harassment that she has been subjected to she is always either forced to use a taxi agency, with its soaring costs, or we take her to her destination. But on Wednesday (June 23), it just so happened that she was using public transport and the metro to go to work.
When my young daughter-in-law got off the train at Tarasht station, so that passengers can get on and off, she was attacked by a number of agents. They pulled her hair from behind and pulled her down on to the ground. My daughter-in-law became aware as to why they were doing this and, while calling out that she was Mansour Osanloo’s daughter-in-law, began shouting to people for help. They, according to what they know of Mr Osanloo, were looking on in shock, and before any reaction [from anyone] the agents had blindfolded and muzzled her and transferred her to an unknown location.
There, while leaning her against the wall, they began to beat her …
HRANA: Do the signs of the beating show?
PO: Yes, absolutely; … during the beating her gums and teeth were severely injured. On that Wednesday, after she reached home, she had nausea and even vomited a few times. Last night she had a nose bleed and we were forced to take her to the doctor and have an MRI scan.
HRANA: What can be the reason for this inhuman and illegal incident?
PO: After her abduction the agents placed a ‘commitment form’ in front of her, stating that if Osanloo is released then you must guarantee that he does not engage in any activity, and that after his release he will leave the country with his family!
I do not understand what the meaning of these measures is; whether we leave the country or not has nothing to do with anyone …

HRANA: What’s your assessment of this incident?

PO: Frankly, I’m actuallyanswerable to my daughter-in-law’s family. They [the agents] are playing with the reputation of our family. Why should Mansour Osanloo’s daughter-in-law pay the penalty for her father-in-law’s activities? And a daughter-in-law who has only met Osanloo once. He has himself been in prison for three years and is paying the penalty for his activities. I mean that he has stood by all his [beliefs]. Why don’t they leave our family alone?
HRANA: What is Mr. Mansour Osanloo’s situation in prison?

PO: Mr Osanloo’s situation is as bad as ever. He has recently been transferred to … Rejaii Shahr prison, where some of the detainees of the events after the elections are held.
Physically he still has pain in his back and eye and, of course, his heart condition is still there. So far the medical examiner has issued a certificate about his heart condition three times and prohibited his stay in prison, with its bad environment. But unfortunately the authorities don’t pay any attention to this.
HRANA: Finally, do you have anything else you would like to add?
PO: There is a lot to say but nobody who listens to us. But I would like to know where in the world an innocent person and the family of a prisoner are persecuted in this way?
HRANA: Thank you for your time.
Translation: Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network