This successful meeting on February 12 2011 agreed to launch the campaign ‘Free Jafar Panahi and all political prisoners in Iran!’
- For a report (first published in the Weekly Worker) , click here
- For videos of the event, click here
- For John McDonnell’s speech which launched the campaign, click here
Find below information on the motions that were passed and who is sitting on our new steering committee.
1. Democracy must come from below
The Hopi AGM notes:
– The continued imperialist threats against Iran – threats which must be seen against the backdrop of the global economic crisis and the dynamic situation across the entire Middle East.
– The failure of recent talks between the ‘six nations’ (the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) and Iran in Turkey.
– The imperialists’ concern to preserve the existing system of oppression and exploitation in the Middle East following the recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
The AGM further notes that:
– Sanctions are just one of a number of weapons used by the US and its allies.
– Last year’s ‘Stuxnet’ virus attack – jointly coordinated by US and Israeli intelligence – must be seen as part of a more general cyber war against Iran
– On the propaganda front, Zionist and neo-conservatives in US and Canada have launched a controversial film, Iranium, which advocates pre-emptive strikes against what the films deems a “sponsor of Islamic terrorism” which is on the verge of obtaining nuclear arms capability.
– The Iranian regime’s exaggerated claims about its nuclear and aerospace capabilities are both contributing factors to a continued state of conflict between Iran and the US.
The AGM salutes the popular uprisings against the dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. They have inspired young Iranians to demonstrate against the dictatorial, corrupt regime in Tehran. These uprisings show that:
– Tyrannical regimes can be brought down by the mass action of the oppressed, as opposed to the military intervention of the US and its allies; and
– The US, which has for decades sponsored both Ben Ali and the Mubarak regimes, is not the enemy but the historic ally of tyranny throughout the Middle East.
The AGM therefore resolves:
-To continue its struggle both against imperialist sanctions and intervention against Iran, and in support of the workers and oppressed of Iran and their struggles against the ‘Islamic republic’ regime.
2. Support workers’ rights
This conference notes the shocking news of the death of four workers and the injury of 13 others in Iran Khodro car plant. This was caused by the absence of even basic safety measures and, not surprisingly has led to a major dispute between the workers and management. We support the demands of Iran Khodro workers for:
- The immediate removal of security forces from this plant;
- The identification and trial of those responsible at a managerial level for these deaths and injuries;
- The establishment of a fact-finding commission led by the workers themselves and
- The right to form genuine workers’ organisations in Iran, independent of the religious state and its security forces.
This conference further notes that six workers organisations – those of the Vahed Bus Company, Neyshekar Sugar Cane, Iran’s Free Workers Union, the Committee to Re-establish the Syndicate of Metal Workers and Mechanics, the Syndicate of Electric and Metal Workers of Kermanshah and the Committee to Defend Workers Rights have called for a rise in the minimum wage from 500,000 tomans a month to 1million tomans in the new Iranian year starting in March. They point out the current rate of inflation and price rises is rapidly driving down the standards of already impoverished workers. This conference supports Iranian workers demands for a living wage and the right to establish independent workers organisations.
Conference also notes with concern the gathering pace of executions over the past period. Iran has hanged over 60 prisoners in January. We add our voice to those activists and workers’ organisation in the country that are calling for an immediate and unconditional halt to these state sponsored murders.
Further, we call for the immediate unconditional release of all labour activists currently in prison, amongst them Ebrahim Madadi, Reza Shahabi, Mansour Ossanlou , Ebrahim Zadeh. We also reiterate our stand for freedom of all political prisoners in Iran.
3. Launch statement: Freedom for Jafar Panahi and all political prisoners in Iran
The Iranian regime has unleashed a new wave of oppression against opposition activists. In recent weeks, dozens of campaigners, lawyers and artists have been convicted on spurious charges and many more have been arrested.
– Award-winning filmmaker Jafar Panahi was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for planning to make a film about the opposition movement that sprung up after the disputed elections of June 2009. In addition, the director was banned from making any films or travelling abroad for 20 years.
– Student activist Mohammad Pourabdollah has been in prison since early 2010.
– Habibollah Latifi, a student of Kurdish descent, has been sentenced to death after having being found guilty of “waging war against God”.
– In January, human rights activist Shiva Nazarahari was sentenced to a four-year jail term and 74 lashes on charges of subversion. Her lawyer Nasrin Soudeh was handed a jail sentence of eleven years for defending political prisoners.
– Fariborz Rais Dana, a Marxist economist and sterling critic of the regime’s neoliberal policies, was arrested on December 18 (28 Azar). No reason for his arrest has been given and not even his lawyer knows where he is being held.
The US is continuing to make military threats against Iran, while crippling the country with ever harsher sanctions. But these have not weakened the regime fundamentally. In fact, it is the people of Iran, the workers, women and students, who are suffering most – precisely those sections of society that are fighting for radical change from below.
This is why Hopi is launching a campaign that fights for:
– Freedom for all political prisoners! End all executions!
– Squash the medieval prison sentences imposed against political opponents of the regime!
– No sanctions, no military threats against Iran! For radical change from below!
HOPI steering committee members elected on February 12 2011:
Yassamine Mather, Glasgow
Mark Fischer, London
Marsha Jane Thompson, London
Moshé Machover, London
Chris Strafford, Manchester
Torab Saleth, London
Charlie Pottins, London
Nasrollah Noori, London