Executions and repression intensify in Iran

With the continued threat of war, the sanctions siege and the dual political and economic crisis within Iran the repression of opposition forces is continuing and intensifying.

On Tuesday May 17 two brothers, Mohammad (27) and Abdollah (29) Fathi, were executed by the Islamic Republic. After being torture they were sentenced for being involved with anti-revolutionary groups, armed robbery and Mohareb (waging war against god). Their father, Bijan Fathi, said that their confessions were “obtained under severe torture” and they were “deprived of all their basic lawful rights”.

Below is the video of their funeral:

Left-wing student and activist Mohammad Pourabdollah who has been in prison since February 12 2009 has been moved to the infamous Ghezal Hesar prison in Karaj a city to the west of Tehran. It is a prison known for its barbaric treatment of prisoners and the housing of violent thugs and rapists. He has been charged with propoghanda against the state and being a threat to national security. Pourabdollah was initially sentenced to six years but was reduced to three years on appeal. He has spent months in solitary confinement enduring methodical physical and mental torture.

He was moved along with ten other political prisoners to a prison where in March up to 150 prisoners were injured and a minimum of 14 killed when prison guards attacked prisoners. This is a common move by the theocratic regime that puts political prisoners and those on false charges in the wings and prisons of often violent prisoners.

On the same day of Pourabdollah’s arrest comrade Alireza Davoudi was taken from his home into secret detention. He would never be released alive. The Ayatollah’s thugs murdered comrade Davoudi on July 29 2009 by torturing him to death.

These moves come at a time when the regime is stepping up the murder and brutalisation of political prisoners. Habib Latifi, another left-wing student, is at risk of execution after his death sentence was upheld by Iran’s supreme court. The comrade was arrested in October 2007 during a massive crack down against left-wing students. He is accused of conspiracy against national security and insurgence. A massive campaign was launched to stop the execution which was originally scheduled for December 26 2010. This campaign has been reignited with hundreds of people in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj have signed a letter asking Ali Khamenei to pardon Latifi.

Hands Off the People of Iran is for the release of all political prisoners and an end to executions. Mass action in Iran backed up by grass roots international solidarity is desperately needed to push back the repression and end executions. There can be no liberation from the imperialist forces whose sanctions are causing unemployment and poverty on a massive scale. We are opposed to all sanctions and any military action directed against Iran.

Iran Workers Bulletin

Supporters of Hands of the People of Iran have produced a bulletin on working class struggle in Iran for trade unionists and anti-war activists. We will be giving out hundreds of copies at demonstrations, meetings and conferences over the coming months, starting with the PCS Conference beginning on May 18. If you would like copies for your trade union branch or would like to help distribute the bulletin please email office[at]hopoi.info

Click the links below to view the bulletin:

Bulletin Front

Bulletin Back

Iran continues clamp down on student activists

Iranian authorities are continuing to clamp down on student activists by restricting their activities and throwing more activists in jail.

As student organizations are faced with severe limitations on their activities, close to 70 student activists are currently in Islamic Republic prisons on various security and political charges.

Ashkan Zahabian, a student at Fardowsi University in Mashhad and a member of Takim-e Vahadat, Iran’s largest student organization, was arrested yesterday for the third time since the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which triggered widespread protests across Iran in 2009.

In Tehran, officials seeking to arrest activist and Amir Kabir university student Pedram Rafati have raided the home of his parents over the past two days.

Rafati was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards in June 2009 and sentenced to two years in prison.

Daneshjoo News also reports that new charges have been brought against Bahraeh Hedayat, Mehdieh Golrou and Majid Tavakoli, three prominent student activists who are already serving harsh sentences in Evin Prison.

They were reportedly taken to court from prison and sentenced to an extra six months in jail.

The new charges stemmed from the announcements they issued to student activists marking National Student Day in Iran.

… Payvand News – 05/04/11 … —

 

May Day statement of seven workers organisations in Iran

On the occasion of the International Labor Day on 1 May, seven Iranian labor organizations have published a statement, objecting to the violations of Iranian workers’ most basic rights. “While all over the world, the workers’ show their joy and passion and will to fight on 1 May, and their free million-strong protests against their living conditions shake the world, Iranian workers are not only deprived of the social rights to establish organizations and street protests, they are exposed to the most severe attacks on their lives and livelihood”, the statement expresses. The statement briefly describes the current state of affairs for Iranian workers and illustrates the many problems they currently face.

The seven labor organizations are the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, Iran Free Trade Union, the Committee To Restart The Paint and Decoration Construction Workers Syndicate, The Committee To Restart the Mechanical Metal Workers Syndicate, Center For The Defense of Workers, The Committee To Pursue Building Labor Coalitions, and The Coordinating Committee To Help Establish Labor Organizations.

“Any objection or demand of rights by the workers is answered with arrests and prison; the so-called ‘Targeted Subsidies’ plan which have been started by the ruling capitalists with the help of international capitalist organizations, is further destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions of workers’ families, and no one has the right to freely express their opinion about this; with the dizzying rise in the prices of energy and factory closures, every day hundreds and thousands of workers join the other unemployed millions, and the unemployment insurance laws are changed to the detriment of the workers simultaneously; hospitals and government medical centers collect co-payments from workers and new obstacles are created for retirement benefits; the construction workers’ insurance is made ineffective in the labyrinth of office hallways; and while they have taken measures which would increase the prices of basic staples at an alarming pace, they have insultingly reduced the minimum wages of workers by 9%,” says the statement, describing the current conditions of Iranian workers.

“From our viewpoint, all these actions will result in nothing but further desperation for earning a livelihood and imposition of poverty and an increasing state of misery for the millions of labor families who are unable to provide a minimum livelihood under the current circumstances. But we, the workers, will not be mere observers of the gradual deaths of ourselves, our spouses, and our children. We shall not tolerate the daily attacks on our lives and livelihood, and will persevere united and seamlessly against poverty and misery and the imposed deprivation of social rights,” said the seven labor organizations.

“We, the Iranian workers, express disgust at the the existing situation, and call on everyone all over the country to raise their demands in a united and sweeping way,” express the labor organizations, asking for immediate action on the following demands:

1. The unconditional freedom to set up independent labor organizations, to strike, to protest, to demonstrate, and to have freedom of belonging to political parties, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and a free press are our inalienable rights and while all government-made organizations must be eliminated from the work and living environments, these demands must be formally recognized as indisputable social rights of the Iranian workers and general public.

2. We will not stand for a society in which a minority holds wealth and huge capital, and the majority have no dinner at night. In our opinion, the 9% wage increase, especially in view of the plan to cease subsidies and the accelerated increase in living expenses, is an insult to human decency and the workers’ right to live. We consider such wages an increasing imposition of poverty and absolute misery on millions of labor families. We reject the current manner of determining the wages and emphatically demand a cessation of the plan to cut subsidies and that wages are determined by the workers’ real representatives according to the highest standards of life for today’s human beings.

3. We demand the elimination of the temporary and blanket contracts and the elimination of contractors and [we demand] direct group contracts, providing workers with job security, and observation of the highest standards of hygiene and safety inside work and living environments.

4. The outstanding wages of workers must be paid immediately and without any excuses and the failure to pay them must be treated as a crime which may be pursued in the judicial system, and the related damages must be payed to the workers.

5. Dismissing the workers and making them unemployed on a variety of excuses must end and all those who have been dismissed or who have reached working age [but are unemployed] must be able to have unemployment benefits sufficient for human living.

6. Though today Iran’s Social Security Organization is an organization with astronomical wealth supplied by the efforts and funds of Iranian workers, the organization is involved in a cycle of profits and profit-making, only concerning itself with reducing medical services and receiving co-payments from sick workers. We consider social security insurance as the inalienable right of all members of the society and demand this organization to be managed in the hands of representatives of workers from all over the country.

7. While we condemn any attack on worker and public protests, we demand the revocation of death sentences and immediate and unconditional release of all imprisoned workers and members of other social movements, and an end to the judicial proceedings against them, and an end to the existing security atmosphere.

8. We demand that all laws that are discriminatory to women be revoked, and that the total and unconditional equality of men’s and women’s rights is guaranteed in all social, economic, political, cultural, and family realms.

9. We demand that all retired individuals have access to a comfortable life, free of economic concerns, and that all discrimination in the retirement wages of the retirees is eliminated and that they are all covered by social security and medical insurance.

10. Child labor must end. Children and their parents must have complete and full social security, access to uniform and free education, welfare, and medical coverage, regardless of their family’s economic and social status, their gender, ethnic, racial, and religious ties.

11. We consider the demand for change an inalienable right of all human beings all over the world and through assertive support of people’s struggles and protests in all Middle East countries, we strongly condemn any government crackdown on public protests or plots to change the directions of the people’s demands, and any kind of intervention in the fate of the people of the Middle East.

12. We are a part of the international labor force and condemn the deportation and imposition of any discrimination on the refugee workers from Afghanistan or any other country.

13. We appreciate the international labor and public support of the Iranian workers’ struggles, and we assertively support the protests and demands of workers all over the world and consider ourselves united with them. Now, more than any other time, we emphasize the international solidarity of workers for release from the hardships of capitalist system.

14. First of May must be made a national holiday and included in the official calendar of the country, and all limitations and bans on holding ceremonies on this day must be removed.

May Day statement in support of workers in Iran

Over the last year workers in Iran have struggled on several fronts. The subsidy cuts coupled with the crisis in world capitalism are driving living standards down for the majority of Iranians. Basic food stuffs are rising in price at a phenomenal rate, with bread rising a massive 25% and unsubsidised fuel increasing 7 fold. This is in a country with the third largest oil reserves in the world and the necessary refining abilities to produce cheap and affordable fuel for the entire population. The sanctions regime continues to undermine Iranian industry, robbing many workers of their jobs whilst the elite continue to amass great wealth. We stand with the Iranian working class fighting austerity and call for an end to all sanctions. We also call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.

 

There have been important centres of working class resistance where the working class has shown its strength. At the Alborz tyre factory in Iran over 800 workers have held protests outside of the presidential office after 9 months of unpaid wages. There has been a recurring struggle over wages being withheld on a regular basis since privatisation of the factory in 1991.

 

The state-run Haft Tapeh sugar cane factory workers have faced consistent repression and attempts to crush their union. Ali Nejati, the President of the Union, is in prison and in ill health facing further charges of endangering national security. This continued repression, failure to pay wages and the refusal of the management to allow sacked workers to return have forced workers to down tools and strike several times over the last 12 months.

 

The strikes in the Petrochemical industry starting on March 19 at the Imam Port complex were contagious and spread across the industry. The initial demands focused on ending the current contract system that offers only precarious work and little security. Thousands of workers have been on strike demanding the introduction of the 2005 directives on hiring.

 

At the Pars Paper Company over a thousand of workers struck in defence of 60 laid off workers who had been at the company for over 10 years. In Qazvin workers at multiple textile plants have struck against unpaid wages, with some workers going unpaid for over a year. They were also joined by workers from the city’s Ziaran slaughterhouse who have unpaid wage claims going back two years.

 

At Iran Khodro the overworked yet militant workforce has continued to be a beacon of resistance. In January 4 workers were killed and 13 injured as a worker who was ill and tired after repeated back-to-back shifts collapsed at the wheel of the truck he was driving. Workers immediately demonstrated and called on the CEO to resign. Scuffles broke out between security and revolutionary guards.

 

The protest movement that erupted in 2009 was savagely put down by the security forces with violence not witnessed since 1999. Many leaders and activists remain in jail, many have fled and gone underground and hundreds have been murdered. Yet flickers of open defiance continue and below the surface the Iranian masses have rejected the theocratic regime. It is only a matter of time until mass action will threaten the existence of the Islamic Republic.

 

The uprisings in the region are a nightmare vision of the future for the regime as the revolts creep closer to the border. The imperialists have also suffered defeats, with Mubarak, a lynchpin of their domination, falling along with Tunisia’s Ben Ali. Yemen’s Saleh is soon to go. In this chaotic atmosphere the war threat has increased as we must not rule out further military action by the imperialists to demonstrate their power and reassert political domination. As part of threatening war with Iran, Saudi troops have gone in to suppress the people in Bahrain. This is what the intervention in Libya is about: not protecting civilians. The current interventions in the region must end and there must be no attack on Iran.

 

Hands Off the People of Iran reiterates our commitment to oppose the war threat and sanctions whilst supporting the struggle against the theocratic regime.



Hands Off the People of Iran Steering Committee