Yassamine Mather assesses the latest extension of negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 powers
On November 24, for the second time in a year, Iran and the 5+1 world powers failed to reach an agreement over Tehran’s nuclear programme, and the deadline for finding a ‘comprehensive’ deal had to be extended yet again.
Reza Shahabi – an Iranian labour activist member of the executive committee of the VAHED Bus Union – has been on hunger strike for almost 40 days in prison in Iran. According to the latest reports from Tehran, his protest is now having grave physical effects on him and he has become paralysed down the left side of his body.
Shahabi has spent the last four years in prison, accused by the Islamic state in Iran of “gathering information and colluding against state security, spreading propaganda against the system and ‘Moharebeh’” (translated as “enmity against god”). Over the last few years, his state of health has deteriorated markedly. Vindictively however, the authorities have not allowed him access to appropriate medical treatment.
Shahabi is an anti-war, anti-imperialist worker activist. In his defence, Hands Off the People of Iran is joining forces with the veteran labour activist, Ali Pichgah (a former leader of Iran’s oil workers’ strike) to call for his immediate, unconditional release.
As a matter of urgency, Reza Shahabi now needs hospital treatment. His life is being endangered by the Iranian authorities’ refusal to allow him proper medical care. We hold the government of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani directly responsible for Reza Shahabi’s life. This brave working class leader has taken a stand against capitalist exploitation and oppression in Iran – as well as any attack on the country by the west or Israel – and it is incumbent on all anti-imperialist/anti-war activists to support Shahabi in these extremely difficult days, when he is putting his life on the line for his beliefs.
What you can do:
Support the demand of Hopi and Ali Pichgah for the immediate release of Reza Shahabi! Publicise this protest widely!
Email your name/your organisation to Hopi at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add your details to the protests we are coordinating (please indicate whether personal capacity or not)
Invite a speaker from Hopi to a meeting of your organisation to explain our anti-war/anti-imperialist work and the situation of the working people in Iran
Write to the European embassy for Iran (notify us if you do):
Ambassade de la Republique Islamique d’Iran
4 avenue d’iena
75116 Paris, France
Or email the newly opened UK embassy (copy us in): email@example.com
The United States is about to release the frozen cash in some Iranians’ bank accounts, saying Tehran has kept to the interim deal over its nuclear programme. Yassamine Mather was invited to discuss the deal on the BBC Persian Service. Note, the clip is in Farsi throughout!
While no substitute for being in the room and taking part in the day’s proceedings, a live stream of the HOPI dayschool tomorrow, Saturday 25th, will be accessible online. This is an experiment for HOPI which we hope will be useful for both Iranian comrades and others who unavoidably cannot make it on the day.
The stream will be accessible at the link below beginning at 10:30 am
Despite the easing of sanctions and the mixed messages in Tehran, writes Yassamine Mather, the Islamic regime is thoroughly committed to the capitalist free market, not the welfare of the masses
In the early hours of Monday January 19, centrifuges used for the enrichment of uranium up to 20% were switched off in Natanz nuclear plant as part of Iran’s agreement to halt enrichment of uranium above 5% purity, and the ‘neutralising’ of its stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium was begun. These were the first steps towards disposing of all the country’s stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium within six months.
The uneasy agreement between the 5+1 powers and Iran over the country’s nuclear programme has provoked controversy in both countries and an almost hysterically hostile campaign from Israel. In the confusion, some clear facts emerge.
University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY
1) Imperialism, nuclear negotiations and US -Iran relations: Mike Macnair.
Israel and the need for war: Moshe Machover
2) Workers’ struggles before and after 1979: Torab Saleth
The Rouhani government, sanctions and workers’ struggles: Yassamine Mather
3) Iran’s national minorities: Nasrollah Ghazi
Yassamine Mather of Hands off the People of Iran examines the failure of political Islam and imperialism’s attempts to adjust its alliances
Irrespective of what happens in 2014, the year 2013 will be remembered as a year of historic changes in Iran-US relations. For the first time in 34 years, a US president has spoken to his Iranian equivalent, and the two countries’ foreign ministers have held face-to-face negotiations as well as a number of phone conversations. Contrary to what the supporters of the reformist movement in Iran claim, the dramatic changes in Iran-US relations are not simply a consequence of the June 2013 elections and the coming to office of a ‘moderate’ president in Iran. We now know that secret meetings between US and Iranian officials took place in Oman last year, during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency. According to a senior US official quoted by Associated Press, US foreign secretary John Kerry visited Oman in May 2013, “ostensibly to push a military deal with the sultanate but secretly focused on maintaining that country’s key mediation role”.