Protest against actress sentenced to 90 lashes and one year in jail

A campaigning has been launched for the freedom of Marzieh Vafamehr, an Iranian actress who has been sentenced to 90 lashes and one year in jail for her role in My Tehran for Sale, an Australian film about an actress whose theatre work is banned in Iran.

Actors’ Equity of Australia has set up an on-line petition calling for her release.

Vafamehr, wife of the acclaimed film-maker Nasser Taghvai, was arrested in July after starring in the film, which touches on many of the taboo issues of modern life in Iran. Iranian human rights activists have reacted with outrage to her conviction and in particular the fact that she faces 90 lashes. It comes only two days after a student activist, Peyman Aref, was lashed 74 times in Tehran’s Evin prison for insulting the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The film, directed by Granaz Moussavi, features Vafamehr as an actress who flees to Australia as an illegal immigrant after being persecuted in Iran. She appears with a shaved head and without a hijab in some scenes. In the film, an underground party where men and women dance and drink is disrupted by a group of moral police who arrest some of the partygoers. My Tehran for Sale premiered at the Adelaide film festival in 2009 but remains banned in Iran.

Other members of Iran’s film industry have also been arrested in recent years. Pegah Ahangarani, a popular actor was released from jail in July. Director Jafar Panahi received a six-year prison term and 20-year ban from film-making last year. Mohammad Rasoulof was also sentenced to six years in jail. Ramin Parchami, an actor who voiced support for the opposition, still remains in jail.

Go to Equity’s web site at www.equity.org.uk for more information. You can find the petition at http://www.equityfoundation.org.au/newsbites/actors-equity-calls-for-the-release-of-marzieh-vafamehr.html

From John McDonnell MP: Support Hopi vs LRC cricket match!

Message from John McDonnell MP and Yasssamine Mather, chair of Hands Off the People of Iran

Dear friends,

We are writing to you to inform you about two fundraising events organised by Hands off the people of Iran taking place over the coming months and to ask for your help in supporting these events. At this current time of enormous political and economic crisis, a continued UN sanctions and war threats, Iranian workers are in a very difficult situation. This is why it is absolutely vital that the workers’ movement in this country organises material and ideological solidarity with workers’, women’s and students’ struggles in Iran – they are our natural allies and a true beacon of hope for genuine democracy and freedom.

On September 25, many of our activists from the UK, France, the USA, Italy, Sweden and Germany will be pounding the streets of Berlin, running the Berlin marathon for the charity Workers’ Fund Iran (http://www.workersfund.org/), which raises money for Iranian workers. The charity is an independent organisation. Funds sent to Iran will be distributed amongst the most needy working class families who are facing destitution, regardless of political affiliation. You can sponsor us online using Charity Choice’s website:
https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051

September 11 2011 (midday) will once again see Hands Off the People of Iran play the Labour Representation Committee at the cricket ground in Wray Crescent, London N4, in their annual solidarity cricket match to raise £1,500 for Workers’ Fund Iran.

This is the third solidarity cricket event following the successful match last year and we are confident that this year will be an even bigger and better event as we continue to build on the success of pervious years’ events. As those of you who have attended in the past will know, it’s a fun day out whether you’re a cricket fanatic or your idea of a good time is more at long the lines of sipping away at a cold one in the sun talking politics. Food and drink will be provided at the match and, for those who want to make an evening of it, there will be a social evening following on from the match.

We are calling on your help to make this day as successful as possible.

Can you support us by:

*Playing? Could your union, campaign or trades council send a player? Both male and female welcome players welcome!

*Getting your union branch/campaign/organisation to sponsor the event and cover some of the numerous costs involved in organising the events? Get in touch and we will send you a model motion.

*Helping out on the day? There is a load of work to do on the day itself. The more people we have to help, the better.

*Promoting the event in mailouts, on blogs, or help with leafleting for the event?

Please get in touch with us to offer your help, show solidarity or find out more about what should be an excellent event for an excellent cause!

Yours in solidarity,

John McDonnell MP                        Yassamine Mather Chair, Hands off the people of Iran

Sponsor Workers Fund Iran supporters running in the Berlin Marathon!

Supporters of Workers Fund Iran will be pounding the streets in the Berlin marathon on September 25th . They will be getting their running shoes on to raise sponsorship money for the important and unique work of this charity – can you support them?

Workers Fund Iran (WFI) was founded in December 2005 inspired by suggestions from veteran Iranian labour activist Albert Sohrabian (1927-2004). WFI aims to reduce and relieve poverty amongst Iranian workers (both employed and unemployed). This results from both the economic policies of the Iranian regime and the sanctions imposed by other countries. The charity puts at the centre of its activities the drive to rebuild international working class solidarity, directly with the workers of Iran. The charity is an independent organisation. Funds sent to Iran will be distributed amongst the most needy working class families who are facing destitution, regardless of political affiliation. We hope the funds will stop families sending their children to the streets as beggars or peddlers and selling their body parts, which is a common practice.

You can sponsor us on line using Charity Choice’s website
https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051

So far runners from England, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and USA will participate to raise funds for this cause. You can show your support by wearing Workers Fund Iran T-shirt and walking with us. If you would like to run the half marathon or the marathon with us and support our cause please send us an email workersfund@gmail.com.

طرفداران صندوق کارگری ایران در ماراتون    =============== را به لرزه در میاورندآنها کفش های دو به پا میکنند تا برای اهداف بزرگ این موسسۀ خیریه پول جمع آوری کنند – آیا شما میتوانید از آنها حمایت کنید؟
صندوق کارگری ایران، با الهام از پیشنهادات کارگرباسابقۀ ایرانی آلبرت سهرابیان (2004-1927) بنیان گذاشته شدصندوق کارگری ایران بر آنست که فقر را در میان کارگران ایران کاهش و نهایتا از بین ببرد شاغل و غیر شاغل )، فقری که نتیجۀ سیاستهای اقتصادی دولت ایران و محاصرۀ اقتصادی توسط دولتهای دیگر استاین موسسۀ خیریه، طبقۀ کارگر ایران را بمثابه مرکزفعالیت و نیروی محرکه برای بازسازی همبستگی طبقۀ کارگرجهان قرار داده استصندوق کارگری ایران موسسه ای است مستقلوجوه ارسالی به ایران بدون توجه به وابستگی سیاسی کارگران در میان خانوداه های کارگری که در معرض فقر قرار دارند توزیع میشودما امیدواریم که صندوق کارگری بتواند مانع از تکدی کودکان در خیابان ها،اعتیاد آنها به مواد مخدر و یا فروش اعضاء بدن این کودکان شود، چیزی که هم اکنون در جریان است.
شما میتوانید از طریق اینترنت و سایت زیر ما را حمایت کنید https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051
تا بحال دوندگانی از انگلستان، آمریکا، فرانسه، آلمان، ایتالیا و سوئد برای جمع آوری پول آمادۀ همکاری شده اندشما میتوانید با پوشیدن زیرپوش صندوق کارگری و راهپیمائی با ما در هامبورگ حمایت خودتان را نشان دهیدچنانچه مایلید ماراتون یا نیمه ماراتون را با ما بدوید و حمایت خود را از اهداف صندوق کارگری نشان دهید لطفا با ایمیل زیر تماس بگیریدworkersfund@gmail.com
همبسته باد اتحاد کارگران ایران
در ماراتون هامبورگ 22 ماه مه 2011 با ما باشید
صندوق کارگری ایران

 

Workers Fund Iran supporters at the Hamburg Marathon

On May 22, ten supporters of Workers Fund Iran (nine men and one woman) took part in the Hamburg Marathon to raise money for the charity, which supports workers in Iran who are suffering from financial hardship.

The race started at nine am – and while the winner only needed two hours and nine minutes, our runners were slightly slower, finishing after between five hours and five hours 20 minutes. Not a bad result at all! All ten received a medal for participating.

The runners raised the magnificent sum of 745 Euros (653 Pounds) – and there is still time to donate by using Charity Choice’s website:

https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051

But it wasn’t all hard work: our comrades had a chance to do some sightseeing, shopping and dining together. On the last evening they organised an informal roundtable discussion to debate issues around the nature of the Persian empire, multi-nationalism in Iran and the right of self-determination, the origins of religion and the impact of Islam on Iranian culture. Underlying all the debates was of course the need to organise and mobilise the working class in Iran.

There are many lessons from the Hamburg marathon that we can take to our next WFI intervention at the Berlin Marathon on September 25 2011.

For more info, go to http://hopoi.org/?p=1640

 

 

Workers Fund Iran at Hamburg Marathon 2011

Supporters of Workers Fund Iran will be pounding the streets in the Hamburg marathon on May 22. They will be getting their running shoes on to raise sponsorship money for the important and unique work of this charity – can you support them?

Workers Fund Iran (WFI) was founded in December 2005 inspired by suggestions from veteran Iranian labour activist Albert Sohrabian (1927-2004). WFI aims to reduce and relieve poverty amongst Iranian workers (both employed and unemployed). This results from both the economic policies of the Iranian regime and the sanctions imposed by other countries. The charity puts at the centre of its activities the drive to rebuild international working class solidarity, directly with the workers of Iran. The charity is an independent organisation. Funds sent to Iran will be distributed amongst the most needy working class families who are facing destitution, regardless of political affiliation. We hope the funds will stop families sending their children to the streets as beggars or peddlers and selling their body parts, which is a common practice.

You can sponsor us on line using Charity Choice’s website

https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051

So far runners from England, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and USA will participate to raise funds for this cause. You can show your support by wearing Workers Fund Iran T-shirt and walking with us. If you would like to run the half marathon or the marathon with us and support our cause please send us an email workersfund@gmail.com.

طرفداران صندوق کارگری ایران در ماراتون 22 ماه می 2011خیابان های هامبورگ را به لرزه در میاورند. آنها کفش های دو به پا میکنند تا برای اهداف بزرگ این موسسۀ خیریه پول جمع آوری کنند آیا شما میتوانید از آنها حمایت کنید؟

صندوق کارگری ایران، با الهام از پیشنهادات کارگرباسابقۀ ایرانی آلبرت سهرابیان (2004-1927) بنیان گذاشته شد. صندوق کارگری ایران بر آنست که فقر را در میان کارگران ایران کاهش و نهایتا از بین ببرد ( شاغل و غیر شاغل )، فقری که نتیجۀ سیاستهای اقتصادی دولت ایران و محاصرۀ اقتصادی توسط دولتهای دیگر است. این موسسۀ خیریه، طبقۀ کارگر ایران را بمثابه مرکزفعالیت و نیروی محرکه برای بازسازی همبستگی طبقۀ کارگرجهان قرار داده است. صندوق کارگری ایران موسسه ای است مستقل. وجوه ارسالی به ایران بدون توجه به وابستگی سیاسی کارگران در میان خانوداه های کارگری که در معرض فقر قرار دارند توزیع میشود. ما امیدواریم که صندوق کارگری بتواند مانع از تکدی کودکان در خیابان ها،اعتیاد آنها به مواد مخدر و یا فروش اعضاء بدن این کودکان شود، چیزی که هم اکنون در جریان است.

شما میتوانید از طریق اینترنت و سایت زیر ما را حمایت کنید https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051

تا بحال دوندگانی از انگلستان، آمریکا، فرانسه، آلمان، ایتالیا و سوئد برای جمع آوری پول آمادۀ همکاری شده اند. شما میتوانید با پوشیدن زیرپوش صندوق کارگری و راهپیمائی با ما در هامبورگ حمایت خودتان را نشان دهید. چنانچه مایلید ماراتون یا نیمه ماراتون را با ما بدوید و حمایت خود را از اهداف صندوق کارگری نشان دهید لطفا با ایمیل زیر تماس بگیرید. workersfund@gmail.com

همبسته باد اتحاد کارگران ایران

در ماراتون هامبورگ 22 ماه مه 2011 با ما باشید

صندوق کارگری ایران



Imprisoned student activist in coma

Arash Sadeghi

According to the Daneshjoo News website, since the onset of Arash Sadeghi’s hunger strike on March 15, 2010 until the present, his physical condition has severely deteriorated. The effects of torture by government agents has been so severe that the student activist fell into a coma today, forcing the Evin prison officials to transfer him to Modarres hospital.

A few days ago, due to the tortures inflicted on Arash Sadeghi in ward 209 of Evin prison, his shoulder blade and ribs were broken. The prison guards refused to send Arash Sadeghi to the prison clinic. Instead, he was transferred to solitary confinement.

According to the Arash Sadeghi Facebook page, prison officials informed the Sadeghi family that their son passed out as a result of severe weakness.

In a phone conversation with Arash Sadeghi’s family members, security officials instructed them to not visit him in the hospital since it is not permitted. Nevertheless, Arash Sadeghi’s family still intended to go.

Translation by Persian2English

John McDonnell MP: Free Jafar Panahi and all political prisoners

John McDonnell MP launched the new campaign, ‘Free Jafar Panahi and all political prisoners in Iran’, at the February 12 annual conference of Hands Off the People of Iran. This is his speech:

This campaign is at the heart of Hopi’s work for the coming year. We formed Hopi at a time when there was a real danger of imminent attack on Iran, right after the war on Iraq. While opposing any imperialist attacks, we positioned ourselves in clear, active solidarity with the people of Iran who are fighting against their theocratic regime. That also led us to clearly oppose all sanctions on the country, because in our view that is just another form of imperialism attacking the people of Iran. I think we have successfully engaged others in that discussion.

It is clear that threat of a military attack and an invasion has still not gone. For example, you will have heard Tony Blair’s speech before the Chilcot enquiry. With his last words he effectively called on the imperialist powers to invade Iran. And, of course, we have seen the recent cyber-attacks on the country. The threat continues and the imperialists will not give up.

However, at the moment there is a certain quietude. Partially this has to do with other activities in their spheres of influence that the imperialists are anxious about, for example in Afghanistan. And there is an acceptance that, as long as the Iranian regime is quiet, ‘maybe we can turn a blind eye’. And that is why we have not had any major political leader in the west take on the question of Iranian political prisoners in a serious way. We have not heard any British politician in government raise the issue of Jafar Panahi, for example.

There is a certain acquiescence that the barbarity will go on and, as long as this barbarity in Iran does not affect the rest of the Middle East or the rest of the world, it is almost acceptable – very much in line with what goes on in other barbaric countries in that region. There is a real vacuum on the question of human rights in Iran, whereby those who look can easily discover the brutality of the executions, the hangings, the tortures, the arrests, the denials of human rights. But the media and mainstream politicians are not interested.

Just as Hopi had to stand up and put forward a principled position against war and against the theocratic regime, we now have to stand up and fight for the freedom of all political prisoners. The responsibility falls on our shoulders, because nobody else is doing it.

We are focusing on Jafar Panahi, because campaigns like this need a symbolic figure – in the same way that in the anti-apartheid campaigns we focused on Nelson Mandela, but, of course, we fought for the freedom of all political prisoners. By focusing on a well-known name like Jafar Panahi, we will be able to raise the campaign to a higher level.

We all have to set time and resources aside for this campaign and approach it in a systematic manner. Just like when we launched Hopi, we again have to focus on the union and labour movement, get articles in their journals and websites, organise for resolutions and fringe meetings at union conferences, and conduct discussions with MPs and political parties.

The parliamentary wing of Hopi, which includes myself, Jeremy Corbyn and a few others, will put forward early day motions and will try to lobby other MPs, including those who are now in government. We are also trying to organise some activities in parliament – for example, show some of Panahi’s films and get along intellectuals and artists to discuss the campaign and the issues. In other words, we will also run a parliamentary campaign.

Of course, we also need to mobilise artists and film makers to act in solidarity with Panahi. In addition to that, we also want to reach wider civil society and in that respect I think last year’s film showing in the Soho Theatre was a breakthrough, which attracted a whole new audience. We should also not shy away from engaging with religious groups, for example, who are working on human rights matters.

All the way through we have to discuss with these forces on how the theocratic regime can be got rid of. Clearly, this can only be achieved through the actions of the working people of Iran themselves. The only consistent force that can bring about long-term stability in a secular society is the workers’ movement.

That is a fairly extensive range of work. But we have done it before and I think we can do it again.

The situation in Egypt provides an ideal opportunity to raise these issues. I attended a demonstration in Trafalgar Square and, although the organisers had printed their placards only 24 hours earlier, they were already out of date and still contained the call for Mubarak to go. But this shows what is possible, how quickly things change and that this can also be achieved in Iran.

Only the people of Iran can bring down this regime. Our task is to assist them as best as we can. If our campaign brings just one release for one political prisoner, if just one prisoner can get some hope from a clipping about our activities smuggled into prison, then I think our campaign is already successful.

Walking for Workers in Iran – Donate Here! Donate Now!

Solidarity
Solidarity

On March 4th five members of the Hands Off the People of Iran Manchester branch will be walking the Bogle, a fifty five mile walk round Manchester. We are walking to raise money for the charity Workers Fund Iran, which was set up in December 2005 with the aim to reduce and relieve poverty amongst Iranian workers (both employed and unemployed) who are victims of the economic policies of the Iranian regime, including mass non-payment of wages. The charity is not aligned to any political organisation. Funds sent to Iran will be distributed amongst the most needy working class families who are facing destitution. We hope the funds will stop families sending their children to the streets as beggars or peddlers and selling their body parts, which is a common practice.

In Iran at the moment, hundreds of thousands of workers are being consigned to poverty by the oppressive Iranian state. Practical solidarity is one of the greatest things we can do for Iranian workers; it helps the revolutionary struggle against the Islamic Republic continue. Give generously!

We are hoping to raise over £300 pounds for the charity. You can donate by going to our Charity Choice page here.
DONATE HERE
DONATE HERE

UK Students call for solidarity against the execution of Habibollah Latifi

From National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

We the undersigned call for the release of, and dropping of all charges against, Iranian student Habibollah Latifi. This is urgent: Latifi’s execution was scheduled for 26 December 2010; it was postponed after international protests and after 300 supporters protesting outside the prison gates, but could be rescheduled at any time.

Latifi, who was a law student at Azad University in the south western province of Ilam, in Western Iran, was arrested in October 2007 and sentenced to death in July 2008 after being convicted of moharebeh (‘enmity against God’), a vaguely defined ‘crime’ for which the penalty is death. This was in connection with alleged activities on behalf of a Kurdish liberation group (Latifi is from Iran’s oppressed Kurdish minority; according to Amnesty International, sixteen Kurdish men and two women are on death row in Iran in connection with alleged ‘separatist’ activities).

On 26 December, members of his family including his father and sister were also arrested.

We call on the Iranian authorities to drop all charges against Habibollah Latifi and release him and his family. We will continue to make solidarity with Iranian student activists, who alongside workers have been at the forefront of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Iran.

Initial signatories:
Patrick Murphy, National Union of Teachers National Executive member and Leeds NUT Secretary
Olivia Bailey, National Union of Students Women’s Officer
Barnaby Raine, School and FE Students Against the Cuts
Sean Rillo Raczka, National Union of Students National Executive Committee and Birkbeck Students’ Union Chair
Alan Bailey, NUS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Officer (Open Place)
Vicki Baars, NUS LGBT Officer (Women’s Place)
Claire Locke, London Metropolitan University SU Communications and Campaigns Officer
Louis Hartnoll, University of the Arts London SU President
Robyn Minogue, University of the Arts SU Education Officer
Wanda Canton, Queen Mary SU Women’s Officer
Katherine McMahon, Edinburgh University anti-cuts activist
Michael Chessum, NCAFC co-founder and UCL Union Education and Campaigns Officer
Daniel Lemberger Cooper, Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance and Save our services in Surrey
Bob Sutton, Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts
Tali Janner-Klausner, London NCAFC activist
Rowan Rheingans, Newcastle University anti-cuts activist
Jade Baker, University of Westminster SU Vice-President Education
Chris Marks, Hull University occupier

Help us to stop the Iranian state murdering Habibollah Latifi! Please add your name by emailingagainstfeesandcuts@gmail.com
We call on NUS and other student networks like the Education Activist Network to support the campaign and promote this statement.