Free Behzad Bagheri, Bahman Khodadadi and all political prisoners now!

Behzad Bagheri
Free Behzad Bagheri!

As we approach the anniversary of the mass demonstrations that shook the theocratic regime last year. The repressive security apparatus has stepped up their attacks and violence on opposition activists. The regime executed 13 people in Ghezel Hesar prison at the beginning of June in a warning to opposition activists that a repeat of last years uprising will not be tolerated. Dozens more activists and protesters are awaiting execution.

Even before the mass uprisings Hands Off the People of Iran was supporting left-wing student activists who were facing repression, arrest and violence by the security forces. You can see a video of Freedom and Equality Seeking Students members speaking in October 2008 here. The left-wing of the student movement in Iran has been one of the most politically advanced and therefore suffered greatly at the hands of the state repressive forces. At the end of last month Behzad Bagheri, a student at Tehran University and member of Freedom and Equality Seeking Students was arrested. His family have not been able to learn of his condition or charges and there has been no contact between Behzad and his family. He was previously arrested in 2007 with other left wing activists in 2007 for taking part in anti-militarist and ant-regime protests.

Free Mohammad Pourabdollah!
Free Mohammad Pourabdollah!

Earlier on 8th May Bahman Khodadi, another left-wing student was arrested along with other activists in Isfahan. This add to the already huge numbers of political prisoners including such as student leader Mohammad Pourabdollah who has been in prison since February 2008 after being arrested previously in February 2007, he has been kep it solitary confinement suffering torture and constant attacks by the prison authorities. Other political prisoners include the Bus Worker’s union leader Mansoor Osanloo.

The attempt to scare off the mass movement and to undermine the ability of the opposition to organise is being driven towards mass murder and detention. Our movement must call for the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners.

You can help by getting your union branch, your political organisation or yourself and friends to spread the news of the ongoing repression to opposition activists in Iran. You can also help put pressure on the authorities by sending messages of protest calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Iran:

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince´s Gate
London SW7 1PT

info@iran-embassy.org.uk

Embassy and the Consulate switchboard: 020 7225 3000

Fax (Embassy): 020 7589 4440

Jafar Panahi released on bail – but the struggle continues!

Hands Off the People celebrates the fact that Iranian film maker Jafar Panahi has been released from prison after more than two months. For the last week, he has been on hunger strike to protest against the conditions in the notorious Evin prison that he and his fellow prison mates had to endure.

A picture of Panahi taken yesterday
A picture of Panahi taken yesterday, May 25

He was arrested in March, apparently over plans to make a new critical film about the protests that sprung up in Iran after the rigged presidential elections in June 2009.

International pressure, including the protests staged at the Cannes Festival, as well as the campaigning work of organisations like Hopi (which, amongst other things, organised solidarity screenings of Panahi’s film ‘Offside’), have clearly played a role in him being freed. Panahi’s family and friends have told us how heartened he was to see that there were people fighting for his freedom.

He was released on a bail of $200,000 (£140,000).

A picture of Panahi taken yesterday
A picture of Panahi taken yesterday, May 25

But the struggle continues: his case has been referred to a revolutionary court, and he will still face trial, the official Irna news agency said. And hundreds of activists still remain behind bars. At least nine have been sentenced to death, and two have been executed already.

Hopi will continue to fight for the release of all political prisoners in Iran. Sanctions and war are not the answer to deal with the theocracy in Iran. Real democracy must come from below, from the workers’, the students, the women and unemployed in Iran.

Support Hands Off the People now. Join the campaign or make a donation: http://hopoi.org/

Seven union activists have been arrested in Kurdistan in recent days.

Organise and Fight
Organise and Fight

In a series of reports, the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisation (CCHFWO) has released the names of seven labor activists who have been arrested in recent days.

On February 27, Fattah Soleimani, a labor activist who is a member of the CCHFWO, was arrested at his home in the Kurdish city of Oshnaviyeh by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence.

Four other members of the CCHFWO, Rahman Ebrahim Zadeh, Hossein Pirvati, Samad Ahmadpour and Rahman Tanha, were also arrested in Oshnaviyeh on February 27, along with another activist Isa Ebrahimzadeh.

On March 2,  labor activist Abbas Hashempour was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Oshnaviyeh.

Additionally, five other members of the committee have been summoned to criminal and revolutionary courts in Sanandaj.

In a statement posted on its website, the CCHFWO has condemns the arrest of its members and calls for the  unconditional release of all labor activists in Iran, including Mansour Osanloo the president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company.

Translation by: RAHANA | Persian2English.com

 

بازداشت شماری از فعالان کارگری در شهرهای ایران

شنبه , ۱۵ اسفند , ۱۳۸۸ @ ۹:۳۸ ب.ظ

 

کمیته هماهنگی برای کمک به ایجاد تشکل های کارگری اعلام کرده است که شماری از فعالان کارگری و اعضای این تشکل کارگری در شهرهای سنندج، نقده و اشنویه بازداشت، احضار و یا بازجویی شده‌اند.

رهانا: این تشکل کارگری در سایت خود شمار بازداشت‌شدگان را هفت نفر اعلام کرده است.

به گزارش رادیو فردا، صمد احمدپور، عباس هاشم‌پور، رحمان ابراهیم‌زاده، رحمان تنها، عیسی ابراهیم‌زاده، فتاح سلیمانی و حسین پیروتی در روزهای اخیر بازداشت شده‌اند.

این تشکل کارگری همچنین اعلام کرده است که فواد شبکی‌فرد، کاوه گل‌محمدی، آزاد منیرنیا و شعیب صابری احضار و یا بازپرسی شده‌اند.

کمیته هماهنگی برای کمک به ایجاد تشکل‌های کارگری در بیانیه‌ای با اشاره به اینکه فعالیت بازداشت‌شدگان، تلاش برای احقاق حق طبقه کارگر است، از مقام‌های امنیتی و قضایی پرسیده است که آیا انعکاس شرایط نامطلوب کار کارگران و حمایت از آنان جرم است.

فردین نگهدار، از اعضای این تشکل کارگری در تهران، در خصوص این بازداشت‌ها به رادیو فردا می‌گوید: «این بازداشت‌ها جدا از شرایط جامعه امروز ایران نیست. همزمان با فشار عجیبی که امروز از لحاظ اقتصادی بر طبقه کارگر ایران وارد می‌شود، فعالان کارگری در تلاش برای انعکاس این فشار و وضعیت زندگی کارگران هستند. اما این فعالان به خاطر همین تلاش خود تحت فشار قرار می‌گیرند و حتی بازداشت نیز می‌شوند.»

بازداشت و یا احضار فعالان کارگری تنها محدود به اعضای کمیته هماهنگی برای کمک به ایجاد تشکل‌های کارگری نبوده است.

بر اساس گزارش‌ها، غلامرضا خانی و همایون جابری، دو تن از اعضای سندیکای کارگران شرکت واحد اتوبوسرانی تهران و حومه، به دادگاه فراخوانده شده و به دلیل فعالیت‌های صنفی‌شان مورد محاکمه قرار گرفته‌اند.

صادق کارگر، فعال سندیکایی در نروژ، در گفت‌وگو با رادیو فردا بر این باور است که برخوردهای اخیر ناشی از اعتراض‌های کارگری و نیز استقبال کارگران مناطق گوناگون از تشکل‌های کارگری است.

او با اشاره به تشکیل شورای‌های موقت کارگری در ذوب آهن اصفهان می‌افزاید: «این اقدامات سرآغاز این موضوع است که کارگران در جهت سازماندهی خود پیش می‌روند و نقش بیشتری در تغییر و تحولات اجتماعی و اقتصادی در ایران و به سود خود ایفا کنند.»

برخوردهای امنیتی و قضایی با فعالان و تشکل‌های کارگری در ایران در دوره ریاست جمهوری محمود احمدی‌نژاد شدت گرفته است.

در بیش از چهار سال گذشته، ده‌ها فعال کارگر بازداشت و حتی شماری از آنان محکوم به تحمل شلاق شده‌اند.

این برخوردها با اعتراض گسترده سازمان‌های بین‌المللی کارگری و حقوق بشری مواجه شده است.

با این همه، همچنان شماری از فعالان کارگری مانند منصور اسانلو و ابراهیم مدیی، رئیس و نایب رئیس هیئت مدیره سندیکای شرکت واحد اتوبوسرانی تهران و حومه، علی نجاتی و چند تن دیگر از اعضای هیئت مدیره سندیکای کارگران شرکت نیشکر هفت تپه و محمد اشرفی، از اعضای کمیته هماهنگی برای کمک به ایجاد تشکل‌های کارگری، زندانی هستند.

Theocracy threatens bloodbath as mass movement grows

Iranian workers are on the offensive, reports Chris Strafford

2010 has begun the way 2009 ended in the Islamic Republic of Iran, with millions protesting in cities and towns across the country. But the dangers facing the Iranian people have undoubtedly increased over the last few weeks.

Further sanctions are being put in place, and Obama is holding back Israel for the time being, but has been promising “decisive action” if Iran does not halt all uranium enrichment. One Israeli diplomat was quoted in The Guardian as saying, “Obama has convinced us that it’s worth trying the sanctions, at least for a few months” (January 3). The imperialists seem to be moving towards military aggression this year – Washington has now dismissed the validity of the intelligence estimate which concluded that Iran was no longer trying to acquire nuclear weapons.

They have also been hypocritically talking about repression and democracy in Iran. Yet it was the CIA that put into power and propped up the vicious regime of the shah, under whom similar scenes to what we are seeing on the streets of Iran today were played out again and again. And today the US and Britain support regimes which are equally adept at violent oppression, such as that of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

While the alleged threat of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is played upon, the only actual nuclear power in the region, which happens to have a history of bloody military adventures and aggression, continues to threaten Iran. Israel undertook joint war games with the US in October to test its new ground-to-air missile defence system.

Imperialist warmongering and sanctions have undoubtedly damaged the mass and working class movement in Iran, but despite that at present that movement is very much on the offensive. The funeral of ayatollah Montazeri, who died on December 20, became a focus for the latest opposition protests, with hundreds of thousands attending. A founder of the Islamic Republic, he later became a loyal oppositionist who was horrified by the mass murder that took place under Khomeini, along with the embarrassment of the Iran-Contra affair. His funeral procession and the gatherings in Qom were attacked by state repressive forces, which only fuelled the protests.

Tens of thousands of ordinary Iranians came out onto the streets on Sunday December 27. Clashes took place in Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Ardebil, Arababad and Mashhad. Martial law was declared in Najaf-Abad and at least four were killed in the city of Tabriz. In every part of Iran security forces, backed up by bassij militia and Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran), resorted to violence to put down protests.

In Tehran the supreme leader’s residence was surrounded by massed ranks of Pasdaran and police. Throughout the day chants such as “This month is a month of blood! Khamenei will be toppled!” rang out in the streets. A clear indication of how far the movement has come since the initial protests against the rigging of the June 2009 presidential elections by one wing of the regime against the other.

In Tehran clashes erupted at many religious sites, as people started to gather for the planned opposition protests. The fighting was intense, with security forces being forced to retreat, as demonstrators burnt police vehicles and bassij posts and erected barricades. In a couple of instances police and bassij were captured and detained by demonstrators and three police stations in Tehran were briefly occupied. Demonstrators also attacked the Saderat Bank in central Tehran, setting it on fire.

As the day wore on, the security forces began to crack, with the first division of the special forces refusing orders to shoot protestors. There are many pictures and videos that show police retreating or being beaten back. There are also unconfirmed statements from sections of the army declaring that they will not be used to put down popular unrest.

Over a week on it is still unclear how many were killed – reports range from seven to 15, but it is known that the nephew of ‘reformist’ leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi is among them. The official cause of the deaths that have been admitted varies from ‘accident’ to ‘murder by unknown assailants’. Marxist groups and the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MKO) have also been blamed, although videos and pictures have been posted online of the bassij firing on demonstrators.

Hundreds have been incarcerated and 300 of those arrested during the recent protests have been moved to section eight of Gohardasht prison under the control of the Revolutionary Guards. Beatings, torture and rape of prisoners is continuing on a daily basis. Ebrahim Raiesi, first undersecretary of the judicature, said that the “rioters” will be prosecuted immediately and that charges range from “causing disorder” to “war against Islam” (which is punishable by death).

On December 30, 500 bassiji and Hezbollah attacked a gathering at the University of Mashhad armed with knives. They injured dozens of students and arrested over 200, possibly killing two. The day after, over 4,000 students and professors staged protests against the attacks and arrests at Ferdowsi and Azad universities, but were laid siege by security forces and militia.

Students, professors and parents have tried to find out information about those arrested and hospitalised. They sent a delegation made up of representatives from the university Islamic Society to meet with officials, but they were themselves arrested. Amongst them is Seyed Sadra Mirada, a relative of Khamenei.

Protestors have taken to chanting “Independence, freedom, Iranian republic” – a slogan that has been condemned by Moussavi as too radical, as the ‘reformists’ go to great lengths to try and impose some sort of control on the mass movement. Other slogans that have been used include “Not the coup government, nor America” and “No colour revolution here!”

The ongoing political crisis in Iran is compounded by the economic crisis caused by the neoliberal polices pursued by consecutive governments, the world economic crisis and sanctions. Inflation is running at over 25% and unemployment has reached 12.5% – nearing 30% for young workers – impoverishing millions of families. Workers in numerous industries have gone months without pay, and on January 4 those at the Mazandaran textile factory downed tools in protest against non-payment of wages and the laying off of workers on temporary contracts.

The economic situation and the political upheaval have fused the demands of the workers’ movement with those of students and the mass movement as a whole. More and more workers are taking part in, sometimes leading, the street protests. This has scared the authorities, who have begun rounding up known left and worker activists across Iran.

The regime aims to scare the movement off the streets with dire threats. On January 2 the Revolutionary Guard released a statement saying: “The devoted bassijis of Greater Tehran will smother all the voices that come out of the throat of the enemies of the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic.” This came amongst calls by leading conservative clerics, such as the chair of the Guardian Council, ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, for the execution of leading activists. A motion has been submitted to the Iranian parliament calling for “enemies of the Islamic Republic” to be hanged within five days.

The international workers’ movement must be prepared for a new round of mass murder in Iran. We must support our comrades in any way we can. The majority of the left has indeed come out in support. To its credit the Socialist Workers Party has continued to back the movement, whilst opposing imperialism – something it previously said the anti-war movement could not do. Maybe the SWP will now permit the affiliation of Hands Off the People of Iran to the Stop the War Coalition, now that the SWP itself has taken up a watered down version of Hopi’s principled stance.

However, there remain nominal socialists who defend the mass murder and repression of the regime in Iran. Respect MP George Galloway, Andy Newman (Socialist Unity blog and Respect member) and groups like the Stalinist CPGB-ML have all defended the “mature democracy” of the Islamic Republic (Newman – www.socialistunity.com/?p=5051) and poured scorn on the mass movement as an attempt at some sort of colour revolution. Such claims have clearly been disproved by what is happening on the streets and the slogans taken up by the movement. Newman has been particularly idiotic, opting to ignore the murder of thousands of trade unionists, socialists, feminists and LGBT people under the clerical regime and instead defending the miserly welfare provisions that exist in Iran.

Defenders of the regime see it as anti-imperialist, forgetting that the clerics have made deals with the imperialists before and will no doubt do so again, if they think that will maintain their rule. The Iran-Contra affair and the welcoming of the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are good indications of how consistently the theocratic regime ‘opposes imperialism’. No, the only genuine opponents of imperialism can be found on the streets: democrats, students and most of all the working class. It is these forces to whom we must give our support – in deeds as well as words.

It is essential to maintain a clear position of opposition to any faction of the Islamic Republic and to US-led imperialism. We must begin to strengthen the campaign against sanctions initiated by Hopi – Stop the War Coalition needs to take up this issue in a serious and organised way, so that the anti-war movement can begin to win the argument that sanctions undermine working class struggle through impoverishing the masses. We need to state loud and clear that sanctions are not some soft option, but part of the imperialist war drive.

Free All Political Prisoners in Iran – Manchester Vigil on December 17th

2

FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN IRAN

Vigil for all of those who have been arrested

A vigil and rally called by Iranian students and supporters at the University of Manchester to show solidarity with hundreds of students and other political prisoners in Iran. Bring placards, banners and more importantly your friends!

 

Thursday December 17 @ 4PM til 6PM

University of Manchester Students’ Union, Oxford Road

 

Manchester HOPI hopimanchester@googlemail.com – www.hopoi.org

No to war and sanctions! – No to the theocratic regime!

Crepe Naz workers go on strike

Two hundred and fifty workers at the Crepe Naz textiles factory in Harsin County (in Kermanshah Province, western Iran) stopped work on 12-15 September to protest against not being paid their wages for the past four months.

The Crepe Naz factory is affiliated to Mellat Bank and operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Industries and Mines. Its workers work a three-shift pattern in a day.

During the strike representatives from Harsin County governor’s office, the county’s Labour Office and the Kermanshah Province governor’s office, visited the factory to assess the situation. In the end, fearing that they might be sacked using the factory’s bankruptcy as an excuse, the workers accepted that their unpaid wages can be paid in ‘two instalments’ and went back to work.

The workers agreed that to begin with they would accept 200,000 tomans ($202.47) as the ‘first instalment’ and that in late September they would receive the remaining 275,000 tomans ($253.09) of their wages. They also issued an ultimatum to their employer that if they are not paid all their backpay by late October then they would go on strike again.


Source: The Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers
Translation: Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network.

Defiance and Resistance at Tehran University

Thousands of Tehran University students swelled the streets around the university’s main entrance and and Alameh Amini Auditorium where the Science Minister, Kamran Daneshjoo was supposed to be taking part in the opening ceremonies. Students ripped up posters and demanded the expulsion of the minister from campus forcing the security forces to fire tear gas and close the campus gates. In the surrounding streets, the repressive forces attacked the demonstrations and clashes broke out. The students chanted slogans such as ‘Down with the dictator’, ‘Coup d’etat government – Resign! Resign!’ and ‘Down with the Elite – Iran has turned into a military base!’.

Below are some videos from today’s protest:



Save Sheida Jahanbin!

Sheida Jahanbin, a former member of the Freedom and Equality Seeking Students in Iran, is facing deportation from the Netherlands where she resides in exile. Sheida is twenty seven years old. She was a student of Architecture and Graphic Design at the Azad University of Tehran before she was forced to abandon her studies and flee Iran following her arrest for holding a left-wing meeting. If Sheida is deported, she will face arrest, prison, torture and even death.

We call on our supporters and friends to write to the Dutch consulate and contact where she is being held, calling for her to be granted the leave to stay permanently in the Netherlands. Her IND number is 0808-14-1310.

Please send letters and messages of protest to:

Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
38 Hyde Park Gate
London SW7 5DP
United Kingdom
Tel: 02075903200

AND

AZC Vught Reutsedijk
5264PC
Vught
Tel: 0736021731

Khodro Workers Support Wagon Pars Workers

Solidarity
Solidarity

Statement from Iran Khodro Workers

Workers of Wagon Pars Factory!

The right to life is your inalienable right.

The non-payment of several months of your wages is an obvious theft.

The looters of workers’ wages must be sacked and put on trial.

In order to achieve your rights, strike and protest are the only means to liberation.

We salute your battle, and send our solidarity for the demands of your rights, and we stand beside you to achieve your demands.

We call upon all workers and all worker organizations and human rights organizations to not abandon the Wagon Pars workers.

Shoulder to shoulder with them forces the government to meet the demands.
Long live worker solidarity!
Long live the struggle of the Wagon Pars workers!

Collective of Iran Khodro Workers

August 26, 2009