Issuu on Google+

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)

English Newsletter Workers' Struggles in Iran

September 23, 2013 info@workers-iran.org / www.workers-iran.org

Volume 3, No 3

In This Issue:          

Time to increase pressures for freedom of all jailed labour activists in Iran Communiqué number 58 of Reza Shahabi Defence Committee Demand my freedom so I could be next to my ailing child! Communiqué from some members of “Coordinating Committee” In Iran Accountability for the death and suffering of political prisoners in Iran IASWI’s declaration on massacre of Syrian people and military threats from US and allies Omid Rezaei's report on AAWL meeting on how workers are organizing in Egypt, Turkey and Iran Link to Asia Pacific Currents' interview with Farid C. Partovi of IASWI-Canada: Protest against the decision of the Government of Canada to expel Djaber Kalibi IASWI’s renewed English website and links to the German and French newsletters

Time to increase pressures for freedom of all jailed labour activists in Iran In this issue of IASWI's English Newsletter, we are highlighting the challenges relating to the total disregard of the plight of jailed labour activists in Iran and the continued harassment of labour activists both in jail and outside the prison system. In particular, we are calling on all labour and progressive human rights' organizations and activists to increase pressures on the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) for the freedom of imprisoned labour activists. No labour activists have been released in recent months despites the IRI's public relations stunt and selective release of a few political prisoners in recent weeks. All political prisoners must be released immediately. Please take a moment to call for an immediate freedom of Reza Shahabi, Shahrokh Zamani, Mohammad Jarahi, Behhnam Ebrahimzadeh, Pedram Nasrollahi, Rasoul Bodaghi and other imprisoned labour activists in Iran. Below is updates about the current situation of Reza Shahabi, Shahrokh Zamani, Mohammad Jarahi, Behhnam Ebrahimzadeh, Pedram Nasrollahi, Rasoul Bodaghi, as f September 23, 2013: - Reza Shahabi is the Treasurer and Executive Board member of the Syndicate of workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, which belongs to the Municipality of Tehran and has about seventeen thousand employees. He has been incarcerated since June 2010. The appeal court has confirmed his sentence for four years imprisonment, five year ban on all union activities and 7 million toman penalty. Reza Shahabi's health deteriorated significantly after severe beatings and mistreatment following his arrest. As a result, he underwent cervical spine operation on July 24, 2012. Shahabi was temporarily released on bail on January 7, 2013 after over three weeks of hunger strike in Evin prison that mobilized national and international solidarity and support. He was forced to return to prison on April 15, 2013 despite his need for continued intensive medical care. His health has rapidly been worsening since his return to prison. In September 2013, the medical examiner of Tehran has recommended that Reza Shahabi’s treatment to be done under a specialist care and outside of prison. Regarding the conditions of abdomen and liver the medical examiner has also recommended outside prison treatment under specialist physians. However, the prison and judicial authorities have refused to allow Shahabi such a leave. In addition, according to the latest statement that Reza has received, the release date from prison is marked for May 2015, and if he does not pay a fine (7 million toman) it will be extended to May 2016; whereas in the previous statement the release date was March 2014.

Page 1 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


- Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the Founding Board of the Syndicate of Paint Workers of Tehran and the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers Organizations, is currently serving an eleven-year prison sentence in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj. Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi were initially arrested in June 2011. Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Tabriz later sentenced Shahrokh Zamani to 11 years and Mohammad Jarahi to five years imprisonment after conviction of charges including “acting against national security by establishing or membership of groups opposed to the system” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi were both arrested in mid-January 2012 to begin serving their sentences. While in prison, Shahrokh Zamani, was violently forced to attend a court hearing on May 1, 2013, in which he was faced with a sham charge of insulting “the leader” (Ali Khamenei, The Supreme Leader of the IRI). Shahrokh was taken again to the court on September 8, 2013 and had to defend himself against the allegations that he has insulted Ali Khamenei in prison. - Mohammad Jarahi, a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers Organizations, an independent labour organization campaigning for the establishment of independent trade unions in Iran, is currently serving a five-year prison sentence. Mohammad Jarahi is in Tabriz prison, north-west Iran. Mohammad Jarahi and Shahrokh Zamani were initially arrested in June 2011. Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Tabriz later sentenced Shahrokh Zamani to 11 years and Mohammad Jarahi to five years imprisonment after conviction of charges including “acting against national security by establishing or membership of groups opposed to the system” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi were both arrested in mid-January 2012 to begin serving their sentences. Mohammad Jarahi, serving his third year in Tabriz prison, has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Mohammad reportedly had part of his thyroid gland removed in a surgery about three month ago at a hospital in Tabriz. Based on the final results of the tests and the detection of the Medical Commission, it is essential that Mohammad Jarahi sooner rather than later be transferred to a hospital outside the prison in order to be treated properly. Despite doctors' diagnosis and follow-ups of the family of Mohammad Jarahi, officials in Tabriz prison and judicial authorities refuse to let him out of prison and his hospitalization and treatment are not approved. - Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, member of The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations, and a Children's Rights advocate, has been incarcerated in Evin prison since June 2010. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh was initially sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in December 2010 on national security charges. This was overturned by the Supreme Court, and after a retrial he was sentenced to five years in prison after conviction of “gathering and colluding with intent to harm state security”, apparently in connection with his labour activities on behalf of The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations. This sentence was upheld on appeal in October 2011. Bahman Ebrahimzadeh, who was given a temporary release in order to care for his 14 year old son who is suffering from cancer, was under heavy pressure to return to prison, while his only son is bedridden and needs his father on his side. Latest reports indicate that, despite Behnam's pleas and calls by many labour activists and organizations in Iran, Behnam was forced to return to Evin prison on Monday, August 26, 2013. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh Defence Committee reports on September 15, 2013 that after Behnam was transferred to prison from his temporary medical leave for his son, the prison authorities decided to open a new case against him for reporting to the prison a few days after the deadline. - Pedram Nasrollahi is a well-known labour activist in Iran's Kurdistan Province and an active member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form workers' Organizations. He has been arrested and prosecuted many times in the past number of years. The General as well as Revolutionary Courts in Sanandaj city originally sentenced Pedram to three years imprisonment in July 2012. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment for "acting against the Islamic Republic by working with one of the opposition parties", which he absolutely denies, and in addition was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for being "a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations", which is not supposed to be a charge at all. After appealing the original sentences, the appeal court reduced his sentence to 19 months. In relation to the latest charges against him in 2012, Pedram Nasrollahi was first arrested on March 8, 2012 for 48 days; he was eventually released on bail of 70 million toman. After his sentences had been reduced by the appeal court to 19 months, he went to the prosecutor's office to further pursue his case, on

Page 2 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


November 14, 2012, but he got arrested and sent to the prison. - According to the Amnesty International, Rasoul Bodaghi, a member of the Tehran Teachers’ Trade Associations, which is affiliated to Education International, was arrested in September 2009. A teacher for 20 years, he was sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding with intent to disturb national security”, both vaguely worded charges. In January 2011, the Appeal Court confirmed Rasoul Bodaghi’s sentence and banned him from taking part in any civil society activities for five years. Many other labour activists across the country continue to be persecuted and arrested. Many cases go unreported. Please send protest letters and demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all imprisoned labour activists in Iran. Please send your protests letters to: info@leader.ir, info@judiciary.ir, iran@un.int; rouhani@csr.ir ; ijpr@iranjudiciary.org, info@dadiran.ir, office@justice.ir, support@irimlsa.ir; info@humanrights-iran.ir; avaei@Dadgostary-tehran.ir; bia.judi@yahoo.com; info@mlsa.ir; larijani@ipm.ir; Twitter: @khamenei_ir; ‫@‏‬HassanRouhani cc: info@workers-iran.org

Updates from Reza Shahabi Defence Committee Communiqué number 58 of Reza Shahabi Defence Committee: The coroner's office of Tehran recommends Reza Shahabi’s speedy transfer to hospital for urgent treatment. On September 4th, 2013, the Tehran Coroner's Office examined Reza Shahabi at Evin prison. Based on a MRI scan it was confirmed a back disc related to three vertebrae have been damaged, and he should be transferred to hospital for surgery immediately. This ailment had afflicted Reza with continuous back pain, at times causing his left leg to feel numb, forcing him to limp and having difficulties moving his left foot The medical examiner has recommended that Reza Shahabi’s treatment to be done under a specialist care and outside of prison. Regarding the conditions of abdomen and liver the medical examiner has also recommended outside prison treatment under specialist physicians. Also regarding the latest statement that Reza has received (from officials) about the time remained on his prison sentence, the release date is May 2015, and if he does not pay a fine (7 million toman) it will be extended to May 2016; whereas in the previous statement the release date was March 2014. It should be evident that security officials in addition to not providing urgently needed medical care for Reza Shahabi, they also try to breakdown the spirit of his family and him by arbitrary announcements of different dates for his release. Reza Shahabi’s Defense Committee protests against the continued incarceration of Reza Shahabi, a board member and treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, and demands his immediate access to needed medical care.* Reza Shahabi’s defense Committee 4, September, 2013 Phone number for Committee’s spokesperson, Mr., Mahomud Salehi: 09357353412 * Previous updates from Reza Shahabi Defence Committee indicated that Mr. Shahabi temporarily stopped using his

Page 3 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


medical care in protest since Saturday August 10, after security forces attacked prisoners of ward 350 of Evin prison, physically and verbally attacking all. They also grabbed Mr. Shahabi, who was resting on his bed (although all his cellmates had told the agents that he is suffering from various ailments) and throw him down on the floor. This savage attack only intensified Mr. Shahabi‘s critical health condition. Yet the prison's physician and his superiors refused to send him to a hospital where he could be properly treated. Even going to prison’s own health facilities are always coupled with multiple inspections and insults from prison’s health workers. When prisoners protest such high security measures the response they get is:” You’re lucky you’re in here. If you were anywhere else we would have you stripped naked by now!” In response to these insulting interactions and lack of sufficient medical care, which causes further deterioration of all prisoners’ health, Mr. Shahabi had declared that until such conditions are changed and he is sent to a proper medical facility to be taken care of by a specialized physician he would refuse any medical services given to him starting Saturday August 10, 2013. Mr. Shahabi’s ailments include: Severe back pain; numbness of the left foot, to the extent that he cannot move his foot; suffering from severe acid reflux; high fat in his liver, with marks showing up on his face,…. It is clear that since security forces and prison guards have not been able to pacify and silence the voice of this equality seeking worker they have decided to gradually silence him! But Reza is not the only prisoner facing such conditions. Many other prisoners face similar situation, including Asher Darolshafa, one of his cellmates. Reza Shahabi’s Defense Committee has repeatedly expressed serious concerns about Shahabi's conditions and holds security forces and prison officials responsible for any consequences. They have called on all labor organizations in Iran and throughout the world to protest these inhumane treatments and conditions by any means in their disposal. English report prepared by IASWI

A letter from Behnam Ebrahimzadeh: To workers' unions in Iran and around the world: Demand my freedom so I could be next to my sick child My name is Behnam Ebrahimzadeh: a labor activist and a defender of Children’s rights. I am writing this letter addressed to Iranian labor syndicates, because I think, me and my family could rely on you for assistance during these difficult and critical times. More or less you are all fully aware of my predicament, by writing this letter I want all of you to not to leave us alone in the true sense of the word. We belong to the same class and share the same destiny. You know the only reason I was arrested and tried in an unjust court was my activism in defense of workers and toilers’ rights, my opposition to child labor, and my defense of children’s rights I’m not the first person incarcerated because of these beliefs, neither the last. But as the father of a child who is stricken with cancer, and as someone who has been deprived of all his rights, my life has completely come apart. I’m addressing you my fellow workers and conscious souls in the world: all of you who do not accept injustice. I have neither stolen millions of money from people, neither committed theft, murder, nor transgressed anyone’s rights. I have only advocated the most basic rights of all human beings living in this society. I have been found “guilty” like many of my fellow workers, only because of my defense of workers’ rights and sent to jail. My family needs their nightly bread, but their breadwinner is in jail. My only child is afflicted with Leukemia and his father is in jail. I cannot even spend time with my child in hospital. We workers are fully aware of all the hardship and difficulties we experience in our lives. But my situation is even worse. I cannot even look my child straight in his eyes. Today when I was taking him back to hospital he was overwhelmed with anxiety. He was worried whether I’ll be next to him, or whether I’ll be going back to jail. For those of you who are fathers it is not so hard to appreciate our predicament.

Page 4 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


My child’s pain and suffering, his gradual destruction is annihilating me. I’m worried about him. At the same time I’m concerned that if I don’t return to jail and remain on his bedside, the security forces would invade my house and subject me to insults and abuse on his bedside and take me to jail. All the letter written so far by my son, Nima, or my wife Zobiedeh and myself have not been effective in granting me freedom, or at least leave me alone until his conditions improve. Fellow workers and conscious souls! Noble people and defenders of human rights! I ask you to support me and demand my freedom in any way that is possible for you. Don’t leave me, my wife and Nima alone! We need your support and assistance. Demand my freedom and also freedom for all other labor activists currently incarcerated especially Reza Shahabi, Mohammad Jarahi, and Shahrokh Zamani.* Behnam Ebrahimzadeh Labor activists and Children’s rights advocate August 22, 2013 * Despite Behnam's pleas and supports by many labour activists and organizations in Iran, Behnam was forced to return to Evin prison on Monday, August 26, 2013. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh Defence Committee reports on September 15, 2013 that after Behnam was transferred to prison from his temporary medical leave for his son, the prison authorities decided to open a new case against him for reporting to the prison a few days later than the deadline. More reports on this will appear on IASWI websites.

Communiqué from members of “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations” In Iran Workers, Organizations and Labor activists We the undersigned are members of “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations” We have been targeted by security forces for the past year. Although the new rounds of attacks on our committee was initiated in May 2012 when our annual General Assembly in city of Karaj was massively and brutally disrupted. (1) But the attacks have continued since then. Our members in cities of Rasht, Sanandaj, Bokan, Mahabad, and Saghez…have been either, profiled, been formally asked to appear in court, or arrested. Many have been subject to physical violence, or verbally insulted by security agents. Many have been sentenced to prison while others are awaiting their verdict. Our fellow workers! As a group of workers who have been target of increased pressures and attacks in the past few months, we reiterate and declare once more that “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations” was created in 2005 as a response to lack of independent workers’ organizations.(2) Our memberships are workers who seek to organizing workers into independent organizations, so workers will be enabled to defend their rights and their class interests, as defined in our charter. “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations” is an open, transparent and independent formation, active in fulfillment of workers demands and defending workers’ inalienable rights. Hence many of us have been accused of propagation against the state or having relations with opposition parties. We have strongly denied any such charges previously and continue to do so. We are workers, and like millions of other workers and wage earners, our only source of income is our labor power. We and our families experience many difficulties and obstacles in our daily life. We work in various industrial or service sectors. Dear workers! We are guilty of being workers. Our crime is that we have been organized in Coordinating Committee and declared

Page 5 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


that we as workers ought to have our own independent formations. Isn’t a fact that Capitalists enjoy an array of organizations to accumulate capital and preserve it? Then why workers cannot have our own independent organizations? Our message is that workers do not need paper organizations that act as a voice of the government, and vote against workers’ interests and benefits. We say the right to organize, right to strike, freedom of speech, assembly, thought…are all internationally recognized rights of all citizens. No one should be subjected to profiling, intimidation or incarcerations because they pursue such inalienable rights. We are workers, and on many occasions we have declared that a delay in payment of workers’ wages is a crime. All those employers responsible for such crimes, and imposition of poverty on works and their families should be subject of legal action and brought to justice. We have called for abolition of all temporary work contracts. We also call for an end to expulsion of workers and mass layoffs. It is our belief that until there is a Capitalist order workers’ wages shall be adjusted according to the real rate of inflation. We believe that employment, housing, health care, and free education are all workers’ inalienable rights and should be enjoyed by them and their families. No toiling member of the society shall be excluded from such rights. We are workers, and always on the side of struggling workers protesting for their rights, throughout Iran: from Bus drivers, to Kian Tire, from Mahshar Petrochemicals to Sugarcane workers… Fellow workers! We the undersigned protest the continued harassment, interrogation, and persecution of workers and labor activists, including our members who have been targeted by security and judiciary officials in cities of Sanandaj, Rasht, Mahabad and Bokan. We consider the judgments of all these courts unjust, and demand reconsideration and nullification of all charges. We also would like to thank all the workers and workers’ organizations that have supported us during these attacks. We ask all of you to join ranks with us, and assist us in any capacity to put an end to these police tactics. We also protest to free political prisoners and incarcerated workers that have been jailed only because f their beliefs, only because they were demanding the right to strike, or create their own organizations. Long live workers’ unity and solidarity. Signatories: 1- Khaled Hossaini 2- Ghaleb Hossaini 3- Wafa Ghaderi 4- Hamed MahmoudiNejad 5- Ali Azadi 6- Behzad Farajollahi 7- Mohammad Molanaie 8- Vahed Sayede 9- Yoosef Abkharabat 10- Ibrahim MostafaPoor 11- Jamal Minashiri 12- Hadi Tanoomand 13- Mohammad Karimi 14- Majid Hamidi 15- Faramarz FetratNejad 16- Sirus Fathi 17Saaid Marzban Moghadam 18- Maziar Mehrpoor 19- Masoud SalimPoor 20- Mitra Humayoni 21- Pedram Nasrollahi. 9 August 2013 (1) For more information please refer to the following links; * Free the members of the Coordinating Committee arrested in City of Karaj! ** Based on what charges were workers in Karaj attacked and beaten (2) proclamation of “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations”

Accountability for the death and suffering of political prisoners in Iran Demonstrations were called in July 2013 in different countries to protest against the death of Afshin Osanloo in Rajaee Shahr prison in Iran under dubious circumstances. Afshin Osanloo was a labour activist and political prisoner. He was subject to severe torture while in prison. Currently many labour activists in Iran are imprisoned under intolerable conditions and have gone through torture and cruel mistreatments. Many labour and human rights' organizations internationally, including Australian Services Union, CUPE Ontario, US Labour Against War, Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburb Bus Company, Free Union of Workers in Iran, Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers'

Page 6 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


Organizations..., condemned Afshin Osanloo's death and called for the immediate and unconditional freedom of all labour activists and political prisoners in Iran and for the right to organize, assemble and freedom of association and expression as reflected in internationally recognized human rights and labour standards. Afshin Osanloo who was only 42; he was a labour activist and political prisoner. Prison authorities claim that Afshin Osanloo suffered a heart attack on June 20, 2013 in notorious Rajai-Shahr Prison in the City of Karaj. However, his family and cellmates have said that he had no previous hearth problems. Afshin was subject to severe torture during his incarceration since December 2010. A group of prominent labour activists and political prisoners from Evin Prison in Tehran, including Reza Shahabi, wrote on June 24, 2013 that "Afshin Osanloo's death is only the latest episode of an extended series of political prisoners' deaths, including Akbar Mohamadi, Amir Heshmat Saran, Zahra Bani Yaghoub, Omid Mirsiafi, Hoda Saber, Mohesn Dokmeh Chi, Satar Beheshti and many more". This indicates that the Iranian government is pursuing, among other repressive policies and practices, a strategy of slow and gradual death towards political prisoners, by making them subject to severe torture, medical neglect and gross mistreatments by prison authorities. It is important to emphasize that the persecution of labour activists and gross violation of workers' and human rights in Islamic Republic of Iran continue incessantly. We continue to witness labour activists brutally persecuted and unjustly incarcerated based on totally false charges. In particular, we are seriously concerned about the health and well being of many of these prisoners of conscious who are in need of immediate medical care Like Reza Shahabi and Mohammad Jarahi, and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh whose son is presently fighting cancer IASWI holds the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable for the death and suffering of political prisoners in Iran. We have called for an independent international inquiry into the death of Afshin Osanloo and the conditions of imprisoned labour and political activists in Iran. We demand an immediate end to all executions, torture and mistreatment of labour activists and all political prisoners and immediate and unconditional freedom for all political prisoners in Iran. We call for the recognition of the right for workers to organize, assemble and freedom of association and expression. We call for an immediate freedom of Reza Shahabi, Shahrokh Zamani, Mohammad Jarahi, Behhnam Ebrahimzadeh, Pedram Nasrollahi, Rasoul Bodaghi and other imprisoned labour activists in Iran.

IASWI’s declaration on massacre of Syrian people and military threats from US and allies Based on the common interests of the international working class, and universality of human rights, IASWI’s positions on Syrian Civil War and threats of military attacks by US and allies, are as follows: 

We strongly condemn the massacre of innocent people in the Syrian Civil War. These massacres are committed by both sides of this destructive war. Assad’s murderous regime, “Free Syrian Army”, and all other reactionary armed forces from Al Qaeda, to Salafist are directly responsible for more than hundred thousand deaths and over two million refugees. We also condemn any use of chemical weapons. There is no doubt that the Arab Union, reactionary states in the region, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and world capitalism led by European Union and US are all responsible in continuation of this slaughterhouse in Syria and its great historical backward turn. Also all those regimes that support the Syrian state, such as Russia or Iran, are responsible for prolongation of this civil war, and are aiding and abating the massacres.

We strongly oppose military threats of US and allies against Syria. We consider such militarist action as criminal and call upon the global working class and all labor organizations in the world to decisively oppose such moves and prevent possibility of war and crimes against humanity. The states of European Union and US, which have been directly and indirectly involved in massacres of millions of people in the world, including, but not limited to, their crimes against humanity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, must be tried by workers and oppressed people of

Page 7 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


the world in real, independent and fair tribunals.

We consider Assad’s repressive capitalist regime as inhuman, and support the struggles of the working class, toilers, oppressed and deprived people of Syria for freedom and equality against this murderous regime. One of the most crucial elements in this struggle against the Syrian regime is the maintenance of the total political and class independence. Clear, decisive and active opposition to the murderous “Free Syrian Army”, Al Qaeda and Salafist currents and supporters of Western powers' capitalist and imperialist policies is also a must. None of these reactionary forces will ever bring freedom or justice for Syrian people.

As we have always emphasized, it is only through the international working class, the world- wide anti-capitalist movements and other freedom and equality seeking struggles of deprived people around the world that a lasting peace based on freedom, equality, social and economic justice and total elimination of exploitation can be actualized. International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) http://www.workers-iran.org alliance@workers-iran.org / info@workers-iran.org September 3, 2013

Omid Rezaei's report on AAWL Public meeting on how workers are organizing in Egypt, Turkey and Iran Australia Asia Worker Links (AAWL) organized a meeting on September 4, 2013 in which they examined the role of labour movement in the Middle East and North Africa's significant uprisings; it was tilted how workers are organizing in Egypt, Turkey and Iran. AAWL is an organisation that has existed for many years to create links between the Australian working class and their brothers and sisters in Asia and other parts of the world. They have recently been trying to develop new strategies to develop international solidarity. They have talked a lot about how the reality of international solidarity work has been when organising on a country by country basis. Historically, it has been difficult to mobilize beyond the exile communities of that country and small groups of ultra political trade unionists. As a result, the AAWL is going to seek to organise on a company and industry basis through the strategy of the “global picket line”. Everyone present was from the AAWL. This organisation is made up of trade union activists. Among participants in the meeting were Piere Moro (AAWL coordinator) Chris Lee and Gregg Platt (delegates from Community and public service union) One Iranian comrade called Pouya, a comrade who is convenor for the tertiary teachers union, Andrew Ling from the Public Servants Union and Jiselle Hanna- Communications officer for AAWL. Unfortunately speakers from Egypt and Turkey dropped out at the last moment. I spoke about the situation in Iran since the beginnings of the Vahed syndicate and IASWI's work in support of the Iranian labour movement and the Vahed Syndicate in particular. Comrades were very interested in a number of points, first the level of militancy and organisation in Iran (so I spoke about this issue of precarious (White contract) terms of employment, the lack of the right to strike or form unions and other independent labour organizations, etc.) and areas of high militancy (Tehran transport, Sanandaj and Karaj, South West and Mashad.) I was also asked about the immediate tasks of the workers movement in Iran, and so I spoke about the need for independent union recognition both by international organisations and Iranian state and employers. We moved on to talk about the repression and I spoke about the recent arrests and trials of members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations. We discussed the most effective ways to build international solidarity. AAWL seems to be moving from country based campaigns to industry and company based ones. I said that I thought this a very interesting development, and that I could see it being effective, because of the example of

Page 8 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


the work IASWI did around building international solidarity with transport workers of Tehran that arguably went some way towards securing the release of certain comrades in Iran. On this note, AAWL are holding a series of workshops on this policy they call The Global Picket Line; they are keen to know if we have any contacts in Australia who would participate. In my view this idea is a very interesting one and one that could provide a potential way to develop methods of truly international action. Towards the end of the meeting I was asked questions. Comrades wanted to know to what extent the old pre revolution leftist groups had a sway over the working class in Iran and what new groups exist. I answered to the best of my knowledge about the current trends in the Iranian workers' movement. Because the meeting was very interested in sanctions/possible war etc. I tried to make a clear and persuasive argument for the position that links the struggle against imperialism with the struggle for independent organisations; an argument I am sure all comrades are familiar with, so I will not recount it here. This was preaching to the converted, it turned out. I was introduced as a “spokesman� for IASWI; I thanked them but said that I could not speak formally or meaningfully on behalf of the organisation as neither was I an elected spokesman, nor do we have worked out public policies.

Link to Asia Pacific Current's interview with Farid C. Partovi of IASWI-Canada:

http://bit.ly/15QjgnM

Protest against the decision of the Government of Canada to expel Djaber Kalibi August 28, 2013 Mr. Chris Alexander, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1 Sent via: Minister@cic.gc.ca / chris.alexander@parl.gc.ca Re: Protest against the decision of the Government of Canada to expel Djaber Kalibi Greetings, We are writing this letter to express our outrage and condemnation that the Government of Canada has decided to expel Mr. Djaber Kalibi, a well-known social and political activist, writer and an advocate against the repressive regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite the fact that he has been living and working in Canada for about eight years. Djaber Kalibi, who is an opponent of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has been, like millions of the Iranian Diaspora, living in exile. After 22 years of living in France, Djaber and his wife and their two daughters moved to Canada where they have been living in Quebec for eight years. All these years, similar to many other Iranian political activists, he has been living legally in Canada while simultaneously promoting progressive changes for the Iranian people and against the Islamic Regime of Iran. According to information provided by Mr. Kalibi, in its decision to expel Djaber, the government of Canada has referred to the proceedings ensued in 1986 in France, where Djaber and three others were arrested for "organizing

Page 9 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran". There is evidence that after completing his sentence, Djaber was released and later the government of France granted him a passport. Therefore, given the above evidence and also the fact that Mr. Kalibi has been living lawfully in Canada for about 8 years without any security concerns, we find your decision unacceptable. Forcing Djaber Kalibi to leave Canada is unjustifiable; thus, we are seriously concerned that this decision on the part of the Canadian government might be politically motivated, which will please the repressive Islamic Republic of Iran and its collaborators. Political activists must not be used as scapegoats for foreign relations policy of governments. Therefore, we, the undersigned call on the Canadian government authorities to revoke any removal order or actions against Djaber Kalibi and grant him legal status to stay in Canada along with his wife and two daughters as a Permanent Resident. Thank you. International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran - Canada Branch International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran - France Branch

IASWI Renewed English Website and links to German and French newsletters IASWI has renewed its English website in recent months and has created a twitter account and activated its Facebook. We are still working on the English website which needs further improvements. Please visit our new website and let us know if you can be of any support: www.workers-iran.org Link to IASWI's face book: https://www.facebook.com/IASWI Link to IASWI German Newsletter: http://www.etehadbinalmelali.com/german.html Link to IASWI French Newsletter: http://www.etehadbinalmelali.com/html_2013/france.html Please follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/IASWIinfo About IASWI: The International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) was formed in 1999 and formally launched in January 2000. The IASWI has been working in collaboration with many labour and progressive organizations and activists in Iran and around the world to strengthen worker-to-worker solidarity in defence of workers’ rights, demands and struggles in Iran and against the repressive anti-worker policies and practices of Islamic Republic of Iran. IASWI is a fully independent organization and does not accept funding or resources from any governments or corporations and their affiliates.

Free all imprisoned labour activists in Iran

Page 10 of 10

IASWI Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 3 - September 23, 2013

www.workers-iran.org


Iaswi english newsletter, workers' struggles in iran, vol 3 number 3, sept 23, 2013