March 21 is the start of the New Year in Iran. IUF, Education International, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (the three international union federations with member organizations in Iran) and the ITUC together send a message of solidarity to all Iranian workers fighting for trade union rights and independent unions:
“Today, New Year in Iran, the international trade union movement sends fraternal greetings to you, our sisters and brothers, fighting for basic worker rights against an oppressive regime.
“For daring to speak out and to exercise your right to form trade unions, to represent and defend your interests and to bargain with employers, Iranian workers have been sacked, arrested as criminals, tortured and imprisoned. Some, like Kamangar*, have been executed; others await their execution; and the threat of death and possible judicial murder hangs over all those who seek to challenge misery and oppression by organizing at their workplace for collective action.
“Know that we are with you in your struggle, and that we will continue to stand by you and with you until all prisoners are released and the rights of Iranian workers are fully protected in law and in practice. “
*Teachers union activist Farzad Kamanger was executed in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison on May 9, 2010, together with 4 other political prisoners.
Haft Tepah sugar union leader Reza Rakhshan remains in prison, serving a sentence for an article prasing the constructive role of the union in helping workers receive partial payment for back wages.
The health of transport union leader Mansour Osanloo, imprisoned for the last four years, continues to deteriorate as a result of his incarceration and systematic maltreatment.