Iran: more labor leaders arrested

On March 8, Iranian intelligence agents raided the home of Ali Nejati, president of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate (Khuzestan province), and arrested him. This follows a Feb. 28 raid, in which agents searched his home and confiscated documents related to the Syndicate. Within recent weeks, seven other leaders of the Syndicate have been arrested on charges of violating “national security,” and mostly released on bail.

One board member of the Syndicate, Mohammad Heydari Mehr, was sentenced by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Dezful to four months imprisonment and three years of prohibition from participation in any workers’ election. Four other board members who are still awaiting verdicts.

These arrests are part of the recent wave of repression and intimidation of labor activists in Iran, in which the government is trying to impose the Islamic Labor Council, a government-sponsored agency, as a means to undermine independent unions. Workers have overwhelmingly boycotted the elections of the Islamic Council, which is considered a repressive force that supports the government and employers. (International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran—IASWI, March 9)

See our last post on the labor struggle in Iran.

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