Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Free Iran Labor Leader, Pedram Nasrollahi!

Translation of statement issued by a group of labor leaders in Iran, condemning the arrest of Pedram Nasrollahi, a fellow labor leader. Original statement (in Farsi) can be read at the website of Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organization.

UPDATE: On Dec. 7th, Nasrollahi was released on a $30,000 bail, but the charges against him still stand (see the news, in Farsi, here).

Closing Statement of Ceremonies of Coordinating Committee Condemning the Arrest of Pedram Nasrollahi
December 4, 2009

Workers, organizations and institutions defending human rights, honorable and freedom loving people!

A new phase of arrests and detentions of workers and workers' rights activists has started [in Iran]. Workers' representatives of the Haft-Tapeh Sugarcane Co. syndicate were taken to jail for merely defending the workers' demands to meet their needs. The detainees of the May 1st, 2009, from Tehran were called in [by security forces] and Mohammad Ashrafi was sentenced to one year in prison. Pedram Nasrollahi, a member of Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organization, while returning home was assaulted physically, then arrested and transferred to Sanandaj prison. Threats against workers rights activists and their arrests continue. And all these under conditions, where the security and intelligence forces have been suppressing assemblies and gatherings of workers' activists, and while the oppressed and the fed-up, in order to achieve their crushed rights and demands in different social spheres take to street protests, which under the pretexts of 'disturbing the public peace' and 'fighting against national security' get crushed and their activists tried in courts with imaginary charges.

All these problems, of course, are occurring within conditions in which the working classes in Iran are facing innumerable difficulties and tragedies, under pressure from many sides and their rights denied. Capitalists don't pay their wages for months at a time and subject the workers to numerous forms of oppression and severe exploitation. At the moment, countless productive centers are faced with closures and firings and widespread unemployment continue to threaten the livelihoods of workers and their families. Also, the current government plan to supposedly 'rationalize the subsidies' [to phase out almost all subsidies _ trans. note], although not operationalized yet, has already had its psychological impact and the prices of many necessary goods have gone up, something whose pressure will be felt all the more painfully among the workers and the lower layers of the society. The continuation of these conditions will considerably worsen life and work conditions for workers, and the living conditions of the lower classes will face numerous kinds of hardships and tribulations.

It is clear that with all these hardships and restrictions, workers -- who struggle and fight for their obvious and legitimate rights -- cannot take a step backward and stop demanding their elementary and legitimate needs to be met and be given what's theirs. In the midst of all this, threats and arrests of workers and workers' rights activists will have no benefits for this exploiting class other than to expose capital's ruthlessness and to educate the masses all the more regarding the anti-worker nature of the capitalists. Such anti-workers actions and plans will only steel the will and determination of the workers for the continuation of their struggle to pursue their rights and demands in all social spheres.

We the members of Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organization, who participated in these ceremonies in defense of Pedram Nasrollahi, while condemning his arrest, demand that he be set free by the relevant authorities, and in case of the continuation of his incarceration, consider it justified to continue our efforts to free him in any form necessary and possible.

We, the participants in these ceremonies, also demand the suspension of the harassment of workers and demand the freedom of the leaders of the [Tehran] bus drivers' syndicate and the Haft-Tapeh Sugarcane Co. syndicate, and the freedom of all political prisoners.

Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organization
13 Azar, 1388 / Dec. 4, 2009

[See original in Farsi, here]

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