Joey Hartman: Rights Violations  Workers in Iran

September 14, 2017


Hassan Rouhani  President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Palestine Avenue, Pasteur St., Pasteu

r Sq. Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran


Dear President Rouhani:

Subject: Rights Violations  Workers in Iran

On behalf of the Vancouver and District Labour Council, representing 60,000 workers in our region of Canada, I write to express our deepest concern about the oppression of worker activists at the hands of your government.

We specifically condemn the following abuses against your citizens for their efforts to improve union and workers’ rights:

– Reza Shahabi of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company was seriously beaten by security agents first in June 2010.  He was subsequently returned to jail on the excuse that he has not finished his previous prison term because he was on medical leave.  Now with order of Tehran’s prosecutor he has been held in prison since August 8, 2017 and sentenced to 968 more days.  In protest of this unfair sentence Reza immediately began a hunger strike and is now in very poor physical condition.

– Shapur Ehsani Rad from the Free Union of Workers of Iran was detained on August 11, 2017 by Branch 101 of the Court of Saveh and sentenced to 30 lashes and fined nine million Toman (2740 dollars).  This is excessive and cruel punishment.

– Esmail Abdi is a well-known teacher-activist who was released after a 38 day hunger strike, but then arrested again on July 5, 2017.  He has been sentenced to 6 years in jail and has been transferred to Evin Prison.

– Ali Nejati of the workers’ union of Haft Tapeh Cane Sugar industry was sentenced to 6 months in jail.  An additional 70 workers from this company have been detained for participating in strikes regarding unpaid wages.

– Mohsen Omrani is a teacher union activist from Bushehr city who was taken to prison after three days leave on July 31.  He has been sentenced to one year in jail.

– Jafar Azimzadeh of the Free Union of Workers of Iran was released on bail after worldwide protests, but remains under constant pressure to complete an unfair sentence of 6 years.

– Mahmoud Beheshti from the Teachers’ Trade Association is also under arrest to and being required to complete a 14 year jail sentence.

– Taher Ghaderzadeh and Reza Moslem, both teacher activists, have been sentenced to 3 months and 3 years respectively.

These names are just a few of the many labour activists and leaders, teachers, and social justice activists who have been imprisoned or under threat of arrest for their struggles.

We condemn this ongoing violation of the basic workers’ rights in Iran and urge you to expedite the release and end of harassment to these individuals.

Yours truly,

Joey Hartman President

cc: VDLC Executive.