A regime which arrests, jails and flogs workers should not be in the ILO!

Islamic regime of Iran out of ILO!

A regime which arrests, jails and flogs workers  should not be in the ILO!

 The regime in Iran continues its persecution of worker activists – from more arrests to harassment of those already in jail and their families. These activists are in prison purely for their union activities. Our campaign is working for the immediate and unconditional release of these activists, and calls on all trade unions and human rights organisations around the world to exert pressure on the Islamic Republic regime to help secure their release and for an end to persecution of worker activists in Iran.

Currently, Esmail Abdi, a well known teacher activist, and Atena Daemi, a well known children and women’s rights activist and an activist against the death and hundreds of political activists are imprisoned in Iran.

Esmail Abdi, is serving his 6 years prison sentence for defending teachers’ rights. He began his hunger strike from April 30th 2017 to protest against the fabricated charges against workers and teachers of “gathering and colluding with intent to act against national security”.

Atena Daemi has been sentenced to 7 years in jail and she is also in the midst of a hunger strike which began on 7th April 2017. She is protesting against government pressure on her family and the jail sentences for her two sisters, as well as the securitizing of people’s struggles for their basic human rights.

Heavy jail sentences for labor activists in the past two years is a record. Many workers, teacher’s activists and protestors who are defending workers, teachers, and children’s rights are being sentenced to jail on the grounds of being “a threat to national security”, “disturbing the peace”, “assembly and collusion against the government”, “propaganda against the government” and “insulting the supreme leader”.

Some of the workers and teachers that have been sentenced to jail are:

  • Jafar Azimzadeh , a well-known labor activist and the head of the Free Union of the Workers of Iran (FUWI), and one of the coordinators of the famous wage rise petition with 40 thousand-signatures has been sentenced to 6 years in jail. In another case, Jafar Azim Zadeh, with Shapur Ehsani Rad another member of the FUWI executive board were sentenced on security charges to 11 years in prison. But fortunately after many protests this court sentence was revoked. But his 6 years jail is still in place.
  • Reza Shahbi, a member of the executive board of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs has also been called to jail and he has already been in jail for 6 years.
  • Davood Razavi and Ebrahm Maddadi, two other members of the executive board of this union have been sentenced to 5 years and 5 years and 3 months in jail.
  • Mahmoud Salehi and Osman Esmaili, two well-known worker activists in Saghez city were sentenced to 9 years and the other 1 year in jail.
  • Mahmoud Beheshti another member of the board of directors of the teacher’s association has been sentenced to 5 years in jail.
  • Ali Akbar Baghani another member of the teacher’s association has been sentenced to 10 years of exile to zabol city.


We demand that all their charges be cancelled immediately, and all the political prisoners to be freed.
Also the pressure on worker activists and political activists is heavy inside prisons. Deprivation from

medication, closure of hot showers, harassment, torture and life threats are all dangers and sufferings that these prisoners face day to day. Furthermore they are being imprisoned with non-political prisoners, many of which are dangerous.


One good news was that, Behnam EbrahimZadeh the well known workers activist was released from prison on May Day after seven years in jail. We Thank all those who participated in the campaign to release Behnam.


Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the murder of Shahrokh Zamani, a labor leader, in prison, as well as the murder of Afshin Osanlu. However, despite all of this, we see no action by the International Labor Organization with regard to this situation.


The last victims of the Islamic regime;s ploicies were Zemestan Yurt coal miners. Perhaps, you have  heard in the recent news the deaths of 45 miners and approx 70 injured due to a gas explosion at the “Zemestan Yort” coal mine on 3rd of may 2017 at Northern province of Iran. These miners were trapped at approx 1.800 meters below ground level.  Despite their  state employers been warned of a smell of gas from these miners and their families nothing was done.


The first question is this: Why is the ILO silent about these kind of anti labour policies and apparent aggressions against workers in country in Iran?  Such a regime should not be in the ILO, but in international courts to face charges for its crimes against humanity. This regime should be expelled from the ILO and from all international bodies.


We request all the unions and the workers’ organisations and all delegates appalled at the abuse of labor and human rights in Iran to at least walk out of any meetings at which the representatives of the Islamic regime of Iran may want to take the podium and speak. Their mere presence should prompt your immediate walkout.


Just as the regime of racial Apartheid of South Africa faced international boycott and isolation, so should the regime of gender Apartheid in Iran and gross labor and human rights violations. This regime should be expelled from all international bodies, and first and foremost from an organization which bears the name of workers.


We ask you to:

  • Protest the attendance of the Islamic regime of Iran at the ILO conference!
  • Boycott the Islamic Republic of Iran’s delegation!
  • Call for the release of Esmail Abdi, Atena Daemi and all political workers in Iran!
  • Demand the expulsion of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the ILO!


Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran




21 May 2017