The Islamic Republic
of Iran has turned a labour protest into an atrocity!
By: Asqar Karimi
To labour, socialist and human rights organisations and left political parties:
I write to you on a pressing matter regarding a recent brutal attack on workers in Iran. On January 23, 2004 the Islamic Republic of Iran committed yet another atrocity. It responded to a labour protest and sit-in by copper-mining workers against compulsory redundancies and for jobs and decent living conditions by killing them. The Islamic regime's oppressive security forces, namely special commandos equipped with helicopters, opened fire on the protesting workers under the direction of the Babak city governor. Later, they attacked the families and supporters of the workers who had staged a demonstration in solidarity with the striking workers. At least four workers were killed, namely Mahdavi, Javadi, Momeni and Riyahi. Tens of people were injured in the assault; the conditions of many of whom are reported to be critical. This is the capitalist Islamic Republic's response to workers who live below the poverty line and have to struggle with the spectre of unemployment and destitution and who have no safety net or security. In protest against this brutal killing, the people of Babak and Khatoon-abad have gone on general strike. They have assembled at the homes of the fallen workers in solidarity and protest. The Islamic Republic's security forces, however, continue their assault, making extensive house to house searches, and arresting workers and the people of that the region.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is an oppressive government, renowned for its executions and killings. In recent years, however, being deep in crisis, the Islamic regime has not dared commit such overt crimes because of popular pressure against it. Now, the world must respond to this inhumane killing and by putting pressure on this regime prevent this from becoming a permanent feature of the Islamic regime's policy towards labour protests.
Privatisation and the imposition of widespread compulsory redundancies without any compensation are forcing harsher working conditions on the workers in Iran and are the declared official policy of the regime. This policy has ruined millions of workers in Iran. Workers' protest against this policy is widespread. For example, petrochemical workers of the Iranian oil industry have been protesting and striking for the last three months. The workers of Iran-Khodro car manufacturing have been fighting for a formal contract of employment as well. In this factory, the pace of work is so intense that two young workers, Peyman Razielo 25 and Omid Oladi 22, became unconscious during work and later died in the last two months. The Islamic Republic has prevented any enquiry and investigation into their deaths. These are only examples of the unbearable conditions of the working class in Iran of which I am sure you are well aware of. In response to this situation, the sense of solidarity within the working class in Iran is becoming stronger. A powerful international solidarity with workers in Iran will positively contribute to this process and support the struggle of workers and sections of the working people against the Islamic regime.
So far, the working class in Iran has enjoyed the active support of trade unions internationally. The current situation is urgent. The dimensions of the ruling class attack on workers are very extensive and the Islamic regime is committing huge atrocities against the working class.
In light of the above, we urge you
WPI, Office of International Relations