CUPE is deeply concerned about recent arrests targeting labour activists, teachers, civil rights defenders and artists in Iran. On May 1, International Workers’ Day, Iranian authorities cracked down on peaceful trade union demonstrations over poor wages, high inflation, corruption, looting of public assets, rampant injustices and human rights violations.
CUPE partner the Tehran bus workers’ syndicate and other labour organizations report that nationwide protests continue despite widespread repression, numerous and growing arrests, and the police killing of several protesters. More than 10 bus workers striking for wage increases have been arrested in recent days. The bus workers’ union is an affiliate of the International Transport Workers’ Federation,
Well-known board member Reza Shahabi and union member Hassan Saeidi have been arrested in intelligence forces raids on their homes. Shahabi has been arrested numerous times and spent years in prison for his trade union activities. Forces also raided the home of union board member Davood Razavi, but he was not there.
The Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations and Education International also report that dozens of public school teachers have been arrested and jailed since May Day, with some facing interrogation.
The Tehran bus workers’ syndicate condemns the arrests and baseless charges and is speaking out against misinformation that intelligence forces are circulating about its members and other labour detainees.
CUPE supports the union’s demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all jailed labour, teacher and social activists, including Reza Shahabi, Hassan Saeidi, Anisha Asadollahi, Reyhaneh Ansarinejad, Keyvan Mohtadi, as well as teachers detained on May Day including Rasoul Badaghi, Jafar Ebrahimi, Eskandar Lotfi, Mohammad Habibi, Mohsen Omrani, Shaban Mohammadi, Masoud Nikkhah, Mahmoud Malaki, Reza Amanifar, and Hadi Sadeghzadeh.
These arrests and detentions are violations of freedom of association, the right to organize, and freedom of speech. CUPE also demands an end to the ongoing detention and harassment of people who are peacefully advocating for the release of their colleagues.
CUPE reiterates the call from trade unions and global union federations for the Iranian government to:
- Unconditionally drop all charges against imprisoned trade unionists and human rights defenders.
- Respect and uphold the rights of workers to organize and to freedom of association and freedom of speech including the right to peaceful assembly, without fear of state intervention.
- Respect the rights and privacy of family members of imprisoned labour activists and ensure their safety and wellbeing.
Photo credit: The Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations