Saturday, February 28, 2009

Teaching the Communist Manifesto !


It's been some years since I last stood in front of a class, but times are hard and the funding's long since dried up, so needs must. But what better course for a Marxist to teach than an introduction to political sociology that also requires the students read and engage with a bit of Marx? This is how I've spent a few hours these last couple of Thursdays. For my classes I set the Communist Manifesto as their reading, and much to my delight, most of them appeared to have read it. So, how did it go?

Quite well actually. I always begin a session based on a reading with how the students got on with the text and pleasingly, it elicited a couple of very strong reactions from a LibDem and a Tory, respectively. The boy in the yellow corner objected to its general political thrust while the woman in the blue corner thundered about Marx's critique of charity, and tried to claim that because the Manifesto is for the workers it is "elitist". But there were a few positive responses as well - a dangerous subversive from Socialist Students praised it for predicting capitalism's line of march when it remained very much in its infancy, while another went on to praise China(!)


Below are the questions around which most of the discussion revolved:

Does class still matter? How does Marx define it? Is there a struggle between the classes? What is "special" about the working class?

Why, for Marx, is capitalism the best and the worst thing to have happened to the human race?


"The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie". What does Marx mean by this? Do you agree?


Is the spectre of communism abroad once again?


What did Marx mean by the abolition of private property? Do communists want to nationalise your telly?The discussions also ranged over the materialist conception of history, the theory of surplus labour and surplus value, social mobility, whether we're all middle class now and the class location of David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.


Next time it will be Max Weber and the origins of capitalism. That's a recipe for a less passionate and wide-ranging a lesson but still, it could prove to be interesting.

Hana Abdi Released from Prison!

Hana Abdi , women rights activist and student of Bijar University , released from prison .
Hana was arrested on October 2,2007 in Sanandaj . she was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in exile, but the court of appeal has reduced her sentence to 18 months.
Mohamad Sharif her lawyer said :she has been released today and is on her way from Tabriz to her home town Sanandaj.
Sharif added:Hana Abdi also has another case related to Kurdish prisoners hunger strike but the ruling is not issued yet.
He elaborated that Ronak Safarzadeh’s court will be held on Saturday February 28,2009 while she hasn’t received any ruling since being imprisoned ( one and half year ago).
S:Feminist School

Friday, February 27, 2009

The first and largest manufacturer of constructional steel products in Iran will go on strike!


Workers have threatened to go on strike on February 28 over pay disputes with the government appointed management of Steel Factory in the central city of Isfahan.
The company is the largest steel factory in the country with 10,000 part-time and 8,000 full time workers.


The part-time workers have threatened to walkout if their pay grads would not be elevated to that of the full time ones. Presently there is a 700,000 Tomons ($700) pay gap between the two groups of workers in their monthly paychecks.


In addition, the part-time workers live under constant fear of losing their jobs since there are no official contracts signed with them.


Isfahan Steel Co. (ESCo) is the first and largest manufacturer of constructional steel products in Iran. This complex started production in 1971 with annual capacity of 600,000 MT.


Hundreds of workshops and factories went on strike over payments in 2007 and 2008. Factories such as Haft-Tapeh sugar cane mill, Kiyan-Tire making car tires, Iran Khodro car manufacturer are some of the biggest with tens of thousands of workers. In the past decade, most of Iran's factories have been privatized by the Islamic republic' regime opening the doors to even more suppressive measures against the Iranian workforce. The new managements were appointed by the government without adequate protection for workers and their families who make the most vulnerable part of the population.

University Campus Violently Attacked!


Government forces violently attacked hundreds of protesting students at Amir Kabir University in Tehran and arrested dozens of students on 23 February 2009.


we expressed its serious concerns for the health of the detainees and fears that they may be subjected to torture and ill-treatment. It called on the Iranian government to immediately release all Polytechnic students and to end its persecution and prosecution of students.


The students were protesting the burial of “unknown martyrs” from the Iran-Iraq war on their campus, as they believed it to be a politically motivated government ploy and considered it an insult to the martyrs to be abused as “political instruments.”


The Islami republic is desperately trying to silence all independent voices ahead of the upcoming June elections under any conceivable pretext. The university students are being targeted for their outspoken advocacy and defense of freedom of expression.


Regim's forces, backed by members of the Basiji student militia and a mob of outsiders brought to the campus, violently confronted hundreds of protesting students. According to Amir Kabir News, the mob, armed with “knives, pepper sprays, and martial arts weapons” attacked protesting students and beat them.


Security agents detained 70 students and took them to the local police station at Palestine Square for questioning. As of 24 February, the authorities had released 40 detainees, but reportedly transferred the remaining 30 students to Tehran’s Evin Prison.

On the morning of 24 February, security agents attacked the homes of four Amir Kabir students, Ahmad Ghasaban, Nariman Mostafavi, Mehdi Mashayekhi, and Abbas Hakimzadeh and detained them. The agents refused to provide any information to their families.
Four other Amir Kabir University students, Majid Tavakoli, Hossein Torkashvand, Esmaiel Salmanpour and Kourosh Daneshyar have been in detention at Evin Prison since 5 February and are reportedly on hunger strike.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Raid on Polytechnic University students' homes and the arrest of a large number of them!

Following courageous uprising by Tehran’s Polytechnic University students, the agents of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) raided the homes of a number of students on Tuesday, February 24, and took them to an unknown location. Among the detainees are Messrs. Ahmad Qasaban, Nariman Mostafavi, Mehdi Mashayekhi and Abbas Hakim Zadeh.




On February 5, another group of students from the same university including Messrs. Hossein Torkashvand, Majid Tavakoli, Esmail Salmanpour and Vahid Daneshyar, were arrested by agents of the MOIS and transferred to Ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison.

These students are currently on hunger strike in protest against their detention.


Messrs. Tavakoli and Qasaban who are among students expelled from the Polytechnic University had previously served 15 months of intolerable prison terms in Evin prison and were recently bailed out by paying large sums.
we calls on all international human rights organizations and student unions to condemn brutal suppression of students and to adopt urgent measures to release those detained in recent days.


protest in polytechnic!





Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hundreds of tehran& Polytechnic University students protest!



Hundreds of Polytechnic University (Amirkabir) students protested for the second day in row to burying remains of five members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) left from 1980-88 war with Iraq on the campus.

Students chanted anti-government slogans when they were attacked by the plain-cloths agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and members of paramilitary Bassij students dispatched from other Tehran's school to help quell the protests.
"Death to dictator," "We don't want a fascist regime" shouted the students when they were beaten by security forces. Twenty-five students were arrested and transferred in police vans to unknown locations despite attempts by their fellow classmates to get them released.
Seven wounded students were taken to nearby hospitals for immediate medical attention. Twenty years after the end of the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war the remains of IRGC soldiers are being buried in Iranian universities.
also many of tehran university students(leftists) protested against arresed friends in this days:






+++'Evin Becomes University, University becomes cemetery'

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Islamic republic's regime transfers 16 prisoners to notorious Evin prison to carry out cruel sentence of mass hanging!

On Saturday, February 21, 2009, the Islamic republic regime’s henchmen transferred 16 prisoners from Karaj’s Gohardasht prison to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran in order to carry out a cruel sentence of mass hanging. Messrs Hani Khandar, Hamid Mohammadi, and Aziz Mohseni are among the victims.


Mr. Hani Khandar was arrested in the summer of 2007 after widespread popular protests against gasoline price hikes, and thereafter imprisoned. He was subjected to torture for a long time in the gruesome ward 209 of Evin, and later transferred to the Kahrizak prison. Regime henchmen tried to break down this political prisoner by pulling his nails and conducting mock hangings, among other torture methods.

Messrs Hamid Mohammadi and Aziz Mohseni were arrested in the course of the implementation of suppressive plans referred to by the regime as “Improving Social Safety,” and later subjected to interrogation and torture.

It is worth mentioning that during the first few days of every month in the Persian calendar, the Islamic republic’ regime conducts shocking mass hangings in order to heighten the atmosphere of terror and fear in its prisons and medieval torture chambers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

An independent workers union in southern Iran is challenging a legal case against them by the Revolutionary Court and they need your support, now!



In June last year, five thousand workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company in the Iranian city of Shush formed an independent trade union following a 46-day strike. The Haft Tapeh workers have had to resort to repeated strike action to fight for their basic workplace rights, including regular payment of wages.



The strike last year began when thousands of workers from every department downed tools to protest two months without wages. A petition to the provincial labour department with thousands of signatures triggered mass arrests and repeated interventions by police, security forces and Revolutionary Guards. A mass demonstration on June 16 by workers and their families ending at an assembly which elected officers of an independent trade union.


Now the government is seeking to crush the union through potentially lengthy prison sentences for 5 elected leaders, charged with acting against "national security" in connection with last year's strike and the formation of the union. The five leaders are Ali Nejati, President, Feridoun Nikoufard, Vice President, Mohammed Heydari Mehr, Representative for Industry Affairs, Ghorban Alipour, Secretary, and Jalil Ahmadi, Member of the Board of Directors.



The 5 elected union leaders were summoned to the Revolutionary Court on December 20, 2008 and charged with acting against national security.unions worldwide have condemned these charges as groundless and called on the government to immediately and unconditionally drop the charges. . . Other independent union leaders in Iran, including Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi of the Tehran Bus Union, have been imprisoned on the same charges.



The verdict was scheduled to be delivered on February 17 in a typically despotic and arbitrary manner by the court - the plaintiff did not even bother to appear before the judge nor present serious "evidence". However, the determination of the union leaders and their lawyer turned what was scheduled to have been a perfunctory sentencing into a five hour debate whose only conclusion was to continue the hearing. The next session is scheduled for February 22.


also,A number of other well-known worker activists are under persecution for taking part in strikes and/or other labour activities. Six leading members of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, namely, Ata Babakhani, Saeed Torabian, Abbas Najand-Kouhi, Ali Zadeh Hossein, Davoud Razavi and Yaghoub Salimi, have been sentenced to 6 to 14 months’ prison for taking part in the 2006 strike, while Mansoor Ossanlou and Ebrahim Madadi remain in prison. Teacher activist Farzad Kamangar has been sentenced to death and scores of students have been imprisoned for protesting against repression and gender-segregation.
In the mean time,On Wednesday 18th February, two women workers were flogged, following their conviction by a court in Sanandaj for taking part in last year’s May Day celebrations. Susan Razani received a 9 months’ suspended sentence and 70 lashes and Shiva Kheir Abadi 3 years’ suspended sentence and 15 lashes.

Two other workers in the same case, namely Abdullah Khani and Seyyed Ghaleb Hosseini, have been sentenced to 91 days’ prison and 40 lashes and 6 months’ prison and 40 lashes each, respectively.

Last year the regime in Iran carried out flogging sentences on four other workers also for taking part in May Day rallies, precipitating widespread condemnations and protests in Iran and internationally.

The floggings are part of an ongoing persecution of labour activists, amid worker protests over pay and conditions and the right to freely organise and strike. On Sunday 15th Feb leading unionist Taha Azadi, who is on the executive board of the Free Union of Workers in Iran, appeared before a court in Cangan on charges of ‘acts against national security’ and ‘publicity against the system’. Mr Azadi was arrested last year for taking part in a May Day rally in the industrial zone of Asalouyeh and has already spent 47 days in prison. The court has deferred announcement of its decision and sentencing to a later date.


The International Labour Solidarity Committee of WPI requests labour and human rights organisations and individuals around the world to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the outrageous flogging of workers by the regime in Iran and to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained. Please send your letters of protest to the following offices of the Islamic Republic, with copies to us:



Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Iran
Email: info@leader.ir

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Iran
Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St.,Vali Asr Ave.,
South of Serah-e Jomhouri,
Tehran, Iran
Email: info@dadgostary-tehran.ir


Intelligent forces of Islamic regime threaten the firends and family members of the jailed university students!


All of the arrested students are now kept in solitary confinements in different prisons in Iran, namely the security ward 209 of Evin prison in Tehran, the central prison of Dastgerd in Isfahan, the prison of intelligence headquarters in Shiraz and the central intelligence prison of Hamedan.


The names of jailed university students in Iran are listed below:
1- Koorosh Daneshyaar (Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran)
2- Alireza Davoodi ( University of Isfahan)
3- Bahman Khodadadi ( University of Isfahan)
4- Younes Mirhosseini ( University of Shiraz)
5- Mohammad Pourabdollah ( University of Tehran)
6- Kaveh Rezaiee shirazi ( University of Hamedan)
7- Esmaeel Salmanpour (Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran)
8- Majid Tavakkoli (Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran)
9- Hossein Torkaashvand (Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran)
10- Sahar Yazdaani ( University of Shiraz)


The MI has not allowed the mentioned students to be in contact with their families and lawyers yet.
According to the obtained reports Mohammad Pourabdollah, Majid Tavakkoli, Younes Mirhosseini and Alireza Davoodi are in a horrible situation and under mental and physical torture. Particularly the illness and Hunger Strike of these students have made their families worried about their health condition.
On the other hand, the MI forces threaten the jailed students’ friends and family members by telephone contacts to force them not to spread out the news of the new wave of university students arresting in Iran. Sahar yazdani ,Younes Mirhosseni’s wife, who had interviewed with some broad casting agencies to report her husband’s bad situation in prison, is now jailed only because of spreading the news about her spouse.
Moreover, MI forces have menaced the families and friends of arrested students that if they do not answer the MI forces calls, they will also be in danger of being arrested.
This vast arresting of university student activists along with calling so many students’ for the university's disciplinary commission in recent weeks, show the systematic policy and program of the Islamic regime to strangle all the opposite voices before the upcoming presidency election in Iran.
S:(+)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Execution/Death Penalty/ stoning by the islamic repubic just in feb,2009!

>>It's Unbelievable we're in 21 century<<



Five people executed in Iran !
Five men were hanged in the prison of Isfahan yesterday February 17 according to the reports from Iran.According to the Iranian website "young Journalists Club" (YJC) three of the men were convicted of drug trafficking, while two were convicted of murder. One of those executed for drug trafficking was an Afghan citizen according to the report.According to the web-site "Acitivists for democracy and human rights in Iran" the men were identified as:
Hamid Babaei (35),
Mohammad Gorgi (25),
Omid Noori (27)
Yasin Jafari (27)
Abbasali Ghasemi (30)


Bahaism successors accused of espionage in Iran !
Seven leaders of Baha'i religious community have been arrested on charges of spying for foreign states in Iran. The criminal case against them will be completed and submitted to the court as soon as possible, Fars news agency quoted the Iranian Ministry of Justice as saying.

Three activists of the movement for rights of South Azerbaijanis arrested in Iran !
In Iran officials of the Ardebil department Ettelaat arrested three activists of the movement for rights of South Azerbaijanis, according to Mediaforum website.
Notably, the detained are brothers Mohammad Sadig Asl, Ibrahim Sadig Asl, Ramin Sadig Asl. The whereabouts of the brothers are not specified.

Further information on Death Penalty / stoning !
Kobra Nadjar has had her sentence of stoning commuted to 100 lashes. On 19 January 2009 her lawyer, Maryam Kiyan Ersi, told the Women's Field website that the Head of the Judiciary had finally issued the order for commutation, two years after she had submitted a letter explaining the details of the case and asking for an amnesty.

An adultry convicted man was hanged in northern Iran!
Abdollah Farivar Moghadam, who had previosly been sentenced to death by stoning for adultry, was hanged in the prison of Sari early Thursday morning February 19.The women web site Meydaan (women’s field) wrote that the music teacher Abdollah Farivar (53), who was arrested for adultry 4 years ago was hanged in the prison of Sari Thursday morning.Abdollah Farivar, married and father of two children, was sentenced to death by stoning convicted of having sexual relationship with another girl.Mr. Farivar’s mother told BBC (persian) that they were informed on Wednesday (one day prior to hanging) by the Iranian authorities that the stoning sentence of their son was converted to death by hanging.Shadi Sadr, lawyer and member of the stop stoning campaign, told BBC that this is the first time that someone sentenced to death by stoning has been hanged. She added :"there are at least 14 people sentenced to death by stoning in the Iranian prisons, an with the execution of Mr. Farivar, the concern has grown over their fate"
Two men were stoned to death in the city of Mashad (north-eastern Iran) on December 26, 2008.

Amir Khaleghi, another minor offender at imminent risk of execution in Iran!

One day after the scheduled execution of the minor offender Rahim Ahamdi was halted in Iran, we have received reports about another minor offender scheduled to be executed in Iran soon.
Amir Khaleghi (18) is convicted of a murder allegedly committed when he was 16 years old.According to a letter from
Mohammad Mostafaei, the defence lawyer of several minor offenders, Amir is scheduled to be executed in Tehran’s Evin prison on Sunday February22.
International pressure is often the only mean to stop execution of the minors.

URGENT: The minor offender Rahim Ahmadi is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday Fenruary 18!

The minor offender Rahim Ahmadi is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday February 18. wrote his lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei in a letter to Iran Human Rights. The letter is also published on Mr. Mostafaei’s blog.Rahim Ahmadi is convicted of a murder he allegedly committed when he was 15 years old. According to his lawyer Rahim had acted in self defence.
Rahim’s execution is scheduled to take place at Adelabad prison of Shiraz.The minor offender Behnam Zare was also executed in Shiraz in August 2008, convicted of a murder at the age of 15.Iran has ratified UN’s convention of children’s rights which bans death penalty for offences committed at under 18 years of age.

Execution of the minor Rahim Ahamdi has been halted!

The scheduled execution of Rahim Ahmadi, convicted of murder at the age of 15, has been halted. He was scheduled to be executed in the Adelabad prison of Shiraz today.Mohammad Mostafaei, Rahim’s lawyer wrote the news in a communication sent to Iran Human Rights. He also thanked all the human rights defenders helping to save Rahim’s life.The state run Iranian news agency ISCA news reported that the scheduled execution of "Rahim A." was halted after direct order from head of the judiciary.

Three men were hanged in the prison of Kermanshah (western Iran) !

Three men convicted of killing a businessman have been hanged in the western city of Kermanshah, The Iranian newspaper Jomuhri-Eslami reported on Monday.Naser Ahmadi, Saeed Jannati and Farzad Jannati had kidnapped and killed Nourali Shademani in 2005, the Jomhuri Eslami reported, adding the three were hanged on Thursday February 5.

URGENT: The minor offender Bahman Salimian is at risk of being executed in less than 48 hours!

Bahman Salimian, a minor offender convicted of committing an alleged muder (on his own grandmother) when he was 15 years old, is scheduled to be executed Thursday morning February 5., says his lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei.According to Mr. Mostafaei, the attempts to stop or postpone Bahman’s execution have not given any results, and he is now scheduled to be executed on February 5 in Isfahan’s prison.Bahman has been 12 years in the prison. Besides being a minor, he is suffering from mental illness and and was should not be accountable for the offence that day said Mr. Mostafaei to the web site Farhang daily. There are medical documents supporting this according to him. According to Bahman, he was not aware of what he was doing. "when I became aware of it I wanted to commit suicide" said Bahman according to the report.
International attention is the only way to save Bahman’s life now.

One man was hanged in Bojnord (North east Iran)!

One man was hanged in the prison of Bojnord (in the Iranian province of Northern Khorasan) today Februry 1, reported the state run Iranian news agnecy ISCA news.The man who was just identified as "H. H." was convicted of drug trafficking according to the report.Six others were hanged in the prison of Bojnord on January 25.

THE IRANIAN WOMAN, MASOUMEH, WAS EXECUTED THURSDAY MORNING!

According to sources in Iran, the Iranian woman, Masoumeh Ghale Jahi, was executed yesterday morning January 29.Iran Human Rights had earlier this week reported that Masoumeh was scheduled to be executed in Thursday January 29.The news ahs not been conformed by the Iranian media yet.However the journalist and human rights defender Asieh Amini has also confirmed the news in her weblog.

S:HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN

Why some people rally during 30th anniversary of the revolution in Iran? Find your answer in photos!

Some people participate in rally to mark anniversary of the revolution in Iran every year but there is reason behind of it, besides that small percentage of people are there to show off their support but most people attend because first there is no entertainment in Iran and second for following reasons:

1. Poverty: poverty makes people to become peddlers.

2. Free Food: People need to eat and if they can get a free food, why shouldn't go to rally? Just watch the line out and how struggle to get some free food:

3. Presents: This is relatively new idea, they didn't have gifts in rallies back then. It shows that people don't go to support "islamic republic" anymore for free.
By the way, here someone found a
good use of islamic flag in Iran!



Last photos but very interesting ones. It shows people step on Iranian dead leader Khomeini, supreme leader Ali Khamenei photos and even flag and islamic republic messages and mottos. People just don't care to islamic republic, leader or supreme leader anymore; they want to get what they came for:


photos by: yozpalang (of course Yozpalang is not his real name, it's just a handle).

Protest intensified repression against labour activists - No to whippings and executions!

against the sadistic and savage sentences handed out against Iranian trade unionists for the 'crime' of having participated in a May Day demonstration this year, and two women in particular, Sousan Razani and Shiva Kheirabadi. Sousan was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment and 70 lashes; Shiva to 4 months imprisonment and 15 lashes.
In addition:
Mr. Abdullah Khani was sentenced to 91 days prison and 40 lashes and Mr. Seyed Qaleb Hosseini to 6 months imprisonment and 50 lashes.
Separately, Mr. Khaled Hosseini, a worker activist, was sentenced to 91 days suspended jail and 30 lashes because of his efforts in support of Mahmoud Salehi who was imprisoned at the time.
only because of their participation in 2008 May Day celebration in Sanandaj, the Criminal Court of Sanandaj - branch 101 has sentenced Ms. Sousan Razani to 9 months imprisonment and 70 lashes; Ms. Shiva Kheirabadi to 4 months imprisonment and 15 lashes; Mr. Abdullah Khani to 91 days prison and 40 lashes and Mr. Seyed Qaleb Hosseini to 6 months imprisonment and 50 lashes. In addition, Mr. Khaled Hosseini, a worker activist, was sentenced to 91 days suspended jail and 30 lashes because of his efforts in support of Mahmoud Salehi who was imprisoned at the time.
These are outrageous sentences to pass on any individual for exercising fundamental human rights to participate in what are legitimate trade union activities. The flogging sentences represent cruel and degrading punishment and as such are a further violation of the human rights of those condemned and an affront to international humanitarian law.

Another activist, Mr. Afshin Shams, was arrested in July 2008. Mr. Shams is a labour activist, a member of 'Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations', a member of the 'Committee in Defence of Mahmoud Salehi' and a member of 'Caricaturists Society'. There have been other arrests and charges against labour and social activists in Iran as well as dismissal of labour activists, including the recent dismissal verdict against nine members of the bus workers syndicate.

Arrest and torture of student movement activists in various cities!

According to obtained reports, the islami republic’ Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), by arresting and torturing student activities involved in protest acts, attempts to prevent the growth of the student movement.
In Tehran, on Saturday, February 14, 2009, Ms. Nassim Soltan Beygi, a communications student at Allameh University, who is also a women’s rights activist, was summoned to the Islamic republic’ revolutionary court. She is scheduled to be tried on February 21, 2009 by henchman Salavati. Prior to this, Ms. Soltan Beygi was abducted by MOIS agents in December 2007, and transferred to solitary confinement in ward 209 of the notorious Evin prison. She was subjected to intense physical and psychological torture for 55 days.
Hossein Tarkashvand, Majid Tavakkoli, Esmail Salmanpour, and Vahid Daneshyar, all of whom are students at Tehran’s Polytechnic University, were arrested by MOIS plain-clothed agents on Thursday, February 5, 2009 and transferred to the notorious ward 209 of Evin prison. Prior to this, Mr. Tavakkoli was incarcerated in the same ward for 15 months and was subjected to some of the most intense forms of torture.
Moreover, Mr. Mohammad Pour-Abdollah, a chemistry student at Tehran University, who was arrested on February 12, was transferred to ward 209 and placed under torture.
The Islamic republic’ MOIS agents also continue to refrain from providing any information about Mr. Reza Negahdari, a law student at Tehran University, who was abducted by MOIS agents on February 3.
Messrs Ramin and Ebraim Sadeghi Asl, students at Ardebil University, were arrested by Islamic republic’ MOIS agents on February 3, and taken to the MOIS torture chamber of the city. The henchmen placed the detainees under brutal torture, including electric shock and sleep deprivation, in order to extract information from them. Mr. Ramin Sadeghi has begun a hunger strike in protest.
Younes Mir-Hosseini and Esmail Jalilvand, both Shiraz University students, who during the past week were arrested by MOIS agents and transferred to prison, are under pressure and torture. The Islamic republic’ MOIS agents continue to avoid resolving Younes Mir-Hosseini’s situation despite the fact that he has been on hunger strike for five days. He is a senior law student.
Ms. Sahar Yazdani, also a Shiraz University student, was arrested on February 13 by the Islamic republic’ MOIS agents because she had made inquiries about the situation of her husband, Mr. Younes Mir-Hosseini. Regime officials have so far not provided any information about his situation to his family.

IUF(Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide):Stop Repression of Iranian Sugar Workers' Union!

An independent workers union in southern Iran is challenging a legal case against them by the Revolutionary Court and they need your support, now.
In June last year, five thousand workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company in the Iranian city of Shush formed an independent trade union following a 46-day strike. Official organizations created by the government (Workers House and Islamic Labour Council) have for years utterly failed to protect the workers and their conditions. The Haft Tapeh workers have had to resort to repeated strike action to fight for their basic workplace rights, including regular payment of wages.
The strike last year began when thousands of workers from every department downed tools to protest two months without wages. A petition to the provincial labour department with thousands of signatures triggered mass arrests and repeated interventions by police, security forces and Revolutionary Guards. A mass demonstration on June 16 by workers and their families ending at an assembly which elected officers of an independent trade union. The Haft Tapeh union is now a member of the IUF.

Now the government is seeking to crush the union through potentially lengthy prison sentences for 5 elected leaders, charged with acting against "national security" in connection with last year's strike and the formation of the union. The five leaders are Ali Nejati, President, Feridoun Nikoufard, Vice President, Mohammed Heydari Mehr, Representative for Industry Affairs, Ghorban Alipour, Secretary, and Jalil Ahmadi, Member of the Board of Directors.
The 5 elected union leaders were summoned to the Revolutionary Court on December 20, 2008 and charged with acting against national security.The IUF and unions worldwide have condemned these charges as groundless and called on the government to immediately and unconditionally drop the charges. . Other independent union leaders in Iran, including Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi of the Tehran Bus Union, have been imprisoned on the same charges..

The verdict was scheduled to be delivered on February 17 in a typically despotic and arbitrary manner by the court - the plaintiff did not even bother to appear before the judge nor present serious "evidence". However, the determination of the union leaders and their lawyer turned what was scheduled to have been a perfunctory sentencing into a five hour debate whose only conclusion was to continue the hearing. The next session is scheduled for February 22.
The union thanks all those who have written the government over the past few weeks. However, additional pressure is urgently needed to get the authorities to unconditionally drop all charges. CLICK HERE to send a message to the Iranian state and judicial authorities, calling on them to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against the Haft Tapeh union leaders.

Launch of One Law for All - Campaign against Sharia law in Britain


I was invited by Maryam Namazie, the spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britian, to be a petitioner; along with AC Grayling, Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christopher Hitchens, and others. You can find yours truly on this list along with other better, greater writers and thinkers.


According to campaign organiser, Maryam Namazie, ‘Even in civil matters, Sharia law is discriminatory, unfair and unjust, particularly against women and children. Moreover, its voluntary nature is a sham; many women will be pressured into going to these courts and abiding by their decisions. These courts are a quick and cheap route to injustice and do nothing to promote minority rights and social cohesion. Public interest, particularly with regard to women and children, requires an end to Sharia and all other faith-based courts and tribunals.’
The campaign has already received widespread support including from AC Grayling; Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Bahram Soroush; Baroness Caroline Cox; Caspar Melville; Deeyah; Fariborz Pooya; Gina Khan; Houzan Mahmoud; Homa Arjomand; Ibn Warraq; Joan Smith; Johann Hari; Keith Porteous Wood; Mina Ahadi; Naser Khader; Nick Cohen; Richard Dawkins; Shakeb Isaar; Sonja Eggerickx; Stephen Law; Tarek Fatah; Tauriq Moosa; Taslima Nasrin and others. It has also received the support of organisations such as Children First Now; Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Equal Rights Now - Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; European Humanist Federation; International Committee against Stoning; International Humanist and Ethical Union; Iranian Secular Society; Lawyers Secular Society; the National Secular Society; and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.


The campaign calls on the UK government to recognise that Sharia law is arbitrary and discriminatory and for an end to Sharia courts and all religious tribunals on the basis that they work against and not for equality and human rights.


The campaign also calls for the Arbitration Act 1996 to be amended so that all religious tribunals are banned from operating within and outside of the legal system.


In the words of the Campaign Declaration: ‘Rights, justice, inclusion, equality and respect are for people, not beliefs. In a civil society, people must have full citizenship rights and equality under the law. Clearly, Sharia law contravenes fundamental human rights. In order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all those living in Britain, there must be one secular law for all and no Sharia.’


Roy Brown, immediate past president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union said, “IHEU is lending its full support to this campaign. It is intolerable that the very values on which UK society is based - human rights, equality and the rule of law - are being undermined by the quiet and insidious application of systems of law that have no basis in equality or justice.”
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, which is also supporting the One Law for All campaign, said: “It is a grave error for the authorities in this country to give credence to Sharia in any form - whether legally or in terms of informal arbitration. When women are being subjected to violence in their marriages, it is not acceptable for religious authorities - which are, by definition, misogynistic - to arbitrate. A two-tier legal system, with women’s rights being always secondary to religious demands, is unnecessary, undesirable and ultimately unjust.”


To RSVP to attend the launch or for more information, please contact Maryam Namazie, email: onelawforall@gmail.com, telephone: 07719166731; website: onelawforall.org.uk. The campaign’s website will be available on the day of the launch.



One Law for All
Campaign against Sharia law in Britain


Declaration
We, the undersigned individuals and organisations, call on the UK government to bring an end to the use and institutionalisation of Sharia and all religious laws and to guarantee equal citizenship rights for all.


Sharia law is discriminatory
Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are discriminatory, particularly against women and children, and in violation of universal human rights.


Sharia law is unfair and unjust in civil matters
Proponents argue that the implementation of Sharia is justified when limited to civil matters, such as child custody, divorce and inheritance. In fact, it is civil matters that are one of the main cornerstones of the subjugation of and discrimination against women and children. Under Sharia law a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s; a woman’s marriage contract is between her male guardian and her husband. A man can have four wives and divorce his wife by simple repudiation, whereas a woman must give reasons, some of which are extremely difficult to prove. Child custody reverts to the father at a preset age, even if the father is abusive; women who remarry lose custody of their children; and sons are entitled to inherit twice the share of daughters.


The voluntary nature of Sharia courts is a sham
Proponents argue that those who choose to make use of Sharia courts and tribunals do so voluntarily and that according to the Arbitration Act parties are free to agree upon how their disputes are resolved. In reality, many of those dealt with by Sharia courts are from the most marginalised segments of society with little or no knowledge of their rights under British law. Many, particularly women, are pressured into going to these courts and abiding by their decisions. More importantly, those who fail to make use of Sharia law or seek to opt out will be made to feel guilty and can be treated as apostates and outcasts.
Even if completely voluntary, which is untrue, the discriminatory nature of the courts would be sufficient reason to bring an end to their use and implementation.


Sharia law is a quick and cheap way to injustice
Proponents argue that Sharia courts are an alternative method of dispute resolution and curb legal aid costs. When it comes to people’s rights, however, cuts in costs and speed can only bring about serious miscarriages of justice. Many of the laws that Sharia courts and religious tribunals aim to avoid have been fought for over centuries in order to improve the rights of those most in need of protection in society.


Sharia law doesn’t promote minority rights and social cohesion
Proponents argue that the right to be governed by Sharia law is necessary to defend minority rights. Having the right to religion or atheism, however, is not the same as having the ‘right’ to be governed by religious laws. This is merely a prescription for discrimination, inequality and culturally relative rights. Rather than defending rights, it discriminates and sets up different and separate systems, standards and norms for ‘different’ people. It reinforces the fragmentation of society, and leaves large numbers of people, particularly women and children, at the mercy of elders and imams. It increases marginalisation and the further segregation of immigrant communities. It ensures that immigrants and new arrivals remain forever minorities and never equal citizens.


One law for all
Whilst arbitration tribunals are part of British law, they are subject to such safeguards as are necessary in the public interest. Clearly, public interest, and particularly the interests of women and children, requires an end to Sharia and all faith-based courts and tribunals.
Rights, justice, inclusion, equality and respect are for people, not beliefs. In a civil society, people must have full citizenship rights and equality under the law. Clearly, Sharia law contravenes fundamental human rights. In order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all those living in Britain, there must be one secular law for all and no Sharia.



One Law for All
We call on the UK government to recognise that Sharia and all religious laws are arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular. Citizenship and human rights are non-negotiable.
We demand an end to all Sharia courts and religious tribunals on the basis that they work against and not for equality and human rights.
We demand that the Arbitration Act 1996 be amended so that all religious tribunals are banned from operating within and outside of the legal system.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Join Equal Rights Now events for International Women’s Day!




Britain
London

March 7, 2009
North Terrace, Trafalgar Square, London 3:30-4:30pm, Symbolic rallyand march towards Red Lion Square from 4:30-5:30pm 6:00-8:00pm, Public Meeting on Sharia Law, Sexual Apartheid and Women's Rights Conway Hall, 25 Red Line Square, London, WC1R 4RL Speakers at the public meeting
include:
Sargul Ahmad (International Campaign against Civil Law in Kurdistan Iraq ead),
Yasmin Alibhai- Brown (Journalist and British Muslims for Secular Democracy Chair), Naser Khader(Democratic Muslims Founder),
Gina Khan (One Law for All pokesperson),
Kenan Malik (Writer and Broadcaster),
Yasaman Molazadeh (One Law for All Legal Coordinator),
Maryam Namazie (Equal Rights Now – Organization against omen’s Discrimination in Iran and One Law for All Spokesperson),
Pragna Patel Southall ( Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism founding member),
Fariborz Pooya (Iranian Secular Society and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Chair), and
Carla Revere (Lawyers’ Secular Society Chair).

Prizes for our Art Competition will be awarded at the March 7 public meeting. People can still participate in the competition by submitting a painting, drawing, photograph, animation or short video in digital format no later than February 27, 2009.

The goal of the art competition is to expose the discriminatory nature of Sharia and eligiousbased
tribunals and/or promote equal rights for all citizens, as embodied by the campaign's emblematic phrase: One Law for All. All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of prominent judges, namely, AC Grayling (Philosopher), Deeyah (Singer), Johann Hari (Journalist and Playwright) and Polly Toynbee (Writer andColumnist).
For more information:
+447719166731 or onelawforall@gmail.com.


Canada
Vancouver

28 February, 2009
3350 Victoria Street 7:00pm, IWD celebration including speeches, film screening, music, dance

8 March, 2009
city centre, across art gallery, Vancouver Tent and informational stall on situation of Women in Iran

March 20, 2009
UBC Vancouver 6:30pm, Maryam Namazie’s presentation on Political Islam, Sharia and Women’s Rights

Victoria

March 23, 2009
UVIC, Victoria , BC 6:30-9:30pm, Maryam Namazie’s presentation
For more information:
+1 604 727 8987

Toronto

March 7, 2009
to York University Demonstration along with informational stall March 14, 25 Cecil Street , United Steelworkers’ Hall:30pm, Panel discussion onPolitical Islam, Sharia and
Women’s Rights with :
Maryam Namazie (Spokesperson of Equal Rights Now, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain),
Tarek Fatah
(Founder of Muslim Canadian Congress and Author of "Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State," )
Khayal Ibrahim (Women's Liberation in Iraq),
Justin Trottier (Executive Director of Center for Inquiry, Ontario)
and Issam Shukri (Head of the Organization for the Defense of Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq).

France
Lyon
7 March, 2009
City Centre, Bellecour , Photo exhibition and informational table

Germany
Frankfurt

27 February,2009
City Centre weekly Demonstration against sexual apartheid in Iran along with photo exhibition and information stall every Friday from 12-2pm in the university.
For more information:
+49 172 971 6227

Bremen

March 6 and 7, 2009
informational stalls in the city centre March 7, IWD event with speeches
For more information:
+49 172 403 7035

Berlin

March 8,2009
Participation in IWD event with informational stall
For more information:
+49 176 248 66317

Sweden
Stockholm

March 7, 2009
Årsta Folkets Hus 7:00pm, Ceremony including speeches, music, poetry reading,
and s play

March 8, 2009
Venue: Södermalmstorg in T-Slussen 2:00-4:00pm, Meeting with exhibition on women’s rights
struggle in Iran 4:00pm onwards, IWD march
For more information, contact:
+46 7036 10279

Gutenberg

March 6, 2009
Wieselgrensplatsen 7:00pm, Mina Ahadi will speak at the celebration event with music and dance
For more information:
+46 707 387 548

March 8, 2009
4:30-6:00pm Meeting and rally including an exhibition of women’s situation in Iran 6:00pm, IWD march
For more information:
+46 703 610 279

Malmo

March 8, 2009
Kirsebergs Fritid och Kulturhus 3:00pm onwards, Participation in an IWD event including a speech by Farideh Arman, music , slide show on the situation of women in Iran and book stall

March 14, 2009
Venue: Jannet Kaffe, Nobelvägen 24 6:00pm, IWD celebration night including speech by Farideh Arman and music
For more information:
+46 703 638 088

There will also be IWD celebrations in Helsingborg and Boras on March 8, 2009

US
Dallas

8 March, 2009
Russell Creek Park, Plano, 12-5pm, rally
For more information:
+1 214 675 2120

Baha’i Community in Peril!

(17 February 2009) Attacks on the Baha’i community in Iran have reached alarming levels, including semi-official calls for its “utter destruction,” the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. The Campaign called on the Iranian government to immediately cease its increasingly violent threats against the members of the Baha’i Faith, and to release members of the Baha’i Faith who are being held without charge. The Campaign also called on the international community to strongly condemn the Iranian government’s escalating persecution of the Baha’i religious minority.

The government has intensified its attacks on the members of the Baha’i Faith during the past year. There are currently at least 30 Baha’is in detention throughout the country. The Baha’is, numbering inside Iran at about 300,000, are a religious minority that is not recognized under Iranian law. For the past 30 years they have been targets of official discrimination, and about 200 members have been executed or murdered since the 1979 revolution.


On 11 February 2009, a Judiciary official identified as Judge Haddad, said that the trial of seven leaders of the Baha’i community will take place soon, according to the Iranian Students News Agency. The report quoted Haddad as saying the charges against the Baha’is include “spying for Israel, insulting the sacred, and propaganda against the system.” The seven Baha’i leaders have been in detention since March 2008,, without access to legal council. Their lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, told the Campaign that she has not yet been provided any details about their indictment and prosecution. She said she expected to receive their file in the coming week before their trail is held.


Officials escalated their attacks on the Baha’i Faith in what appeared to be a public relations ploy to influence the outcome of the case ahead of the trial. On 15 February 2009, Iran’s Attorney General, Ayatollah Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, in a letter to Intelligence Minister Mohsen Ejei, said that the Baha’i Faith “in all its levels is illegal and unofficial. Their dependence on Israel and their enmity with Islam and the Islamic government is certain and their danger to national security is documented,” the semi-official Fars News agency reported.


The report by Fars News concluded by interpreting the letter as a license “to decisively confront the elements of [this] organization, until its utter destruction is achieved.


”The Campaign called on the Iranian Judiciary to hold the upcoming trial according to international fair trail standards and to guarantee the rights of the accused in an open and transparent environment.


“The charges leveled against the leading Baha’is are very serious. All indications, from their detention to their upcoming prosecution, suggest that the charges are unfounded and politically motivated,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson. “The prosecution will have no credibility if it fails to provide evidence publicly to prove these charges, and if no proper defense is possible. Under such circumstances, the trial will be no more than a witch hunt,” he added.


The Iranian government has consistently accused the Baha’i Faith of being an instrument of the Israeli government but has never provided any evidence to support the charge. Official propaganda has always pointed to the presence of the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel. However, the establishment of the Center dates back to the Ottoman Empire in 1868, when founders of the Faith were exiled there.

Protest by More than 100 Activists in Kermanshah and Ilam against Continued Detention of Abas Jalilian and Mehdi Hamidi!

More than 100 cultural, literary and civil activists in Kermanshah and Ilam issued a statement in which they protested the detention of two activists in the city of Kermanshah in recent weeks, and demanded their immediate release. The activists began the statement by saying: “As announced by Kurdistan Human Rights Watch in recent weeks, Mehdi Hamidi and Abas Jalilian were detained by security guards on December 11 and December 16, respectively”. In another part of the letter, the cultural and literary identity of the two activists in Kermanshah was underscored: “What is clear, considering the past cultural activities of Mr. Hamidi and the published literary works of Mr. Jalilian, is that the principal domain of their activities was concentrated on and limited to Kurdish culture and literature, and their detention and the length of their stay in detention in such a manner is a cause for much concern”. Activists in Kermanshah and Ilam, at the end of their statement, wrote: “We, the undersigned, while condemning the detention of Mr. Hamidi and Mr. Jalilian, announce our support of their cultural and literary efforts to sustain and strengthen Kurdish culture and literature. Especially Mr. Jalilian, whose distinguished collection has served the cause of the Kurdish language. We demand the immediate release of both Mr. Jalilian and Mr. Hamidi”.

four students arrested by security agents of the islamic republic!

In continuation of the wave of pressure and arrest of students ,two other students are arrested on last Friday . These students are :Mr. Mohammad Pourabdollah is one of the leftist student and he is student of Chemical Engineering in Tehran University , Mr. Alireza Dawoudi is the student of free willing and equality . He is student of Isfahan University . He was deprived from school because of his activities .also kaveh rezaee shirazi one of activist students in university of hamedan arrested yesterday.these students are arrested in their home by security agents of the Islamic Republic.

Sahar Yazdanipour, the wife of a jailed student activist, has been detained by authorities.
Yazdanipour was arrested after she went to court to ask about her husband, who is reportedly on a hunger strike. During her interview with Radio Farda, she again called for the release of her husband, a Shiraz University student.
Student activists at the university have reported growing pressure there from
the authorities, and increasingly close monitoring of their activities.
Several students have been jailed or summoned to the university's disciplinary commission in recent weeks.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Countdown to the teachers strike!

According to reports from teachers in various towns and cities in Iran most teachers are solidly behind the broad-based strike on 21-23 February. The lack of access to the press and the media in general for publicising the strike has meant that news about the country-wide strike has been passed on using SMS, email, personal weblogs and telephone conversations.
In Ardabil, in Azerbaijan province, the teachers of two secondary schools and a high school have used SMS texts to get messages to their friends and colleagues about their readiness for the strike.
In Tabriz, also in Azerbaijan province, the students of a secondary school have been asking their teachers about the strike during lessons: “What is the reason behind the broad-based strike?” This has had such a big impact among the students and the teachers that the authorities have given the principal an official warning.
In other Tabriz secondary schools there are serious discussions among the teachers and this has been reflected among the students. The teachers’ solidarity in their struggle against neglect by the authorities and for better pay and conditions that are justly theirs is obvious to nearly everyone.
There are, however, simple-minded and ‘kind-hearted’ people, whose intervention has been limited to questions like “If you don’t teach then you are being cruel to the students” or that “What have all your protests, strikes and gatherings achieved?”
What these ‘kind-hearted’ people forget is the fact that Iran’s teachers have been demanding justice for over 85 years! On 24 December 1921 the teachers of Tehran went on strike to demand six months’ unpaid wages and union recognition for government employees. Not much seems to have changed since the time of the tyrannical Reza Khan. Yet no matter what kind of regime persecutes workers, and defends the bosses, workers’ unshakeable unity always makes them win strikes and struggles. Eighty-six years ago the teachers’ unity played a role in forcing the government to resign after three weeks!
Let us hope that this time the teachers have an even bigger victory!
Support the Iranian teachers’ strike!
Long live international solidarity!

Solidarity with Migrant Workers... Facts, experiences, debate!

Over 190 million people are living as migrants around the world. Poverty, much of it caused by the economic policies of rich capitalist countries, is driving people to look for work abroad.
Migrant workers in the UK do jobs that are often unpleasant and sometimes tough. But these jobs — from cleaning on the Underground, to caring for the sick and elderly — are all essential.

Some migrant workers are forbidden by law from working and are forced into the black economy, where they are prey to ruthless gangmasters and agencies. But even when migrant workers are working in the UK legally, plugging the gaps where there are labour shortages in agriculture or construction, they still suffer extremely low rates of pay, poor health and safety standards, long hours, excessive workload and bullying.

The trade union movement is now beginning to take on the essential task of organising migrant workers, using strength, numbers and experience to unionise and demand strong legal rights for all migrant workers.
They face a complex organising job — overcoming language barriers, building trust, allaying fears of reprisal from bullying introduction employers, working in areas where there is a complete lack of legal rights. That is why the self-organisation of migrant workers is so key. That is why our solidarity is so essential.
This No Sweat pamphlet is aimed at antisweatshop activists, trade unionists, student unionists who want to help. It makes the political case for solidarity with migrant workers as well as providing basic information and ideas for organising.


We need to stop this 21st century slavery!

We say:
*Unity between workers.
*The right to work and full labour rights for all, independent of migration status.
*Equal treatment for agency and temporary workers.
*Unions should not merely recruit migrant workers, but help them organise and define their *own demands.
*Benefit rights for all, independent of migration status.
*Solidarity with all migrants worldwide.
*No one is illegal!
http://www.nosweat.org.uk/files/6231_NS_Migrant_Work_bk_0.pdf

Slain workers of “Khatoon Abad” are never forgotten!

History of workers’ movement is saturated with great many sacrifices. Workers’ gains have always been accompanied by repression from capitalist system. In the struggle for a better life worthy of human beings, thousands of the most noble and valiant workers have sacrificed their lives. Throughout the world workers have been targets of capitalist violence, and have lost their lives in order to improve the conditions of their class.

This has also been the case in Iran. From the days of monarchy in early 20th century to this very day, workers have faced the armed forces of the state in an unequal confrontation. The Islamic regime from its inception in 1979, has demonstrated its vile nature. An early instance was shooting and killing of unemployed workers and a student in Isfahan. There is a list of 550 workers who were executed in the jails of Islamic Republic until 1988, and it’s been provided to international institutions; such repression has continued to this vary day.

In January of 2004, anti-riot and security forces of the Islamic Republic attacked a peaceful gathering of more than 200 copper workers and their families, from air and ground, resulting in the death of four workers and a student. This attack sparked a vast workers’ protest movement within Iran, and also brought worldwide condemnation from all labor activists and their respective organizations. An investigation into this killing and identification of its perpetrators has been a demand of all labor organizations. Islamic Republic has adamantly refused to take any responsibility in this case. The IASWI, which has organized several protest campaigns for “Khatoon Abad” workers, still demands an investigation and condemnation of the Islamic Republic. We ask all labor organizations to seriously pursue justice in this case and not forget what happened to “Khatoon Abad” workers five years ago. IASWI will be utilizing all its resources in defense of Iranian workers and their struggles.

Long live the memories of slain workers of “Khatoon Abad”!

Workers of Ahwaz Pipe Mills protest non-payment of wages

200 workers of Pipe-making factory in city of Ahwaz (Ahwaz Pipe Mills) held a protest in front of the governor office on February 9, 2009. Workers demanded the payment of their wages which have not been paid for the past four months. The Pipe-making factory is part of the Ahwaz Rolling and Pipe Mills Co. (ARPCO). About 750 employees work at the factory but they have ongoing issues with overdue wages and mandatory vacations and other work related issues. Workers vowed to continue with their protests until their demands are met.

Taha Azadi Summoned to court again!

Taha Azadi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Free Union of Workers in Iran has been summoned to court for the second time. Mr. Azadi is expected to appear in court on February 16, 2009. He is charged with propaganda against the system. Mr. Azadi, along with Mr. Javanmir Moradi, were arrested in May for participating in May Day event and spent 47 days in prison and endured physical and emotional torture. Taha Azadi and Javanmir Moradi, both member of board of directors of Free Union of Workers in Iran, were released on a $10,000 bail. They were arrested in Asalooyeh - Booshehr on May Day and were jailed for 47 days.

The Continued Imprisonment of Mohsen Hakimi

Mohsen Hakimi who has been and is still in solitary confinement for more than fifty days in Ward 209 in Evin Prison (Iran), during a phone call home from jail, stated that he is still in solitary confinement and under interrogation. During the call home, he emphasized that many times he told those in charge at the jail as well as his interrogator that there is absolutely no justification in keepinghim in solitary confinement and in prison. For all this time, he has been protesting his detention and treatment. During these fifty days, he was prevented from visits with his family as well as having his demand to have books and newspapers rejected.
Coordinating Committee to Form Workers' Organization
February 11, 2009
http://www.hamaahangi.com

Three labour activists in Marivan arrested !

According to the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations, at 2 AM on February 07, 2009, the security agents in city of Marivan in Kurdistan Province raided the residences of Salam Ghaderi and Khaled Asadi, both labour activists and members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations. They arrested Ghaderi and Asadi and taken them to an undisclosed location. Also, Mr. Azad Hosseini, a labour activist in city of Marivan, was arrested

ITF condemns continuing crackdown on Iran’s independent workers’ movement!

The ITF is backing a campaign by a fellow global union federation to clear five union leaders in Iran who were arrested for standing up for workers’ rights. A verdict is due to be delivered next week.The trade unionists, representing thousands of sugar cane workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company in Shush were summoned to appear before the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Defzul on 20 December last year. The leaders of the Union of Workers of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Plantation – Ali Nejati, Feridoun Nikoufard, Mohammed Heydari Mehr, Ghorban Alipour, Jalil Ahmadi – were arrested and charged in connection with actions taken by workers in 2007 over unpaid wages and in defence of basic workplace rights. The court verdict is expected to be delivered on 17 February.The union is a member of the global union federation, the International Union of Food (IUF), and the International Trade Union Confederation, both of which are lobbying for a “not guilty” verdict. The ITF is supporting the campaign and backing the emergence of an independent workers’ movement in Iran, of which the ITF-affiliated Tehran Bus Workers’ Union is a part; the leaders of the union, Mansour Osanloo and and Ebrahim Madadi, remain in detention.ITF Inland Transport Section Secretary, Mac Urata, commented: “The ITF is fully behind the IUF and the sugar cane plantation trade unionists. These arrests clearly show that an independent workers' movement is growing in Iran, which is why the authorities are taking measures to crackdown on trade unionists. Our colleagues from the Tehran Bus Union are not an isolated case."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Iran's Teachers threaten to walkout this month!

The Iranian Teachers' Union has threatened to have all its members go on a nationwide strike over pay disputes with the islamic republic's' regime beginning February 23. A member of the Teachers' Union said, "Teachers are demanding fair pay grades. Since 2000, the teachers are struggling with the islamic republic's' Majlis (parliament) to pass the bill on the issue. In 2006, under pressure by the teachers the bill finally passed the Majlis, however, it has not become operational yet. According to the bill, the government must establish a uniform pay grade for all government employees regardless of the nature of the jobs.""The islamic republic's regime excuse for not complying with the bill's mandate is that it increases the inflation," he said. The teachers are also demanding that the islamic republic's Ministry of Education sign a new permanent job contract, as it was promised last year by the government, with their part-time colleagues, the member of Teachers' Union said. In February 2007, the streets ending to the Majlis were the scene of protests by more than 15,000 teachers demanding their full pay rise in accordance with the sky rocketing cost of living for the fix income families. With teachers very low pay grades, they are hardly able to cope with the cost of living.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Darwin's Day Celebration ,Feb. 12!






Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth.

Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the day that Charles Darwin was born on in 1809. Specifically, it celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin -- the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor. More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity.


Darwin Day can be celebrated in many different ways: civic ceremonies with official proclamations, educational symposia, birthday parties, art shows, book discussions, lobby days, games, protests, and dinner parties. Organizers may include: academic societies, science organizations, freethought groups, religious congregations, libraries, museums, galleries, teachers and students, families and friends. In Darwin Day, we are able to recognize the diversity among us, while celebrating our common humanity and the universal understanding we share.






The Role of Natural Selection


For more than 20 years Darwin collected vast amounts of scientific data and pondered the issue of how animals and plants changed their morphology over long periods of time. In addition to establishing the science of evolutionary biology, Darwin was an accomplished geologist and had collected many fossils from various strata of rocks during his five-year voyage on the Beagle; as a result of this activity, he was aware of the vast age of the earth. He also studied mutations resulting from breeding experiments with domestic animals and plants. He was able to consider all this information when he was trying to determine the ‘specific mechanism’ that permitted animals and plants to change over time. Eventually he realized that the mechanism underlying the process of evolution was that of ‘natural selection’. This idea led him to publish On The Origin Of Species, arguably the most significant book of the last two centuries, on November the 24, 1859.
To explain the mechanism of natural selection, the first two paragraphs of Chapter 4, on natural selection, taken from his original publication are presented below so that you can read it, in Darwin’s own words. To read the entire Chapter or the entire publication, go to On the Origin of Species.
Natural Selection
Natural Selection -- its power compared with man's selection -- its power on characters of trifling importance -- its Power at all ages and on both sexes -- Sexual Selection -- On the generality of intercrosses between individuals of the same species -- Circumstances favourable and unfavourable to Natural Selection, namely, intercrossing, isolation, number of individuals -- Slow action -- Extinction caused by Natural Selection -- Divergence of Character, related to the diversity of inhabitants of any small area, and to naturalisation -- Action of Natural Selection, through Divergence of Character and Extinction, on the descendants from a common parent -- Explains the Grouping of all organic beings
How will the struggle for existence, discussed too briefly in the last chapter, act in regard to variation? Can the principle of selection, which we have seen is so potent in the hands of man, apply in nature? I think we shall see that it can act most effectually. Let it be borne in mind in what an endless number of strange peculiarities our domestic productions, and, in a lesser degree, those under nature, vary; and how strong the hereditary tendency is. Under domestication, it may be truly said that the, whole organisation becomes in some degree plastic. Let it be borne in mind how infinitely complex and close-fitting are the mutual relations of all organic beings to each other and to their physical conditions of life. Can it, then, be thought improbable, seeing that variations useful to man have undoubtedly occurred, that other variations useful in some way to each being in the great and complex battle of life, should sometimes occur in the course of thousands of generations? If such do occur, can we doubt (remembering that many more individuals are born than can possibly survive) that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and of Procreating their kind? On the other hand, we may feel sure that any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed. This preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection. Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection, and would be left a fluctuating element, as perhaps we see in the species called polymorphic.
We shall best understand the probable course of natural selection by taking the case of a country undergoing some physical change, for instance, of climate. The proportional numbers of its inhabitants would almost immediately undergo a change, and some species might become extinct. We may conclude, from what we have seen of the intimate and complex manner in which the inhabitants of each country are bound together, that any change in the numerical proportions of some of the inhabitants, independently of the change of climate itself, would most seriously affect many of the others. If the country were open on its borders, new forms would certainly immigrate, and this also would seriously disturb the relations of some of the former inhabitants. Let it be remembered how powerful the influence of a single introduced tree or mammal has been shown to be. But in the case of an island, or of a country partly surrounded by barriers, into which new and better adapted forms could not freely enter, we should then have places in the economy of nature which would assuredly be better filled up, if some of the original inhabitants were in some manner modified; for, had the area been open to immigration, these same places would have been seized on by intruders. In such case, every slight modification, which in the course of ages chanced to arise, and which in any way favoured the individuals of any of the species, by better adapting them to their altered conditions, would tend to be preserved; and natural selection would thus have free scope for the work of improvement.
Source: Charles Darwin.; On The Origin of Species: The Easton Press Norwalk Con. Additional reading and websites:
Larson, Edward; Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory, Modern Library Edition 2004.Dawkins, Richard; The Blind Watchmaker:, W.W. Norton and Co. 1996Diamond, Jared; The Third Chimpanzee, Harper Perenniel, 1993.





The Role of Inheritance



The genetic coding for traits is performed by the sequences of DNA nucleotides. But how do the DNA sequences get distributed to the offspring of an organism? This is the process of inheritance, and was one of the missing concepts that Darwin had to guess about when he first wrote On the Origin of Species. Part of the story of inheritance came from the work of Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk who carefully bred kinds of pure bred pea plants, and then studied the ratios of various characteristics in the offspring. He was able to explain his results with the ideas that parent plants each contributed one copy (“allele”) of a particular “gene”, and the offspring contained a pair of alleles for each kind of gene. Depending on the nature of the two alleles in that pair, various traits could be manifest by the offspring.
Sources and Further Reading:
The Monk in the Garden : The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel; by Robin Marantz Henig
How are genes inherited?
Variation, Inheritance, and Evolution







The Role of DNA and Genetic Mutations


At the top of the diagram is the original molecule. In the middle of the diagram the molecule is shown with its two strands unwinding. In the bottom portion, each of the strands is shown with a newly synthesized complementary strand, connected by the process of pairing.
The Molecule of Life!
DNA is the genetic blueprint of life. Within each cell of every organism there are a number of DNA molecules which contain all the information required to create and make an organism function. DNA consists of 2 strands and each strand is made of a sequence of 4 kinds of chemicals called nucleotides or bases. These bases are called Adenine (A); Guanine (G); Cytosine (C) and Thymine (T).
The two strands of DNA are joined together to form a ‘spiral ladder’ which is more formally known as a ‘double helix’. Each strand of DNA is an exact opposite of the other – wherever there is an A on one strand there is a T on the other, and wherever there is a G on one there is a C on the other. The links, or steps, of the ladder are made by the pairingof these complementary bases. (See the diagram).
To compare DNA between species, scientists must work out the sequence of bases along sections of the DNA molecule. This is done by artificially separating and copying the DNA from the region of interest from each species, doubling the amount of DNA at each copying cycle. The technique used to accomplish this is known as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is based on several unique properties of DNA.
DNA is a special molecule because it can make copies of itself. However, occasionally mistakes are made in coping the molecule and these errors are referred to as mutations. There are several different kinds of mutation that are known.
A particularly easy mutation to understand is a change in a single nucleotide (base, code letter). For example an A may be substituted for a G and in many cases these mutations don’t seem to have a noticeable effect on the organism, because some changes merely produce a different “codon” (three nucleotide sequence that tells which amino acid to use in making proteins) that codes for the SAME amino acid. Over a very long time and through many generations of organisms, mutations accumulate. Different species tend to have different and unique sets of mutations and so, these mutations can be used to measure how long ago two species diverged from one another. Species with similar DNA codes are more closely related than those with dissimilar DNA. For example, the DNA of humans is very similar to that of chimpanzees but quite different to that of a horse and very different from a gum tree DNA.
Genetic Mutations
To understand the the numerous kinds of genetic mutations that do occur we suggest that you go to the following website, as the information is clearly presented there.
Kinds of mutationsSources and Further Reading:
http://www.dnalc.org/ - Gene Almanac
http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/ - World of Dawkins
The Genetic Code (the Codons). This shows which triplets of DNA letters (codons) indicate which amino acids are to be inserted at a location. But, demonstrating that science progresses by testing ideas and discarding false ideas, this research shows that sometimes a "silent" mutation, a mutation that makes a codon for the same amino acid that was at a location before, can cause changes in the protein that is made! This overthrows a long-held but false idea that if two codons direct that the same amino acid shall be used at a location, then the earlier and the mutated proteins will fold up to be identical.
PBS site “Cracking the Code of Life”

 
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