Sunday, March 22, 2009

Khamenei's response to Obama was swift and sweeping!

The Islamic republic' regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei rejected on Saturday President Barack Obama's offer for dialogue swiftly. He rebuffed the message as hollow and without deep policy changes, according to wire reports.
Khamenei set the bar impossibly high — demanding an overhaul of U.S. foreign policy, including giving up "unconditional support" for Israel and halting claims that Iran is seeking nuclear arms.

"Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials?" Khamenei said in a speech in the holy city of Mashhad. The crowd chanted "Death to America."
"He (Obama) insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day. If you are right that change has come, where is that change? What is the sign of that change? Make it clear for us what has changed."
Khamenei made it abundantly clear in his speech that as the ultimate power broker in the Islamic republic' hierarchy has no intentions of giving up his polices.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fire festival turns into anti-government protests !

Iran police arrest 2,000 during fire festival!

Despite heavy security preparations for the last Wednesday of the year (Fire Festival) turned into widespread demonstration of the Iranian people’s hatred of the ruling clerics.
Throughout the capital, citizens paid no heed to repeated orders of the Islamic republic' suppressive police using loud speakers to disperse scores of youths participating in the celebrations.
The participants, two by two, and hand in hand, in turn jumped over bonfires marking the arrival of the Iranian New Year beginning March 21.
Loud noise of fire crackers and on occasions concoction grenades could be heard from blocks away. Last Wednesday of every year is a nightmare for the Islamic republic' regime in Iran since men, women and children turnout in thousands to celebrate the traditional Fire Festival throughout the country.
In other cities citizens turned out to celebrate and often clashed with the security forces. More than 20 local residents were arrested by the police in Karaj, some 40 kilometers west of the capitol.
In Kurdish city of Sanandaj, the mullahs' regime arrested a number of youth celebrating the Fire Festival.

paramilitary police arrested 2,000 individuals in the Iranian capital during Tuesday night’s annual fire festival, Tehran’s deputy chief prosecutor announced on Thursday.

“On the night leading to the [Persian calendar"> year’s final Wednesday, 1,000 individuals who were creating disorder and disruption were arrested across Tehran”, Mahmoud Salarkia announced. His comments were carried by the state-run news agency ISNA.

The figure was considerably higher than the one announced earlier by Greater Tehran’s chief of police. Brigadier General Morteza Talai said on Wednesday that the security forces had arrested 174 people in Tehran during the festival which dissidents turned into widespread anti-government protests. Salalrkia said that individuals sent to prison for their actions late Tuesday would remain behind bars over the Persian New Year period, adding that a number of detained individuals who repented in writing had been released.

Talai had said that some 729 motorcyclists who broke the ban on motorbike riding during the day were detained. Despite a massive crackdown to prevent this year’s “fire festival” from turning into scenes of anti-governments protests, young people took to the streets across Iran to defy the government ban and celebrate the last Tuesday of the Persian year with a big bang. In Tehran and several other cities effigies of Iran’s theocratic rulers, including those of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were set on fire.

Posters of Iranian officials hung on lampposts in Tehran as well as in other towns and cities were also burnt by disillusioned youths. Iran’s State Security Forces (SSF) had also stepped up arrests of people for distribution of fireworks in the past several days. The festival is barely tolerated by the authorities in the Islamic Republic, who object to it on the grounds that it is “un-Islamic”. The Tehran Public Prosecution Office had issued a statement, announcing that individuals caught creating “disruption in public order” will receive jail sentences of between three months to one year and up to 74 lashes on their backs in accordance with Iran’s Islamic laws. Individuals caught distributing fireworks will receive between three and ten years in prison, the statement said.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

(WWW) When workers walk!

When workers walk (www) is a weekly round-up of some of the actions workers around the world are taking or proposing to take to defend themselves. It is drawn heavily from LabourStart and various left wing and socialist magazines such as Socialist Alternative in Australia or Socialist Worker in the UK. There was some very useful information too on the World Socialist Web Site.
If you know of any workers’ struggles going on anywhere in the world let me know and I’ll post it if possible on my next weekly round-up. I also welcome corrections and clarifications from readers.
One message comes out of these struggles for me. We can fight back and we can win.

French works will go on a general strike on 19 March against the economic policies of President Sarkozy. The last one, in late January, had 68 percent support from the French people.
Sony workers at Pontonx-sur-l’Adour in the Landes region of southwest France bossnapped their head of human resources for 24 hours, demanding better redundancy arrangements.
As a consequence, the company and State are in negotiations with the workers and their union, the Confederation Generale des Travailleurs.
Bossnapping is becoming popular in France.
The most popular opposition figure in France is Olivier Besancenot from le Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (The New Anti-Capitalist Party.) He is a trotskyist with politics similar to mine.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions had asked its member unions to ballot for a general strike from 30 March over increasing unemployment and wage cuts and the Government’s failure to consider the ICTU’s ten point social inclusion plan, including taxing the rich more.

The private sector peak union body GSEE has called a 24-hour nationwide strike for 2 April.

Teachers in Suriname, after months of strikes and other activities, have won backdated major pay increases - up to 45 per cent.

Workers at a drinks factory called Nushab have been on strike since 2 March over not being paid for five months and to force the employer to pay their yearly bonus.
After a seeming settlement and agreement to pay the back wages and bonuses over time, the boss tried to renege. The workers are on strike again.

Last Monday workers at three ports went on strike over pay and conditions , including a 35 percent increase int eh minimum wage which has remained static for thirty years.

Oil workers have threatened to strike if the Government does not improve security for them within the next 2 weeks.

Trinidad and Tobago
Laid off workers from the Tobago House of Assembly blockaded roads and set fire to tyres and rubbish to protest against their sackings and the Chief Minister’s promise before January elections that no one would be sacked.

Thousands of workers protested on Saturday in Tokyo against job losses and for real wage increases.

In Kathmandu about 500 women unionists demonstrated on International Women’s’ Day for equal rights and equal pay.

In Cebu, workers at the Keppel Shipyard in Lapu-Lapu City called off their planned strike after management deferred sackings for talks.

Sri Lanka
Ceylon Electricity Board workers are threatening to shut down all electricity supplies in the country to stop the Government’s attempts to privatise the organisation.

Road transport workers in Turkey are battling to belong to a trade union. In one case a 3 month picket is in place to win back the jobs of sacked unionists. International support has helped win recognition in other companies and, given their determination, the workers are confident they will win in this case too.

There have been a number of garment worker demonstrations (Azam Knitting, Gem Garments) recently over wages. The demonstrators have received assurances they would be paid and their wage levels looked into.

Teachers in Punjab have protested against forced transfer. If the State does not stop forced transfers the teachers say they will organise further protests.

Sacked Pacific Bonds factory workers have been striking and demonstrating across Australia over the threat of losing their jobs in the next 18 months as the company moves all production offshore.
Workers at the Azko Nobel metal coating factory have been on strike for over a week for a pay increase. They have had no pay increase for almost 2 years and management is arguing the current economic crisis makes it impossible to offer them an increase.
Teachers in NSW who missed out on a pay increase awarded recently held a stop work last week. They plan further action if their claim for pay increases is not met.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ali Nejati still incarcerated,No news of Nejati’s whereabouts!

According to the latest news from Iran, Mr. Ali Nejati is still
incarcerated and even his family members have not been able to meet with him. His wife
has gone to a number of different authorities, including the intelligence office of the city
of Shoush and the Islamic Revolution Court in city of Dezful, but they all refused to
provide her with any information about Mr. Nejati’s whereabouts.
According to reliable information from Iran, Mr. Nejati was under extreme pressures for
the first two days of his arrest and was not allowed to sleep or eat.
Agents of the Intelligence Ministry raided the residence of Mr. Ali Nejati, the president
of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate,
and arrested Mr. Nejati on March 8, 2009. Also, in the evening of February 28th,
intelligence agents had raided the residence of Mr. Ali Nejati and searched his home and
confiscated some documents related to the Syndicate.
According to other rerports, Mr. Mohammad Heydari Mehr, a board member of the Haft
Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate, was given a verdict verbally by the city
of Dezful’s Islamic Revolution Court. He has been given 8 months of suspended
sentence, 4 month of imprisonment and 3 years of prohibition form participation in any
workers’ election. Four other board members who were put on trial on February 17th and
23rd, Feridoun Nikoufard, Jalil Ahmadi, Ali Nejati and Ghorban Alipour, are still waiting
for the court verdict. It seems that a verdict has been issued against thes workers but no
written order has been given to them as of this time.
Within recent weeks, seven other members of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh
workers’ syndicate had been arrested in following order:
February 22, 2009: Rahim Boshagh
February 28, 2009: Reza Rakhshan
March 2, 2009: Ghorban Alipour and Mohammad Heydari Mehr
March 3, 2009: Feridoun Nikoufard, Jalil Ahmadi and Nejat Dehli
All these workers were released by March 5th and 7th, 2009 on bail. At this time, only
the president of the Syndicate, Mr. Nejati, is incarcerated. These arrests are part of the
recent wave of repression and intimidation of labour activists in Iran. In particular, the
government is trying to impose The Islamic Labour Council, which is a governmentsponsored
agency, on workers in order to undermine workers’ indepedent union. Workers
overwhelmingly boycotted the election of the Islamic Council, which is considered a
repressive force that supports government and employers.
Free Ali Nejati now!
Release all jailed workers now!
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran

Friday, March 13, 2009

2,000 workers laid-off in Ahwaz Rolling and Pipes Mill Corporation in Iran !

2,000 part-time workers were laid-off in Rolling and Pipes Mill Corporation (ARPCO) in the southwestern city of Ahwaz.
In the run-up to the Iranian New Year (Persian calendar year starting March 21), the government appointed management laid-off part time workers. The company owes the fired workers at least two months in back pays.
Last August, the workers of the same factory walked out over their unpaid salaries which ended with the security forces breaking up the strike.
ARPCO founded in 1966, posses over 30 years of experience in steel industry. At the time being, on 900,000 square meters land, the factory is producing the highest quality hot rolled coil, black and galvanized E.I.W. and pipeline (API 5L) tubes.
Khuzestan province has the largest workers' population in the country per capital. Haft-Tapeh Sugar Cane factory with over 5,000 workers has been shutdown over pay dispute between the management and labor force.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

700 women celebrated International Women's Day in Mashhad!

700 women gathered outside Malat Park in the holy city of Mashhad to celebrate International Women's Day on Sunday. They chanted slogans in support of freedom of women in the country.

The Islamic Republic' suppressive security forces were dispatched to the Azadi Square across from the Malat Park to disperse the demonstrators. At one point the security forces attacked the women participants and they fought back with bricks and stones.

Fifty women were arrested by the Islamic Republic' police and transferred to an unknown location.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An all out attempt to stop International Women's Day celebration in Tehran!

The Islamic republic' regime mobilized all suppressive forces in Tehran and other cities throughout Iran to prevent Women's Day celebrations.

The women activists had announced a gathering in celebration of March 8th in Warsaw Park in Tehran. However, the Islamic republic' State Security Forces (SSF) blocked Karim-Khan Street not allowing women to enter the park. The gathering was due to start with the participation of women activists at 2 p.m.

In the past years, Women's Day celebrations have run into difficulties with the security forces beating and arresting the participants. Plain-cloths agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) have prevented the women from taking part in the ceremonies.

Students of Shiraz University in southern Iran had planed to hold a meeting on Women's Day but the security forces stopped the buses carrying the students to the site where the gathering was to take place and force the students off. All those on buses must show proper IDs.

Anyways Women's Day celebrations have run in some cities of kurdistan like:SANANDAJ,BOUKAN,SAQEZ,NAQADEH

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shoe reportedly thrown at Iranian president Ahmadinejad!

When the Iraqi journalist, Muntazar al-Zaidi, hurled his shoes at the then-US president, George Bush, in December, Iranian officials declared him a hero and hailed his gesture as a mark of Islamic courage.

They were presumably less impressed this week when Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was similarly targeted during a visit to the north-western city of Urumiye.

Ahmadinejad found the shoe on the other foot as he waved to the crowd from an open-top car on his way to give a speech at a local stadium.

An Iranian website, Urumiye News, reported that a shoe was hurled at the president as his convoy drove through a central square. Security guards waded into the crowds but failed to find the culprit.

A hat was also thrown in Ahmadinejad's direction before his car sped away.

The event went unreported on mainstream Iranian news outlets but has been hotly discussed on the country's highly active blogosphere. Some pro-Ahmadinejad bloggers have dismissed the reports as rumours spread by "royalists" and "counter-revolutionaries".

However, Ahmadinejad has been on the receiving end of flying footwear before. A shoe was thrown at him during a students' demonstration at Tehran's Amir Kabir university in December 2006.

Urumiye News said the latest protest came when a disturbance broke out after a vehicle in the presidential convoy struck an elderly man who walked onto the road to try and hand Ahmadinejad a letter. People became angry when the driver failed to stop to attend to the injured man. Eventually an ambulance in the motorcade was forced to take him to hospital after jeering crowds blocked its path.

Ahmadinejad travels frequently to Iran's provinces in a bid to boost his popularity. He commonly receives large numbers of letters requesting financial assistance and other help during such trips.

After Zaidi's protest in Baghdad, Iranian officials paid tribute by holding several public shoe-throwing competitions in which contestants threw footwear at ­caricatures of Bush. Iran's main shoemaking federation also offered to supply a lifetime of shoes to Zaidi, who remains in a Baghdad jail awaiting trial.

Hundreds expected at anti-sharia demo in London!

One Law for All, the group that campaigns against the adoption of Islamic law or sharia in the UK, is planning a mass demonstration in the centre of London tomorrow, Saturday. 'We know we have a huge fight ahead and can only win if we do this together. We must mobilise a mass anti-racist movement that defends people's rights and lives and gives them precedence over culture and religion,' says organiser Maryam Namazie. The protest is timed to coincide with International Women's Day.

Maryam says: 'This is your chance to voice your opposition to sharia law and all religious-based tribunals in Britain and elsewhere, demand one secular law and full citizenship rights, demand an end to cultural relativism and racism, and defend universal rights.'

The rally begins in Trafalgar Square at 3.30pm with a march to Conway Hall followed by a public meeting there beginning at 6pm when speakers will include Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, chair of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, Naser Khader, founder of Democratic Muslims, Gina Khan of One Law for All, the writer Kenan Malik, Maryam herself, Fariborz Pooya of Iranian Secular Society and chair of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Carla Revere, chair of the Lawyers’ Secular Society.

There will also be an art competition designed to expose 'the discriminatory nature of sharia and religious-based tribunals and promote equal rights for all citizens. The judges will be the philosopher AC Grayling, the singer Deeyah, the playwright Johann Hari and the journalist Polly Toynbee.

It is hard to find cases illustrating what is going on. Women are understandably frightened to speak out. Maryam is one of the few who has. In an article in The Times last year her story was reported:

'Iranian Muslim by birth, Namazie, 41, is friendly and softly spoken. But she does not mince her words. It takes nerve to start an organisation for people who have rejected Islam. In Islamic law, apostasy is punishable by death. Namazie receives periodic threats, usually on her mobile phone: “One said, 'You are going to be decapitated'...I went to the police. They were very attentive at first because they thought it might be linked to the attempted bombings in Glasgow . But when they realised it wasn't, they never bothered contacting me again.” Doesn't she worry about her safety? “Yes, I do, frequently. I worry about whether I will live, especially now I am a mother. If I see someone looking at me strangely, I wonder.” Why doesn't she use a pseudonym? “They can find out who you are anyway. And the point of the Council of Ex-Muslims is to stand up and be counted.” She doesn't really like the label ex-Muslim and would prefer not to frame her identity in religious terms but, she says, it is like gays “coming out” 30 years ago: something has to become public if you are to break taboos. The Council of ex-Muslims of Britain has more than 100 members with inquiries from people who do not dare to join. “Some have horrendous stories but do not put them on the website because they are afraid.”

However, it's not just Muslim women suffering because of religious rulings by men. Take this from the St Mary's-by-the-Woods blog: 'How far down the stupid hole can the Roman Church hierarchy go? Apparently all the way down to the bottom. News from Brazil is that a 9 year old girl who had been sexually-molested for years by her stepfather became pregnant with twins. She weighs only 80 pounds. The child's mother and doctors decided to abort the twins because the young girl could not continue with the pregnancy without the risk of dying herself. As a result, The Roman Catholic Archbishop Jose Sobrinho has excommunicated the mother and the doctors involved. Who gets today's Vote for the worlds biggest idiot? Archbishop Sobrinho!!!'

Funny isn't it, a woman and doctors who do what they must to save a little girl's life after rape are excommunicated. A Holocaust denier who shows no sign of recanting his obscene views has his excommunication lifted. Still, I suppose that little girl should be grateful she's not living in Iran or Somalia, where women who are raped risk being stoned to death for adultery. Watch out on Monday for a report being launched byAmnesty in connection with these unjust sentences in Iran.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Today four more student leaders and comrades were attacked at home and arrested!

Regular readers will be aware of the continued heroic struggle of Iranian students against the Iranian regime. Today four more student leaders and comrades were attacked at home and arrested. Their names are Amirhosein Mohammadifar, Sanaz Allahyari, Nasim Roshanai and Maryam Sheikh all in their early twenties. They all belong to the Freedom and Equality Seeking Students group who have led protests and actions against the regime and against Imperialism.

we call for their immediate and unconditional release. We will step up our solidarity with our friends in Iran who are fighting for liberty, freedom and equality.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Salesmen not allowed in women's boutiques!

Aziz-o-allah Rajabzadeh head of the State Security Forces – Islamic republic' suppressive police – in greater Tehran said in an interview with the state-run news agency ILNA on Monday that "salesmen are not allowed to work at women's dress boutiques."

"If the police run into such shops will deal with them firmly," Rajabzadeh said.

In a meeting with the Shop Owners Association, the new guild lines were given, Rajabzadeh added.

"In regular patrols, police will clearly inform them that there will not be any salesmen working in the women's dress boutiques. The only male employee allowed will be the casher. The rest have to be strictly women employees," the police chief said.

We will deal with those who violate the dress codes; "shopkeepers and shoppers" are obliged to obey the law, Rajabzadeh commented.

"Likewise, women shoppers going to boutiques must wear in accordance with the law. Police have instructed the shop owners to report violations," Rajabzadeh said.

1,000 workers at Dena Tire & Rubber on strike !

1,000 workers of Dena Tire and Rubber Company went on strike over pay dispute with the management since last week in the southern city of Shiraz.

On Monday, the striking workers gathered on company grounds demanding their unpaid salaries and benefits for the past three months and an amount owed to them by the management from the last year (Persian calendar year starting March 21).

It has become a habit for the Islamic republic' regime to steal from what little the workers make toward the end of the year. The mostly government appointed managements in factories and workshops across the country often put-off salary payments to their workers anywhere from a few months to a year.

The fulltime workers and their part-time colleagues in fear of losing their jobs do not follow the defer payments on the part of the management until very late every year.

Dena Tire and rubber MFG. Co was founded by a group of companies in 1974 under the name of "Bridgestone Iran" with investment and technological cooperation of "Bridgestone Japan" to commercialize production of 20,000 M. T. of all types of tire, tube and flap for passenger cars, light trucks and truck & bus vehicles, in "DENA" terminated its relations with Bridgestone Japan and became a nationalized company under the name of "DENA" tire and rubber MFG. Co. "Owing to the privatization economy policy of the government since 1994 all the shares belong to the governments sector was taken over by private sector.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Leaders of Haft Tapeh Workers’ Syndicate arrested,Labour activists fear more arrests!

Mr. Ali Nedjati, president of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate, and Reza Rakhshan, the Public Relations director of the Syndicate and a board member, were arrested on February 28, 2009. Mr. Rakhshan was summoned to the intelligent office on February 28th office and was immediately arrested upon his arrival there; later his home was raided by security forces and his belongings including some personal items and others that belonged to the Syndicate as well as books and computer were confiscated.

A few hours later, intelligence agents raided Mr. Nedjati’s residence and arrested him. Also, Mr. Rahim Boshagh, a member of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Syndicate, was arrested on February 22, 2009 and he is still incarcerated.

There are fears of more arrests in next few days. These attacks are part of the government crack down on labour activists in Iran. In particular, Haft Tapeh Workers’ syndicate has been very active amongst workers, as the result of which workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company refused to participate in the Islamic labour council’s election in the company. The Islamic Labour Council is a government-sponsored and pro-employer instrument for controlling and repressing independent labour activities in the company. According to the Collaborating Council of Labour Organizations and Activists in Iran, in total only about 30 employees took part in the Islamic labour council’s election on February 22, 2009 despite more than five thousands employees in the company. That was considered a complete defeat of these repressive forces.

In addition five members of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Workers’ Syndicate, including Mr. Nedjati, were put on trial on February 17th and 23rd and were waiting for their verdict. Most arrested and persecuted workers have been charged with "acting against national security", which is an allegation used frequently by the Islamic Republic of Iran against labour and social activists.

LabourStart Act NOW!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Isfahan's Steel Mill Factory workers stage symbolic hunger strike!

Workers at the Isfahan Steel Mill Factory, central Iran, have begun a symbolic hunger strike on Saturday, February 28, 2009, which will continue for two weeks. They will not have the meals served at the factory premises according to reports from Iran.

The initiative comes in protest to inappropriate working conditions and both open and veiled discriminations against workers. They are also objecting to a wide gap in pay between full time and part time employees in the factory (on average nearly $300), as well as lack of job security.

Isfahan’s Steel Mill Factory has over 10,000 part time and 8,000 full time workers.

On December 2, 2008, some 1,000 courageous workers of the factory had set up a blockade on the main Isfahan to Shahr-e Kurd highway in protests over pay disputes.

In the past couple of months, deprived and angry workers in factories and work shops in various cities across the country have staged protests against lack of job security, unpaid wages and monthly benefits, and shortage of minimum necessities for themselves and their families. These workers include employees at the Haft-Tapeh sugar cane mill of Khuzestan, Ahvaz Pipe Mill, spinning and weaving companies of Meh Nakh and Farnakh in Qazvin, Khavar Cotton Mill, Pars battery of Qazvin, Korom Chemical Plant of Sari, Shabestar Textile Company, Lead and Zinc factory of Zanjan, Vegetable Oil of Qou, and Kesht-o-San’at of North.

300 municipal workers laid-off in Kermanshah

300 municipal workers were laid-off in the western city of Kermanshah by the Islamic rebublic' regime on Saturday.
The workers complained to the local labor management office with no avail. Workers had been working for past six months under temporary contracts in hope of getting a permanent job at the end of the period. A new trick used in the past few years by the Islamic' regime is to hire workers as part time employees with the promise of a permanent contract at the end of trial period. However, this is just another scheme by the Islamic regime to get around paying for heath insurance and other benefits full time labors enjoy.

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