Protest Statement In front of the 98th session of the International Labour Conference (Geneva, June 3, 2009)

Dear friends and comrades, labour movement activists, anti-Capitalist parties and organizations!
The capitalist regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has accumulated more than 30 years of poverty, unemployment, and destruction of human and financial resources in its dark and hated balance sheet. By squandering enormous amounts of wealth, which are all produced by Iranian workers and toilers, it is engaged in a futile attempt to maintain its homicidal, massively despised rule. This is a regime responsible for violent suppression of all social justice struggles throughout Iran, from workers to students; nurses to teachers, every section of Iranian working class have been severely suppressed by this regime.
While Islamic Republic is most subservient to the international Capital, by consistently imposing some of the harshest neo-liberal policies throughout the land, abroad it takes on a sham “anti-American” pose and has thus manipulated some political parties and unions in other countries. Let’s emphasize once again, the Islamic republic of Iran is not an anti-imperialist force; it’s a cruel capitalist government, which is fully implementing the neo-liberal policies of global capitalism. Moreover, it’s a regime that has been jailing and killing tens of thousands of labour and women’s rights activists, students, socialists and communists and other progressive forces in Iran.
Nevertheless, this deception has gone as far as for the Islamic Republic to officially claim that it was chosen by the ILO to chair the 98th Session of the International Labour Conference in June 2009. Following protests by Iranian labour and progressive groups, the government claimed that it has refused the offer! The reality is that the IRI already chairs the Committee on Employment and Social Policy of the ILO. This committee supposedly studies world employment report (WER) based on decent work and elimination of poverty. The ILO also appointed the IRI as an alternate member of its Board of Directors. All these ILO appointments have been happening concurrent with the neo-liberal agenda of privatizations, lay offs, contracting out, outsourcing, deregulations, and non-payment of wages, etc. which have continued in full force in Iran. For years, the independent labour movement in Iran has protested against the Islamic Republic’s anti-worker labour laws, policies and practices. This is a regime that does not recognize internationally recognized human rights and has imposed the most unbearable and oppressive conditions on working people and deprived masses in Iran. Almost 70 percent of Iran’s population now lives in absolute poverty. 
However, the problems with the ILO’s tripartite policies do not end here. The IRI’s “Workers’ Delegate” are members of “High Coordinating Centre for Islamic Labour Councils”, which are government-sponsored organizations and agents and are not considered independent workers’ organizations by any stretch of the imagination. They are basically the suppressive tools of the Iranian regime but are allowed by the ILO to attend the ILC as “the most representative national organizations of workers”, which is a shame while the real and independent labour activists and workers’ representatives are being persecuted and imprisoned.
Although the Iranian working class has no illusions about the ILO’s tripartism, we nonetheless strongly denounce all these inexcusable ILO appointments. We shall vociferously announce that Islamic Republic is an anti-worker regime; thus, allowing them to participate in and chair these international bodies only serves to encourage them in their utter criminal behavior against working people and deprived masses in Iran.  This is the same regime that brutally crushed the May1st celebrations throughout Iran just a few weeks ago, and proved once more for all that it has zero regard for workers’ rights.
We also strongly denounce the presence of the IRI’s so called “Workers’ Delegate” at the ILC and remind the labour delegates from other countries and the world that the agents of this regime are nothing but a bunch of thugs and government and employers’ agents. They have no connection to Iranian workers, and certainly not their representatives whatsoever.
We have gathered here today to demonstrate our opposition to violent repression carried out by IRI against the working class in Iran. We particularly demand the following:
1- Immediate and unconditional freedom of all imprisoned workers, labour activists, teachers, students and their families.
2- Formation of independent organizations of workers, teachers and other toiling and wage earning people in Iran
3- The expulsion and condemnation of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the 98th sessions of the International Labour Conference for the repression of the workers and deprived masses and the violation of their basic rights.
4- According to a report of the Central Bank of the regime itself, about 70 percent of the working people in Iran live below the poverty line; therefore, we demand that workers’ wages and salaries to be adjusted and increased according to their real cost of living.
5- We are urging workers and the toiling people of Iran to denounce and boycott the so called election of the regime.
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) – Switzerland
A Group of Progressive Workers in Exile – Switzerland
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