Updates on urgent actions in support of teachers in Iran

Oqelamn Tuesday, July 14, 2015, after more than seventeen days in jail, Mr. Esmail Abdi, the general secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association was able to meet with his family. His wife, three children and his mother were able to meet him in person for an hour and fifteen minutes. According to his wife, Mr. Abdi was in good spirits and his famous cheerful disposition had not changed. Mr. Abdi informed his family that his interrogation is at the final stages and that’s why he has been transferred from solitary confinement to the general ward of the Evin prison.

According to Mrs. Abdi the assistant interrogator was also present during the visit. When the assistant interrogator was asked about Mr. Abdi’s release he informed the family that only his superior has the authority to set bail for Mr. Abdi’s release; nevertheless, he added that the bail should perhaps be prepared as there’s a possibility for Mr. Abdi’s release.

Mr. Abdi was summarily arrested on June 27, 2015 after he was ordered to show up at the prosecutor’s office at Evin prison and sent to solitary confinement. According to a report published on “Teacher’s and Worker’s Rights”, which is a website run by teachers in Iran including Mr. Abdi himself, the antagonistic treatment of Mr. Abdi has greatly enraged and angered the community of teachers in Iran and there has been active response to his arrest throughout the country. There are hopes that mobilization and rapid response of teachers to Mr. Abdi’s arrest will result in his release in the next few days.

However, it is important to emphasize that a number of other activists and leaders of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association have been imprisoned for a long period of time; among them are Messrs. Rasoul Bodaghi (jailed since September 2009), Mahmood Bagheri, Aliakbar Baghani and Alireza Hashemi, who is the general secretary of Iran’s Teachers’ Organization. Therefore, it is imperative to continue the pressures until Abdi and his other colleagues are released.

Since July 27th, the international labour movement particularly education workers and teachers’ organizations internationally have been protesting against Mr. Abdi’s arrest and incarceration. Education International (EI) has called for the immediate release of Mr. Esmail Abdi and requested that the Iranian government secure his right to travel to Canada and attend EI’s 7th World Congress in Canada. Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Union of Public Employees, UK’s National Teachers’ Union and University and College Union and Trade Union Congress, Education Unions in Australia and New Zealand and many other organizations have called on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Esmail Abdi and other imprisoned teachers and to secure Abdi’s right to travel to Canada to attend the EI’s Congress.

Many Iranian labour groups in the country and abroad, Farsi websites and social media activists as well as labour news from Radio Labour and Australia Asia Worker Links, among others, have reported on the current struggles of teachers in Iran and the arrest of Mr. Abdi. Canadian Teachers’ Federation has also launched a Thunderclap campaign in support of Esmail Abdi (See: http://www.thunderclap.it/projects/28671-free-lib-rez-esmail?locale=en).

For more information on the situation of imprisoned teachers and labour activists in Iran and the current struggles of the Iranian labour movement refer to IASWI’s Farsi and English websites.

International Alliance in support of workers in Iran (IASWI)
info@workers-iran.org/ http://www.workers-iran.org / http://www.etehadbinalmelali.com
Face book: https://www.facebook.com/IASWI
https://twitter.com/IASWIinfo
July 15, 2015
PLEASE SEND protest letters to:
• Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English) or @Khamenei_fa (Persian)
Email: info_leader@leader.ir

• President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hassan Rouhani
Email: media@rouhani.ir
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and
@Rouhani_ir (Persian)

• IRI’s Minister of Education; Email: vazir@medu.ir

• Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Email: iran@un.int

Cc: info@workrs-iran.org

Sample resolution in support of teachers in Iran – updated July 3, 2015:

Whereas:

• Teachers in Iran have no right to form their own independent organizations, strike or protest;
• Teachers’ activism in Iran is a constant target of government’s security forces through harassment, intimidation, arrests and incarceration;
• Iranian teachers are demanding free education for all;
• Iranian teachers are opposed to the privatisation of schools, casualization of their teaching positions and are demanding that all classes meet the international regulations and standards;
• Iranian teachers are demanding direct participation in preparing and editing the national curriculum and texts used in schools;
• Iranian teachers organised three rounds of nationwide rallies in January, March and May 2015, to protest against their poverty wages (the estimate for the poverty line in Iran is roughly 3 million toman, $1000.00 per month, but teachers average monthly income is around 1 million Toman (about $330.00); Iranian teachers are demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all their incarcerated colleagues, Messrs. Rasoul Bodaghi (jailed since September 2009), Mahmood Bagheri, Aliakbar Baghani (Board member and secretary of the the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations who has been arrested recently) and Alireza Hashemi, general secretary of Iran’s Teachers’ Organization.
• Mr. Esmail Abdi, the secretary general of ITA, was summoned to Evin prison on Saturday 27, June 2015 and arrested and incarcerated upon his arrival. He was invited to attend the Educational International’s 7th World Congress in Ottawa, Canada.
• Iranian teachers need the broadest possible international solidarity from other unions in the world.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

·………… supports teachers’ demands in Iran for fair and decent wages and pensions and for free, comprehensive and democratic education;
·………..will send a message to the relevant Iranian government authorities protesting the unjust incarceration of Iranian teachers and demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all imprisoned teachers and all incarcerated labour activists and political prisoners in Iran;
….. condemns the arrest and incarceration of Mr Esmail Abi, demands his immediate release and support his right to attend the Education International’s 7th World Congress in Ottawa, Canada, 21-26, July 2015.

For more information: info@workers-iran.org/ http://www.workers-iran.org

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