Updates following the July 22nd mass arrests of teachers in Tehran

kargar-zendani-thumb-200x173-4275All teachers who were arrested on July 22, 2015 outside and near the Iranian parliament in Tehran have been released. Many of the arrestees were forced by the government authorities to sign a statement in which they had to express their regrets attending the July 22nd rally and also pledge that they will not participate in such gatherings in future.

The Central Council of Iranian Teachers Trade Associations issued a statement following the arrests in which they protested against “the widespread arrests of teachers in front of the Parliament”. The statement reads: “According to the invitation of the Central Council of Iranian Teachers Trade Associations, a large number of teachers from different provinces gathered in front of the Parliament in the first hours of the morning of 31 Tir 1394 (July 22, 2015). The purpose of this invitation was to protest against the judiciary for the arrest of the General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers Trade Association (Tehran) and the imprisonment of Messrs. Ali Akbar Baghani and Alireza Hashemi in the spring of this year and opening of a new case against Mr. Rasoul Bodaghi. Teachers who had gathered outside the Parliament to call for the release of their colleagues faced a large presence of police and plain clothes officers, who had been assembling hours before in order to deal with demonstrators.”

The statement adds that even though teachers conducted their “Silent Protest” in a perfectly civil and orderly manner, nevertheless, the security forces started attacking them before the official start of the rally, and “more than one hundred and thirty teachers were arrested”.

Many labour organizations in Iran and internationally condemned the latest attacks against teachers in Iran. The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, which is the first independent trade union organization in recent years in Iran and thus far one of the most persecuted one, issued a statement on July 25, 2015 in which they stressed: “Unfortunately, in our country the most basic trade union protests face the brutal treatment and improper security approaches. The latest example of such approaches is the vast arrest and beatings of protesting teachers on Tir 31st. The Vahed Syndicate believes that the repressive measures against the protests of our hard working teachers are violations of their human, trade union and civil rights which is futile and condemned. Vahed Syndicate once again calls for the release of all imprisoned workers and justice seeking teachers and demands an end to this unacceptable situation”.

According to the latest confirmed news, in the morning of Saturday, July 25, 2015, Mr. Ali Pirouz Ahmadi, a board member of the Teacher’s Trade Association of Karaj, was arrested.

Mr. Ali Pirouz, who had been summoned by the intelligence forces of the Alborz Province prior to the July 22nd protests, reported to the above institution on July 25th and they began interrogating him immediately. He is now held in detention while there is no information about his charges.

The international campaigns by teachers and trade union organizations in different countries in support of teachers’ rights in Iran continue. Click here for the Education International’s urgent actions and here for the Canadian EI Affiliates’ Thunderclap campaign in support of Esmail Abdi.

For more updates on the situation of teachers and the Iranian labour movement in general contact IASWI.

International Alliance in support of workers in Iran (IASWI)

info@workers-iran.org / http://www.workers-iran.org / twitter.com/IASWIinfo / facebook.com/IASWI

July 25, 2015

For immediate release:

Gathering of teachers outside Iranian parliament crushed:

Scores of protesters were arrested

July 22, 2015: This morning, groups of teachers, from across the country, gathered outside Iranian Parliament in Tehran to raise their collective voices against the arrest of teachers and trade unionists to the officials and their superiors.

The rally of teachers outside parliament was in response to a callout of the Central Council of Iranian Teachers Trade Associations. In response to this call more than two thousand teachers, from cities near and far to Tehran, despite school summer holidays, tried to hold a silent demonstration.

But, from the early morning, the presence of security forces was enormous. These forces violently prevented the formation of any gathering in any way possible and applied aggressive pressures to disperse the teachers. According to reports, about one hundred teachers were arrested and the arrestees were taken away by vans and mini-buses.

Other reports indicate that security forces had closed roads to the parliament and even shut down Metro in some stations in order to prevent the gathering of teachers. Thus far, it is not exactly clear how many teachers have been charged and/ or detained.

Teachers organized this gathering in order to protest against continued harassment and prosecution of their representatives including Mr. Esmail Abdi who has been imprisoned since June 27th. Esmail Abdi, who is the general secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (Tehran), was invited to attend the Education International’s 7th World Congress in Ottawa, July 21st to July 26th, 2015. The repression of teachers’ protest and the arrest of more than 100 teachers today in Iran is taking place while about 2000 delegates from over 170 countries are currently gathered in Ottawa to address public education issues including the protection of the rights of education workers, teachers and their organizations around the world.

We are calling on all concerned organizations and individuals, especially the delegates at the Education International’s 7th Congress in Ottawa, to take necessary measures including passing emergency resolutions in support of teachers in Iran and protest the arrest of teachers and demand the immediate release of imprisoned teachers, Esmail Abdi, and five other teacher unionists who have been suffering in the prisons of the repressive government of Iran: Ali Akbar Baghani, Rasoul Bodaghi, Mahmoud Bagheri, Alireza Hashemi and Alireza Ghanbari, and many others who have been arrested today. The international solidarity campaigns by teachers and labour organizations around the world have been extremely valuable and need to continue. The urgent actions by EI and its affiliates have already been well received by teachers in Iran. However, we are dealing with a government that does not recognize the right to organize, protest, and the freedom of association and expression; hence, over a million teachers and education workers in Iran continue to work under harsh conditions with wages way below the poverty line and without the right to collectively defend themselves and the public education.

International Alliance in support of workers in Iran (IASWI)

info@workers-iran.org / http://www.workers-iran.org / twitter.com/IASWIinfo / facebook.com/IASWI

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