Solidarity Magazine » Iran Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Iran – Mansour Osanloo's birthday (still in prison) Thu, 24 Feb 2011 16:33:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Mansour Osanloo is celebrating his 51st birthday today on 23 February. Without his family, friends and colleagues for the fourth consecutive year in prison. The only crime he ever committed was to create an independent workers’ union in Iran.

He was beaten badly when he was abducted by the security forces from a bus on his way home in Tehran on 10 July 2007. He suffered from cataracts as a result, but it took a major international campaign simply to let him have surgery just in time to save him from losing the sight in his left eye.

From time to time, he is sent to solitary confinement. Some inmates have attacked him. More recently, opportunities for him to contact his family or to go out of his cell have been reduced deliberately and increasingly he is in a “prison within a prison” acccording to his family.

Under these conditions, he developed a heart problem and was taken out of prison for brief medical treatment after complaining of chest pain. Still, he was sent back to prison within three days and there is no guarantee that his health has recovered fully.

On his 51st birthday, we want you to send him a message of encouragement that the world has not forgotten about him. Rather, our campaign to promote genuine workers’ rights in Iran is firmly rooted in the international trade union movement and we continue to put pressure on the Iranian government to release all trade unionists who are jailed including Ebrahim Madadi, Reza Shahabi and Gholamreza Gholamhosseini.

You can post your message to Osanloo on our Facebook Group

or send it by email to

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ACT NOW to save Iranian trade unionist Mansour Osanloo Tue, 15 Feb 2011 19:01:33 +0000 Continue reading ]]> As Iranian people demonstrate for freedom on the streets of Iran’s major cities, the TUC is joining Amnesty International to protest about the situation facing Iranian bus workers’ leader Mansour Osanloo, who is now in hospital with heart problems, shackled hand and foot to his bed. We are calling for his freedom and for his health.

Amnesty International and the TUC want people to take action to demand that the Iranian regime:

  • immediately and unconditionally release Mansour Ossanloo;
  • pending his release, ensure that Mansour Ossanloo has immediate access to his lawyers, family and medical treatment;
  • allow Sherkat-e Vahed, Mansour’s union, to continue in their legal activities without further harassment;
  • free all others jailed for legitimate trade union activities; and
  • ensure that Iran respects the workers and union rights which it has pledged to uphold.

Mansour Osanloo, the Iranian trade union leader unjustly imprisoned for the last four years, has been taken to an outside hospital after suffering chest pains this weekend that could have been caused by a heart attack.

Some time on Sunday he was transferred from Rajai Shahr Prison to a hospital where he is reportedly shackled to his bed by metal cuffs on hands and feet. Over preceding days contact with his family has been restricted and access to the open air has been limited. Amnesty International is ‘deeply concerned about his health and the continuing poor conditions he is experiencing in prison.’ He had been repeatedly denied medical leave from Rajai Shahr Prison, contrary to recommendations of the prison doctor.

In July 2007 Mansour Osanloo, now aged 50, president of the ITF-affiliated Vahed Syndicate (Tehran Bus Workers’ Union) was dragged from a Tehran bus by men who only later were identified as Iranian security forces. Three months later he was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of ‘acting against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the state’; in 2010 another year was added to his sentence. In reality his only ‘crime’ has been to help found a genuinely democratic trade union for his fellow bus drivers.

Union reaction

Mansour Osanloo’s bus workers’ union in Tehran is affiliated to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).

ITF general secretary David Cockroft stated: ‘Frankly, I believe that if he hadn’t had his life threatened, been beaten, arrested, re-arrested and held for years in awful Iranian prisons, he would today be a well man.’

‘His maltreatment is part of a campaign to crush his voice and that of his trade union, the Vahed Syndicate. The blame for it lies with the government of Iran, a government that is today letting loose its so-called security forces against protesters in cities across the country.’

He concluded: ‘Hasn’t that government learnt from the experience of its neighbours: that no one is too powerful to be held to account, and that injustice – such as has been meted out to Mansour Osanloo – cannot be sustained indefinitely?’

Union rights in Iran

Mansour Osanloo is just one of the many trade unionists imprisoned and harassed in Iran. Details of the situation facing Iran’s independent trade unions is on the Justice for Iranian Workers website.

And the Iranian entry in the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) annual report on trade union rights around the world is on the ITUC website.

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Sixth Iranian Sugar Union Leader in Prison – Act Now! Thu, 21 Jan 2010 15:39:41 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Reza Rakhshan, communications officer for the Haft Tapeh independent sugarworkers union in southern Iran, was arrested by security agents at his workplace on January 4 and was only released from Shush prison on January 20 after being charged with “endangering national security” for his union activity.

At the time of his arrest, Rakhshan was still awaiting final sentencing for the convictions last year on similar charges which put 5 other union leaders in prison. Like union president Ali Nejati, the new charges mean he could face lengthy back-to-back sentences which could see him imprisoned for years. Married, with a child, the 39-year old union officer has worked at Haft Tapeh for 5 years.

Rakshan’s arrest shows that the regime is determined to eliminate the Haft Tapeh union, whose very existence challenges the foundations of autocratic rule in Iran. The fate of imprisoned transport and teachers’ union activists shows that the Haft Tapeh prisoners risk prolonged physical and psychological abuse. The IUF urges all defenders of democratic and trade union rights to mobilize in their defense.

Act Now! – CLICK HERE to send a message to the Iranian state and judicial authorities, calling on them to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Reza Rakshan and to annul the sentences of the other 5 imprisoned Haft Tapeh leaders. Please note that some messages may bounce back – do not be discouraged! Server overload is a common condition in Iran, and the authorities sometimes turn off their e-mail to tune out public opinion – but some messages will get through, making the point that the persecuted trade unionists enjoy international support.

You can also send a message to the Iranian embassy or diplomatic representation in your country – or pay them a visit! A complete list of embassies/consulates is available here, and you can generally find e-mail addresses by searching the internet for the individual representation in your country.

From the International Food Workers website

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Iran: The elections and workers organisations Mon, 22 Jun 2009 10:11:59 +0000 Continue reading ]]> This is a statement by the Tehran bus workers whose union has been subject to continuous oppression since it was relaunched in 2005.

The Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Trade Union is purely a trade and workers’ organisation. This trade union was formed in 2005 based on the consciousness of the workers and the broad support and involvement of workers, and  despite its ups and downs and many problems, has continued its activity as before until today.

The Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Trade Union does not support any candidate in the tenth presidential election and does not view supporting any candidate as within the scope of the activities of independent workers’ organisations. With the absence of freedom [of activity] for parties, naturally our organisation is also deprived of a social association that would protect it. While the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Trade Union views political intervention and activity as the absolute right of every single person in society, it believes that if the presidential candidates present workers’ manifestoes and give practical guarantees about their electoral slogans, workers throughout Iran can either participate or not participate in the election.

But the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Trade Union, as a workers’ association, sees it as its duty to ask all candidates [some questions], so that in case there is a logical answer, workers can make a decision about these [replies]. But unfortunately until now the presidential candidates have not expressed any views about workers, the unemployed and their demands in the press, at conferences, in press conferences or during provincial trips.

Today, for workers and their families, encouragement about participation in the election is one of the most meaningless of existing debates, because during the past three decades the workers have experienced all the presidents from the time of the [Iran-Iraq] war and the [post-war] reconstruction and reform, and also the affection-cultivating president.

We want all our workmates and people of our class, that if there is a discussion about the election in their place of work or study, home or neighbourhood, to not forget to ask themselves and others what is the programme of the presidential pretenders for workers?

1- What is the clear position of the candidates of the tenth presidential election on the formation of independent workers’ organisations without the interference of the government and employers?

2- How do you justify the suppression of independent workers’ organisations like the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Trade Union?

3- Considering the accumulated demands of workers and that the poverty line announced for this year is 850,000 tomans [$874], but on the other hand the monthly wage has been set at 263,000 tomans [$270], will you accept the demand of workers’ organisations that the minimum wage should be 1 million tomans [$1021]? This was what the signatures of factory workers throughout the country have proclaimed.

4- To announce their opinion on international conventions on labour rights, children’s rights, women’s and human rights, and to say how they will adhere to them?

5- To say what their opinion and programme is on job security, job creation, housing and unemployment insurance for people over 18 years old, medical insurance for everyone and scrapping temporary contracts that are the cause of hardship and poverty for working class families?

During these past years the workers have been told to make sacrifices and to accept their hardship and their lack of rights. While the workers can neither go to work with security or hope, nor to their homes for rest, thousands of plain-clothes and security force [officers] – forces that performs no productive work and are used everywhere and for any deed that is necessary, with any level of violence and use of force – are kept to deprive and detain workers from a free life. Yet [the candidates] refuse to give up one day to talking about the workers’ demands and needs.

These are not issues specific to the time of the election. These problems depend on the co-operation of all toilers who see this dam in front of them. We must strive to go past this dam and reach a society where the solving of social problems is not handed over to the president and parliament only. General prosperity depends on general co-operation and we must not let others make decisions for us. We must take the initiative ourselves.

Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Trade Union
May 2009

Translated by Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network

]]> 0 Release Mansour Osanloo Wed, 17 Oct 2007 17:55:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The International Transport Workers’ Federation reports that Mansour Osanloo, President of the Tehran Bus Workers’ Union continues to be incarcerated in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran and is being denied essential medical treatment to save his eyesight, despite the Iranian regime refusing to allow the General Secretary of an Indonesian transport workers’ union to visit him this week under the pretext that he was receiving medical treatment.

Can you please take the time to visit the ITF solidarity site and sign the petition for Mansour’s release and an electronic letter to the Iranian President.

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Support the Tehran Bus Workers Sun, 05 Feb 2006 13:12:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> According to the independent interviews with the union’s activists and other sources from Tehran, over 700 members of the Syndicate of the Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company and a number of supporters are still in custody following the brutal use of police and the company’s security forces on January 28th.

According to an interview with Mr. Yaghoob Salimi, an alternate board member of the Syndicate, the Evin prison was full with jailed workers. Mr. Salimi himself was not arrested during the strike but the security forces raided his home and arrested three women and five children including his wife and his 12 and 2 years old daughters. The release of his wife and children was conditional upon Mr. Salimi turning himself to the police, which took place on the same day. In an enormously emotional interview, Mr. Salimi’s daughter revealed that her mother and other two women were badly beaten by the security forces, the 12 year-year-old was pepper-sprayed in the eyes and her two year old sister was terribly beaten in such a way that her face got badly bruised.
The government brought the military personnel and buses to the City in addition to thousands of security and armed forces as well plain cloth officers that were dispatched to suppress the strike. According to a statement by the Syndicate, many drivers were beaten, threatened and forced to drive buses. According to other sources, about 30 arrested workers have been seriously injured and required immediate medical attention and some had to be transferred from prison to the hospital. The jailed workers in Evin prison have decided to go on hunger strike and the union is deciding about its next move. As the Company’s CEO had vowed to fire all striking workers, there are reports that the company and the government authorities are forcing some workers to sign a “penitent statement” in order to be able to return to work.

The union has issued a new plea for support urging their colleagues in Iran and the international labour movements to condemn the attack on workers and support their demands. These fellow workers have been simultaneously fighting back against all these attacks on numerous fronts but, having no rights to organize freely or to strike, their protests and walkouts have been brutally repressed by security and intelligent forces. This heroic and tragic event once again demonstrated that the Iranian labour movement not only needs its own free and strong organizations but it also requires powerful international labour solidarity and support to fight back against these violent offensives by the employers and the oppressive government.

There is no doubt that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in total violation of the most fundamental workers’, human and children’s rights. This government must be hold accountable for its repressive actions. The International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran is urging all concerned organizations around the world particularly the world’s labour movements to intensify their pressure on the Iranian government for the following urgent demands.

1. The immediate and unconditional release of all arrested workers including members of the board of directors of the Syndicate and its president Mr. Mansoor Osanloo.

2. All acts of violence against workers, women and children must be condemned. Children must be properly compensated and those violated children’s rights must be prosecuted.

3. The immediate removal of the security and intelligent forces from the company’s workstations and bus depots, as well as putting an end to the violent treatment of workers in labour disputes.

4. The recognition of the Syndicate as the genuine representative of workers.

5. The recognition of the right to negotiate collectively and the right to strike.

6. The removal of the government-sponsored Workers House and the Islamic Labour Council from the company’s workplaces since they merely are agents of the employer and the government and have no legitimacy amongst workers. Furthermore, the Workers’ House and Islamic Labour Councils must be expelled from all international labour bodies (see below for background information).

7. The expulsion or suspension of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the International Labour Organization due to its total violation of workers’ fundamental rights as stipulated by the international labour conventions and the international human rights standards.

8. The Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed) and Tehran’s Mayor must be denounced strongly by the world’s labour and human right’s communities as one of the most repressive employers and hold liable accordingly. The company must be pressured to reinstate all workers, pay workers their due amount with appropriate and fair compensation and recognize the union. The company must be warned not to take any retaliatory actions against workers.

9. A fact-finding international labour delegation should be dispatched to Iran to investigate the violation of workers and human rights and publicly report their finding for appropriate actions.

For more information, please contact

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran

Your protest letters can be sent to the following addresses:

Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadjinejad,
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98-21-6648.06.65 or: + 98 21 649 5880 &

Ambassador Mohammad Reza Alborzi, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic
of Iran to the United Nations Institutions in Geneva, Chemin du
Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 733 02 03, E-mail:


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