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Iran: Political prisoner voices support for protesting Ahvaz steel workers

Political prisoner Abolghasem Fouladvand voices support for the protesting National Steel Group employees of Ahvaz
Political prisoner Abolghasem Fouladvand voices support for the protesting National Steel Group employees of Ahvaz

Reported by PMOI/MEK

 

Iran, Dec. 21, 2018 - Political prisoner Abolghasem Fouladvand, currently held in Gohardasht (Rajaie Shahr) prison of Karaj, west of Tehran, wrote a letter expressing his support for the protests staged by employees of the National Steel Group in Ahvaz, southwest Iran. Fouladvand also condemned the mass arrest of these workers who have been on strike for more than a month.

“This saber-rattling by the mullahs’ regime shows how desperate and empty-handed this criminal regime has become. Therefore, I express my support for the strike and protests held by the heroic steelworkers and people from all walks of life and condemn the detention of these hardworking steelworkers. When the inhumane mullahs’ regime is on the verge of its toppling, and neither nor has the intention to answer to the righteous demands raised by the freedom loving people of Iran, the only solution they see possible is to launch a campaign of crackdown, pressure, and imprisonment of workers, teachers, truck drivers and college students. It is up to us to stand shoulder to shoulder in supporting the arrested steelworkers, teachers and truck drivers, and with one voice demand the overthrow of the oppressive and ruthless mullahs’ regime ruling Iran, that is nothing but the enemy of Iran and Iranians.”

At the end of his letter, he adds:

“We can and we must establish a government based on the people’s rule for the people, establish gender equality, freedom of speech and thought, all stated in the ten-point plan presented by Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi for a future free Iran that we will retake from the mullahs’ regime.”

If I raise, if you raise, everyone will raise

Down with the mullahs’ regime – Viva freedom

The National Liberation Army of Iran will be victorious

Let us expand the Resistance Units of our uprising

Hail to Rajavi

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The Iranian regime continues to intensify a crackdown on the workers of Iran National Steel Industrial Group in Ahvaz who have been on strike and demonstrating for their most basic rights in the past 39 days. In the early hours of Tuesday, security forces raided several homes and violently arrested 10 more of the protesting workers. In a similar raid on the previous night, the Iranian regime’s forces had arrested several other workers.

Security forces transferred workers who have been arrested in the past 24 hours to Ahvaz’s Sheyban Prison. The General Assembly of the Ahvaz Steel Workers declared that they would not engage in any negotiations with Iranian authorities until all prisoners are released.

The names of the arrested are as follows:

  • Behzad Alikhani
  • Ahmad Bavi
  • Arash Mohammadpour
  • Meysam Al-e Mahdi
  • Seyed Mostafa Mousavi
  • Seyed Majid Mousavi
  • Amir Dehghan
  • Majid Jalali
  • Hossein Asakereh
  • Behzad Shahbazi

The steelworkers of Ahvaz started their protests over months-overdue wages, poor working conditions and corrupt management policies by the private owners of the factory, which is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of steel products in Iran. The workers have intermittently demanded Iranian authorities to tend to their demands and needs, but having received no response, they have resorted to strikes and demonstrations as a last resort to reclaim their rights.

On Monday, the workers returned to the streets and resumed their demonstrations despite the arrest of their colleagues and the regime’s efforts to quell their protests. The heavy presence of security forces across the city did not intimidate the steelworkers of Ahvaz, who virtually have nothing but their problems to lose.

In their slogans, the workers were condemning the attack against their colleagues and called for their immediate release.

The workers released a statement in which they declared, “The crime of these workers was crying out for justice, for condemning the mafia and not giving in to disgrace.” The workers use criminal metaphors to describe factory and government officials who are involved in the corruption that has pushed the factory toward bankruptcy and the lives of the workers into misery. “We warn you to immediately release our detained colleagues and end this injustice.”

In a statement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran declared, “The mullahs’ regime had stationed repressive forces from the Ministry of Intelligence, riot police and forces affiliated with the IRGC and IRGC intelligence in various sensitive locations in Ahvaz so that workers could not continue their protests. However, the workers, despite the fact that they were surrounded by oppressive forces in some places, continued to demonstrate with slogans such as: ‘Imprisoned workers must be freed.’”

 

 

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