From Aman Kafa of the Hekmatist Party (official Line) – Organization Abroad
July 14, 2020
Four representatives and speakers of Haft Tapeh workers, Youseff Bahmani, Ebrahim Abassi, Mohammad Khanifar, Moslem Cheshm Khavar were arrested on their way home, as they left today’s protest action, according to the workers’ syndicate. The workers in the city have demanded their immediate release. [NOTE: See update below.]
Thousands of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company workers have been on strike for a month now, demanding the immediate payment of all unpaid wages, reinstatement of sacked workers, and the return of the embezzled funds to the workers.
Presently, the growing escalation of the protests have increased the pressure on the Islamic Republic. Protests of Haft Tapeh workers today is certainly one the main forefronts of the struggles of the working class in Iran. Protests that have forced the authorities to such an extent that they even issued writs against the current owners of the sugar can company for embezzlement of large funds following the privatisation of the company. Despite overwhelming evidence, the case is still going through the early stages of the courts, and the owners are still free, while the arrests of workers today have been taking place without the authorities having to even produce any warrants!
Today’s arrests are yet another attempt of the Islamic Republic to suppress the protests; attempts that have followed after the failure of authorities to impose their divide and rule tactics among the striking workers. Haft Tapeh workers have foiled all such tactics, through maintaining their unity, by continuously holding their own independent general assemblies to debate and arrive at their decisions and actions. The efforts and conscious decisions of Haft Tapeh workers have brought about support from workers in different industries and sectors across the whole country.
In this context, today’s arrests is the response of the authorities not only against Haft Tapeh workers, but against the growing protests of the workers across Iran. Arrests that are the response of failing state in a country where people are faced with high inflation, rocketing prices of the basic necessities, unemployment, unprecedented poverty, etc. In addition to these miseries, there is an ever-increasing number of deaths from Covid 19, with Iran accounting for around half of the total number of victims of this epidemy in the Middle East.
Today’s arrests is aimed against the whole working class and the protesting masses across the country. In this struggle, the workers of Haft Tapeh are not alone. The demands of Haft Tapeh workers are nothing but the demands of workers across Iran.
This is a struggle that needs to be supported in all quarters by the workers, workers’ organisations, unions and all progressive organisations internationally to force the Islamic Republic to recognise that enough is enough, and that such repressive tactics will not go unanswered.
Update, July 15
The protests continued even more strongly today, and the main slogan of the march was for the “immediate release of the striking workers”, and that “the embezzlers are free, and workers are detained”. Given the resolve of the protesters, the security forces released the detained workers just over an hour ago!
This was yet another retreat forced on the Islamic Republic, and showed that even arresting some of the representatives does not break the resolve of the strikers.
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We send our comradely greetings to the Haft Tapeh strikers and to the entire working class of Iran and we congratulate those fellow workers for having won the freedom of Youseff Bahmani, Ebrahim Abassi, Mohammad Khanifar, Moslem Cheshm Khavar, strike leaders at Haft Tapeh. We also totally oppose the attacks on the Iranian people by Donald Trump. This includes his imposition of sanctions against Iran. We workers the world over have the same interests and the same enemies. Workers of all lands unite. We have nothing to lose but our chains. We have a world to win.
John Reimann, administrator – Oaklandsocialist.com, member – Workers International Network.
Broome Tioga Green Party, Binghamton NY, Rick Sprout – chair; Timothy Close, Retired FireFighter/Paramedic, Ohio Association of Professional FireFighters-OAPFF; Richard Sklader; Mike Harris, Retired warehouse worker; Frank Rogaczewski, adjunct instructor, union member Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization, Illinois Education Association; Fazlur Rahmat Organisation, member, Sosialisme Kerakyatan Indonesia; B. Ross Ashley, retired hospital worker and union shop steward; Michael Karadjis, National tertiary Education Union, Australia; Jon Bekken, Philadelphia Labor Solidarity Committeem Professor of Communications, Albright College; Sarah Morken, unemployed health care worker; Scott Schroeder, member UFCW Local 8GS; Heather Schroeder, member, UFCW Local 8GS; Steve Leigh, SEIU local 925 Retiree Chapter, and Seattle Revolutionary Socialists; Jim Brash, member of UFCW Local 1262; Cheryl Zuur, former president, AFSCME Local 444; Michael Brown, independent socialist.
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