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Simaye Azadi telethon-November 2018

MEK reports: Supporting Independent News Outlets is More Important Now Than Ever

Simaye Azadi telethon-November 2018

Simay Azadi Telethon held from November 30th to December 2, 2018- A parade of support for MEK and the Iranian opposition at home

Given the extent of the Iranian regime’s campaign of disinformation, lending support to trustworthy Iranian news outlets is now more important than ever, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

In September, Twitter announced the closure of 770 regime-affiliated accounts, in one of the regime’s largest disinformation campaigns to date. The accounts spread deliberately inflammatory content, often demonizing the MEK and other members of the Iranian opposition.

Shortly afterward, a three-page article appeared in the British newspaper, the Guardian. The piece, written by Arron Merat, a known regime affiliate with ties to the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), also spread lies and falsehoods about the MEK.

The most recent example of the regime’s disinformation campaign came from a Reuter’s report which identified 70 websites dedicated to spreading the regime’s lies and propaganda.

These misinformation campaigns are particularly damaging to the MEK and the Iranian resistance. The regime uses its propaganda outlets to legitimize terror attacks on resistance groups, much like the bomb attack planned at the MEK’s Grand Gathering event in Paris.

Domestic Propaganda

These misinformation campaigns targeted independent observers and citizens abroad. For example, many of the 770 regime-affiliated Twitter accounts were regime affiliate posing as foreign journalists and citizens.

But perhaps the most extensive misinformation campaign is being waged at home, within Iran. Hassan Rouhani has systematically dismantled the free press. He has shuttered independent news outlets, tightened restrictions on social media access and restricted the news people reach online.

Lending Support to Free and Independent Media

Although many large independent news outlets have been shuttered, there are still sources of reliable, independent information on offer to the Iranian public.

Supporting these independent outlets is more important now than ever before. Since the nationwide uprisings in December and January, the clamor for regime change among the Iranian people has intensified.

However, without an independent free press, these demands go unheard. Free and independent media outlets give voice to these demands and show citizens across Iran that they are not alone.

One example of Iran’s independent media was on display in the Simaye Azadi’s telethon (Iran National Television-INTV). Despite the intense constraints surrounding the media in Iran, Azadi has consistently given the Iranian people a voice in these dark times. This has earned him the support of the Iranian people.

The financial independence of Iran National Television allows it to operate in an environment where many other independent outlets are forced to cave to regime oppression.

INTV holds regular fundraising telethons through which finances are raised. Even in times of extreme economic hardship, like those facing Iranians today, the Iranian public digs deeps and gives what it can to INTV during these difficult times to ensure Iran’s free press lives on and gives hope to millions.

This does not come without risk. Unfortunately, the regime has put to death activists accused of supporting media outlets, yet many Iranians will not be deterred and are willing to risk it all to ensure Iranians are kept abreast of the latest human rights abuses, protests, and incarcerations of the Iranian resistance movement.

INTV also receives extensive support from the Iranian diaspora across the world. At the channel’s latest telethon, Saeed in the United States donated $250,000 to the outlet. He said, “as a physician, I have dedicated a large part of my career to be able to support the movement and consider this as part of my share to free Iran”.

https://twitter.com/4FreedominIran/status/1068969825823797250f the Iranian people”.

Several high-profile politicians also called on people across the world to support Iranian freedom of speech and the free press by donating to INTV. Struan Stevenson, a former Scottish member of the European Parliament (MEP) told supporters over Twitter, “I encourage everyone to support the 30 Nov-2 Dec telethon”.

“Our sole weapon… are our truthfulness and our honesty”

Senior MEK member, Ehsan Amin praised Azadi for his tireless devotion to upholding the principles of a free and independent media organization. Amin said, “Azadi has always been in the front line of the struggle against the regime’s smear campaign against the Resistance, and plays a vital role in revealing the true nature of such allegations”.

Amin added, “our sole weapon in the face of the regime’s demagogy is our truthfulness and our honesty”.

Staff Writer

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Ahvaz Steelworkers protest - Day 24.

Ahvaz Steel Workers Gain Support in Their Protests

Ahvaz Steelworkers protest - Day 24.

The protest by thousands of Steelworkers in Ahvaz continues.

Monday marked the 24th day of protests for the workers of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group in Ahvaz, Khuzestan, report MEK sources inside Iran. The workers once again rallied in the streets of Ahvaz to demand payment of their wages, which they have not received for several months.

The protesting workers held banners reading, “The workers are awake, they are fed up with exploitation!” and “Don’t make workers the victims of mafia deals!”

The Ahvaz steelworkers have demanded their unpaid wages for months, but they have been ignored by both their employers and the Iranian regime. The workers have now been forced to strike in order to make their voices heard.

The regime has responded to the protests with threats and intimidation. The head of the regime’s judiciary threatened to arrest the striking workers, calling their protests “sedition.” Nevertheless, the steelworkers have continued to rally on the streets of Ahvaz for more than three weeks to demand payment for their work.

Regime officials recently announced that two months of wages had been deposited into the workers’ accounts. However, according to the state-run ILNA new agency, workers reported that only 120 workers were paid. The 3,500 striking workers did not receive their wages.

The Ahvaz steelworkers place the blame for their situation on the regime and its corrupt policies. They are among many groups of oppressed Iranian workers who are suffering from the Iranian regime’s corruption. The workers of the Haft Tappeh sugar factory in Shush, Khuzestan have been protesting for their unpaid wages for 29 days. The factory workers blame the regime for allowing the privatization of their company, which has nearly bankrupted it.

Iran: Haft Tappeh Workers Strike for 26th Day, Ignoring False Promises and Intimidation

As the strikes have gone on, the striking workers have gained support from the Iranian people and from human rights activists and labor rights groups across the world. MEK sources report that students have joined the steel workers’ protests. Students were seen holding signs reading, ““We’re the workers’ children; we’ll stand by their side!”

Regime officials have been forced to acknowledge that workers in Iran are unhappy with labor conditions in the country. State media has run a number of reports about the regime’s deep concerns that the workers’ dissatisfaction will lead to a large scale revolt led by the MEK.

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Day 24 of Ahvaz protest by workers

Iran: Ahvaz Steel Workers Protest for 24th Day

Day 24 of Ahvaz protest by workers

The protest in Ahvaz continues, despite the repressive measures the government has taken.

Saturday marked the 22nd day of protests by the Iran National Steel Industrial Group. The workers rallied in front of the Khuzestan governorate in Ahvaz with signs reading, “The workers of Ahvaz are awake and fed up with being exploited!” and “Don’t make the workers the victims of mafia scheme!”

 

The Ahvaz steelworkers went on strike in November in protest of not receiving their wages for several months. The workers were protesting for several months prior to the strike for basic rights, but the regime has yet to respond to any of their demands. Reports from the MEK sources inside Iran indicate that the protests have continued.

The workers blame the regime for their situation, saying that the government’s corruption is responsible for the factors leading to their protests and strikes. At Saturday’s protest, the workers chanted, “You’re taking advantage of Islam and have made the lives of the people a misery!” and “They speak of Hossein but they pride in their thievery!” The chants were in reference to the regime’s perversion of religious edicts and principles in order to rob the Iranian people of their wealth. Imam Hossein refers to the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, a revered symbol for Shiite Muslims.

Iranian Merchants, Steel Workers, and Factory Workers Strike as Part of Growing Nationwide Movement

The protests by the Ahvaz steelworkers are occurring simultaneously to strikes by the workers of the Haft Tappeh sugar factory in Shush. Both sets of striking workers are in Khuzestan Province, and they have been supportive of each other throughout the protests.

The Ahvaz steelworkers and Haft Tappeh factory workers have gained support from people across Iran, including students, teachers, truck drivers, merchants, and youth. Each of these groups have expressed solidarity with the striking workers. The MEK and the Iranian Opposition have also expressed their support for the workers’ strikes, and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), urged others to join the workers in solidarity with their protests.

As the strikes and protests have gained international attention, the striking workers have also received messages of support from workers’ unions and syndicates from around the world.

The Ahvaz steelworkers have vowed to continue their protests until their demands are met. On Saturday, the workers chanted, “Shame on the government that deceives the people!”

 

Strikes and protests have become common in Iran over the past year. The economy is in free fall, and the regime’s corrupt policies have left Iranian workers no recourse other than to take to the streets to protest. Regime officials have warned that a crisis is brewing due to workers losing their trust in their employers and the government.

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Simaye Azadi Telethon on its second day-December 1

Simaye Azadi Holds Second Day of Telethon

Simaye Azadi Telethon on its second day-December 1

Moslem Eskandar Filaby, world wrestling champion, and the chairman of NCRI’s Sport Committee, participated in Simaye Azadi Telethon

December 1st was the second day of the most recent telethon hosted by Simaye Azadi, Iran’s National TV (INTV). The satellite television station, known as the Voice of Iran, regularly hosts these telethons to bring attention to the atrocities committed by the Iranian regime and to give a voice to the people of Iran who have been silenced by the mullahs.

The telethon also offers an opportunity for supporters of the MEK and the Iranian Opposition to make donations to Simay Azadi, this beacon of hope and inspiration to millions who receive the news of activities and positions of the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) via this progressive media via satellite.

On Saturday, supporters of the MEK from across the world called into the telethon with donations. The callers described their motivations for supporting the Iranian Opposition. Here are some of their words:

“Iranian people have a slogan: ‘Our shame, Our shame, is our television and radio (referring to the state media, and their misinforming programs) .’ Ashrafis say that is our pride and you are part of this pride.”

Omid Ehsani from Sweden said, “Simaye Azadi⁩ is like a school showing us how to fight against the Iranian regime.  This makes me happy and that is why my friends and I donate 32,000 Kronas.”

Jaromir Stetina, a Member of European Parliament, tweeted in support of the telethon, “I wanted to add my support for the great work which is being done by Simay-e-Azadi, which is an independent satellite TV channel that brings out news of the repression and human rights violations in Iran.”

A Swedish supporter said this: “We are a group of supporters of the Iranian people and resistance.  We are going to collect a group donation for you to help the downfall of the tyrants’ rule.”

Saeed from the U.S. donated $250,000. He had this to say about his donation: As a physician, I have dedicated a large part of my career to be able to support the movement and consider this as part of my share to a Free Iran and the MEK.

The telethon will conclude on Sunday, December 2nd.

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Iranian regime's terrorism and extremism infography

The West Must Organise a United and Organised Response to Iranian Terror

Iranian regime's terrorism and extremism infography

Credit to NCRI- “The IRGC is a Terror Group Spreading Violence and Extremism” infographic published on February 2017.
The infographic call on the U.S. to designate the IRGC as an FTO.

Alireza Jafarzedah, the Deputy Director of the Washington D.C. office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and spokesperson for the Iranian opposition, published a thought-provoking piece on US news site, Townhall.

The piece, entitled “Europe and the US Must Confront Iran’s Terror On Their Soil”, highlights the escalating threat Iran poses to the West and the need for Washington and its European allies to address increasing Iranian terrorist activities.

A Year of Terror Plots

“Over the past year, Europe and the United States have seen an unprecedented increase in terrorist threats”, Jafarzedah begins.

The Iranian regime has orchestrated attacks against the Iranian resistance group, the People’s Muhajedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), in Paris, Albania, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the US. It attempted to carry out a truck bomb attack in Paris, an assassination in Denmark, and a bomb plot on the MEK’s compound near Tirana, Albania’s capital.

“For decades, Tehran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has orchestrated terror plots abroad, using diplomatic facilities as cover”, Jafarzedah continues, and this year has been no different.

Following the regime’s foiled terror attack on the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event in Paris, a diplomat working out of the regime’s Austrian embassy was arrested over coordinating the attack and supplying the would-be attackers with the explosive material.

The MEK revealed in a press conference later that the diplomat, named Assadollah Assadi, had been acting on the orders of the regime leadership, indicating that the elaborate web of Iranian terrorism runs from the upper echelons of the Iranian regime, and relies on diplomats working out of regime-affiliated embassies to execute the violent attacks.

Iranian Diplomat-Terrorist and Accomplices Arraigned in Belgian Court on Terrorism Charges

Uprisings at Home

Alireza Jafarzedah believes that the surge in Iranian terror activities can be explained by the mullahs weakening grip on the political landscape at home.

Iran has been racked by a wave of protests which began with the MEK-organised nationwide uprising in December and January. Major strikes in Iran’s key industries spread across the countries, and since January the mullahs have had to deal with a series of anti-regime strikes and protests among Iran’s truck drivers, teachers, steelworkers, factory workers, and students.

“Unable to crush the unfolding uprising at home, the mullahs are striking overseas”, Jafarzedah writes. This certainly makes sense as the targets in the majority of Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism abroad have been MEK members living abroad.

“Western governments need to take several concrete steps”

Jafarzedah goes on to outline several concrete steps that Western governments must take to protect their own citizens and end the regime’s terror machine in Europe and the West.

150 MEPs Sign Statement Calling for Expulsion of Regime Intelligence Agents from E.U.

“Firstly, begin arresting or expelling Iranian agents acting illegally”, he writes. There is no shortage of agents operating on foreign soil. In the last 12 months, four diplomats have been accused of illegal conduct or engaging in plotting terror attacks against the MEK. Three were expelled by the Dutch and French governments, the last was detained and will face charges for the Paris terror plot in Belgium.

There is some appetite within the EU for a firmer stance against diplomats engaged in nefarious activities. 150 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) recently signed a letter calling for the expulsion of Iranian intelligence agents from EU soil.

“Secondly, Western governments should seriously consider shutting Iranian diplomatic facilities”, Jafarzedah suggests. Tehran has consistently demonstrated contempt for international and domestic law. The regime cannot be trusted to maintain facilities on Western soil without engaging in violence. Therefore, the West should consider limiting Tehran’s diplomatic activities.

“Thirdly, Western governments should work together to enact sanctions on firms that fund the terror”. The US has reintroduced sanctions against the Iranian regime and its affiliated companies. The EU must join the US the avoid Iranian companies bypassing these sanctions.

The only way to end terrorism is by cutting off its financing. This is why it is imperative the West stands firm and brings the full weight of sanctions against the Iranian companies involved in funding terrorism.

Jafarzedah concludes his article by suggesting that the regime is weaker than it portrays itself. With uprisings occurring on a daily basis, the regime in on the brink of collapse. He concludes, “the Iranian people’s desire for a new future is stronger than their fear of the regime. The West should recognize this and stand with them instead of their oppressors”. Only then will the West ensure that the Iran threat is neutralized once and for all and protect their citizens from terror attacks.

Staff Writer

 

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Bus driver's statement of support for Haft-Tappeh workers

MEK-Iran: Iran’s Bus Drivers Issue a Statement of Support for the Workers of Haft Tappeh

Bus driver's statement of support for Haft-Tappeh workers

Bus Drivers in Tehran, support the workers of Haft-Tappeh sugarcane factory, who have been on a protest for the past month.

The Haft Tappeh workers received a boost when the Greater Tehran Bus Syndicate issued a public statement supporting their strike and condemning the arrest and regime violence against its labor activist, Esmaeel Bakhshi.

The Haft Tappeh workers have been on strike over unpaid wages and the forced privatization of the company for almost eight weeks. Bakhshi was arrested, along with 18 other protestors during the first week of the protest. While most of the other protestors were released shortly afterward, Bakhshi and several others were kept in regime custody.

News later emerged that Bakhshi was rushed to hospital after sustaining serious head injuries in regime custody.

Iran: Haft Tappeh Workers Strike for 26th Day, Ignoring False Promises and Intimidation

The Greater Tehran Bus Syndicate echoed the Haft Tappeh workers calls for Bakshi’s immediate release and the closure of any outstanding judicial cases against the Haft Tappeh protestors.

A Climate of Fear

The regime has resorted to its usual threats and oppression in an attempt to end the Haft Tappeh protests. The mayor of Shush, accompanied by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and plainclothes officers approached the protestors to issue threats unless they stopped the protests.

The protesting workers would not be deterred, instead of mounting chants against the corrupt mayor, and renewed chants of “jailed workers must be released”.

The arrests were also designed to create a climate of fear among protestors. However, they backfired. In the face of mounting regime violence, the protestors of Haft Tappeh have only received reinvigorated public support.

Many of Iran’s youth have taken to the streets with the striking workers in a clear display of solidarity.

The Iranian resistance group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), also issued words of support. The President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, took to Twitter to call on the Iranian public to stand with the brave workers.

Students from Tehran’s Art University also paid homage to the striking Haft Tappeh workers. Whilst holding their own anti-regime rally, the determined students chanted, “we’re the workers’ children, we will stand by their side”.

Additional Arrests

It wasn’t just Esmaeel Bakhshi that was detained on bogus charges, the former head of the Haft Tappeh sugarcane mill syndicate, Ali Nejati, was abducted from his home by regime forces and taken to an unknown location.

His loved ones are concerned as Mr. Nejati has a heart condition and was reportedly unwell when regime agents raided his property. He reportedly asked to see a warrant from the regime agents, but they were unable to produce a document.

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INTV's 3 day telethon started on November 30, 2018

Simaye Azadi Hosts Latest Telethon

INTV's 3 day telethon started on November 30, 2018

Iran NTV (Simaye Azadi or Voice of Freedom) started it’s 3 day telethon on Friday Nov 30th.

From November 30th until December 2nd, Simaye Azadi, Iran’s National TV (INTV) the satellite TV that is known as the voice of Free Iran is running a telethon to give voice to Iran’s suppressed and silenced population. Much like previous telethons, Simaye Azadi will host the event.

IranNTV uses its telethons to broadcast the realities of the Iranian regime’s atrocities to the world. MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) supporters also take the opportunity to offer donations and messages of support for the main Iranian opposition, the MEK.

MEK’s former Secretary-General, special guest of the 1st day of the Telethon

The special guest of the 1st day of the telethon, was Mrs. Zohreh Akhyani, MEK’s former Secretary General, and one of MEK’s distinguished leaders. In her speech, with regards to Simaye Azadi and its role in distributing information, she said: It’s impossible not to be overwhelmed by its vital role. Today’s telethon is like a “popular
parade of financial support” for the one that is reflecting the voices of the Workers, Haft Tapeh sugar cane workers, and Ahwaz workers, the voice of all truckers and all the people of Iran.”

For example, an early message read, “I’m Bahareh from Mashhad. I declare my support and help out with a little donation”.

Another, from Mohammad, said “I hope with our aid, this voice will always stay on”.

Past telethons have been a major success

In the past, the amount of donations received has been a strong indication of the MEK’s popularity. In 2013, the group had 22 phone lines set up to receive donations and the generous MEK supporters from within Iran and around the world gave $4.1 million.

Many of these donations were small figures, whatever people could spare, but when added together, they make a huge difference and provide the opposition with the resources to challenge the Iranian regime wherever it can.

Some, like Firoozeh in Mashhad, gave $54. Others, like Shahryar from Karaj, gave more than $200. Many donors give as little as one dollar. But every single one of them goes towards the MEK’s fight for democracy in Iran.

Several of the MEK’s high-profile political supporters also participate in the group’s telethons. Political figures from across Europe and the US often make an appearance and urge supporters to keep making donations.

Telethons Keep Hope Alive for the Youth of Iran

It is young Iranians who overwhelmingly turn to telethons to voice their opinions. For Iran’s youth, living in a world where simply voicing anti-regime sentiment could be enough to get you arrested or worse, the telethons offer an outlet and a way to connect with like-minded individuals.

One, named Amineh Gharaei said, “Iran is like a prison for us- Simaye Azadi gives us hope”.

The telethons show the Iranian youth that they are not alone in their disappointment and dissatisfaction towards the regime. They let them know that the MEK is with them.

Gharaei captured the feeling in a panel show on a telethon in 2015. The young Iranian said, “Even though we are far, we are beside you. We feel your pain. Be strong”

 

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Haft-Tappeh workers continue strike for 26th day.

Iran: Haft Tappeh Workers Strike for 26th Day, Ignoring False Promises and Intimidation

Haft-Tappeh workers continue strike for 26th day.

The Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane workers continue their strike against the regime repressive measures and empty promises.

The Haft Tappeh sugar factory workers continued their strike for the 26th consecutive day on Friday, despite escalating threats and intimidation from the repressive Iranian regime. Reports from MEK sources inside Iran indicate that the protesters rallied again in front of the mayor’s office in Shush, chanting, “Imprisoned workers must be freed!”

Arrest, False Promises, and Protests

Thursday was an active day for the striking Haft Tappeh factory workers. The regime attempted to halt the protests by sending an IRGC official and a member of the regime’s parliament to address the striking workers and attempt to negotiate with the protesters. The officials were accompanied by Basij forces. The regime officials promised to meet the workers’ demands if they called off the strikes. The striking workers were not impressed by the officials’ promises, which have gone unfulfilled before, and interrupted their speeches with chants.

Also on Thursday, security forces raided the home of Ali Nejati and arrested him. Nejati, former president of the Haft Tappeh sugar cane workers union, suffers from heart disease and is currently ill. Upon his arrest, Nejati was badly beaten by security forces. He has since been transferred to an unknown location.

A Labour Activist Involved in the Haft Tappeh Protests is Hospitalized After Suffering Abuse in Regime Custody

A growing group of supporters has joined the striking Haft Tappeh workers in solidarity with their protests. On Thursday, students from Zanjan University in Tehran gathered in support of the demands of the Haft Tappeh workers. They chanted, “We are the children of workers. We will stand by their side. Haft Tapeh, Khuzestan, the role model of the hardworking people!” and “Students, workers, teachers, unity is the key to victory!”

Unpaid Wages and Privatization

The Haft Tappeh factory workers began their strike to protest unpaid wages and the privatization of their company. Workers at the company have not received their salary in several months and have been deprived of basic rights and benefits that are guaranteed under Iranian labor laws.

Haft Tappeh is the largest sugar factory in Iran and supplies thousands of jobs to the people of Khuzestan. The factory was government-owned until the regime allowed it to be privatized in a controversial 2015 deal. Since then, employees say working conditions have deteriorated and the factory’s poor leadership has brought it to the verge of bankruptcy. The striking workers want the owners to be removed and their salaries paid.

A Call to Action

The MEK and the Iranian Opposition has called upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to intervene and demand the release of Ali Nejati and other workers who have been arrested by the Iranian regime.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has called upon on all human rights organizations to stand in solidarity with the workers of the Haft Tappeh sugar factory and to take action to secure the release of imprisoned Iranian workers.

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Farmers' protest,Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Factory workers strike,Haft-Tappeh,Human Rights,Iran Protests,Isfahan,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

Isfahan Farmers' protest continues

Iran Protests Continue

Isfahan Farmers' protest continues

Demonstrations and sit-in of poor farmers of the cities and villages of East and West of Isfahan are continuing for the third month

Strikes and protests are still raging across Iran and show no sign of abating as workers continue to express their dissatisfaction with labor conditions and the ever-worsening economic crisis in the country.

Update (7:30 AM Thursday, November 29th): On Thursday morning, MEK sources inside Iran reported that security forces raided the home of Ali Nejati, one of the striking workers from the Haft Tappeh sugar mill. Nejati was arrested, and when his family asked to see the arrest warrant, they were beaten by police.

The factory workers marched to the mayor’s office, chanting, “Imprisoned workers must be freed!” and “Nationalize the company!”

Iranian drivers from across the country have expressed their solidarity with the striking factory workers through video messages. One driver said, “I understand your situation. I am a driver and we too are facing harsh conditions. I stand with you and wish you the best of luck in achieving your demands.”

Haft Tappeh Sugar Factory Workers’ Strikes

Thursday was the 25th consecutive day of strikes for the factory workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugar mill in Shush. The workers are striking in protest of months of unpaid wages and the privatization of the company.

The workers published a list of their demands on their Telegram channel and in a written statement. Their demands include basic labor rights such as regular payment of salaries, employer payment of insurance fees, job security for contract workers, and provision of work tools and materials.

Protests Continue to Rage in Ahvaz and Shush

Most of the workers’ demands are already guaranteed under the Iranian regime’s labor laws, but these laws are not being enforced. For example, Iranian labor law dictates that employers are responsible for providing transportation or compensation for transportation for their employees’ commute to and from work. Haft Tappeh has ignored this regulation altogether. Employers are also required by law to provide one hot meal per shift. This law has also been disregarded by Haft Tappeh’s owners.

The regime has responded to the workers’ demands by sending suppressive forces to arrest the striking workers and by dispatching the head of the regime’s judiciary to threaten the strikers and accuse them of sedition.

The Haft Tappeh factory workers have also asked for the release of their colleague, Esmail Bakhshi, as part of their demands. Bakhshi is a spokesperson for the protesters who was arrested with several others as part of a crackdown by suppressive forces last week. After the striking workers and a growing number of supporters rallied for their release, the regime relented and released the other jailed protesters, but Bakhshi remains in custody.

Farmers’ protests enter the third month

The farmers of Isfahan are entering their third consecutive month of protests over the lack of access to water, which has wreaked havoc on agriculture in the province. Agriculture is the primary source on income in Isfahan, so virtually everyone in the region has been affected by the scarcity of water due to the drying of the Zayanderud River.

Isfahan’s farmers blame the water crisis on the regime’s corruption and mismanagement of the country’s water resources. Over the past two decades, the regime has diverted the Zayanderud River, which supplies water to the Isfahan region, to its factories upstream of Isfahan, leaving the once-prosperous farmers without water to irrigate their crops. This, combined with droughts, has left the farmers without a source of income.

The Isfahan farmers have protested by blocking streets with their tractors and machinery and camping in intersections of cities and towns.

On November 25th, farmers in the village of Qarnah destroyed water pipes to prevent the transfer of water from their village to other regions. Special Guard mercenaries responded by attacking the farmers with tear gas, injuring several of the protesters. The farmers chanted: “Zayandeh Rood water is our absolute right!” “We die, we do not accept humiliation!” and “The farmer is awake, he hates (empty) promises!”

Also on November 25th, farmers in Qarnah staged a sit-in at the Qarnah mosque. State security forces attacked the protesters there and broke the mosque’s windows in the process.

The striking farmers at that sit-in held banners proclaiming: “We want our water rights!” “Do not split our Zayandeh Rood!” “Is there any helper?” “Death with dignity is better than life with humiliation!”  “Until when false promises?”

The water crisis has reached such epic proportions that regime has been forced to acknowledge it, at least in part. Hasan Kamran, a member of the regime’s parliament who represents Isfahan, admitted that the Ministry of Energy has given 1,592 million cubic meters of water to Isfahan Steel, Iron and Steel and military industries, leaving the people of Isfahan to survive on wastewater. “The law of water right goes back to 1964, and the Ministry of Energy had no legal right to change it and sell the water,” he said in an October 21st interview with a state-run media outlet.

In an earlier interview with Radio Farhang, Kamran said: “For a decade, water right of the farmers of Isfahan has been plundered… We have lied to them for 10 years… On the one hand, the bank brings an arrest warrant because he (the farmer) was unable to pay his debt. On the other hand, we give his wheat money late, we don’t give him compensation, we steal his water right; who is stealing from him? The same Ministry of Energy.”

Nasser Mousavi Largani, another member of the regime’s parliament, described the current agricultural conditions of Isfahan’s farmers in dire terms. “The farmers of Ghahderijan – their land has turned into desert. They do not have bread to eat. Likewise, the farmers of Pirbakon,” he said.

Ali Bakhtiar, another member of the regime’s parliament, told the Parliament News Agency that

the number of dairy cattle has dwindled from 50-60 thousand to less than 30 thousand. “Livestock is really disappearing … 70-80% of poultry farms in the region are not used,” said Bakhtiar.

The MEK salutes Isfahan’s striking farmers and calls upon all Iranians, particularly the youth, to join in solidarity with their protests and to support them in their demands for water rights.

Staff Writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Factory workers strike,Haft-Tappeh,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,PMOI

Haft-Tappeh strike continues.

A Labour Activist Involved in the Haft Tappeh Protests is Hospitalized After Suffering Abuse in Regime Custody

Haft-Tappeh strike continues.

Despite the repressive measures by the government, the workers strike continues into its forth week.

The Haft Tappeh sugar factory workers have been on strike for over two weeks. What started as a protest over unpaid wages and the forced privatization of the company, quickly took on a more pressing note when 19 of their peers were arrested by the regime.

Ismael Bakhshi imprisoned worker of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane factory

The Worker’s representative in Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane factory, who is in custody for demanding the worker’s unpaid wages-November 2018

Although most were released, several labor activists remained in regime custody, including Ismael Bakhshi. As soon as Bakhshi was arrested, the protestors marched on the municipal buildings in Ahvaz and called for his immediate release, reports from MEK network inside indicates. However, as the protestors feared, the latest reports indicate Bakhshi is in a bad way.

The Subject of Torture

Iran News Wire reported that sources have revealed Bakhshi has been transferred to a local hospital after suffering barbaric abuse at the hands of regime agents.

Although few details are known, it is suspected that Bakshi was beaten and sustained injuries to the face and head. He is also thought to be suffering from internal bleeding after the ordeal.

MEK Network: The Haft Tappeh Protest Reaches Its 19th Consecutive Day

The brave workers gathered again today in Shush to call for their colleague’s release. The crowd chanted, “detained worker must be released!”

Further Arrests

There are also reports that further arrests have been made in connection to the protest. Ali Nejati’s home was raided by regime security forces and he was taken into custody. Eyewitness reports state that Nejati demanded to see their warrant for the raid, but the agents on the scene were unable to produce legal documents authorizing the raid.

In the course of the raid, they beat Ali Nejati and his defenseless family. His son, Peiman Nejati was also arrested.

Those close to the family are concerned. Ali suffers from a heart condition and was reportedly unwell during the time of the arrest.

The CEO Called an End to the Strike

The arrests and beatings came on the same day the Haft Tappeh CEO send a video message to the protestors, urging them to end their protests.

Omid Asadbeigi, the CEO of Haft Tappeh, appeared next to a photo of the Supreme Leader Khamenei and a large Islamic Republic flag and echoed the regime’s demands to end the strike.

He told the workers that their strike was causing “numerous problems for the factory”. He also reiterated that the factory would not be returned to the public sector. “It will remain private”, he said.

 

“I deem it necessary to immediately put an end to these rumors”, he added.

The whereabouts of Omid Asadbeigi remains a mystery. Some elements of the regime have asserted that he is a wanted man and is facing charges of misconduct. Other elements have reported that he is in regime custody.

Support from the MEK

The striking workers may take solace in the knowledge that they have the support of the Iranian people and the opposition movement.

The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the president-elect of the Iranian opposition, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi have issued statements of support for the Haft Tappeh workers.

Maryam Rajavi published a statement on her Twitter account which read, “the enemy tries in vain to silence the voice of the deprived workers of Haft Tappeh through arrests and suppression”.

The MEK has called on Iran’s youth and the public to help the sugarcane workers in any capacity they can and stand with them in solidarity against the mullahs’ violent clerical regime.

Staff Writer

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