Posts Tagged ‘Haft-Tappeh’

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The protester that raises her arm as a symbol of resistance, while stepping out of teargas

One Year Later: A Summary of Protests in Iran in 2018

The protester that raises her arm as a symbol of resistance, while stepping out of teargas

The photo symbolizes the December 2017 uprisings in Iran that has not stopped and has continued in forms of protests and strikes across the country.

December 28th marks the one year anniversary of the nationwide uprising that mobilized people from all walks of life to take to the streets in protest of Iran’s theocratic regime. The protests began in Mashhad on December 28, 2017, and spread to over 140 cities in every province in Iran over a two week period.

The initial protests were in response to the economic disaster facing the country. Poverty, corruption, inflation, and rising unemployment drove many Iranians into the streets to protests. But as the uprising grew in strength and numbers, the demonstrators began to protest the regime itself.

Protesters chanted, “Death to the dictator!”

“Death to [Supreme Leader] Khamenei!”

“Khamenei shame on you, let go of your rule!”

One year later, Iran is still the scene of daily protests and demonstrations against the authoritarian regime. The protesters have made it clear that they will not be satisfied until the ruling regime is toppled and democracy is restored to Iran.

The MEK has played a leading role in the protests taking place across Iran. As the movement to topple the mullahs’ regime has grown, the people have sought a viable alternative to the corrupt dictatorship that has destroyed Iran’s economy and environment, and that has oppressed its people for the past four decades. The MEK offers a democratic alternative that will restore freedom to Iran.

Iran News Wire summarized protest activity in Iran over the past year. The following is a summary of their report:

January

Recorded Protests: 643

Daily Average: 21

The uprising that began in December 2017 continued into January, and protests took an anti-regime turn in the month of January. Protesters set fire to Basij bases and tore down images of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

February

Recorded Protests: 596

Daily Average: 21

March

Recorded Protests: 422

Daily Average: 14

April

Recorded Protests: 452

Daily Average: 15

May

Recorded Protests: 1,093

Daily Average: 35

June

Recorded Protests: 475

Daily Protests: 16

 

In June, bazaar merchants in Tehran launched a large-scale strike in protest of the failing economy and rising prices. Protesters in Khoramshahr took to the streets to protest water scarcity.

Protests quickly turned to calls for regime change, with chants of “Death to the Dictator!”, “Death to Rouhani!”, “Death to Khamenei!”, and “Our enemy is right here, they lie when they say it’s the U.S.!”

Women played a key role during the protests in Khorramshahr and in Khuzestan in southwest Iran.

July

Recorded Protests and Strikes: 970 in cities and regions

Daily Average: 31

August

Recorded Protests: 133

Daily Average: 20

September

Recorded Protests: 1,367 in 293 cities, villages and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 46

Iran’s truck drivers began their nationwide organized strike in September.

October

Recorded Protests: 1,533 in 323 cities, villages, and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 49

October saw the most protest activity in Iran in 2018. Truck drivers, teachers, and bazaar merchants all went on strike in October.

November

Recorded Protests: 911 in 171 cities, villages, and business and industry regions

Daily Average: 30

Iranian truck drivers went on another round of strikes in November, as did Iran’s teachers.

The workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Factory workers in Shush and the Iran National Steel Group workers in Ahvaz also began striking in protest of months of unpaid wages. Their weeks-long strikes would attract international attention.

Head of Iranian Regime’s Judiciary Threatens Striking Workers

December

Recorded Protests: 273 as of December 21st

Daily Average: 9

Workers, credit union clients, retirees, students, and prisoners all protesters during the month of December.

The regime arrested a number of striking Ahvaz steelworkers and Haft Tappeh factory workers in an escalation of their previous attempts to suppress the strikes. Regime agents carried out a series of midnight raids on the houses of striking workers and arrested dozens of workers. Reports indicate that labor activist Esmail Bakhshi was tortured in prison.

Iranian truck drivers started their fifth round of strikes this month as well. Those numbers are not included in the report, which will be updated by Iran News Wire in January.

Staff Writer

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Iran protests across Iran

Iranian Workers, Credit Clients, Prisoners Protest

Iran protests across Iran

Iran Protests spreading across Iran, people from all sectors of the society are fed up of the repressive regime and its lack of capability to resolve economic crisis.

Last December, a series of protests began in Iran that rapidly spread across the country. Within two weeks, the widespread uprising had spread to more than 140 cities and every province in Iran. Almost a year later, the popular protest movement continues, mobilized by the MEK and its resistance units. In addition to the ongoing strikes by the workers of the Ahvaz Steel factory and the Haft Tappeh Sugar Mill, protests have broken out in Tehran and other cities in Iran.

Ahvaz Steel Workers Gain Support in Their Protests

Protests in Tehran

On Tuesday, contract workers gathered outside of the city council building at South City Park Avenue in Tehran to demand the demand of their savings. The workers say that state officials embezzled their savings and that their concerns have not been addressed by the regime. They chanted:

“One less embezzlement, our problems will be resolved!”
“We deserve to have our money returned!”
“You lying officials, shame on your disgrace!”
“This incompetent council should be ashamed!”
“We don’t want a list of hopes, we want our money!”
“We don’t want promises, we want our money!”

Credit clients of the Bahman Khodro Company rallied in Tehran on Tuesday to protest rising prices. They also protested the company’s failure to deliver vehicles to customers who had already purchased them.

Looted clients of the Caspian Credit Firm protested outside of the regime’s public prosecutor’s office in Tehran on Tuesday. The protesters demanded the return of their savings by the credit firm, which is known to be associated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Protest in Shahr-e Kord

Taxi drivers in Shahr-e Kord in central Iran gathered outside of the Isfahan Province governorate in Shahr-e Kord in protest of regime officials’ refusal to answer their demands.

Hunger Strike in Ardabil Central Prison

Political prisoners in Ward 7 of Ardabil Central Prison began a hunger strike on Sunday. The prisoners are protesting the transfer of a prisoner with Hepatitis to their ward. Authorities moved the contagious prisoner to the ward where political prisoners are held without informing other inmates.

Prison authorities responded to the prisoners’ protest by taking away their telephone privileges. Prison officials have so far ignored requests for information from the inmates’ families.

Inmates at Ardabil Central Prison are housed in warehouse-like facilities without access to adequate hygiene supplies. Conditions in the prison make diseases such as Hepatitis A highly likely to spread amongst the inmate population.

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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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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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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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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.

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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.

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Iran Protests continue in Haft-Tappeh and Ahvaz

Head of Iranian Regime’s Judiciary Threatens Striking Workers

Iran Protests continue in Haft-Tappeh and Ahvaz

Despite the Iranian regime’s crackdown on protesters in Haft-Tappeh and Ahvaz, the protests continue.

After weeks of strikes by the Ahvaz Steelworkers and Haft Tappeh Sugar Factory workers, the regime has resorted to desperate measures to end the strikes and prevent the protests from spreading further. On November 26th, Sadegh Larijani, the head of the regime’s judiciary, addressed the protesting workers in comments that were broadcast by the state-run ILNA news agency. Larijani threatened the striking workers, saying, “We must deal with those who want to disrupt the order of the country, under the pretext of pursuing the demands of workers.”

Larijani also referred to the strikes as sedition. He said, “Workers should not allow their demands to be an excuse for the use of enemies and to create disorder.” He then added: “Workers will never meet their demands with turmoil, crisis and actions countering the public order.”

Despite these threats from the head of the regime’s judiciary, Ahvaz steelworkers continued their strike for the third week. The striking steelworkers also faced a large security presence, including state security forces, anti-riot guards and plainclothes officers, but they refused to allow the regime’s suppressive forces to intimidate them. The workers gathered once again in front of the regime’s governorate in Ahvaz, broke through a blockade made by suppressive forces and rallied in the streets of Ahvaz. The workers were joined by Ahvazi youth in their rally. They chanted, “We stand, we die, we get our rights!”

“The worker dies; he does not accept humiliation!”

“Our enemy is here, they claim falsely that it is the United States!”

“Government, Mafia, happy marriage!”

Meanwhile, the Haft Tappeh Sugar Mill factory workers continued their strike for the 22nd consecutive day. The tireless workers rallied again in the city of Shush, chanting, “The worker dies; he does not accept humiliation!”

“Death to the oppressor, greetings to the worker!”

“Imprisoned worker must be freed!”

Steel, Haft Tappeh, unity, unity!”

The MEK and the Iranian Resistance support the striking workers. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, has voiced her support of the striking workers and urged others to join them in solidarity.

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Protests continue in Ahvaz and Shush

Factory and Steel Workers Continue Their Strikes Despite Repressive Measures by Iranian Regime

Protests continue in Ahvaz and Shush

The protest by workers of Fulad-Ahvaz and their families and other fellow citizens continue despite heavy security measure by the repressive regime.

Saturday marked the 15th consecutive day of strikes for Ahvaz Steelworkers and the 20th consecutive day of strikes for the Haft Tappeh sugarcane factory workers. The striking workers have continued to stand up for their rights despite repressive actions by the Iranian regime, based on reports from the MEK sources inside Iran.

Ahvaz Steel Workers

The striking Ahvaz Steelworkers rallied on Saturday in front of the governorate in Ahvaz and marched toward the Pol Sefid. Police confronted the workers and assaulted some of the protesters in an attempt to stop the demonstration, but young people who had joined the protest in support of the striking workers forced the police to retreat. The protesters chanted “Lest we are humiliated!” as they marched to Naderi Street.

Haft Tappeh Factory Workers

Also on Saturday, the Haft Tappeh sugarcane factory workers gathered in front of the governorate in Shush to protest the recent false statements by the regime’s Deputy Minister of Labor. The deputy minister claimed that the workers had all received their unpaid wages and returned to work and that the strike was over. The striking workers responded to these lies with a rally. They made banners reading, “Imprisoned workers must be freed!” The workers chanted, “Even if we die, we will get our rights!” The MEK network shared video of the protests on social media.

Regime authorities arrested 19 Haft Tappeh factory workers for taking part in the strikes and protests. After their fellow workers pushed back and rallied for their colleagues’ release, the regime relented and released 14 of the workers. Five of the factory workers are still detained.

Maryam Rajavi Salutes Striking Workers

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), commended the striking factory and steel workers for continuing their strikes despite the regime’s repressive measures. She further called upon all the people of Khuzestan to stand in solidarity of the oppressed workers and to support their strike. She specifically called upon the youth of Iran to support the striking workers.

Mrs. Rajavi also called upon trade unions and workers’ rights activists to condemn the labor policies of the Iranian regime and to support the workers’ strikes in Iran. The MEK has pledged its support for the striking workers.

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Haft-Tappeh's workers protest continues

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

Haft-Tappeh's workers protest continues

The Haft-Tappeh worker’s protest, demanding the release of detained workers continued on its 19th day-November 24

The brave protestors at Haft Tappeh continued their strike for the 19th consecutive day. The sugar factory workers braved the rain to protest unpaid wages and the forced privatization of the company.

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

The workers took their protest to the Shush governor’s office to call on the regime authorities to release the detained workers’ representative, Ismael Bakhshi.

The workers came together in chants of “the jailed worker must be released”, as many carried black umbrellas for protection against the elements.

The oldest sugar factory in Iran

Haft Tappeh has been an iconic building for Iran’s sugar industry. It is the oldest sugar factory in the country, having been in operation for more than five decades.

However, in recent years the workers’ working conditions have deteriorated dramatically. In 2015, the factory was part of a forced privatization project which saw ownership transferred to its new owners.

Since then, the workers have reported unpaid wages, the reduction of its permanent workforce, and reduced rights and pensions.

“The families of some workers have to buy bread on credit because of unpaid salaries and if this situation continues, even bakeries will refuse to sell their bread to workers on credit”, said Jafar Azimzadeh, a trade unionist.

Like many of Iran’s key industries, the privatization efforts have merely served to make the managers richer and the workers poorer.

Under such appalling financial and working conditions, many of the workforces are resorting to extreme measures. In one high-profile case in February, Ali Naghdi, a worker at the Haft Tappeh factory, was found dead in a canal. It is believed he committed suicide due to his escalating debts and unpaid wages.

The mass detention of workers

The regime marched against the protestors on the 14th day of strikes and arrested 19 protestors and their supporters. Among those arrested was Sepideh Ghelian, an activist and journalist who was protesting with the workers of Haft Tappeh.

In the days following the arrests, the regime released the majority of those arrested. Only Ghelian, Bakhshi, and three other workers’ representatives remain in custody. It is unclear on what grounds the regime is holding them on. A lawyer representing the four labor representatives told sources that he did not know what charges they were facing.

He said, “I still don’t know [details] of the security charges that the court announced”.

This is not the first time the Haft Tappeh workers have gone on strike. In August, the workforce walked out over unpaid wages. The regime’s response then was similar to now. Five workers were arrested on charges of “disrupting order”.

The Iranian opposition has pledged its support to the brave factory workers. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) has expressed its solidarity with the brave men and women. The president-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi took to Twitter to offer words of support for the brave workers and encourage international human rights groups, trade unions, and NGO’s to lend their support.

Staff Writer

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