The Iran Solidarity Network (ISN) and Australia-Asia Worker Links held a meeting on May 7 to commemorate Iranian Kurdish activist Farzad Kamangar, who was executed last year.
ISN member Afshin Nikouseresht told the meeting that Kamangar was a teacher, poet, author, human rights activist and unionist. He had campaigned around environmental issues, women's rights and poverty as well as union rights.
He was arrested in 2006 and executed in 2010, accused of being a member of an armed Kurdish group — an allegation he denied.
Nikouseresht gave some historical background. He said the 1979 revolution against the US-backed Shah of Iran led to a brief period of freedom. However, the subsequent Khomeini regime repressed political parties, the media and workers councils, and murdered thousands of leftists.
Nikouseresht also spoke of the potential for Iranian unions to play a leading role in the fight for democracy.
Jiselle Hanna from Australia-Asia Worker Links spoke of the case of Tehran Bus Workers Union leader Mansour Osanloo, who was arrested in 2007. A video about Osanloo was shown.