Protest condemns executions of Iranian unionists

May 13 protest outside NSW parliament. Photo by Pip Hinman.

Members of the Iranian community and their supporters protested outside the NSW state parliament on May 13 after the executions of five union activists in Evin prison in Tehran on May 9.

Shirin Alam-Houli, Ali Heydarian, Mahdi Islamian, Farzad Kamangar and Farhad Vakili were hanged after being convicted of Moharebeh — “waging war on God”. Four of the activists were members of Kurdish opposition groups.

In the Kurdish town of Kamyaran, where Kamangar had been a teacher for 12 years, hundreds took to the streets on May 9 to condemn the executions. Shops in the Kurdish regions of western Iran were closed in protest on May 13.

Human Rights Watch has condemned the executions and warned that 17 other Kurds could soon be executed in Iranian prisons.

The Greens moved a motion in the NSW Legislative Council that condemned the Iranian regime’s execution of Kamangar and the other political prisoners.

It called on the Iranian government to immediately free all trade unionists and other political prisoners in Iranian jails and “to restore the internationally accepted right of Iranian workers to organise in free trade unions”. The motion was passed unanimously.

Protest organiser Mansour Razaghi from the Provisional Committee against Executions and Defending Political Prisoners in Iran urged the community to stay united and keep up the pressure on the Iranian regime.

Other speakers included Greens MLC Sylvia Hale; John Gauci, secretary of the Inner City Teachers Association; Socialist Alliance candidate Pip Hinman; Mal Tulloch, joint assistant NSW state secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union; and Susan Price, University of NSW branch president of the National Tertiary Education Union.

Hinman said Washington’s moves to tighten the sanctions against Iran would mostly hurt working people and help the Ahmadinejad regime pose as the country's “true defenders” against Western interference.