On July 26, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) issued a call for their affiliates to join an international day of action on August 9 to protest the imprisonment of two trade union leaders in Iran. Mansour Osanloo, president of the Tehran bus workers union, Sandikaye Kargarane Sherkate Vahed, has for the third time over the past year-and-a-half found himself in detention. The latest arrest took place after he was abducted while travelling on a Tehran bus on July 10. He is being held in Evin prison, charged with conspiring against national security.
Labourstart.org reports that a Tehran court has given bus workers union leader Mansour Osanloo a five-year prison sentence after convicting him of acting against national security and making propaganda against the system. Another jailed Iranian union leader, Mahmoud Salehi, has announced that his kidney problems have worsened and his blood pressure has fallen dramatically. His life could be in danger as the authorities are doing nothing to help him. Salehi, the former president of the Bakery Workers Association in Saqez, was arrested at a 2004 May Day rally but released on bail after going on hunger strike. On April 9 this year he was jailed for one year, and was denied the right to take his medicine with him. To send a protest message demanding Saqezs release, visit <http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=231>.
On March 25, Iran announced it would limit inspections of its nuclear activities by the UNs International Atomic Energy Agency to its legally binding requirements under the countrys 1974 nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
The Campaign to Free Womens Rights Defenders in Iran reported on March 12 that Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abasgholizadeh were charged on March 11 with being a threat to national security. They are the only two women remaining in custody after the arrests of more than 30 women on March 4. Sadr, a lawyer, was arrested while defending the women activists arrested at a demonstration that day. Sadr and Abasgholizadeh have been denied access to their lawyers and have been interrogated without their lawyers being present.
On March 4, police arrested 33 women and charged them with endangering national security, propaganda against the state and taking part in an illegal gathering. The women were demonstrating outside Iran’s Tehran Revolutionary Court to demand a fair trial for five prominent women’s rights activists arrested in June 2006 during a peaceful protest.
“At Iran’s request, the UN Security Council condemned the deadliest terrorist attack in the country in years and extended ‘sincere condolences’ to the Iranian people, but not to their government, at US insistence”, Associated Press reported on February 15.
Womens rights activists in Iran have initiated a petition campaign, titled One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws. The campaign a follow-up to a June 12 protest in Tehran last year that was brutally attacked by police aims to overturn anti-women laws, as well as provide education, involve women in organising for their rights, and promote collaboration between different groups. Signatures are being collected via door-to-door contact and dialogue with individual women, in public places and at events where women gather, through seminars and forums, and also through the internet. For more information visit <http://en.we4change.com>.
In an interview printed in the February 19 London Financial Times, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the UNs International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that Iran could be as little as six months away from being able to enrich uranium to fuel-grade level on an industrial scale.
Washington is growing increasingly frustrated that its European Union allies are refusing to toughen financial sanctions that were imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council last December to pressure Iran to abandon research into the production of enriched uranium.
The United States is planning what will be a catastrophic attack on Iran. For the Bush cabal, the attack will be a way of buying time for its disaster in Iraq. In announcing what he called a surge of US troops in Iraq, George W. Bush identified Iran as his real target. We will interrupt the flow of support [to the insurgency in Iraq] from Iran and Syria, he said. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.