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Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People's Rights

Justice For Iranian Workers
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GUE/NGL calls for solidarity with Nasrin Sotoudeh

2012 Sakharov Prize winner Nasrin Sotoudeh has been banned from practising as a lawyer for three years by an Iranian court on Monday. A sit-in in front of the Iranian Bar Association started today to protest against this ruling. MEP Cornelia Ernst, vice-chair of the EP's Delegation for relations with Iran, called for solidarity with Sotoudeh: "This decision to ban her from practising her profession represents renewed harassment of the Sakharov Prize winner. If Iran wants to be taken seriously, the Iranian institutions must show that they can accept dissenters and also deal fairly with them. Monday's judgement shows just the opposite." ...more

United appeal for president Rouhani to end media violations in Iran

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined Iranian journalists in a renewed call for the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, to show courage and follow up on his election promises by proving his respect for media freedom and freedom of association. The IFJ has joined its affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ) and journalists from across Iran in a united appeal to president Rouhani to stop interfering in the way journalists organise themselves and to allow the Tehran offices of the AoIJ - closed since August 2009 - to be reopened. The IFJ has also urged the president to scrap government plans to establish a new guild for Iranian journalists, a move which represents a clear u-turn on his elections promises and will undermine press freedom and increase government control. ...more

Britain's Teachers Union Calls on Iran to End Repressing trade Unions

The National Union of Teachers, on behalf of its over 300,000 members, is appalled at the brutal and inhumane treatment suffered by trade union activist BEHNAM EBRAHIMZADEH, a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers' Organizations and a Children's Rights advocate, who has been detained in Evin Prison since June 2010. Behnam has been subjected to torture, solitary confinement, and cruel and inhuman treatment. His circumstances have been worsened by an increase in the number of charges brought against him in order to ensure that he remains in prison for the 'crime' of exercising his right to assemble workers and campaign for trade union rights in Iran. ...more

Iran's trade unions publish their International Messenger!
UNION MESSENGER No.3, August 2014 is published.

In this issue:






- A glance at the history of labour movement in Iran Page 3,4



Book Review - WOMEN OF EVIN: WARD 209 By: Jila Baniyaghoob
Liz Payne reviews Jila Baiyaghoob latest book, an eyewitness account of the horror of Evin prison, for Iran Today

On 12 June 2006 from 5.00 to 6.00 pm, women's movement activists in Iran planned to hold a peaceful rally in Tehran's Haft-e Tir Square. It was to have been against laws imposed by Iran's theocratic regime depriving women of even their basic rights. A year earlier to the day they had done the same. Nothing had changed.

They would use the anniversary to reinforce their message and reaffirm their demands - the banning of polygamy, the right of women to divorce, the right of the mother to joint custody of her children with the father, the unconditional right of married women to work and hold independent citizenship, the right for women's testimony in court to be given equal weight to that of men.

Journalist Jila Baniyaghoob and her team of reporters were to have covered the event both for the women's section of the daily paper, Sarmaye, and the website, Kanoon Zanan Irani (Iranian Women's Centre).

The demonstration never happened. As the women gathered, they were met by baton-wielding police who far outnumbered them and attacked and dispersed those who arrived to take part. They even drove out people sitting in a nearby park who were unconnected with events unfolding in the square. Many women stood their ground. "We are women, citizens of this land, but have no rights" some chanted. Beatings and mass arrests followed. Baniyaghoob and other colleagues from her paper were among the scores detained. In Women of Evin:Ward 209 she records their story. ...more

IndustriALL demands release of arrested Iranian miners

IndustriALL Global Union is calling on the Iranian President to release nine miners arrested on 19 August for striking at the Bafgh Iron Ore Mine in Yazd, Iran. Over 5000 miners have downed tools in support of the detained workers who who were arrested for taking part in a 40 day strike at the mine earlier this year. IndustriALL is also alarmed that there is an arrest warrant for a further nine miners. In his letter to the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, IndustriALL's general secretary Jyrki Raina said: "We are utterly dismayed at the unlawful arrest of scores of miners and the escalation of the conflict by sending the riot police to the mine in response to the legitimate strike called by the workers on account of earlier illegal arrests on 19 August." ...more

"Britain's trade union leader calls for the release of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh"

In response to CODIR's appeal for trade unions to support the call for the release of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh from prison, Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, the largest public sector trade union in Britain, has written to President Rouhani urging the release of Behnam and all other detained trade unionists in Iran. The full text of the letter is below.

CODIR's statement of 1st September 2014 included the following:
"The Committee for the Iranian People's Rights (CODIR) is supporting the urgent campaign for the release of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a detained trade union activist from Iran. We urge trade unions and labour movement organisations to join the initiative to call for the release of this trade unionist whose only "crime" is to campaign for trade union rights in the country... CODIR condemns these acts of violence towards labour and trade union activists and their family members in Iran. As we have emphasised previously, this is part of a coordinated policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to maximise pressure upon jailed labour activists, their colleagues and family members in order to silence them and oppress the working class movement in Iran. We stand resolutely in support of trade union rights in Iran and call for the release of detained trade unionists in the country and in particular the immediate and unconditional release of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh from imprisonment."... ...more

Statement by the Executive Council of CODIR on the passing away of Noel Harris

When Noel gave his support to CODIR in the early 1980's and subsequently became its General Secretary 25 years ago, he was showing by example the qualities of his leadership and commitment to international solidarity which guided his whole political life. The process of struggle in Iran for social justice, freedom and democracy is a complex one but this never deterred Noel from his pursuit of the campaign to popularize CODIR'S cause, especially in the labour movement.

His death is a sad loss for our organisation. However, thanks to Noel Harris, CODIR and its many supporters around the world will continue to oppose the dictatorial regime in Tehran and to fight for the freedom of all political prisoners and for peace and friendship between the Iranian and British people and their organisations. This is Noel's legacy. ...more

The Iranian People have lost a true friend-CODIR's General Secretary Passed Away!

Campaigners for peace and democracy in Iran have lost a true friend and champion. Noel Harris, who stood by the Iranian people in their difficult struggles for nearly three decades, passed away last week. Noel Harris spent his adult life as an active trade unionist and trade union official in Belfast, Dublin and London. In Belfast he was a member of DATA, the Draftsmen's Union, and then became National Secretary of ASTMS in Dublin. He was on the Executive of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for a period. After leaving Ireland he became head of the Social and Economic Department of the World Federation of Trade Unions in Prague. When he and his wife, Rhona moved to London he became National Organiser of the Cinematograph Workers Union (ACTT), a position he held for many years. He was a close friend of the late Ken Gill, one of Britain's leading labour leaders in the 1970s and 1980s. ...more

Iran Today, Vol. 26, No.2, Autumn 2014, is published:


- Editorial- Honesty and Action - The Way Forward Page 2

- Journalist arrests ask questions of Rouhani's 'reforms' page 3

- The Plight of Teachers and the Dire Situation of Education in Iran Page 4

- Challenges of Independent Trade Unionism in Iran Page 6

- Iran and the 'New' Plan for a New Middle East Page 8

- Where Life is A Little Stranger - reflections on the film industry in Iran Page 10

- Book Review- WOMEN OF EVIN: WARD 209 By: Jila Baniyaghoob Page 14 ...more


So President Hassan Rouhani has tweeted his congratulations to Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal for Mathematics, with photos showing her both bareheaded and wearing a hijab. A positive sign of President Rouhani's commitment to improving the condition of Iranian women? Hardly: in June the Iranian news agency ILNA published a list of Candidate Rouhani's pre-election promises to women and revealed that not one had been fulfilled. Even for Rouhani's much heralded female deputy Shahindokht Molavardi, women's rights are secondary to the wishes of the supreme leader, Khamenei. 'The plan for segregating women is unscientific', 'We must pay attention to the women who form 50% of our population', 'Arrests and imprisonments have no place in the cultural arena', are just some of Rouhani's electoral statements since ignored. Opportunities for women's employment have regressed (down 23% over 5 years), yet a majority of postgraduates are women. The City of Tehran has even banned women from management posts. This seems to be a deliberate move to hide the fact that in an economy in crisis a government unable to create jobs seeks to confine women to the home. Khamenei has said that women's employment is a secondary issue and that women, the home and family cannot be separated. ...more

CODIR Mourns Simin Behbahani's passing away
Feminist Poet Simin Behbahani dies aged 87

The prize-winning poet Simin Behbahani, often called 'the lionness of Iran' has died at the age of 87. Using traditional Persian verse forms she wrote over 600 poems on subjects as diverse as earthquakes and prostitution. She took the ghazal, a sonnet-like form traditionally expressing a man's desires towards a woman and turned it round, daring to express a woman's desire for a man. Through her work she constantly challenged the Iranian authorities, in particular with demands for equal rights for women. Her love poems were often set to music by Iranian singers. Twice nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature, in 2009 Simin Behbahani was awarded the Simone de Beauvoir prize for women's literature and in 2013 the prestigious Janus Pannonius award for poetry. Her work was so controversial that in 2006 the Iranian authorities shut down an opposition newspaper for printing one of her poems. In 2010, aged 82 and blind, she was barred from attending an International Women's Day event in Paris. Prevented from boarding the plane, she was interrogated through the night regarding what she had written on the 2009 elections, considered fraudulent by opponents of the Islamic regime. ...more

Simin Behbahani: Formidable Iranian poet and fearless activist

Iran's most famous poet has died at the age of 87. Simin Behbahani was loved by many ordinary Iranians but drew the disapproval of the authorities, whom she challenged throughout her life, reports BBC Persian's Golnoosh Golshani. Simin Behbahani was not only Iran's most influential poet but also one of the most important women in the long history of Persian literature. Her main influence was her mother, Arghun, who also wrote poetry and played the tar, a long-necked lute. Arghun was a progressive woman for her time and her house was a popular meeting place for writers and social activists. It was she who discovered the poet in Simin when she was still a teenageer. In what proved to be her last media interview in 2013, Behbahani told BBC Persian how she had written her first poem at the age of 14. ...more

Iranian poet and women's rights advocate Simin Behbahani dies

'Lioness of Iran' who was nominated twice for the Nobel prize in literature dies aged 87 in Tehran hospital
Famed Iranian poet Simin Behbahani, who wrote of the joys of love, demanded equal rights for women and spoke out about the challenges facing those living in her homeland, died on Thursday aged 87. Behbahani had been hospitalised and unconscious in Tehran since 6 August and later died of heart failure and breathing problems, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported. Behbahani, born Simin Khalili on 20 July 20 1927, saw her poetry often used by Iranian singers as the basis for love songs. Her poems came in a variety of styles, far from classical and routine forms normally associated with Persian prose. Behbahani's work also focused on the challenges facing Iran in the wake of its Islamic Revolution in 1979 and women's rights, her strong words earning her the nickname of the "Lioness of Iran". Behbahani, who studied law at Tehran university in the 1950s, was awarded the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women's Freedom in 2009 and was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in literature. ...more

Iran Today, Vol. 26, No.2, Autumn 2014
CODIR Bulletin May 2014
CODIR Bulletin March 2014
CODIR Bulletin September 2013
CODIR Bulletin May 2013
CODIR Bulletin March/April 2013
Iran Today Sep 2012
Iran Today Sep 2011
Iran Today Vol21 No2
Iran Today Vol21 No1
Iran Today Vol2 No1
Iran Today Vol2 No2

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