Press release – Urgent action on International Workers Day 2021

30th April 2021

Press release

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has called upon trade union leaders in the UK to take urgent action on International Worker’s Day (1st May) to highlight the ongoing plight of trade unionists in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The solidarity organisation has highlighted a number of cases, in particular those of Esmail Abdi, former General Secretary of the ITTA (Iranian Teachers Trade Association); Mohammad Habibi , ITTA Executive member;  Esmail Geraami, pensioner and a pension rights campaigner; Ms Marzieh Amiri, journalist and labour activist; and Ms Sepideh Gholian, a labour activist

CODIR’s call follows the publication on 24th April of an open letter signed by 101 lawyers and legal advocates in Iran, which petitions the Head of the Judiciary, Ebrahim Raeisi, to move for the release of the scores of political prisoners being held in the country’s jails.

CODIR has been especially prominent in advancing the case of Esmail Abdi a trade unionist and advocate for labour rights and a decent education system in Iran. For these activities, he was arrested and incarcerated several times by the regime, including significant spells in solitary confinement and a suspended sentence of ten years’ imprisonment issued in 2010. He was involved in the organising of peaceful demonstrations and sought to represent the ITTA, an affiliate of Education International, at conferences abroad.

CODIR has also expressed concern about the ongoing denial of medical rights to Iranian prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, who are denied proper medical treatment.

CODIR Assistant General Secretary, Jamshid Ahmadi, has expressed particular concern about medical conditions at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prisoners in Iran’s jails, political prisoners in particular, are in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions which are ideal for the spread of this virus”, he said, “As well as being unjustly punished for legitimate trade union and political activities, they are faced with a potentially life-threatening situation due to the present pandemic.”

On the occasion of May Day 2021 CODIR has asked UK trade unions and labour movement bodies to especially condemn the treatment of labour leaders and activists in Iranian jails and redouble their efforts to show solidarity and increase pressure upon the regime in Iran.


Further information for Editors

Contact Information for CODIR:-

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Further information on CODIR

CODIR is the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights.  It has been established since 1981 and has consistently campaigned to expose human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

CODIR has worked closely with the trade union movement in the UK, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons.  Major trade unions in Britain are affiliated to CODIR and support its campaign for peace, human and democratic rights, and social justice in Iran.

CODIR has published Iran Today, its quarterly journal, since 1981, explaining the latest developments in Iran and the most effective way that the British public opinion could demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Iran.

In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the nation.

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