Solidarity with the people of Iran

Federation stands in solidarity with the global trade union movement, which has condemned the brutal and murderous repression of the people of Iran by a regime that has systematically violated the human rights of women, political activists, including the leaders of education unions, and the LGBTIQA+ community. (See resolution here)

The International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) World Congress has demanded the release of imprisoned trade unionists, and for all those detained and imprisoned in blatant violation of international law”, and calls on the Iranian authorities to end their violence against women, girls and all Iranians to freedom of association, freedom of expression, bodily autonomy and security of the person”.

ITUC’s statement follows strong condemnation by the Education International Executive Board, which met in Brussels on 9–10 November. The board expressed solidarity with Iranian teacher unions in their struggle for their right to free, quality public education for all and for gender equality at all levels of society.

The situation in Iran was also a topic of debate at the Education International Asia-Pacific (EIAP) Regional Conference in Cambodia on 18–20 October. Australian Education Union (AEU) delegates, including delegates from Federation, strongly supported a resolution proposed by the Education International-affiliated Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA).

Most concerningly, the Iranians were unable to send a delegate to the conference to move the resolution in person. AEU President Correna Haythorpe moved the resolution on behalf of the CCITTA and it was carried unanimously. The resolution noted that in recent months alone, attacks on teachers, trade unions, and freedom of association and expression in Iran, including:

  • Since the International Workers’ Day (May Day) more than 250 teachers and trade union activists have been arrested, summoned, investigated and/or interrogated by the government security apparatus without any legal basis.
  • Since May Day, CCITTA representatives Rasoul Bodaghi, Eskandar Lotfi, Shaban Mohammadi, Masoud Nikkhah, Jafar Ebrahimi, and Mohammad Habibi; and members of Tehran bus workers syndicate Reza Shahabi, Hassan Saeidi, and Davood Razavi; and workers’ rights activists Reyhaneh Ansarinejad, Anisha Asadollahi, Keyvan Mohtadi and Valeh Zamani have all gone through many weeks of solitary confinement and interrogation.
  • Eskandar Lotfi, the spokesperson for the CCITTA, and Shaban Mohammadi and Masoud Nikkhah, members of the board of directors of Marivan Teachers’ Trade Association, as well as Anisha Asadollahi and Reyhaneh Ansarinejad, were released on heavy bails in August, however, on 8 October, the intelligence agents suddenly and violently raided homes of Eskadnar Lotfi and Shaban Mohammadi and arrested Mr Lotfi but Mr Mohammadi was not at home; they also arrested Mr Nikkhah on the same day.
  • Many other well-known teachers, including Esmail Abdi, former chair of the Tehran Teacher Association, continue to serve unjust prison sentences. He has been condemned until 2031 on trumped up charges.

Death in custody drives growing demonstrations

Since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death in custody following her arrest for unsuitable attire” on 16 September, hundreds of thousands of people have risked their lives – facing live ammunition, tear gas and pepper spray – by protesting against the brutal regime.

To date more than 200 demonstrators have died, including many young people under the age of 18, and hundreds more have been injured. Several protesters have been condemned to death and tens of thousands have been arrested.

Peace is union business

Consistent with the Education International’s 10 November resolution, Federation will send a letter to the Iranian authorities advocating for an end to the violent attacks on women and girls and the full respect of their fundamental human rights, and for freedom of all arrested teachers, trade union activists, political prisoners, and the imprisoned students in Iran.

The political situation in Iran has and will continue to be a topic of discussion at Federation’s Peace, Environment and International Issues Special Interest Group’s meetings.

The SIG meets twice a term via Zoom and in person at Teachers Federation House in Surry Hills to engage members in social justice and environmental campaign matters.

To join the Peace, Environment and International Issues Special Interest Group contact Kelly Marks, the Officer attached to the Special Interest Group, via [email protected].