Iran

74 lashes for Iranian workers

42 workers at AzarAb Industries, in Iran’s industrial city of Arak, have been sentenced to one year in prison, 74 lashes, and one month of forced labour. That is for a protest in 2019 against delayed wage payments after the firm was privatised. Workers’ wages have again not been paid in May and June 2020. Non-payment of wages is commonplace in Iran, and so is jailing of workers who protest, On 23 May, however, charges against Esmail Bakhshi, Mohammad Khanifar and Ali Nejati were dropped as part of a wider amnesty granted at Eid by the government. Esmail Bakhshi was a strike leader at the Haft...

The labour movement and easing the lockdown

Starting with Austria reopening small shops on 14 April, almost all European countries have now begun easing their pandemic lockdowns, or announced plans to do so (Italy from 4 May, France from 11 May). Iran has reopened the bazaar in Tehran. Schools have restarted in Beijing and Shanghai. The World Health Organisation, however, has declared that “the worst is yet to come”. Its worry is not so much about a second wave in Europe, as first waves elsewhere. Africa so far shows 1,428 deaths, far fewer than Europe or the USA, and concentrated in Algeria and Egypt (over half that total between them)...

International news: Iran, Kuwait, Singapore, Qatar, Ecuador, New York

Iran’s official figures show new Covid-19 cases peaking there about 30 March and deaths peaking about 4 April, and 5,118 deaths so far. An Iranian activist told Solidarity: “The official figures are rubbish! What the true number is nobody can tell. Some people are saying there is going to be a second wave. Lots of workers have died.” Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri, a teacher jailed in Mashhad’s Vakilabad prison, has contracted coronavirus. He has been denied medical care. There are many teachers and hundreds of other labour and social rights activists languishing in the Iranian regime’s prisons and...

Requisition and workers' control to get tests and PPE

In the Thursday 8pm “clapping for the NHS” on 2 April 2020, many people chanted “Test! Test! Test! PPE!” Health workers are pressing the government on its failure to meet its promises to expand testing hugely, to make PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] available to all, and to agree adequate PPE guidelines for health workers. So, even, are NHS bosses. NHS Providers, a confederation of NHS hospital, mental health, community, and ambulance trusts, said on 3 April: “There are still trusts that are unable to begin testing, and lack of swabs, reagents and test kits is a continuing concern”. They...

Hunger strike in Iran's jails

Above: Evin prison More than 100 political prisoners in Evin prison and the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary (Fashafuyeh prison) have started a hunger strike demanding the release of political prisoners in the face of Coronavirus… While the Islamic regimes officials pocket billions, and still enjoy their luxurious life, ordinary people are suffering from sheer poverty and lack of medical care, and hospitals are in dire need of the most basic equipment. In prisons, the numbers of infected prisoners are on the rapid rise… The officials announced that they granted some temporary release to...

International greetings to Workers' Liberty conference, January 2020

Various communist groups, internationally, with which we have connections, sent messages for us, for our annual conference. We invite them to also send delegations where possible. We include the messages below. Workers' Liberty in Australia Your work on climate action and a socialist Green New Deal is particularly vital to us, as all round the world, the link is being made between capitalism and climate change. The specific measures needed in Australia are different, reliant as we are on coal and other mineral exports, extensive livestock and cropping in arid lands, combustion engines and...

Noori Bashir's speech at the 11 January 2020 meeting

On Saturday 11 January 2020 Workers' Liberty hosted a meeting in London on the conflicts in the Middle East following the USA's 3 January assassination of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian state's "Quds Force". The chair was Maisie Sanders, and the speakers were Morad Shirin (Iranian Revolutionary Marxists' Tendency), Noori Bashir (Worker-communist Party of Kurdistan), Azar Majedi (Worker-communist Party of Iran Hekmatist), and Muayad Ahmed (Organisation of the Communist Alternative in Iraq). See here for statements from IRMT, WCPIH, and OCAI, and see here for our Solidarity editorial...

US-Iran: a clash of imperialisms

The conflict between the USA and Iran in the Middle East which has now flared hot again is a conflict between two imperialisms. They are two different sorts of imperialism. The USA is a world power, Iran, a regional power. The sway of the Iranian state over the oppressed nations within its own borders (Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Baluchis, etc.) is directly political and military. Its less direct sway in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, etc. is also politico-military. Being much less strong economically than US capital, Iranian capital has to rely on such politico-military methods. The USA, for decades...

Sanders and Soleimani

The drone attack ordered by US President Donald Trump has shaken up the entire Middle East, raising fears of a regional conflict – or worse, a world war. But it has also shaken up the Democratic primary, sharpening the differences between Senator Bernie Sanders and all the other candidates. To the extent to which foreign policy has played a role in the Democratic contest so far, it has largely focussed on the past. Sanders is often quick to point out that he opposed the Iraq war, and voted against it, while Biden and other Democrats were cheering George W. Bush on. This echos the 2016 race...

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