Iran

Iranian regime in crisis – workers fight back against neoliberalism and repression

We republish this interview with Morad Shirin of the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists' Tendency and the Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign about the current wave of strikes and workers' struggles in Iran. Originally published by the Greek socialist group Xekinima. For more see the Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign website. In Iran, for more than a month now, over 100,000 oil, gas and petrochemical contract workers in over 20 provinces are on strike and despite hundreds being sacked, the strike has spread to 115 facilities. We spoke with comrade Morad Shirin from the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’...

Iran: strikes spread

The strike by the workers of Iran’s oil and petrochemical industries has spread to various cities, despite 700 workers at the Tehran refinery being fired. On 23 June workers in many refineries and petrochemical industries joined the strikers who had already been on strike for two days. It is estimated that there are now around 20,000 oil and petrochemical workers on strike across 11 provinces, demanding higher wages, an increase in leave and holidays, better health and safety conditions. In response, however, the regime stepped up its repression against the workers. According to labour...

Haft Tappeh workers push forward

Morad Shirin from the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency responded to questions from Solidarity. Inflation, unemployment, and inequality remain high in Iran. There have been big working-class fightback in recent years. And now? In addition to the long-term dire economic situation, corruption, repression and sanctions, the incompetent and callous handling of the Covid pandemic has led to even more stark social inequalities. These have sparked off hundreds of struggles and protests by pensioners, teachers, medical staff, steel workers, oil workers and so on. (But the regime keeps...

Remember the class-war prisoners!

The noted international trade union leader Dan Gallin used to say that what the labour movement needed is a “May 2nd Movement”. In other words, after all the wonderful speeches made on May Day, we need to focus on what happens every other day of the year and how we put our ideas into practice. In that spirit, on Sunday May 2, LabourStart will host a major online event focussing on what we sometimes call “class war prisoners”. It’s an archaic term, a leftover from the 1920s, and had been used by — among others — groups with names like “International Red Aid” and “International Labor Defense”...

Against the Saudi war in Yemen

Joe Biden has announced the end of US support for Saudi-led offensive military operations in Yemen, arguing in a foreign policy speech that they have “created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe”. The details remain to be seen, but we should use this shift to exert pressure on the British government too. Intervention by the predominantly Arab military coalition headed by Saudi Arabia, directed against Iranian-backed Shia Islamist/nationalist Houthi militias, has resulted in many tens of thousand of fatalities, including over ten thousand civilians killed directly by coalition military...

Flogged for demanding reinstatement

On 26 November, Iranian trade unionist Davoud Rafii was flogged 74 time for “insulting” Iran’s former Labour Minister. Rafii was sacked from the Pars Khodro car plant in 2012 for union organising, and since then has campaigned insistently to demand reinstatement — including by picketing the Labour Ministry with placards denouncing then Labour Minister Ali Rabii. He has been arrested repeatedly. The Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign says: “There have been many cases of workers in Iran receiving flogging sentences in the past few years. The SZAC strongly condemns this medieval punishment for...

Iran: the workers fight back

The workers at the Haft Tappeh sugar cane complex in south-west Iran, who have struck repeatedly in recent years, are now in the 8th week of a new strike. Their action has been joined by a rash of strikes over unpaid wages in Iran’s oil and gas industry. Iran is in deep economic trouble, with high inflation and unemployment. The oil price is low, and US sanctions are hurting. Despite the new power which Iran’s rulers have gained over the last decade or so in Syria and in Iraq, domestically they are more and more seen as a corrupt robber regime. On top of that comes the rulers’ incapacity to...

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)...

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