Reza Shahabi driving a city bus in Tehran. Undated

Jailed Iran Trade Unionist Warns Of Mounting Pressure On Workers

Saturday, 06/03/2023

Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi has warned in a letter from Tehran's Evin prison about increasing government pressure on protesting workers.

“Since its establishment, the Islamic Republic has drawn daggers against the workers,” said Shahabi in the letter published on social media.

Shahabi, a member of the Workers Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), was arrested following a strike and protests by Tehran bus drivers last year.

He was arrested May 12, 2022 as Tehran’s bus drivers began a strike over unpaid wages, creating chaos across the city with security forces in the streets and the government wary of possible protests over rising food prices.

Addressing the International Labor Organization, he stated in his letter that since its establishment, the Islamic Republic has tried to replace the labor councils, trade unions and independent labor organizations with state organizations whose members are appointed by the regime.

“These organizations all operate under the supervision of the regime and act like secret police in factories and workshops and do not allow the workers to protest. They identify the protesting workers and report them to the security forces or the management.”

In the end, this labor activist urged ILO members to "pay attention to the request of the oppressed workers of Iran, who are just trying to survive in unequal conditions with minimum resources."

Shahabi also confirmed that a new security case has been filed against him, as well as Keyvan Mohtadi and Hassan Saeedi to mount pressure on labor activists.

In 2012, Shahabi was jailed for seven years on security charges - "assembly and collusion against state security" and "spreading propaganda against the system – two years after he was first imprisoned.

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