4 – Systematic violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index


The ITUC does not have an affiliate in Iran.

In practice

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Infringement of the right to freedom of expression30-06-2012

In June 2012, the Ministry of Industry, Mining, and Commerce sent a letter to trade unions and associations involved in the production and distribution of goods, banning them from giving interviews to the media about inflation rates.

Imprisonment of trade union leaders12-08-2013

Last April, more than 50 teachers and educational workers were in detention or were summoned and awaiting their court hearings related to “national security” or “union activities”. 46 journalists were imprisoned and are still in various jails across the country. The jail terms range from 6 months to 19 years and the charges range from “Insulting the supreme leader” to “Assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security” or “Moharebeh (waging war against God), propagating against the regime”, and even “Anti-state charges related to work in documenting violations of human rights”.

Mohammad Tavakoli, Secretary of the Kermanshah Teachers’ Guild Association was arrested in February 2013 and recently sentenced to exile from his home province. Previous harsher cases include the earlier detention of teacher Abdolreza Ghanbari who was tortured, ill-treated and for a long time denied access to a lawyer. Mr. Ghanbari was tried unfairly by the Tehran Revolutionary Court in January 2010 and sentenced to death for ’Moharebeh’.

Shahrokh Zamani, a labour activist, was arrested on June 7, 2011, sentenced to 11 years in prison, and transferred to various prisons, and is now banned from face-to-face visitations and phone calls.

On 15 June, 60 members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisations and a number of labour activists were arrested in Karaj. The detainees were transferred to Rajai Shahr prison where some were reportedly beaten and ill-treated.

Huge police presence overshadows International Labour Day meeting 01-05-2011

On the eve of International Labour Day, seven major labour organisations in Iran issued a joint statement* demanding pay rises, an end to repression and cronyism, and the right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
and form independent labour organisations. Over 200 workers in the city of Sanandaj attempted to organise a Labour Day meeting but they were faced with a huge police presence.

* The joint statement was signed by the following labour organisations: Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Trade Union, Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers, Re-launching Committee of the Trade Union of Painters and Decorators, Re-launching Committee of the Trade Union of Metal and Mechanical Workers, The Center for Defenders of Workers’ Rights in Iran, Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Trade Union, Pursuit Committee for the Formation of Labour Organisations and Co-ordination Committee for the Formation of Labour Organisations.

Threats against and detention of journalists30-11-2010

In February, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ) stated that at least 34 journalists remain in prison, including two women Nazanin Khosravani and Hengameh Shahidi. In January reports emerged of the arrest of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana, a labour activist and a member of the Iranian writers’ association and the Centre of Defenders of Workers’ Rights. In February, security forces arrested two journalists, working for Shargh, the only remaining reformist newspaper. Also in February, the former head of the Iranian news agency was arrested while four more journalists were detained for questioning.

In March, Kaveh Ghassemi Kermanshahi, Iranian journalist member of the Central Council of the Human Rights Organisation of Kurdistan, also signatory to the “One Million Signatures Campaign”, was sentenced to four years in prison for allegedly “acting against national security” and “propaganda” while Abdolreza Tajik, journalist and human rights activist, was sentenced to six years in prison, for “membership in an illegal group”; and one year for “propaganda” and “publishing false reports”. Partly in response to their coverage of the demonstrations, Jay Deshmukh, the AFP deputy bureau chief in Tehran, was expelled from Iran in April and stripped of his press card along with ten other correspondents.

In December, the Committee to Protect Journalists published a worldwide prison census for journalists, declaring the Islamic Republic of Iran as the world’s worst jailer, with 42 journalists behind bars. However other estimates give figures of around 100 journalists imprisoned since 2009.

Independent teachers’ unions fight uphill battle30-11-2010

Since 1999, separate independent teacher associations have been formed, and in 2001 the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations (CCITTA) was founded. In 2007, teachers’ protests led to the harassment, detention and incarceration of labour activists, and many suffered pay cuts, were dismissed and forced to retire. The Interior Ministry has since issued a ban on all teachers’ associations. Even though the associations have never been formally dissolved by court, intelligence officers insist that the associations have been liquidated by the government and that the teachers should resign from them. Several teacher associations have been crushed by the intelligence service, but some, such as the associations in Tehran, Esfahan and Kermanshah, remain active. Often, union meetings are either dispersed or supervised by officers from the intelligence service. Discrimination against unionised students has also been reported.

Right to organise heavily suppressed30-11-2010

The government relies on “security laws” to suppress any public expression of dissent. Many activists have been convicted of “propaganda against the state” and “jeopardising national security” by the Revolutionary Courts without any respect for international or Iranian fair-trial standards. While the government-backed Workers’ House or Islamic Councils consistently fail to address issues such as rights at work, privatisation, structural adjustments, low salaries and wage arrears, workers who try to organise independently are subjected to different forms of harassment, including violence, arrests, detention and potentially lengthy prison sentences. Security and intelligence forces are often present at workplaces to intimidate workers, and reports of trade unionists’ mistreatment by prison authorities are common.

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