Reports from Iran indicate that in addition to the dozens of Iran National Steel Group workers who were detained on December 16, security forces once again raided the homes of a number of other workers and arrested them.
The security forces violently attacked the workers’ homes terrifying the residents. Many workers spent the night on the streets to evade arrest.
According to the Iran Workers Free Union, the 41 detained workers have been transferred to the Sheiban Prison in Ahvaz.
The Union also said that Ahvaz steel factory workers held a gathering today to discuss their next steps and decided not to negotiate with officials until all the prisoners were released.
The Iran National Steel Group workers have been on strike protesting and chanting against government policies for more than a month.
People all over Iran have expressed support for the detained workers demanding their release.
Today, in a protest gathering held outside Iran’s Parliament in Tehran, pensioners chanted in support of the workers demanding their release.
“Detained workers must be released,” they chanted.
The Tehran Vahed Bus Syndicate, which is a member of the International Transport Federation (ITF) also condemned the arrests in a statement.
The Farsi Twitter page of the US Department of State also translated their spokesperson’s tweet in support of the workers to Farsi.
“Yesterday, Iran’s regime arrested steelworkers who simply asked to get paid for their work. Sadly, this is how the regime has always mistreated the Iranian people. The U.S. supports their rightful demands. Iranians deserve to live in peace and dignity,” Robert J. Palladino, the State Departments Deputy Spokesperson tweeted.
Other reports from Khuzestan indicate that the recently released labor representative of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Factory, Esmail Bakhshi, is under house arrest and his home is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The former head of the Haft Tappeh Union is also still in detention despite suffering from a heart condition. Ali Nejati was violently arrested in his home on November 29.
Iran’s Labor Code does not grant citizens the right to form independent unions, despite Iran’s ratification of the UN’s International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and membership in the International Labor Organization.
Workers are regularly threatened, detained, tortured and even sentenced to flogging, despite their legitimate demands and protests to current conditions which has robbed them of more than 80% of their purchasing power.