Iran: Nightly Arrest of National Iranian Steel Industrial Group Workers

The Free Trade Union of Workers of Iran announced the arrest of dozens of workers from the National Iranian Steel Industrial Group in Ahvaz.

According to the workers’ organization, the authorities raided the homes of dozens of protesting National Steel Group workers in the midnight hours of Monday local time without a written warrant from the judiciary.

The state security forces attacked many houses but only succeeded in apprehending 28 workers. Many of the workers who weren’t at their homes at the time of the attacks could not be apprehended. Many of the workers had to spend the night in the streets to avoid arrest.

This raid, continued until 2 am. 

According to reports by the Workers Union, security forces entered the Ahvaz steel company this morning and after declaring the arrests, they threatened to arrest other workers if they continued their protests and demonstrations.

The workers’ organization has identified the 15 workers as:

  • Meysam Ali Ghanavati
  • Isa Marei
  • Amin Alvani
  • Morteza Akbarian
  • Tareq Khalfi
  • Masoud Afri
  • Jafar Sobhani
  • Mostafa Abiat
  • Gharib Havizawi
  • Karim Siahi
  • Hamed Baseri
  • Hafez Kanani
  • Hamed Joudaki
  • Hossein Davoudi
  • Kazem Heydari
  • Yaser Ebrahimian
  • Majid Janadeleh
  • Kourosh Esmaili
  • Ali Oghba
  • Mohsen Balouti
  • Mohammad Pour Hassan
  • Mohsen Pahbati
  • Seyyed Habib Tabatabaei
  • Jasem Romezi
  • Ali Etmami
  • Seyyed Ali Javadpour
  • Javad Gholami
  • Abdolreza Dasti

The outspoken labor activist Karim Siahi delivered a fiery speech yesterday encouraging the workers to continue their strike.
“Don’t be afraid if they arrest you, threaten you or execute you,” he had cried out to the workers.

The state-run ILNA  news agency also announced the arrest of the workers and said that more than 10 steel factory workers were detained in Ahvaz.

“We do not know why they were arrested and our information is only limited to what we have heard,” the Public Affairs head of the Ahvaz Labor Department told ILNA.

“Security systems are obviously informed about the arrest of workers and since the issue is not related to conflicts between workers and employers, the Labor Department has not been notified,” he added.

ILNA said that the Ahvaz Prosecutor refused to make comments about the arrests and told ILNA’s reporter that he was not willing to talk about the issue over the phone.

National Steel Group employees have been rallying and on strike for the past 38 day, protesting overdue wages, hardship and mismanagement of the complex.

Many of the workers of INSIG, which is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of steel products in Iran, have not received their salaries for several months. The workers are also suffering from the result of corrupt policies and mismanagement of the steel factory by its private owners.

Latest reports say that the frustrated workers continued their protests also on Monday, marching in front of the Khuzestan province governor’s office and marched across the city to protest delayed paychecks and demanding the release of jailed colleagues.

Footages circulated on social media from Monday, show angry workers chanting “we support the jailed workers.”

An image shows the massive dispatching of security forces and anti-riot units to confront the protesting National Steel Group.

They are preventing people from taking any kind of footage, reports indicate.

The United Oil Workers Group of Khuzestan, along with truck owners/drivers of this province, also expressed their support of the protesting National Steel Group.

Ahvaz steel company is just one of the many factories where its workers have been deprived of their salaries and rights.
In recent months, the failure to pay the wages and benefits of workers in various regions of Iran has led to their guild protests.

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