Iranian authorities take repressive measures against protesting workers

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Iranian authorities took repressive measures against steel and sugarcane workers after weeks of protests over delays in salaries.

Iranian authorities detained at least 41 steel mill workers after five weeks of protests on Monday and Tuesday nights during raids to their homes, according to Iran’s Free Labor Union (FLU).

The State Security Force, agents of the Intelligence Ministry and the IRGC Intelligence, and plainclothes agents have blocked many roads in Ahvaz and in some streets, people are not allowed to park their cars.

In comments carried yesterday by the state-run ILNA news agency, the Khuzestan Governor’s Political and Social Deputy implied that striking Ahvaz steelworkers violated the law by carrying out strike action and that the arrest of the more than 40 workers was the natural consequence of their actions.

“I stress that if workers and employees have requests and demands, they should express it in the framework of the law”, Hosseinzadeh said.

“When actions are carried out outside of the law, the security apparatus deals with it according to the law and its duty, therefore it is expected that the dear (workers) use legal methods,” he added.

“When actions that are against the law take place, the order and security of the city is disrupted therefore the security apparatus has to enter the scene and act according to the law”, the deputy governor said.

In another development, the judiciary has summoned and threatened a number of Haft Tappeh sugar cane workers in Shush. It is said that the judiciary has issued sentences for some of the workers of Haft Tappeh Industrial Complex.

In November, four workers of a Khuzestan sugar cane mill were arrested after protesting for not having been paid their salaries for months.

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.

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