Thursday, January 05, 2006

In totalitarian Iran

The mainstream press has given a lot of coverage to Iran lately, the dangers of a nuclear Iran, the dangers of Iran as gas supplier, etc. Not given so much attention is the wave of trade union militancy there, with transport workers taking on the government. (No doubt Lionel Shriver wouldn’t like them doing so.)

Here’s a report from No Sweat (via LabourStart):

“Thousands of workers of Tehran Bus Company (Sherkat e Vahed) called for the immediate release of the detained head of the bus workers’ union, Mansoor Ossanlou. They shouted slogans and held placards saying ‘Mansoor Ossanlou must be released!’ and ‘Having a union is our certain right!’.

The government officials at the event tried to persuade workers to greet the Mayor’s arrival by an Islamic recital and by clapping their hands; but workers refused. Instead, the recently released acting head of the union, Ebrahim Madadi, was rapturously welcomed and carried on workers’ shoulders around the hall.”

Check out the pictures at Iran Focus too.

Anyone looking for regime change in Iran, and a grassroots, democratic movement for it, should look to the trade union movement, not to the “reformist” clerics and the CIA-friendly exile elites.


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Also from
Iran Focus:

Iran’s state-run media gave unusual prominence to a historically confused news report claiming that former Saudi King Abdul-Aziz, the father of the current Saudi monarch, objected to the existence of Israel and told United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt to relocate the Jewish state to Europe.” [More]

“In the latest “acid attack” by radical Islamists on young women accused of ignoring the country’s strict dress regulations, two female university students had acid splashed on their faces in the town of Shahroud, north-eastern Iran.” [More]


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Doug Ireland has a very good article in the great leftist magazine In These Times on Iran’s anti-gay pogrom. He finishes with a plea for the US gay rights movement to take up this issue, which it has (in contrast to its European counterpart) so far failed to do.

Pedro Carmona, on the other hand, writing in What Next, disparages the frenzy about Iranian homophobic repression, seeing Outrage! (and presumably Direland) as being manipulated by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main exile organisation. Hmmm. Maybe so, but Carmona does’t persuade me Iran deserves to be let off the hook.

Carmona has a problem that the same LGBT groups haven’t been speaking out about Saudi repression, which seems like a non sequitur– surely we need regime change in both Saudi Arabia and Iran?

However, Carmona doesn’t whitewash the Iranian regime, though, and, I think, deserves to be read carefully. Finally, I think he is right to warn people of the NCRI, the Iranian counterpart of the corrupt Iraqi exilarchs, the Iraqi National Congress.

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