Teachers arrested in Iran for celebrating World Teachers' Day

Anyone who still thinks that Iran is a progressive country whose only crime is to oppose western imperialism should look at the way it treats its workers. On 5 October, teachers all over the world celebrated World Teachers' Day, and the way that teachers liberate as well as educate young minds. For some reason, the Iranian authorities don't like that.

Eleven teacher trade unionists were holding a meeting about World Teachers' Day in the house of their General Secretary, Baghani, in Tehran when plain clothes policemen burst into the room and took them all away. Although nine of them were released the next day, General Secretary Baghani was interrogated for 11 hours and was charged with "holding an unauthorised meeting" and "celebrating World Teachers' Day". Mehdi Bohlouli was released only on 10 October, but Rezaiee is currently still in detention.

I doubt that even Iran actually has a criminal offence of "celebrating World Teachers' Day", but it gives you some idea of the Kafka-esque situation you can face as a trade unionist in Iran – you can't even be certain whether you're obeying the law or not until you find out whether you've been arrested!

Education International, the global teachers' trade union, has the full story on their website – and refer to the continued detention of other teacher trade unionists – Rasoul Bodaghi, Jafar Ebrahimi, Farzad Kamangar, Sajad Khaksari and Hashem Khastar.

Still, perhaps Iranian teacher trade unionists are the 'lucky' ones – this is the same government that marked World Day Against the Death Penalty by executing Behnood Shojaee for a crime committed when he was under 18.

Owen Tudor

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