Workers' rights not improving under Rouhani
Despite initial optimism when Iranian President Hussain Rouhani was inaugurated this August, the situation facing workers in Iran has not improved. Trade union rights are still being routinely violated, as are the rights to freedom of expression and media freedom.
This weekend, the family of jailed bus workers’ union leader and Amnesty prisoner of conscience Reza Shahabi are calling for his release for urgent medical treatment with the backing of the International Transport Workers Federation. Independent trade unionists in jail have seen no liberalisation since Rouhani became President. None of those in jail have been released.
Earlier this week, BECTU protested when high profile 24 year old actress Pegah Ahangarani was jailed for 18 months for calling on President Rouhani to appoint a Minister of Culture who would deliver on promises of “freedom of thought and expression.”
And on Monday, the International Federation of Journalists held a briefing in Parliament with UK affiliate the NUJ about the 20 independent journalists still in jail in Iran, and the continued closure of the headquarters of the Association of Iranian Journalists.
Rouhani’s gestures of reconciliation with the west don’t seem to go as far as respecting the rights of ordinary Iranians, and appear to have more to do with freeing the Iranian elite from the impact of western sanctions.
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