According to reports published in the media, on the ninth day of the organised and united strike by workers of the National Iranian Steel Company in Ahvaz (NISCO) and on the day of their protest march through the streets of Ahvaz, the provincial capital of Khuzestan, officers from the security forces and the police intelligence unit raided many of the workers’ homes overnight and arrested more than 9 striking workers and transferred them to prison.
These arrests were planned shortly after the Supreme Religious Leader referred to the growing protest movement of the working class and the toilers across the country as "having been provoked by the counter-revolution and enemies". In fact, under the command of Khamenei, workers are arrested and imprisoned for claiming their basic rights including their unpaid wages.
Workers of NISCO in Ahvaz, like thousands of other workers throughout the country, have months’ worth of wage arrears owing to them and in the past ten days have engaged in protests and marches through the city to raise their cause. They demand job security and their due wages. The overnight raid by the security forces on workers' homes and their arrest right their families reveal the anti-people and anti-worker nature of the theocratic regime more than ever before in the eyes of the masses of the workers.
Our Party, as it has repeatedly emphasised and insisted, is of the view that the purpose of the regime in upping its aggressive stance is to prevent the workers movement from moving from their defensive position to a more direct and offensive position, thus removing the working class from the political equations of/in the country. Undoubtedly, in the future, we will witness more threats and further pressure on the labour and the trade union movement - and along with it the deceitful manoeuvring of the regime.
The Tudeh Party of Iran, the party of the Iranian working class, with all its strength and resources stands alongside the workers and toilers of the country, including the striking workers of the NISCO in Ahvaz. Our party demands the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested workers of the National Iranian Steel Company in Ahvaz (NISCO) and all detained workers and trade union campaigners. While we express our firm support for the current demands of the workers, we call for the intensification of the struggle and for upgrading /promoting the level of solidarity and organisation in the wider workers' protest movement. This is the only effective response to the implementation of the anti-workers programs of the theocratic regime of Supreme Religious Leader.
Free the detained workers!
Wage arrears of workers should be paid promptly!
United and together; forward to the expansion and deepening of the struggle of workers and the working people!
We greet and honour the striking workers of the National Iranian Steel Company in Ahvaz (NISCO) and all the country's hardworking people who fight for the realisation of their rights against the theocratic tyranny!
Workers united are everything -workers scattered will not achieve anything!
The Tudeh Party of Iran,
2 March 2018
Note: 6 March 2018: Following concerted pressure from Iranian and international labour and trade union movements, the nine detained NISCO steelworkers in Ahvaz have been granted temporary release though under very restrictive bail conditions, including the payment of a massive surety fee, in each case.