The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) is deeply concerned over the recent arrest of dozens of workers and their representatives in the South-western city of Ahvaz.

Since Sunday night 16 December and during Monday 17 December, at least 31 workers of Iran’s Ahvaz Steel National Industrial Group have been arrested in raids by the security forces at their homes. The authorities also stationed security forces including the State Security Forces and agents of the Intelligence Ministry and the Revolutionary Guard Corps, all across the city to prevent further protests by the workers.

According to reports, the workers defied these repressive measures and continued to protest against the regime as their strike entered 40th day. They have been protesting over unpaid salaries, job security and better living conditions as well as demanding the immediate release of their arrested colleagues.

This is while Rouhani’s government has increased the budget for the Revolutionary Guard Corps that controls Iran's economy and is spending billions of dollars on backing Assad’s murderous regime in Syria, Houthi rebels in Yemen and terrorist groups, like Hezbollah.

We strongly condemn the arrest of workers in Iran who are demanding their basic rights. We stand in solidarity with them and call for the immediate release of all workers, truck drivers and teachers who have been arrested during the recent strikes.

The regime in Tehran must know that the international community is closely watching its actions and that its brutal response to the popular protests across the country, since they began on 28 December 2017, is totally unacceptable.

The UN General Assembly reiterated this on 17 December by adopting a resolution that criticises the regime’s human rights abuses, especially with regards to the increasing number of executions as well as the widespread and systematic use of arbitrary detention.

In its resolution, the UN General Assembly calls upon the Iranian authorities “to release persons detained for the exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those who have been detained solely for taking part in peaceful protests”.

The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) welcomes the UK government’s decision to support this resolution and calls on it to condemn the recent arrest of workers in Ahvaz and those arrested in the Haft Tappeh sugarcane factory.

We also call on the government and the FCO to demand the immediate release of the arrested workers and others arrested unjustly during the protests this year in line with the recommendations outlined by the UN resolution while making it clear to the regime that its domestic crackdown will only isolate it further internationally.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

27 December 2018