Independent labour activists in Iran are planning once again to hold May Day celebrations, despite fears of a repitition of last year’s arrests by the authorities for taking part in a similar event.

Seven activists from the city of Saquez, Jalal Hosseini, Mohamad Abdipoor,
Borhan Divangar, Hadi Tanoomand, Esmail Khodkam, Mahmoud Salehi and Mohsen
Hakimi, were arrested by security police and subjected to 11 days of
interrogation for participating in a peaceful May Day event in 2004. Court
proceedings against those arrested have continued since that time, with the
authorities refusing to allow ICFTU representatives to enter the country to
observe the proceedings. Two of them have been told to attend further court
hearings on May Day this year.

One of those charged, Mahmoud Salehi, is accused of having made contact with
the ICFTU, and with preparing a chart containing information on the cost of
living in Iran. Further charges, denied by Mr Salehi, include writing,
possessing and distributing political literature. Similar charges have been made
against the other accused. The ICFTU has protested to the Iranian authorities
against the proceedings, along with other serious trade union rights violations
in recent months.

The ICFTU supports the right of all working people to participate in May Day
celebrations, and believes that the attitude of the Iranian authorities to the
planned 2005 celebrations will be an important indicator of the extent to which
fundamental labour rights will be respected in the country in future. The global
trade union confederation will continue to monitor developments concerning
labour rights in Iran, and will pay particular attention to events on May Day
this year.

The ICFTU represents 145 million workers in 233 affiliated organizations in
154 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a partner in Global Unions: