Monday, February 16, 2009


International Jurists Organization asked Iraqi government to observe Ashraf residents’ rights
Subhash Chandra Birla, chair of the International Jurists Organization, sent a letter to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iraqi Foreign Minister, and Iraqi Human Rights Minister and pronounced prohibition of the families to Ashraf violation of the International Declaration of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and called for observance of Ashraf residents’ rights by the Iraqi government.The letter dating 15th of Feb. reads: I am writing to you on behalf of the 'International Jurist Organization' concerning the situation of the residents of Ashraf city in Iraq. The International Jurist Organization in special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations and with membership in 35 countries world-wide, has called for the basic human rights of residents of Ashraf to be respected by all parties concerned including the Iraqi government. One of the elementary rights based on International Humanitarian Law with regard to the Ashraf residents which Iraq has committed itself to respect is to facilitate their family visits.Unfortunately, we have been informed that in an unlawful act, upon the request of the foreign regime, Mr. Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraqi National Security Advisor has ordered Iraqi forces not to allow families and relatives of Ashraf residents from entering the camp. The group has come from Iran to visit their loved ones. Since February 9, fifteen family members of the Ashraf residents including nine women have been stopped outside the gates in extreme conditions. Six elders in their late fifties are among the group. A 10-year-old girl, an 11-year-old boy and two 16 and 17-year-old girls are also among those remaining outside the camp. By committing such measures it is feared that Ashraf City is going to be turned into a prison which constitutes a war crime. Preventing the families from entering the camp is a blatant violation of fundamental rights of Ashraf residents and their families, Human Rights Charter, International Humanitarian Law and international law. The Iranian Resistance calls for an urgent action by the UN Secretary General, the UN Security Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and all other human rights organizations to put an end to the restrictions imposed on the Ashraf Residents and their families, particularly those stopped at Ashraf gates. We demand you to interfere to remove the restrictions on Ashraf residents as soon as possible and facilitate the visit of the anxious families.The National Council of Resistance of Iran also said in a statement on Feb. 12 that Allegations that the PMOI officials refused to allow the families to meet privately with their relatives in Ashraf is just a rehash of ridiculous claims voiced by the Iranian regime. It is a common knowledge that in the past six years thousands of Ashraf residents have met with their families freely and in private. To find out the truth, representatives of international organizations and journalists are invited to go there and witness how the most fundamental rights of Ashraf residents and their families are violated. This group of families which include a 10 and 11 year old, two 16-year-olds and a number of parents aged over 50, are presently housed in two trailers with minimum living facilities in bad weather conditions. In a bid to intimidate them, the security guards often load their guns in the middle of the night.

3,500 workers marched in Ahwaz
3,500 workers of the pipeline industries marched in the streets of the southwestern city of Ahwaz on Monday said the Iranian resistance. The workers decided to march when on Monday the news of their factory shutdown spread. Workers demand job security as their first priority since the government-run factory management refuses to pay their back pays. Hundreds of workshops and factories went on strike over payments in 2007 and 2008. Factories such as Haft-Tapeh sugar cane mill, Kiyan-Tire making car tires, Iran Khodro car manufacturer are some of the biggest with tens of thousands of workers. In the past decade, most of Iran’s factories have been privatized by the Iranain regime opening the doors to even more suppressive measures against the Iranian workforce. The new managements were appointed by the regime without adequate protection for workers and their families who make the most vulnerable part of the population.

Mullahs’ official says Iran has no political prisoner
National Council of Resistance of Iran said in a statement on Friday that Amin Hossein Rahimi, head of the Judiciary Committee in the Majlis (parliament) claimed on Wednesday that the most import achievement of the Islamic Republic was 'freedom of expression,' reported the official news agency IRNA. He said, 'Today we have no political prisoners. Those jailed for acting against national security are not considered political prisoners.'We have had valuable achievements in past three decades and those held for political charges are tried in accordance with our penal codes and by no means are considered political prisoners, Rahimi said.

Iran’s Teachers threaten to walkout this month
The Iranian Teachers’ Union has threatened to have all its members go on a nationwide strike over pay disputes with the regime beginning February 21. A member of the Teachers’ Union said, 'Teachers are demanding fair pay. Since 2000, the teachers are struggling with the regime’s Majlis (parliament) to pass the bill on that issue. In 2006, under pressure by the teachers, the bill finally passed in the Majlis, however, it has not become operational yet. According to the bill, the government must establish a uniform pay grade for all government employees regardless of the nature of the jobs.''The Iranian regime’s excuse for not complying with the bill’s mandate is that it increases the inflation,' he said. The teachers are also demanding that the Ministry of Education sign a new permanent job contract, as it was promised last year by the government, with their part-time colleagues, the member of Teachers’ Union said. In February 2007, the streets ending to the Majlis were the scene of protests by more than 15,000 teachers demanding their full pay rise in accordance with the sky rocketing cost of living for the fix income families. With teachers very low pay grades, they are hardly able to cope with the cost of living.