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May Day and Iranian Women

On May Day, we greet the workers of Iran, especially women worker – teachers, nurses, office workers, rural women, carpet weavers and thousands of Iranian women who work in the informal sector and are not identified in any statistics.

MayDay1
1st of May commemorates the bloody struggle of the US workers in 1886, for reduced working hours and a change to the harsh and cruel working conditions, one that was recognised by the 2nd International conference as the International Workers’ Day in 1889, and has hence been marked in the calendars of countries worldwide. Every year, millions of workers throughout the world celebrate this day, often as a national holiday. However in our country, Iran, for years the regime of the Supreme religious Leader (Velayat-e-Faquih) has prevented its commemoration and by removing its formal designation, only those in state organisations are allowed to commemorate it with the purpose of justifying the regime’s anti-worker policies. However the workers of Iran continue to commemorate this day by issuing declarations and informal gatherings, in the face of threats and being called for questioning by security forces.
This year the first of May is celebrate under conditions in which the regime is preparing

once again for engineered ‘elections’, and is whipping up interest for the elections and to draw the people, at the side, the working class, to the ballot boxes. However the workers, especially women workers, have other immediate concerns: their diminishing purchasing power for basic provisions, as the chasm between their wages and the cost of living widens evermore. Read the rest of this entry »

8th of March, the day of solidarity of women all over the world

Jam'iat_e_nesvan_e_vatan-khah01The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women issued a statement on the International Women’s Day: “Greetings to all hard-working women, on the occasion of 8th March, the day of solidarity with the struggle of women the world over, for freedom from sexual and class exploitation, for a better world, free from poverty, violence, war and exploitation, a world of equal rights.
The 8th of March is not only a reminder of the relentless struggle of workers for their rights against discrimination and inequality, but also an occasion to honour a century and a half of women’s movement with its successes and setbacks – a movement whose achievements have changed the face of the world in the interest of working and deprived people, especially women.
This day is also irrevocably linked with the name and memory of its founder, Clara Zetkin, one of the renowned leaders of the German communist and working class movement. For the first time, in the conference of socialist women in 1910, she proposed this day as the day of commemoration of the women workers in USA who had been gunned down by the police to protect the interests of capitalism. In the following year, in 1911, the second international accepted this proposal and since then, the international women’s day has been commemorated by progressive women in different countries, as their conditions allow.
The 8th March is not merely a day of celebration, it is the day of renewal of our resolve to uphold the values for which the world’s communists and progressives, and women at their helm, have fought:  freedom from sexual and class exploitation. Today, more than 150 years after its inception, this struggle of women worldwide has had immense achievements such as raising awareness about the role of women in society, it has succeeded in bringing about the preliminary conditions for ending sexual inequality, such as ending numerous misogynistic laws in patriarchal societies, and the realisation of the social, economic and political rights of women in many countries in the world. In addition, the effective role of women in the anti-war movement, against poverty and violence and for the environment, has turned women’s movement into an effective force in political developments in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesdays – Special Days for Imprisoned Mothers and their Little Children

Narges Mohammadi, the human rights activist who has spent years in the Islamic Republic’s prisons for trumped up charges, has written a report on the visiting day in the women’s ward of Evin Political Prison in Tehran.Narges Mohammadi and kids

“There are special days in Evin prison that mean a lot to the imprisoned women. Eight of 31 women held there, namely Maryam Akbarimonfared, Leila Jama’at, Nigara Afsharzadeh, Nargess Mohammadi, Zahra Zehtabchi, Fatemeh Mossana, Azita Rafeezadeh and Nazanin Zaghari have very young children.
According to prison regulations, very young children can visit their mothers on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 PM. The meetings are held inside the prison hall and observed by prison guards and 5 CCTV cameras. The children are accompanied by their families to the prison’s gate, and then guided by the officials from there towards the meeting hall to see their mothers for about an hour.
On Wednesdays, all the mothers in the women’s ward are excited and look forward to seeing their kids. Azita begins to Read the rest of this entry »

Who was Rafsanjani and what role did he play in the suppression of people’s democratic demands

Hashemi Rafsanjani who died on 8th January 2017, was an influential politician who held many important posts since the Revolution of 1979, ranging from Minister of Interior, to (4th) President between 1989 to 1997, also Speaker of the Parliament, Chairman of the Assembly of Experts and the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.mothers of laale park
His legacy is an appalling one of destitution for the people and a country on its knees economically and politically, with social and cultural conditions having worsened. The Mothers of Laleh Park have written on Rafsanjani’s record.
‘Hashemi Rafsanjani was 44-45 years old at the time of the Revolution in 1979, with a history of political activism and time served in the political prisons of the Shah. During that period he acted sometimes against his affluent class background and in favour of the working class and small farmers, but these actions were only aimed at gathering support with a view to gaining power. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity with the Families of Victims of the Plasco Fire in Tehran

In the fire that led to the catastrophic collapse of the 1960s Plasco tower in Tehran on January 19th Plasco Photoscores of firefighters lost their lives. Amid questions about the breaches of health and safety regulations and the way the fire engulfed the building, its rapid collapse, and the way the lives of the fire-fighters were put at risk, the state has claimed that the deaths are limited to 25 firefighters. The fire, the cause of which is yet to be determined, illustrated the regime’s disregard for life, especially with regard to those trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building and highlighted the difficult and dangerous working and living conditions of the firefighters.

Following the fire, the women political prisoners in the notorious Evin prison issued a statement and expressed their solidarity with the people of Iran, the firefighters and victims of the incident; and in the evening of 21st January 2017 observed one minute’s silence in their memory (cited in the website of Defenders of Human Rights Center, 22 January 2017). They also let the prison authorities that they were ready to give blood to help the injured and asked for the prison to facilitate this.  Read the rest of this entry »

The poor reduced to sheltering in Graves, and the Regime’s Response

In recent weeks the scenes of destitute men, women and children taking shelter from the bitter cold in empty graves has shocked the people of grave-dwellersIran. In December 2016, the daily Shahrvand reported that in the Municipality of Shariar in Western Province of Tehran, the cold of winter has forced around 50 homeless people who usually sleep in cardboard covers, to take shelter in 20 of the 300 graves that have been prepared for burials in the large scale graveyard of Nasir Abad Baghestan. The reporter found 3-4 people occupying each of the graves that are 1.5 meters deep. Some homeless families live in tents in the area around the graveyard or under the viaduct. The homeless shelter here during the night. In the course of the day they leave their meagre belongings in the graves and try to source food or beg in the surrounding area. Their belongings which consist of torn blankets or clothes are prone to being stolen by other grave-dwellers. These graves are a short distance from those that house the dead following daily burials nearby.
According to the cemetery’s keeper, the grave-dwellers first moved in about a month previously. The boundary wall is low enough for them to scale it and although the officials had chased them away, they would keep returning. Many of them were picked up by the police and moved to ‘camps’ (for the homeless) but they escaped and returned to the graveyard. He also thought that: “nearly all of them are drug addicts. There are two women and an 8 year old child. They are also addicts. Opposite the cemetery, 100 meters away, there is also an old woman with two sons and her daughters-in-law and grand-children living in a tent. The old woman and one of her sons are addicts. There are more of them. A bit further along, under the bridge, there are a couple who have come from the provinces. They also live in a tent but they aren’t addicts.” Read the rest of this entry »

New Year Greetings for 2017

On the eve of the Christian New Year, the Democratic Organization of Iranian Women (DOIW) offers its greetings to all picasso picturewomen who are struggling for freedom and against the war-mongering policies of imperialism and reactionary forces – we wish you a year free from poverty, discrimination, and oppression, and assure you of our solidarity in your struggles.

We re-iterate our profound solidarity and support for the campaigns of women around the world against imperialist wars and neo-liberal economics which have resulted in mass migrations, sexual slavery, poverty and destitution for women and also for children – in particular, for the women of Iran who continually challenge and struggle against the despotic and misogynistic regime of the Supreme Leader.

We call for the freedom of all political prisoners in Iran, including scores of women political prisoners who are languishing in the regime’s torture chambers for having taken part in lawful civic campaigns.

We hope that the New Year will be a year of success for the people of the world, and one that spells the end to all forms of persecution, violence, and injustice – a year of freedom and peace and victory in the struggle of women worldwide.

The Democratic Organization of Iranian Women

20 December 2016

International campaign for the release of Narges Mohammadi, Civil & Women’s Rights Activist

narges-mohamadiNarges Mohammadi, the civil and human rights activist in Iran, is a prisoner of conscience held in Evin prison, with thirty two other women.  Mrs Mohammadi, a mother of two, who has already served several prison sentences in the last decade, was re-tried recently and was sentenced to a further 16 years.

 Narges Mohammadi is the Vice President of the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran. The Centre and its leader, Shirin Ebadi issued an appeal some time ago, in which they called on “all individuals and organisations, who defend human rights and freedom of speech” to do all they can in an international solidarity campaign to bring about the release of Narges Mohammadi.  In her appeal published on 15th October, 2016, Shirin Ebadi, who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, pointed out that the Iranian Judiciary and Security authorities have handed out a heavy sentence of 16 years in order “not only to silence human rights activists but also to show everyone how heavy the price of freedom of speech is in Iran”. Read the rest of this entry »

Mass dismissal of Women Workers in Iran

Based on the official statistics, 43 thousand women have been laid off recently while on maternity leave. The dismissal of these 43 thousand women has been officially endorsed and confirmed and as such has put the job security of working women at risk. Given the prevailing conditions women wave their right, and avoid taking maternity leave.1074861_794-1-e1476481840104
The mass dismissal of women who are in employment is happening at a time when, according to the Managing Director of the Organization of Small Industries and the Industrial Parks of Iran, there are 88,000 licensed industries in Iran, about 90 percent of which are considered small enterprises with fewer than 50 employees, and 4,500 are considered medium-sized, which employ 50 to 100 employees. Women form at least 10-20 percent of the workforce of these workplaces and another 2.8 million registered commercial units across the country.
These figures paint a clear picture of the depth of lawlessness and discrimination against women, and the poverty and hardship that women in blue and white collar jobs face because of the misogynistic and anti-worker policies of the regime. Read the rest of this entry »

Campaigns for the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-based Violence in Iran and the World

The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women supports whole-heartedly the international campaigns against violence that are held the world over between 25th November and 10th December every year. Every year, during this period millions of people, especially progressive women, the world over, participate in the campaign that culminates on the 10th of December the day of Orange the WorldHuman Rights, and is a manifestation of the integral connection between violence against women and the breach of human rights, in other words, violence against women is the violation of human rights.
The organised struggle of women in these days have been called Orange the World and have the following aims:
Raising awareness of sexual violence and identifying it as a violation of human rights at local, regional and international levels;
Intensifying the local actions regarding sexual violence and creating transparent relations between local and international action towards an end to violence towards women;
Organising networks in which activists can devise, share and promote new strategies against sexual violence;
Raising the profile of women’s solidarity and organizing against violence against women;
Putting pressure on governments to honour their legal undertakings in the field of ending violence against women. Read the rest of this entry »