A new round of
intimidation, arrests and prosecution of teachers in Iran
In the morning of the fifteenth of Shahrivar 1394 (September 6, 2015), Mr. Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi, a board member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (Tehran), was arrested by security forces at his home. According to the report by the Iranian Teachers Trade Association (ITTA Tehran), the order for the arrest of this senior representative of the teachers' associations was issued by the branch 2 of the Evin’s Court. Security forces searched his home and confiscated some of his belongings as well. ITTA (Tehran) reported that just a day before his arrest, Mr. Beheshti Langroodi was part of a meeting between ITTA and Mr. Nobakht, a President Rouhani’s Deputy, to discuss the problems teachers in Iran continue to face.
In addition, according to the ITTA (Tehran) two other well-known teachers have recently been arrested. Mohammad Reza Niknejad and Mehdi Bohlooli were arrested by security forces in their residence on August 31, 2015. Both of these teachers were active in defending the rights of education workers and used to write about the activities of teachers and how to raise the quality of education and protection of the rights of students to free public education.
On August 22nd, Mr. Milad Darvish, a labour and children’s’ rights activist and an honorary member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, was arrested following a raid by intelligence forces to his parents' home where he was living.
The latest updates on other imprisoned teachers are as follows: Messrs. Esmail Abdi, Ali Akbar Baghani, Rasoul Bodaghi, Alireza Hashemi and Abolreza Ghanbari continue to be in prison. Mr. Mahmoud Bagheri, a board member of ITTA-Tehran was released on August 17, 2015 after being imprisoned for 44 months.
Despite finishing his six-year jail term, Since September 2009, Mr. Rasoul Bodaghi, a member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations-Tehran, continues to be incarcerated and new charges have been brought against him. A teacher for 20 years, he was sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding with intent to disturb national security”, both sham charges. In January 2011, the Appeal Court confirmed Rasoul Bodaghi’s sentence and banned him from taking part in any civil society activities for five years. He was last put on trial again on September 5, 2015 and now awaits a new verdict against him.
Mr. Esmail Abdi, the general secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association-Tehran, has been incarcerated since June 27, 2015. He has been put on trial without the presence of his lawyer. According to the reports published in Iran, he is charged with propaganda against the Islamic system and conspiracy to disrupt the internal and external security of the country.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has started this new wave of arrests and persecution of teachers and education activists in Iran despite national and international condemnation and cries for the release of all arrested teachers. The resumption of persecution of teachers aims to create a climate of fear and intimidation prior to the opening of schools in Iran in Mehr 1st 1394 (September 23, 2015).
As we reported on July 26, 2015, according to the Education International, "Two urgent resolutions on teacher rights and in solidarity with Iran teacher unionists were presented to Congress on 26 July. The resolutions highlighted the difficulties of activists including Esmail Abdi, the president of Iranian teacher association Tehran ITTA who was denied permission to leave Iran to attend the 7th World Congress.”
In addition to adopting the above resolutions, EI Congress gave a strong mandate to the EI leadership to start organising a mission to Iran.
As Iranian teachers and concerned individuals and organizations warmly appreciate the delegates at the EI's 7th World Congress, and other labour organizations, for supporting teachers' rights and struggles in Iran, it is absolutely imperative to continue to pressure the Iranian government to free all imprisoned teachers and labour activists in Iran and to put an end to persecution of teachers and education activists in the country.
More updates will follow shortly. Please refer below to the sample protest letter.
International Alliance in support of workers in Iran (IASWI)
September 8, 2015
Sample Protest letter:
Re: Stop persecution of teachers and education activists in Iran
I am writing this to protest against continued persecution of teachers in Iran. I have been informed that a new round of intimidation, arrests and prosecution of teachers in Iran has started prior to the start of the new school year in September 2015.
Amongst those arrested is Mr. Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi, a board member of the Iranian Teachers 'Trade Association (Tehran), who was arrested by security forces at his home on September 6, 2015. Also two other well-known teachers, Mohammad Reza Niknejad and Mehdi Bohlooli, were arrested by security forces in their residence on August 31, 2015. In addition, Messrs. Esmail Abdi, Ali Akbar Baghani, Rasoul Bodaghi, Alireza Hashemi and Abolreza Ghanbari continue to be in prison. Mr. Rasoul Bodaghi, imprisoned since September 2009 and despite finishing his six-year prison term, has not been freed. The government authorities have recently brought new charges against him while he has been imprisoned. Mr. Esmail Abdi, the general secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association-Tehran, has been incarcerated since June 27, 2015. He has been put on trial without the presence of his lawyer.
These waves of arrests and persecution of teachers and education activists in Iran must stop. I call on your government to free all imprisoned teachers in Iran and to put an end to persecution of teachers and education activists in the country.
PLEASE SEND protest letters to:
· President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and
· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations