Free Ossanlou Now!

 Javad Aslani

 Mansour Ossanlou and hundreds of Tehran Bus workers are still is custody. None of their demands have been met. They are being kept incommunicado in notorious Islamic jails. Those released have been refused to go back to their works. The Bus workers continue to fight for their rights. Members of their families have entered the dispute. On Saturday February 4, family members of the jailed Bus workers assembled in front of the Iranian Parliament demanding the release of their loved ones.  

The fate of the Tehran Bus workers dispute and confrontation with the Iranian authorities has dominated the political events in Iran. The demands and struggles of the Bus workers have taken on an international dimension with many trade unions and labour organisations expressing concerns over their plight.  

 17,000 workers, organised in a syndicate in a metropolis of 12million people and gridlock traffic, demand their basic and fundamental rights. This is a powerful combination. They can bring life in Tehran to a halt. This force can shake the foundation of the Islamic Republic. Their victory will have a profound and lasting impact on the Iranian society and the labour movement. Their victory will advance the labour movement in Iran. This can be the beginning of a new round of workers offensive in Iran. This is precisely why this dispute has attracted the attention of not only sections of the working class in Iran but also has drawn the support and sympathy of a large section of the Iranian society as well as unprecedented level of support and solidarity from the international labour movement and the progressive institutions and individuals.

 The Islamic Republic is well aware of the importance and the potentials of this dispute. It has resorted to all means at its disposal to quell this movement. Naked aggression, intimidation, imprisonment and the harassment of Bus workers families including arrest and imprisonment of children as young as 2 years old have not subdued the resolve of the Bus workers and so far has not forced them into submission. It is not surprising that the Islamic Republic has resorted to its familiar tactic of creating and fuelling external crises to divert the public opinion and flag up a pretext to suppress it opponents at home. The Islamic Republic is a deeply unpopular and hated regime. They are well aware of the level of popular resentments towards them. They realise that it is win or loose it all situation. They are a bunch of criminals and murders and capable of instigating catastrophes.

 The Bus workers have selflessly and bravely taken on the Islamic Republic. It is now incumbent upon all the revolutionaries and progressive individuals and organisations to keep up the pressure and support the demands of the Bus workers. Ossanlou and his colleagues are leading this heroic fight. We must redouble our efforts to secure their release.