Tuesday, January 31, 2006

United States Supports Iranian Workers' Right to Protest

State Department condemns suppression of demonstrators

In response to a question taken at its January 30 regular briefing, the U.S. State Department expressed support for Iranian workers and their right to protest for better working conditions.

The statement specifically mentions bus drivers in Iran, who in recent weeks have been demonstrating peacefully for the right to bargain collectively. These workers have faced arrests, threats and intimidation from the Iranian government, the State Department said. READ MORE

For more information on U.S. policies, see Human Rights.

Following is the text of the question and the State Department response:

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Office of the Spokesman
January 31, 2006


IRAN: Government Crackdown on Bus Driver Demonstrations

Question: What is the U.S. reaction to reports of violence and the arrest of bus drivers in Iran?

Answer: We condemn the Iranian Government's forcible suppression of peaceful demonstrations by bus drivers in Tehran over the past few weeks. The attempts of these Iranian workers to seek the redress of legitimate grievances and the right to collectively bargain have been met by the Iranian Government with arrests, threats, and intimidation.

As we have noted in our Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Iran, the Iranian Government's poor record on freedom of speech and the freedom to peacefully assemble continues to deteriorate. Incidents such as these clearly illustrate that the Government of Iran is engaged in the systematic oppression of its citizens, including the persecution of individuals for religious, political and other reasons. We support the Iranian people's right to a free and open society, and urge the Government of Iran to respect the rights of its citizens to express themselves freely without fear of intimidation or imprisonment.