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Iran Arrests Labor Activists Ahead of International Labor Day

Iran -- Five Iranian Labor activists who've been arrested among 12 people on April 26, 2019.

Less than four days ahead of the International Labor Day, May 1, several members of the Free Workers Trade Union of Iran (FWTUI) have been detained in Tehran on Friday 26 April, reports say.

The detainees had reportedly gathered in a park in the capital city, Tehran, to plan for celebrating the international Labor Day.

Tens of labor activists had assembled in the capital city's Jahan Nama Park, off the Tehran-Karaj motorway, when security forces stormed the place, detained and took away up to twelve of them. Most of the detainees were released later, but several others, including Misses. Parvin Mohammadi, Haleh Safarzadeh, and Valeh Zamani, as well as Alireza Saqafi, were transferred to a notorious prison, Gohardasht, west of the capital.

Following a significant increase in labor protests in recent months in Iran, the number of detained labor activists has also risen in the country.

Prominent labor activists, including the Secretary of the Board of the Free Workers Trade Union, Jafar Azimzadeh, the spokesman of the Haft Tapeh Sugar plant workers trade union, Esmaeil Bakhshi, well as the teachers' rights defenders, Esmaeil Abdi, Mahmoud Beheshti Langarudi, Mohammad Habibi, Rouhollah Mardani, and Abdul Reza Qanbari are currently behind bars. They are all accused of various “security crimes,” but labor rights activists say they were jailed for their participation in teachers’ union activities. Habibi has been sentenced to lashes, too.

One of the main demands of labor activists is raising the minimum wage. The minimum subsistence need for workers in Iran is currently around $400 monthly, according to the Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers Union, while the minimum wage is about $110