Monday, April 16, 2007

You may be unable to open the link to American Federation of Teachers. Here is the AFT's letter:

March 13, 2007

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President, Islamic Republic of Iran
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: 011-98-21-649-5880

Dear President Ahmadinejad:

On behalf of the nearly 1.3 million members of the American Federation of Teachers, I am writing to bring to your attention our serious concern over developments within the Iranian education sector. We have closely followed recent reports in the international media concerning the arrest and detention at an undisclosed location of two senior officials of the Teachers' Trade Association on March 7th, and the additional arrest of a further 20 education leaders.
Those arrested have been involved in peaceful protests for decent living wages and improved classroom conditions for teachers. Several times within the past months, thousands of teachers have courageously rallied in public asking that their voices be heard. Their grievance centers on a long-promised, but yet to be enacted government reform granting teachers pay equal to many other civil servants.

We urge you, Mr. President, to:

investigate the circumstances and secure the immediate and unconditional release of any educator detained while exercising the right to peacefully protest;
require the Ministry of Education to open serious negotiations with teachers and other education workers so that their long-standing needs for a living wage and respectable working conditions may be met; and
assure in the future that all Iranian educators may exercise the freedoms of association and assembly, without fear of discrimination, harassment or intimidation.
Iran, as a member of the International Labour Organization for more than fifty years, has an obligation arising from its membership to adhere to the ILO’s “Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.” We strongly ask the Iranian government to now do its part, to its fullest ability, in respecting these principles and ensuring these rights.


Edward J. McElroy

CC: Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary, Education International
Teachers Trade Association Kanooneh Senfiyeh Moallemaneh, Iran
Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Golam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Leader of the Iranian Parliament
Juan Somavia, Director General, International Labor Organization
Guy Ryder, General Secretary, ITUC

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