Badrossadat Mofidi in Interview with Rooz -
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs ignored six letters from the Association of Iranian Journalists (Anjoman-e Senfi-ye Ruzname Negaran) to hold a general meeting and abruptly deemed the association eligible for dissolution. In an interview with Rooz, Badrossadat Mofidi, Secretary of the Association of Iranian Journalists, discusses the details of and motives behind the issue.
Rooz (R): Ms. Mofidi, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has deemed the Association of Iranian Journalists eligible for dissolution. First tell us what is at the root of the disagreement between the Ministry of Labor and the Association of Iranian Journalists?
Badrossadat Mofidi (BM): Our disagreements with the Ministry of Labor date back to the coming to power of the ninth administration. With the view that this administration held regarding independent labor organizations, and the Association of Iranian Journalists in particular, it has been striving to dissolve the association ever since. Previous governmentson the other hand, meaning Mr. Khatami's administration, worked mostly to strengthen the guilds. But the events that have taken place in connection with the Association of Iranian Journalists are that, in 2006, the Association went through an election process following which it intended to hold a third general meeting of its members when it suddenly faced a plethora of excuses and hindrances from the Ministry of Labor, none of which had any legal basis.
R: Can you cite more specific instances of the Ministry of Labor's hindrances? BM: With only three days left for the third general meeting of its members which aimed at appointing a new board of directors, the Ministry of Labor announced that because the association's by-laws did not mention a third general meeting but only a first and second such meeting, the association was not permitted to hold a third round of elections.
R: What was the reaction of the Association of Iranian Journalists to the Ministry of Labor? BM: The association immediately backed its claims by forwarding a letter written in 2001 by the Ministry of Labor's deputy of labor organizations' affairs at the time which permitted the association to hold a third general meeting in the presence of fifty members. In addition, because the Ministry of Labor's newly appointed officials in 2006 had taken such a hardline position with respect to a third general meeting and the association had already started the elections process, we held elections pursuant to instructions set forth in the letter from 2001.
R: Do you think political motivations are behind the Ministry of Labor's letter regarding the Association's dissolution?BM: Their letter has two fundamental problems. First, it lacks legal basis and, secondly, it is driven by political motivations. Apparently the gentlemen at the ministry expected the 1385  elections to change the composition of the board of directors. But the results were not to their liking. Therefore, we now face actions such as this.
R: Can the Ministry of Labor legally dissolve the association?BM: From a legal standpoint, the Ministry of Labor does not have the power to do this. According to regulations governing labor organizations, the Ministry of Labor does not have the power to dissolve the association and the issue must be pursued in the appropriate court.
R: Given these conditions, would the Association of Iranian Journalists, which has more than 4,000 members, be shut down or would it continue its existence? BM: Look, when laws are inadequate, they do not dissolve organizations that are set up in accordance with those laws, but reform the laws! The answer is to reform the laws so that the 4,000 members know where they stand. Dissolving the association is not the solution. Therefore, the association will continue its lawful activities unless it is confronted with ways beyond legal possibilities.
R: What is the Association's next move?BM: We will first inform our members about what has taken place. Unfortunately, we have heard reports from independent media outlets that they are placed under pressure by the Ministry of Labor not to publish the viewpoints of the association. For instance, ISNA conducted an interview with me in this regard which it was forced to retract half an hour later. The report about the letter of the president of the association to the labor minister, which contained comprehensive and exhaustive legal arguments, was never published. The association's next move is to hold a press conference and respond to questions from domestic and foreign media networks. In the meantime, we will continue to communicate with officials and would even ask Majlis representative, as representatives of the people, to pursue the association's violated rights by posing questions to and even summon the labor minister. We would definitely file a complaint with the judiciary against the Ministry of Labor as well. Finally, we would file complaints with international organizations such as those affiliated with the International Federation of Journalists, and even independent civil society organizations, such as the United Nation's International Labor Organization (ILO). This is because the Association of Iranian Journalists has been recognized by and holds a seat at the ILO.