Picket the FT Iran Summit – Support Iran’s resurgent workers

The FT Iran Summit on March 9th 2016 is aimed at giving British capitalists more access to Iran’s economy. Currently British trade and investment in Iran is not only dwarfed by Germany, France and Italy, but is even lagging behind the United States!

This summit, with Exploring Opportunity and Risk in a Potential Economic Powerhouse as its subtitle, is meant to boost trade with Iran through discussions and networking between politicians and business leaders from both countries. A whole range of representatives of the Iranian regime, e.g., H. E. Mohammad Nahavandian (Head of the Presidential Office and Chief of Staff, Islamic Republic of Iran), Peyman Ghorbani Aghilabadi (Vice Governor, Economic Affairs, Central Bank of Iran) and many Iranian capitalists (e.g., Peyman Kargar, CEO of Renault Pars) will be hobnobbing with British capitalists and Tories like Sajid Javid and the pro-Pinochet Norman Lamont.

According to Norman Lamont, Britain’s trade envoy to Iran, “Iran is the world’s biggest emerging market since the collapse of the Soviet Union 25 years ago.” Given that this is the same Norman Lamont who in October 1998 was General Pinochet’s most vociferous supporter (after Margaret Thatcher), when the Chilean dictator was detained in Britain, we know for certain that he will never bring up the issues of political executions, political prisoners, detention without trial, torture and other abuses that sustain the dictatorship in Iran.

More specifically, we do not expect the likes of Norman Lamont (or Sajid Javid) to let the rights of Iranian workers to form independent trade unions and the right to strike, or women’s equal treatment by the state and society, or the rights of national and religious minorities, or Afghan refugees, or any other oppressed layers in Iranian society, to come in the way of the multi-billion pound trade and investment deals that the capitalists of Britain and Iran are planning.

This summit costs £1295+VAT (i.e., £1554) to attend! The British “captains of industry” who go to it will be seeking to improve their chances of landing deals like the one for 118 Airbuses (worth €25bn) that was signed during Hasan Rohani’s European tour in January. Neither workers’ rights nor any other aspect of the Iranian regime’s repression came up during that trip! Similarly, in pursuit of big profits British capitalists and their Tory facilitators will be completely ignoring the rights of workers, women, national minorities or refugees, as well as the plight of the hundreds of political prisoners languishing in jail. They are not going to ask for the murder of jailed labour activists like Shahrokh Zamani to be investigated!

While nobody is against trade deals, particularly those involving investment, the transfer of technology, or restoring the production capacity of many industries, we think that these should not come at the cost of overlooking executions, torture, brutality and injustice that Iranian workers, women and other layers face daily. That is why we will be picketing outside the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone from 12:00 on March 9th 2016.

Long live independent workers’ organisations and the right to strike!
Investigate Shahrokh Zamani’s death!
Free all political prisoners now!
Iranian workers are not alone!

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
5 March 2016

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