During recent protests against the blatantly rigged Iranian Presidential election result, the Islamist regime detained thousands of demonstrators.
Amnesty International suggests that at least four protesters have died while in custody. According to opposition groups protesters have been kept in underground cells and have been doused with water before being beaten with cables.
Many people — perhaps as many as 100, and certainly more than the recently revised official figure of 30 — were killed during the protests. Some students and other young people have disappeared. Their families do not know where they are.
Journalists have been forced to say on Iranian state-run television that they were supported by foreign powers, that they are guilty of “treason”.
In Iran protests and workers’ organisations are suppressed. In the recent past people organising for Iran’s minority populations, women’s rights, student activists and trade union leaders have been arrested and imprisoned.
Press TV is an Iranian state-funded English language station with offices in West London. On Sunday 2 August British and Iranian socialists will hold a protest outside it (2pm, Westgate House, Westgate). Why? It makes propaganda for the Iranian state.
For example, when one Canadian journalist was dragged onto Iranian state television Press TV reported it as “detained Newsweek reporter comes clean”, as if his “confession” could be taken at face value.
In June, when millions of Iranians demonstrated for democracy and when the crackdown began, Press TV refrained from criticising the government and was credulous about its actions. Neda Soltani’s death was said to be “hyped and dramatised by western media outlets.”
Those featured by the station include Tariq Ramadan and George Galloway, who has a regular show, The Real Deal.
While the Iranian people’s human rights are suppressed, journalists and commentators should have nothing to do with such a media outlet.
Let us send a message to the Iranian regime:
• We will not forget the prisoners — release all political prisoners now!
• For the right to organise against oppression, to demonstrate!
• For a democratic, secular Iran!
• For the right to join and organise in trade unions for workers’ rights!