Iran: Unions and Civil Rights groups demand Democracy and social Justice


By Simin Fadaee

Forty-four years after Iranians rose up against their hated monarch in February 1979, a group of 20 organisations engaged in long-term social and economic struggles – including labour unions, teachers, women’s groups and youth and student movements – issued an ultimatum to the government of the Islamic Republic.

The Charter of Minimum Demands of Independent Trade Union and Civil Organisations of Iran contains 12 demands concerning social justice, democracy and political reform. The charter is a protest:

against misogyny and gender-based discrimination, economic instability, the modern enslavement of the workforce, poverty, distress, class violence, and nationalist, centralist, and religious oppression. It is a revolution against any form of tyranny, whether it be under the pretext of religion or not; any form of tyranny that has been inflicted upon us, the majority of the people of Iran.

This charter represents the first organised and collective demand from within Iran since the explosion of unrest on Iranian streets after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police in September 2022. The push for transformation inside Iran stands in stark contrast to the attempts of some exiled Iranians who want to reimpose the pre-1979 monarchy.

The revolutionary movement that overthrew Mohammad Reza Shah, the last monarch of Iran, was a broad-based coalition of mostly urban working- and middle-class people. Supporters of the revolution were united by their opposition to the monarchy, but they were motivated by a range of ideologies: socialism, communism, liberalism, secularism, Islamism and nationalism….