The International Transport Workers' Federation and the International Trade Union Confederation have written to the government of Iran protesting the re-arrest of prominent Iranian labor leader Mansour Osanloo. Mr. Osanloo, President of the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, was seized, beaten, and forced into a car by Iranian security officials on November 19th in Tehran.
Mr. Osanloo was first arrested in December 2005, after several thousand bus drivers went on strike protesting working conditions, pay, and the government's refusal to recognize the union. Denied access to a lawyer, Mr. Osanloo was held in Evin prison for eight months. He was released in August 2006, reportedly after paying a large amount of money for bail.
The International Transport Workers' Federation said the "violent re-arrest of Iranian trade unionist Mansour Osanloo is an outrageous attempt to crush a brave individual and all attempts to assert basic trade union rights in the country."
President George W. Bush made a reference to the plight of such labor leaders as Mansour Osanloo when he spoke recently about the struggle taking place in the Middle East between the forces of moderation and extremism. The extremists, said Mr. Bush, reject fundamental freedoms and seek to impose totalitarian rule:
"We see this struggle in Iran where a reactionary regime subjugates its proud people, arrests free trade union leaders, and uses Iran's resources to fund the spread of terror and pursue nuclear weapons."
The advance of freedom is "the great alternative to tyranny and terror," says Mr. Bush. "We must lift up and support the moderates and reformers who are working for change across the broader Middle East." Mr. Bush believes there is reason for optimism. "I am impressed," he says, "by the courage I see in the people across the region who are fighting for their liberty."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.