Source: Radio Zamaaneh | April 23, 2010

Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations has issued a statement to announce that a group of its members will go on a hunger strike in protest to “illegal execution and imprisonment sentences” handed to a number of teachers.

The statement says that the executive members of the Teachers Association and a number of associated labour activists will start a hunger strike on May 2 and called on all Iranian teachers to join this effort on National Teacher’s Day, May 2.

Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations calls for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all teachers from prison and a withdrawal of all legal and official action against “critical educators.”

The signatories call for better provisions for public schools through oil and gas revenues. They also request avoidance of all partiality and political manoeuvring in developing school curricula.

They demand an end to the “security atmosphere” in the Ministry of Education and call for job security for teachers.

The teachers also call for an end to “promoting spies” in classrooms and schools as well as stopping all forms of persecution of “critical” educators.

The statement contends that teachers who join a demonstration or a gathering or represent their ideas in the areas of education or the difficulties of their profession are “persecuted beyond the law and their voice does not reach anywhere.”

The letter refers to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that describes Iran as the “freest country in the world” and questions the issuance of heavy sentences such as “execution, imprisonment, exile, forced retirement, demotion and suspension” for “caring and honest teachers of the country.”

The announcement names imprisoned teachers such a Badaghi, Khastar, Davari and Momeni amongst the many teachers who have been sentenced to long term imprisonments “which has also led to the “loss of livelihood for their families.” They also speak out against the execution sentences handed to another two teachers, Kamangar and Ghanbari claiming such rulings are “not befitting of the Islamic Republic.”