Paris, 12 Jul. (IPS) The dramatic abduction of a popular union leader, Mr. Mansour Osanlou, is an integral part of a bigger plan worked out by the Government of the fanatic President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad to impose a virtual martial law situation, preparing the nation for a possible American attack on Iran, political analysts said.
“The closure of the pro-reform daily “Ham Mihan”, the official organ of the Islamic Iran Participation Front “Mosharekat”, the forced resignation of the General Director of the Labour News Agency ILNA and its consequent filtering, the brutal arrest and beating of pro-democracy students, the crackdown on women, scholars, intellectuals, the recent merging of the old Planning and Budget Organisation in a new unit under the direct control of the President, the arrest of three Iranian-American academics accused of espionage etc.. are all part of that plan, placing the nation under a virtual martial law situation”, a well-informed political analyst told Iran Press Service.
There are several parallel security and intelligence groups and organizations in Iran.
Mr. Osanlou, 47, president of the Union of the Single Bus Company of Tehran and Suburbs (SBCTS) , was going home Tuesday evening in a public bus when he was accosted, attacked and beaten violently by several men who took him away and throw him in a waiting Peugeot, while continuing to beat him up, eyewitnesses said, including the driver of the bus, who immediately alerted his Union.
Other passengers of the bus, when they tried to intervene, including some that tried to take pictures of the scene, were held back at gun point and warned not register the event, saying the man they were arresting was not Mr. Osanlou, but “a hooligan, a thief”, according to some eyewitnesses.
Mr. Osanlou’s wife, Parvaneh, said all her efforts to find out where her husband was held were fruitless, as the Judiciary, the Police and the Office of the Prosecutor had told her they knew nothing about the arrest.
So, who then does?
To this question put by IPS, the analyst in Tehran said, speaking on condition of anonymity: “Actually, they might be right, since there are several parallel security and intelligence groups and organizations in Iran, every one operating its own secret prisons, most of them not controlled by the Government, some of them probably even unknown to the leader of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, who is supposed to be the centre to where converges everything in the Islamic Republic and nothing, such this case, can happen without his authorization”.
[However, is a short interview with the Persian service of the BBC from in front of the Evin prison, Mrs. Osanlou said she had been assured that her husband is in this prison, but so far, she was not been able to have any confirmation, except that the arrest had been carried on orders from Mr. Sa'id Mortazavi, the Prosecutor of Tehran and Islamic Revolution tribunals].
Mr. Osanlou was arrested in February last year after leading a big protest movement by the drivers and workers of the Tehran United Bus Company, protesting harsh working conditions and law wages.
The clerical-led authorities of the Islamic Republic had ruthlessly crashed a general strike planned by the Union of the Single Bus Company of Tehran and Suburbs (SBCTS) for Saturday 28, arresting “hundreds” of drivers, workers and personnel and their families.
Though the Bus Tehran Drivers Syndicate is one of the oldest on unions in Iran, yet the authorities considers the SBCTS’ Union is “illegal” because it is not officially registered.
Mr. Osanlou was released in August last year on a 200 million Touman (equivalent of 163.000 US Dollars) bail while awaiting trial on charges which had never made public.
He was arrested again on November and released a month later, but was allowed to travel abroad to take part in and was briefly detained on May this year.
“This is the third time that plainclothes men try to abduct my husband, but they failed in the two first cases because he was among other drivers and workers who protected him”, Mrs. Osanlou told the internet pro-reform daily “Rooz”.
Mr. Parviz Khorshidi, a lawyer for Mr. Osanlou said the abduction of his client is a “blatant act of illegality” and has called on the authorities for his immediate release.
“The Judiciary and other official organs say they have no information about the incident. But taking into account the number of people present in and out of the bus who can tell the story, including the driver of the bus, it should be very easy to identify the attackers”, he told the same paper.
The Judiciary and other official organs say they have no information about the arrest of Mr. Osanlou.
As the whereabouts of Mr. Mansour Osanlou, the popular leader of the Tehran bus drivers remains obscure, the International Transport Workers' Federation and other international organizations have appealed for his “immediate and unconditional release”.
“We demand an immediate and unconditional release of Mansour Osanlou”, said David Cockroft, the federation's general secretary.
“Given the past history of Osanlou's treatment by the security forces there is strong reason to believe that some part of the Iranian authorities was responsible for this attack, but the local police station, to which his family turned, refused to confirm or deny that the police were involved',” the federation said in a statement.
Osanlou has been careful not to give Iran's emerging labor movement a political coloring, but the fanatic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad regards the union leader as a threat, for the authorities fear the growth of an independent labor movement.
Osanlou's friends and relatives say that secret-service agents had followed him round the clock since his return from Europe last month. On that visit, he addressed a number of international labor meetings in London, Brussels and Geneva.
“ITF affiliates and the global trade union leaders who met him at the recent ITUC General Council meeting in Brussels, and the International Labor Organization will all protest against this blatant violation of human and trade union rights and will take whatever action is necessary to secure the immediate release of Mansour Osanlou”, federation spokesman Sam Dawson said Thursday.
Workers in independent unions are still no more than 5 percent of wage earners in Iran. Most workers are either not unionized or drafted as members of unions controlled via so-called "Islamic committees". OSANLOU ABDUCTED 12707