Plainclothes policemen arrested the director and spokesman of the teachers' trade association, and told their families not to speak about the charges against them. The arrest was a preventive measure in advance of the national meeting of teachers' representatives next month in Gilan, Ali Poursoleiman, member of the central council of Iranian teachers' association, tells Radio Farda.
July 11, 2004 - Security agents on Saturday arrested secretary-general of the Iranian teachers' trade association Mahmud Beheshti-Langaroudi and spokesman of the association Ali-Asgar Zati, after searching their homes and cars for two hours, Ali Poursoleyman, a member of the association's central council, tells Radio Farda's broadcaster Farin Asemi. The officers took Beheshti's personal papers and computer with them, he adds. The agents who arrested Beheshti and Zati asked their families not to talk about their arrests,
The government has disconnected the phones of the associations' board members, and the association leaders in many cities and towns have been arrested, he adds.
Poursoleyman says he believes the arrests were a preventive measure in advance the national meeting of the teachers' representatives scheduled for next month in Gilan.
Teachers, represented by the association and scores of other trade groups and organizations, have staged several demonstrations and sit-in strikes during the past two years to protest against their low wages and working conditions. In addition to over-due benefits, teachers demand to raises to bring their pay at the same level of other civil servants.
In the upcoming meeting in Gilan, teachers' representatives will follow the discussions about their future actions in pursuit of their demands, which began in their meeting at the education ministry's prayer room last month during the Teachers' Week celebrations, Poursoleyman says.
Another reason for the arrests, he adds, could be the strong-worded statement issued by the association criticizing the education ministry's plan to promote teachers by one employment grade level. The plan calls for a five-year freeze of all promotions. In its statement, the teachers' association not only criticized the education ministry, but lodged serious criticism against the regime itself, Poursoleyman says.
Since the arrests took place in summer when schools are closed, most teachers have not heard about them, he adds. He says he does not believe the arrests cause the cancellation of the teachers' groups national gathering in Gilan. Asia Daily Editor Goes on Trial
Today, on the second day of his trial, which comes after more than a year of detention, Iraj Jamshidi, editor of the banned financial daily Asia denied the charge that he undermined the country's economy by printing false news. "We always headlined good news," he said. Jamshidi is charged with 11 crimes, including economic sabotage and anti-regime activities.
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