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Condemning the Persecution of Labor Rights Advocates in Iran

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Location: Washington, DC


CONDEMNING THE PERSECUTION OF LABOR RIGHTS ADVOCATES IN IRAN -- (House of Representatives - October 02, 2007)

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Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

There was no objection.

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution and yield myself such time as I may consume.

I would like to thank our colleagues, Mr. Kirk from Illinois, Mr. Andrews from New Jersey, for introducing this important and timely legislation.

Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons in support of terrorism and its abuse of the human rights of its own people collectively form one of the most serious threats to peace and freedom faced by our country and faced by the world. It speaks volumes that Iran is a member of the International Labor Organization and formally subscribes to the core ILO principles like freedom of association, yet continues to jail those who attempt to form independent labor unions.

The mistreatment of two courageous labor leaders, Mr. Mahmoud Salehi and Mansour Osanloo, is yet another example of the unacceptable behavior of the regime in Iran.

Since 2004, Mahmoud Salehi, who comes from the Kurdish region of Iran, has been jailed on trumped-up charges for the crime of trying to organize a May Day rally in his own city. Unlike many well-known Iranian dissidents, Mr. Salehi is not a writer or a professor or even a politician. He is an ordinary man, a baker by trade, who has had the courage to stand up for the rights of working people. Since April 19 of this year, he has been imprisoned and denied access to the dialysis treatments he requires.

The same is true of Mansour Osanloo, who fell afoul of the regime for threatening in 2006 to lead his fellow bus drivers in Tehran out on strike. Mr. Osanloo was kidnapped from his bus by unknown parties and severely beaten. He too is now being held on vaguely worded charges.

It is appropriate and necessary for the United States House of Representatives to condemn the brutal mistreatment of these leaders and call for their immediate release.

I strongly support this resolution, and I encourage all my colleagues to do likewise.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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