Iranian police/security forces have violently arrested two members of Tehran Bus Drivers’ union the Vahed Syndicate. The union has, with ITF support, struggled to represent its members in the face of repeated attacks by the Iranian state, including the unjust imprisonment since 2007 of its President, Mansour Osanloo.

The latest attack happened last week in a internet café in Karaj. Saeed Torabian, publicity director of the union – who has previously been arrested and then released following international protests – was with fellow trade unionist Gholamreza Gholamhosseini. Gholamhosseini was released on bail from Evin Prison two years ago, after being arrested while attending a Women’s Day event.

Mac Urata, Secretary of the ITF’s Inland Transport Section, reported: “According to our information these two men were followed in by six others in plain clothes who piled into them, screaming that they were thieves, and then dragged them outside. They then took them to jail, where we know they were maltreated.  Saeed Torabian, who was in fear of his life, was later released on bail, but as yet we don’t know where Gholamreza Gholamhosseini is being held, or what’s been done to him.”

“We have no doubt,” Mac Urata concluded, “that this is yet another attempt to break the will of the Vahed Syndicate’s members and frighten them out of their desire to be represented by their own, lawful trade union. We find it contemptible that once again, it seems, the regime has stooped to these kind of tactics “

This latest attack comes a week after hopes were dashed that the union’s treasurer, Reza Shahabi, might be released  He was arrested on 12 June this year without any charges being specified by the authorities. In August the ITF’s 42nd Congress in Mexico City unanimously adopted an emergency resolution to demand his and Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi’s immediate release. Protests have also been organised by ITF affiliates in Oslo, Tokyo and Brussels in the last few months.