Friday, August 18, 2006


Winston at the Spirit of Man highlights a rather progressive move from the Iranian regime - they're confiscating Iranians' satellite dishes.

Hundreds of police in Tehran have begun dismantling satellite antenna dishes from the city's rooftops - part of a campaign to prevent Iranians from watching Western television programmes. The move follows a recent police order that all satellite dishes - officially banned but tolerated until now - be removed. The campaign against satellite television was launched by the Minister for Culture and Islamic Orientation, Hassan Saffar Harandi, who said "we have to halt the West's cultural offensive," on Iran.
Photos here and here.

Delightful: cracking down on both what people can watch and what they can write. And according to Reporters sans Frontieres, "Iran is the only country that can ban a journalist from writing for the rest of his life."

But some good news from Iran that passed me by last week:
Mansour Osanlou, leader of the independent union of bus drivers in Tehran, has been released on a bail of 150,000 euros after seven months in jail. The bail was considerable given that the average salary in Iran is 200 euros a month. Mansour Osanlou was arrested in January with other union members after 97 percent of the bus drivers in Tehran participated in a strike they had organized shortly after forming the organization. The bus drivers were calling for better working conditions and a salary increase.

The union of bus drivers was initially founded in 1968 and outlawed after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

In the second half of 2005, Osanlou decided to set it up again and obtained the membership of most workers in Tehran's city transport company.
My guestimate is that in terms of average monthly wages in the UK, that bail is the equivalent of over £1million - a little steep given all Osanlou did was set up a union and organise a strike. But at least he's out. For now.


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