Although their resistance has not been well-reported in Western media, Iranian teachers have been waging protests, often despite severe police violence, to protect schools, democracy and the profession.

Their leaders have faced draconian measures. Tehran teacher union leader Esmail Abdi was arrested to prevent his participation in the 2015 Education International World Congress in Ottawa, Canada. As readers of this website know, Abdi was targeted for his union activism and campaign for teachers’ rights and for free public education. He was convicted of national security offenses in February 2016 after organizing peaceful protests. He was subsequently released but has been sent back to prison.

Several international human rights organizations are working to secure his unconditional release. They need our support.  The international confederation of teachers unions, Educational International, has a joint campaign with LabourStart. You can sign that appeal here if you have not already.  You can also support Amnesty International’s “Write for Rights” appeal for Abdi.