Iranian labour dispute turns deadly

At least four Iranians are dead and many others seriously injured after police clashed with striking workers at a copper factory in south-eastern Iran.

    Employees in Iran do not have the right to strike

    A parliamentarian said that helicopters carrying special police units were sent in to break up the protests in the village of Khatunabad, near Shahrebabak, in south-eastern Kerman province.

    Workers had downed tools a few days earlier to support their demands for permanent contracts, the reformist deputy said.

    Special forces attacked the village and the clashes spread to Shahrebabak, where four people were killed, he said.

    MPs criticised the authorities for failing to handle the crisis, saying police had launched an "illegal operation which humiliated people," and called on President Muhammad Khatami and parliament speaker Mehdi Karubi to intervene.

    Trade unions have no bargaining power in Iran, where the right to strike does not exist.

    Iran's main armed opposition group, the People's Mujahidin, charged on Sunday that as many as 15 protesters were killed in the clashes, including a 31-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.