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TEHRAN -- Seven labor activists from the Haft-Tappeh sugarcane factory union in southern Iran have been detained by the Intelligence Ministry in recent weeks.

The 3,000-member labor union, which has organized a number of protests and sit-ins, is under increasing scrutiny by the authorities.

Mohammad Oliaee-Fard, an advocate for the union workers, told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that the authorities did not have warrants for any of the arrests, "therefore, the action is illegal."

Labor activist Karim said that officials have also been threatening jailed activists' families and warning them not to give interviews.