Reported by PMOI/MEK
Iran, Dec. 27, 2018 - As teachers in the city of Isfahan (central Iran) began holding a peaceful rally on Thursday, Iranian regime authorities dispatched anti-riot units to the scene to stop the gathering. As the teachers were protesting low wages, poor living conditions and skyrocketing prices of daily necessities, the authorities began firing tear gas, using pepper spray, and arresting a number of the teachers. Those apprehended teachers were transferred to unknown locations.
Through such measures, the Iranian regime intends to prevent rallies and demonstrations by the teachers, showing its lack of tolerance for even the simplest of peaceful gatherings.
It is worth noting that prior to the beginning of today’s rally, Iranian authorities had already dispatched large number of anti-riot units to the scene and stationed a variety of security forces at the pre-planned in advance.
The teachers, some retired, held their rally today in Isfahan’s Hasht-e Behesht Avenue outside the regime’s Education Department. Based on a previous call, the teachers are protesting low wages, demanding the release of jailed colleagues, regulating and equalizing retirement pensions, and other demands.
Since the beginning of the year, teachers of Iran have been intermittently demonstrating and going on strike to protest against the trampling of their rights by the Iranian regime. More recently, the teachers of Isfahan came to the streets and gathered in front of the offices of the education ministry to protest against the Iranian regime’s lack of response to their demands.
The demands of the teachers and education workers included the release of their imprisoned colleagues, health insurance for retired teachers, the increase of the budget of the education sector and the increase of the salaries of teachers and university professors.
In the same week, the teachers of Yazd gathered in Park-e Fanavari and staged a protest for demands that were similar to those of Isfahan’s teachers.
Some of the slogans that teachers have been shouting in their demonstrations in the past weeks include the following:
- Imprisoned teachers must be freed
- We must pay our expenses in dollars, but our salaries are paid in rials
- Teachers, students, workers, unity! Unity!
- Neither the governor nor the government are thinking about the grievances of the people
- Stellar salaries [of government officials] have become all too common
- No to high prices, discrimination and theft!
- Our enemy is right here; [the government] is lying that it’s the U.S.
Teachers protesting in Abhar, Zanjan province, chanted similar slogans and made similar demands in their protests. Addressing the regime, one of the teachers said, “We are the people. We brought you to power. Why isn’t the national television broadcasting our protests? Why are they focusing on protests in France? We are the people, why should our demands be met with torture and violence? If you’re competent, reduce the inflation. If you’re not, move aside and let someone rule the country who can fix the country’s problems.”
This is a situation that can be seen in many other cities in Iran. In the past year alone, the teachers have staged nationwide strikes on two occasions, in October and November. The teachers’ demands can be summarized in the following:
- An end to repression
- An end to discrimination
- Respect for the rights of the hardworking people of Iran
Presently, there are more than a million teachers in Iran with very meager salaries and difficult working conditions, who are selflessly trying to educate the future generations of Iran. They are demonstrating for their rights and to ensure that the children who will be building the future of Iran have the proper privileges and rights to enjoy proper education.
But the Iranian regime not only ignores their demands but also answers their protests with violence and arrests the representatives and leaders of their movements every once in a while.
Interestingly, the slogans and demands of Iran’s teachers are being echoed in protest by many other communities across Iran, including workers, truck drivers, and merchants. Like many other classes of the society, the teachers of Iran have become the victims of the corrupt policies of the Iranian regime, which has led to the quasi-collapse of the country’s economy.
And therein lies the Iranian regime’s dilemma. It is hard-pressed to fulfill the demands of the teachers, because if it does, it will also have to do something about the just demands of the farmers of Isfahan, the workers of Khuzestan, the merchants of Kurdistan, the truck drivers across the country, and the millions of people who have been deprived of their most basic rights.
But while Iran is not short in wealth and resources, the regime is spending them on terrorism and repression, the main pillars of its rule. Responding to the demands of the people will come at the cost of the regime’s terrorist ambitions abroad, which is costing billions of dollars out of the pockets of the Iranian people. It will have to respect the rights of the people and level down its expenditures on strengthening its security apparatus. All of that will eventually undermine its power and lead to the collapse of its regime.
On the other hand, continuing to repress the people’s protests also isn’t a long-term solution for the problems of the regime. After 40 years of repression under the rules of the mullahs, the people of Iran are fed up, and the regime’s attempts at causing panic and fear through violence is proving to be less and less effective. As the people of Iran continue to take to the streets, the Iranian regime is finding itself in a tightening deadlock, one that will inevitably lead to its downfall.