Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, September 18, 2019—On Tuesday, workers of Iran’s HEPCO construction equipment manufacturer continued their protests in front of the company’s offices despite the heavy presence of security forces.
In the past days, the workers, who have been sporadically protesting in recent years, have staged continuous demonstrations, calling on Iranian regime officials to respond to their demands.
On Monday, Iranian security forces attacked, assaulted and arrested several of the protesting workers of HEPCO. The workers had blocked the local railway in protest to the empty promises of Iranian authorities and the regime’s lack of response to their demands. But the crackdown did not dissuade the workers from continuing their protests on the following day.
The protesting workers were holding a large sign reading in four languages, “We HEPCO employees are demanding a final clarification of the major shareholders’ status and nothing else. How else are we to raise our demands? Will anyone listen?”
HEPCO was once the largest manufacturer of industrial equipment in Iran and the Middle East. Today, it is a shadow of its former self and is on the brink of collapse due to the Iranian regime’s destructive privatization policy, which gives the government free hand to liquidate national assets and sell them to regime insiders and affiliates at very low prices.
In this regard, Ali Ashraf Abdollah Pouri Hosseini, the former head of the Iranian regime’s Privatization Organization, recently said, “The government destroyed HEPCO… When HEPCO was under the government’s care, it prevented the import of industrial equipment. But when the government no longer held shares in the company, it decided that it no longer needs the customs barrier… A person who himself was previously the minister of customs told me, ‘We import second-hand Chinese equipment through special free zones.’ When you import second-hand Chinese front loaders and bulldozers, will anyone buy equipment from HEPCO? It’s obvious that this will lead to the collapse of HEPCO. HEPCO collapsed because the government’s policy changed.”
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-Elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hailed the brave Hepco workers that despite the brutal suppression by the mullahs’ regime continue with their protests and strikes. She called on all Iranian people specially the youths in Arak to rise up in support of the protesting workers. Mrs. Rajavi also called on all workers’ unions, human rights and workers’ rights defenders to condemn the mullahs’ suppressive measures and support the demands of all Iranian workers particularly that of Hepco’s. She calls for an immediate release of all detained workers.
Hail to the courageous workers of #HEPCO in Arak who have continued their protests and demonstrations for the third consecutive day despite savage attacks by the regime’s agents. #Iran pic.twitter.com/3Uam9u4dxS— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) September 17, 2019
In other news, the customers of the Caspian, Samen al-Hojaj and Arma, three state-backed credit institutions, gathered in front of the judiciary’s office in Tehran on Tuesday and protested to the government’s continued lack of response to their demands.
The protesters were chanting, “Where is the money of the people?”
State-backed credit and financial institutions have been at the heart of many tensions and protests in the past three years. These organizations absorbed billions of dollars’ worth of investment from ordinary Iranians with promises of quick returns on investment. But after a while, most of the institutions either filed for bankruptcy. Their customers are regularly protesting, demanding the refund of their lost investments.