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Iran: Workers, farmers protest declining work & economic conditions

Protest rallies in different Iranian cities
Protest rallies in different Iranian cities

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, March 6 2021—A group of electricity workers held a rally in front of the Majlis (parliament) on Tuesday, protesting officials’ neglection of their demands. These workers have held similar rallies in previous weeks, protesting unpaid wages, improper hiring procedures, unfair distribution of official and contract workers, and the involvement of contractor companies that are stealing a considerable part of their income.

One of the banners the protesters states that contract workers are receiving a third of the salary of official workers.

Protest rally by electricity workers in Tehran

 

In Behbehan, southern Iran, municipality workers held a demonstration in front of the City Council, protesting unpaid wages.

Protest rally by municipality workers in Behbehan

Protest rally by municipality workers in Behbehan

In Gonabad, Razavi Khorasan province, a group of livestock farmers held a protest rally in front of the offices of the Ministry of Agriculture. Due to the regime’s lack of support of traditional livestock farmers and the high price of livestock feed and low price of milk, the farmers have been forced to sell their dairy cattle as livestock, which has caused great damage to the traditional livestock industry.

Protest rally by livestock farmers in Gonabad, Razavi Khorasan province

Protest rally by livestock farmers in Gonabad, Razavi Khorasan province

On Monday, the railway of Karaj and Varamin continued their strike and refused to go to their shifts. The workers have not received their wages for several months. This is their second strike in the past week. They also haven’t received their new year bonuses. The workers at Karaj are worried that the contractor will not pay their wages after the project is over and are demanding their contracts to be settled and their job security to be ensured.

Protest rally by railway workers in Karaj and Varamin

Protest rally by railway workers in Karaj and Varamin

On Monday, a group of workers of Iran Maye factory in Tabriz held a rally in front of the factory, protesting their employer’s decision of shutting down the factory under the excuse of not having material to work.

Protest rally by workers of Iran Maye factory, Tabriz

Protest rally by workers of Iran Maye factory, Tabriz

State-run media warn of widespread protests

On Monday, the state-run Mostaghel daily warned regime officials, “Iran is engulfed in a cloud of crises. There’s a probability that you won’t be able to control urban riots… The society has been polarized and 70 million people are discontent.”

Comparing the current state of the society with widespread protests in 1999 and 2009, Mostaghel added, “If in 1999 and 2009, the middle class and intellectual came to the streets, in 2018 and 2019, it was the impoverished who came to the streets because they were concerned about their livelihoods. This is a different matter. Right now, all officials are worried about the impoverished people coming to the streets to protest.”

The state-run daily also acknowledged that the people are no longer deceived by the regime’s show of rivalry between moderates and hardliners. “The people no longer view the reformists as a safety valve to relieve some of the pressure from the people, because it has been proven that whoever becomes president has no power to reform,” Mostaghel wrote.

In another piece on Tuesday, Mostaghel warned about the declining living conditions of the Iranian people. The article was in response to remarks made by the Deputy Trade and Mine Minister, who responded to criticism about the high prices of fruits in the media by saying, “If fruits are expensive, then don’t buy and don’t eat them.”

In this regard, Mostaghel wrote, “Do you need a deputy minister of the caliber of the Trade, Industry, and Mines Ministry… to provide such a solution to the high prices of poultry, meat and other goods? Do you need to have special skills or experience to tell the people to not buy and eat poultry?”

Mostaghel added that given the deputy minister’s solution and the high prices that the people are faced with, “There will be nothing left on the people’s tables to eat and survive.”

“Why should one of the main challenges of the people be to stand in long queues to buy poultry, oil, and other food items? Does having strong military allies such as Russia and China and Hamas and Syria guarantee the survival and independence of our country and society? The people are clearly seeing that after eight years, the government that is in power has done nothing to solve the people’s most basic food needs.”