Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 19, 2019—As the Iranian regime grips with escalating crises in Iraq, Syria and now Lebanon, there are also reports of increasing protests inside Iran.
Workers of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane company in Shush, southwest Iran, continued their strike and held a rally in the factory courtyard on Friday, October 18, demanding a return of their wrongly expelled colleagues to work and the cancellation of any “privatization” plans intended for this company.
The managers of the Haft Tapeh sugar mill were forced to renew the contract of 17 workers after nine continuous days of strikes and protests at the factory. The workers of Haft Tapeh, Iran’s largest sugar producer, launched a strike recently after managers refused to renew the contracts of 20 of the company’s workers.
The workers continued their strikes and protests despite the presence of security forces and threats by the company’s management to fire or arrest them. At length, the city council of Shush, where the factory is located, was forced to back down from the decision and compel the company to hire the contractors. The contracts of three of the dismissed workers remain suspended.
In the past year, the workers of Haft Tapeh have held strikes and demonstrations on several occasions in protest to poor working conditions and unpaid wages. Last year, they held a strike that lasted several weeks and gained widespread support inside Iran and among labor communities across the world. The regime, however, responded to the demands of the workers by cracking down on their protests and arresting and torturing the organizers of the strike.
The issue of privatization has resulted in many protests across Iran.
An example is the Persian Gulf Transportation, one of the largest transportation companies in Iran, which the regime sold to private owners in 2016 as part of the privatization plan, in which government-owned companies and public assets are liquidated and given to private owners. The new owners are in most cases closely related to the regime and take advantage of their ties to officials to purchase these companies at a fraction of their value.
Like many other privatized companies, Persian Gulf Transportation has seen a major degradation in production and the deterioration of working conditions for its workers since its new owners assumed control. This has resulted in regular protests by the workers.
In the city of Behbahan, also in southwest Iran, people were in the streets protesting high unemployment and the practice of hiring non-locals by Persian Gulf Bid Boland 2 oil refinery officials. This rally was held on Friday near the local market. Non-locals usually work at far lower wages and regime officials pocket huge profits through such corrupt practices.
The protests in this rally were holding signs reading, “We accept prison terms, but will not live in shame!” “We do not publish lies. We only demand our rights. Who will support us?”
In other reports, the village of Chenar Mahmoudi remains under martial law, reports indicate, and anyone leaving their house is arrested, after negligence by authorities in this state facility led to a massive HIV outbreak, leaving 300 locals infected with the devastating virus.
Regime authorities arrested one resident by the name of Mr. Amir Gholi. Chenar Mahmoudi residents have threatened to continue their protests and demonstrations if this individual is not released.