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Iran: HEPCO, Azarab workers protest in Arak

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, September 4, 2019–A large number of HEPCO factory workers and employees of the Azarab company in Arak, central Iran, held a protest rally on Monday, September 3. HEPCO factory workers have been holding numerous rallies during the past few days. Along with Azarab employees, these workers a session held on Saturday with the regime’s Ministry of Industries. They poured into the streets accusing company officials of seeking secret deals with the regime’s minister.

The workers are protesting possible plans under the pretext of “privatization” that are actually aimed at plundering their assets and refusing to provide for their delayed paychecks. The workers were heard protesting that they are barely making ends meet for their families.

In Iran, privatization is a process of regime officials handing over the control of various small and large companies to regime insiders. This process is destroying the country’s economy.

“Death to workers, hail to the oppressors,” the workers chanted in irony. The protesting HEPCO and Azarab workers laid empty table clothes on the streets and Arak’s downtown central square to display their protests and portray the dire living conditions their families are enduring.

The HEPCO factory, with a 42-year history, is the largest manufacturer of road and construction machinery in the Middle East. Due to the fact that it has been placed under the control of regime officials and insiders, this company is now on the verge of bankruptcy as these officials are implementing measures under the pretext of “privatization” and unbridled imports.

HEPCO was first launched back in 1972 by the Iran’s Industrial Renovation and Development in a 90-hectar area in Arak aiming to manufacture and montage heavy machinery. From 1975, HEPCO began its collaboration with American, French, Japanese, Swedish and Finnish companies.

In 2006, this company was handed over to the private sector by regime officials who sought to escalate their own profits. From then on, there has been a significant reduction in HEPCO’s production and economic efficiency, pushing the company to the verge of complete bankruptcy on numerous occasions.

The transfer of such companies to the private sector has become a major source of rent for the regime’s enormous network of corrupt economic figures.

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