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Iran’s porters, the flip side the regime’s corruption

Porters are transporting goods across the border for a very meager salary
Porters are transporting goods across the border for a very meager salary

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Iran, Dec. 15, 2018 - In Iran’s western region, there are more than 40,000 porters. They have been forced into this physically demanding and exhausting job out of desperation. Presently, the Kurdistan region is suffering from severe poverty and unemployment. More than 30 percent of the people in the region don’t have a job.

Porters transport goods across the border for wealthy merchants and owners of large capitals throughout the year in exchange for a very meager salary, barely enough to make ends meet and put food on the table of their families. Their feet are swollen, their backs are bent and their bones ache.

And yet, if the hardships were not enough, the porters of western Iran also have to face the suppression of the Iranian regime. The Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian regime’s security forces regularly attack porters and target them with live ammunition under the pretext of cracking down on trafficking and smuggling. Meanwhile, the real smugglers who have ties to the regime remain unencumbered in their illicit trade.

Clearly, the current miseries of Iran’s porters are the direct result of the corrupt economic policies of the Iranian regime. Companies and institutions tied to the regime and the IRGC run highly organized smuggling networks to fund their evil agendas. In this way, the IRGC has encroached over Iran’s economy, making conditions increasingly worse for the regular people who want to run their own businesses and make a decent living.

Videos widely shared in social media show a glimpse of the harsh conditions that Iran’s porters are subjected to.

“I’m struggling to find a loaf of bread for my wife and child,” says one of the porters. “I need to undergo surgery. It will cost me 1.5 billion rials (approx. $14,000). I don’t have that kind of money.”

Another jobless Kurdistan resident who has become a porter says, “There are no jobs in Kurdistan. No factories. What should we do? Our kids have finished their studies, but they don’t have jobs. Every load I transport, I only get 400,000 rials (approx. $4).”

“They ask me to carry 100-kilogram loads. I no longer have the strength to carry this load. They give me 50,000 rials (approx. $5). What can I buy with this kind of pay?” says another porter. “The employer tells me I have to carry three loads. I can’t carry that much. I can only carry one.”

In addition to becoming the victims of violent attacks by IRGC forces, the poor porters of the Kurdistan region also fall prey to mine that remains in the area from the Iran-Iraq war era.

According to reports by international human rights organizations, more than 70 porters have died in attacks by military forces and dozens of others have been injured.

Alone in the first two months of 2018, at least 32 porters were killed or injured, and this does not account the many people who die of mine explosions.

The Iranian regime sees attacks on the porters as the easiest way to suppress the Iranian people and their demands for economic prosperity and freedom. The Iranian regime is killing and suppressing the porters for a crime that is a byproduct of its own corrupt economic policies.

The issue of state-led smuggling has become so problematic that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of the Iranian regime, has called the IRGC networks the “smuggling brothers” and Hassan Rouhani, the current president, calls them the “weaponless government.”