Reported by PMOI/MEK
Iran, Nov. 27, 2018 - As the protests of the brave workers of Haft Tapeh sugar mill in Shush, Khuzestan, stretched into their third week, they are earning the growing admiration and support of Iranians across the country who have equally been suffering from the corrupt policies of the ruling regime. The workers of Haft Tapeh demand the payment of their months-overdue salaries and the ouster of corrupt private owners.
The workers are also demanding the release of their colleagues who have been detained by the Iranian regime’s security forces.
However, while Haft Tapeh has been in the limelight in the past weeks, it has also turned into a national front and a cause for unity among the worker class of Iran who have been disenfranchised and deprived of their most basic rights because of the corrupt policies of the ruling elite. More recently, the workers of Travertan mines in Abas Abad, Isfahan, expressed their support for the demands of the workers of Haft Tapeh. Travertan is one of many unions, syndicates, and worker organizations that have thrown their support behind Haft Tapeh.
The movement of Haft Tapeh workers has also earned international acclaim. Recently, the International Labor Organization supported the demands of the workers of Haft Tapeh and called for the immediate release of detained workers.
Meanwhile, there’s growing tension in other factories, worker communities and among other walks of life in Iran, who are all dissatisfied with the deteriorating economic situation that is the direct result of the policies of the Iranian regime. The growing solidarity between the different communities has become a source of increasing concern for Iranian regime authorities.
During the recent protests, the Iranian regime’s security forces arrested at least 20 workers. The regime was later forced to release most of them because of the continuation of the protests and the growing wave of solidarity across Iran with the workers of Haft Tapeh.
Karim Yavari, an Iranian official from the Labor Ministry, claimed that the demands of Haft Tapeh will soon be fulfilled. In comments published by state-run Mehr news agency, Yavari said the workers have received one month’s worth of pay. This is a fraction of the salaries the factory owes to the workers.
Yavari also claimed that the rest of overdue salaries very soon. Interestingly, in a separate interview with the state-run ILNA news agency, Yavari shamelessly said, “Even after paying a month’s worth of salaries, the workers continue their protests and make demands because of their lack of trust toward their employers.”
The government insists that workers return to their jobs immediately to harvest the 35 thousand tons of sugarcane that Haft Tapeh is estimated to produce this year. But the workers, who have felt the bitter taste of betrayal by Iranian regime officials, will not break their strike, which has become their sole means of achieving their demands. That’s why they continue to take to the streets day after day.
Alireza Mahjoub, a member of the Iranian regime’s parliament, admitted to the regime’s failed efforts to solve the problems of the workers of Haft Tapeh in an interview with the state-run Tabnak news website. “Our efforts to resolve the issues of the workers of Haft Tapeh have been fruitless. We have ruined the country through this kind of privatization,” Mahjoub said.
In the past decades, the Iranian regime has sold some of the public sector facilities to private owners, many of whom are linked to regime officials and abuse their position for embezzlement and increasing their own wealth. Haft Tapeh is a stark example of such privatization practices. One of the main demands of the workers of Haft Tapeh is the ouster of regime-linked private owners who have pushed the sugarcane factory toward bankruptcy and are threatening the livelihoods of the thousands of workers the factory employs.
Mahjoub also added, “Our acquisition laws have been designed for maximum profitability. Haft Tapeh is just one of the thousands of cases that we’re seeing today. I can produce a list of 2,000 such acquisitions that have fundamental problems and will soon cause larger problems for the government.”
Mahjoub is not the only regime authority warning against the explosive state of the Iranian society. Bahar, another state-run website, recently wrote, “Authorities claim to solve problems, but bring up short-lived solutions and only want to temporarily shut down protests, which are now being heard in Khuzestan.”
Mahmoud Sadeghi, another MP from the so-called reformist camp, warned about the “mistrust crisis” in a recent interview with Ebtekar newspaper. “If the moderate, reformist and principalist authorities don’t succeed in solving these problems and reduce the pressure from the lives of the people, the government’s legitimacy will be faced with a serious challenge,” Sadeghi said. “And not a single group or movement but the entire regime will suffer the consequences of that challenge.”
Sadeghi also criticized Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani’s “hope therapy,” which basically means giving hope to people without fulfilling any promises. “To our government officials, I say why are you trying to keep people living in dreams? We have to warn our people that tough days are ahead.”
Masoud Pezeshkian, the deputy speaker of the Iranian regime’s parliament, insisted on the lack of trust in the society and indirectly blamed Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the regime. “The wave of mistrust stems from the behavior of our own officials,” Pezeshkian warned. “The people who hold power must decide.”