Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, May 30, 2021—While Iranian state media repeatedly warn that declining economic conditions can have serious repercussions for the regime, protests over intolerable work and living conditions continue in different cities across the country.
On May 30, the state-run Aftab-e Yazd daily quoted several regime analysts who expressed concern that the candidates in the regime’s upcoming sham presidential elections are “out of touch with the people” and wrote, “It’s as if giving promises that can’t be fulfilled has become a ceremonious art of the elections. Sometimes, it appears that the officials who live in this society have no understanding of the conditions surrounding them.”
Aftab-e Yazd quoted another expert who said, “Our country has not developed in any dimensions, including social, political, economic, etc. The people can’t even properly express their problems and protest. Half of our society is facing poverty, and social problems are very expansive. During the elections season, issues are being raised that people don’t care about.”
Meanwhile, Sunday saw another round of protests by contract teachers working at so-called “non-profit” schools in front of the Majlis (parliament) in Tehran. Non-profit schools in Iran are run by very wealthy people, usually with links to regime officials, and get huge sums from students’ families. However, many of the teachers who are working at these schools are complaining about their most basic rights.
According to the protesting teachers, their salaries are often reduced to a third of the salary of official teachers, and they are deprived of job benefits, including insurance.
The protesters are demanding the Majlis to address the work conditions of thousands of contract teachers and force the education ministry to officially employ these teachers.
According to the protesters, most contract teachers have Bachelor’s and even Master’s degrees and have several years of experience of work, but they are currently in the worse employment conditions.
In tandem with the protest in Tehran, a group of contract teachers in Isfahan province held a protest rally in front of the offices of the education ministry and demanded official contracts and the resolution of the many problems they’re facing at work.
Also on Sunday, retired employees of the steel industry held protest rallies in several cities, including Tehran, Isfahan, Ahvaz, and West Alborz. The protesters are demanding a raise in their pensions and the adjustment of their salaries based on inflation and currency depreciation.
On Saturday, a group of farmers in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, held a protest rally at the Salman water canal and prevented the agents of the Water and Electricity Organization from closing the canal. This canal provides potable and irrigation water to at least 30 villages in the area. Closing the canal will make a difficult life even harder for the people living in these villages.
On the same day, a group of rice farmers in Khuzestan held a protest rally in front of the provincial governorate office. The farmers are protesting their lack of access to irrigation water, caused by government mismanagement in the region.
The government has banned these farmers from planting rice for the season. According to the farmers, each acre of farmable land creates five jobs. By depriving these farmers from access to water, the government is condemning thousands of people to unemployment and destroying the only means these people have to earn their keep.
The unjustified creation of dams on the Karun river in the region is the main reason the farmers are facing water shortages.
Khuzestan is one of several provinces that are faced with water shortages due to government policies. The farmers of Isfahan province are also constantly struggling with water shortages and are regularly protesting government policies in this regard.
On Sunday, the Arman newspaper published a column in this regard and wrote, “This is a struggle that, according to some, is rooted in the inefficiency of government officials in managing water sources and has resulted in the destruction of the lives of many citizens who rely on these water sources to make a living.”
On Saturday, the personnel of the Khomeini hospital in Karaj held a protest rally in front of the hospital. The workers, who have been regularly protesting in the past weeks, are complaining from very difficult living conditions. They are demanding the payment of delayed wages, insurance premiums, and job security. It is not clear who the future owner of the hospital will be, a fact that the workers of the hospital are worried about.