Teachers in more than 100 cities across Iran held three days of strikes and protests from Saturday to Monday, protesting the regime’s refusal to address their most basic needs.
Working and retired teachers are demanding the implementation of the “classification plan,” the adjustment of retired teachers’ salaries, education reform, and the addressing of other basic problems they are facing.
On Monday, protests were reported in Tehran, Yazd, Kermanshah, Ahvaz, Kerman, Qom, Babol, Shiraz, Isfahan, Rasht, Qazvin, Tabriz, Arak, Sanandaj, Ardebil, Mashhad, Semnan, and dozens of other cities.
The teachers held placards that read, “Free education is the undeniable right of all students,” “Teachers don’t belong in prison,” “Imprisoned teachers must be freed,” “Strikes, assemblies are our undeniable right,” “Education justice, implementation of the classification bill,” “Teachers are fed up with discrimination.”
In Tehran, security guards attacked teachers who had gathered in front of the Majlis (Parliament), but the teachers resisted and continued their protests.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), praised the teachers and their protests and urged students and other Iranians to join the teachers in their just demands.
“This is an uprising for justice, freedom, and national sovereignty vs. a predatory regime that has destroyed all of Iran’s wealth and assets,” Mrs. Rajavi said.
The Iranian Teachers Coordination Council had declared the nationwide strikes last week, calling on teachers to avoid going to class on Saturday and Sunday.
According to a statement by the Council, “On the one hand, the government and Majlis have obstructed the complete implementation of the salary adjustment plan for retired teachers, and on the other hand, they want to ruin the classification plan for working teachers with a 125 trillion rial budget in the Majlis.”
The government has only allocated 250 trillion rials to the classification plan. Therefore, in the current year, only 125 trillion rials will go to the teachers’ needs and the rest has been postponed to the next Persian year (starting in mid-March) and predicated on having enough funds. According to the regime’s own experts, the plan needs at least 500 trillion rials.
The classification plan states that teachers should be divided into five classes and their salaries must be adjusted accordingly.
On Sunday, regime president Ebrahim Raisi handed the budget plan for the upcoming Persian year to the Majlis. While the needs of teachers, government employees, retirees, and millions of other Iranians are unmet in the plan, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) is being bolstered with a 240-percent increase in its budget. The regime’s state-run propaganda apparatus is also receiving a 58-percent boost to its budget.
Teachers have been regularly protesting the regime’s disregard to their problems. The regime delayed the ratification of the classification legislation for several months. Now that it has been ratified, it is only addressing a meager part of the problems the teachers are facing, which is why they are back in the streets to reclaim their rights. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the speaker of the Majlis, has declared that the 250 trillion budget was declared by the government and it won’t be changed.
The Teachers Coordination Council also declared that legislation for adjusting the salaries of retired teachers has been given to the Majlis in summer but has yet to be discussed in parliamentary sessions. Some reports indicate that MPs are circulating petitions to prevent the legislation from being ratified.
The Iranian regime is literally stealing from the country’s teachers by maintaining their salaries at a low level. Many teachers have committed suicide in recent years due to poverty and not being able to provide for their basic needs. A previous statement from the Iranian Teachers Coordination Council cited various such accounts of teachers taking their lives.