In recent months, employees and workers of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Complex in Khuzestan province; HEPCO, Azar-Ab, and Aramco in Markazi province; nurses, and many others from different walks of life launched strikes and protests. They demand to receive their salaries, unpaid for several months.
On November 13, municipal workers of Loushan county in Gilan province, northern Iran, raised their voice, demanding their unpaid salaries. “In the past eight months, we have just received payment for two months, meaning our salaries have delayed for five months. Two months ago, in his inauguration ceremony, the new mayor vowed that he would pay our paychecks. However, after two months, there has been no action,” one of the protesting workers said, according to the ILNA news agency.
Instead, the government either uses security forces and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to quell protests, or silences workers by threatening them with dismissal, arrest, or imprisonment.
This is while these impoverished workers have run the country’s production cycle for decades. They have spent most of their lives to keep Iran’s economy going. But their compensation has been nothing but poverty, suppression, and living pressures. On the other hand, their monthly salaries are one-fifth of the poverty line announced by the Parliament (Majlis) labor law in April.
Their employers, many of whom are backed by the government and relatives of government officials, do not pay the paychecks of workers and leave them in more misery. These facts prompt workers to raise their voices for their inherent rights and not give in to more pressure.
After months of arguments, officials finally admitted to raising the workers' monthly wages from $114 to $146.
The ayatollahs refuse to raise Iranian workers' payment while they pay at least $1,500 to each foreign combatant who fights Syrian protesters to hold al-Assad in power. pic.twitter.com/4NsHogxBOi
— Iran Focus (@Iran_Focus) June 1, 2020
In this respect, workshop personnel of Azad-rah Kariz company of the city of Rudbar in Gilan province held a rally on Thursday, November 5, demanding their three-month arrears.
Furthermore, on November 2, around 1,000 lifeguards working on the Caspian Sea coast protested delays in their salaries, according to ILNA.
On October 18, a group of workers of Serish-Abad municipality from the environs of Qorveh city in Kurdistan province held a rally, protesting non-paying their salaries and arrears, ILNA reported on the same day.
Also, the secretary-general of Nursing Home Mohammad Sharifi-Moghaddam criticized the budgets spent on different sectors under the name of nurses. “Many nurses ask which one of these multi-billion-dollar budgets have been distributed precisely and based on fairness?” Isfahan Emrouz website quoted Sharifi-Moghaddam as saying on October 31.
How Does the Government Respond to Complains?
However, the workers are faced with suppression, threats to dismissal, and even detention in response to their vital demands. For instance, in a joint plan, the government and judiciary have detained many activists of the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane complex and issued long-term prison sentences for them.
Iranian authorities practically consider no right for their own people despite spending billions of dollars’ worth of Iran’s national assets on exporting terrorism and warmongering in the Middle East and around the world. Instead, they crack down on any objections and economic grievances with violence.
A year ago, these days, the IRGC and security forces killed at least 1,500 citizens who had taken onto the streets to protests gas price hikes. Security forces also detained thousands more and transferred them to dungeons and safe houses controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), where many detainees lost their lives under torture.
On September 2, Amnesty International published damning details provided through interviews with around 60 detained protesters. They recounted how authorities, interrogators, and judicial officials used inhuman torture and other ill-treatment to force them to make televised confessions.
Moreover, the government incites ethnic conflicts in other countries, such as Yemen. “Tehran’s regime has spent hundred-millions of dollars to aid Houthis in Yemen and has equipped them with ballistic missiles, drones, and the technology of explosive speedboats,” Al-Hurra website reported on October 20.
“In recent years, Iran has spent around $100 million per year to support Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups… Tehran’s regime has also boosted the Lebanese Hezbollah with military technology and an annual monetary aid valued at $700 million,” Al-Hurra added.
Also, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft blamed Iranian authorities for involving in Yemen’s conflicts. “For six years, Iran has fueled conflict, bloodshed, and misery in Yemen through its financial and military support to the Houthis. The Iranian regime’s involvement has undermined prospects for peace and made hunger, disease, and desperation a daily reality for millions of Yemenis,” she tweeted on October 29.
For six years, Iran has fueled conflict, bloodshed and misery in Yemen through its financial and military support to the Houthis. The Iranian regime’s involvement has undermined prospects for peace and made hunger, disease and desperation a daily reality for millions of Yemenis.
— Ambassador Kelly Craft (@USAmbUN) October 29, 2020
Of course, the mentioned expenditures are separated from the government’s ongoing expenses in Syria, Iraq, and other regional states. However, the people of Iran frequently rejected the government’s influence in other countries, chanting, “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life is for Iran,” and “Let go of Syria, think about us.”
In such circumstances, officials from both factions feel public wrath against their mismanagement, economic failures, and costly aggressive policies imposed skyrocketing expenditures on society.
In this respect, they time and again warn each other about igniting a new round of protests. However, the government that has disturbed public trust and has responded to any cry with bullets knows no way but intensifying suppression, which paves the way for more protests.