Iran: August Marked by Hundreds of Protests

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A group of people hold a gathering and raise a banner reading "End the poverty, corruption, discrimination, and injustice."
A group of people hold a gathering and raise a banner reading “End the poverty, corruption, discrimination, and injustice.”

By Pooya Stone

During the month of August, there were at least 331 protests held in 82 cities across the country, averaging around eight per day.

The majority of the protests were people expressing their anger at the economic difficulties they have been left with. Many of the protests were planned and lasted several days.

Oil and gas workers, as well as petrochemical workers, have been holding protests because of their overdue salaries and benefits, the lack of job security they have because of temporary contracts, and the difficult and dangerous working conditions that they are subjected to.

Employers have tried to stop the strike by making false promises but the workers have vowed to remain on strike until their demands have been responded to in full.

Industrial workers in dozens of cities also held protests. Many were calling for the payment of their overdue salaries including workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company in the city of Shush in south-western Iran who continued to strike for the whole month.

Retired workers also took to the streets to draw attention to the very low pensions that they receive which are often paid late. Their situation has degraded over the past few years because of increasing prices, inflation and a dire economy that is making their lives very difficult. Pensioners gathered in 14 cities, including the capital Tehran as well as Ilam, Mashhad, Isfahan, Tabriz, and Ahvaz.

Retirees of Social Security Organization continue their rallies protesting officials' inattention to their dire living conditions
Retirees of Social Security Organization continue their rallies protesting officials’ inattention to their dire living conditions

Teachers in several cities also protested for a number of reasons including low wages, their employment status and the government’s neglect to ensure that they are given formal working contracts from the Ministry of Education.

University students have been very active during the month of August. Traditionally students have played major roles in protests – not just in Iran but around the entire world. They are the new generation that will be most affected by certain situations and they have a huge motivation to bring great change.

During August, students in Isfahan protested about the bad treatment they have been subjected to by officials of the university. In Rasht, medical students also gathered because of their pre-internship exams.

Other sectors were also protesting last month, including farmers, defrauded creditors, families of people killed when the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) shot down the Ukrainian flight at the beginning of the year, medical workers, families of political prisoners, and many more.

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Nurses, doctors and many other medical workers such as midwives, caregivers, and so on, were protesting in a number of cities. Many of them were demanding the payment of their overdue wages. Nurses were also protesting against the very low wages that they receive and are calling for more respect for their profession. Emergency doctors were also calling for their wages to be reviewed.

The frequency of protests in Iran is increasing compared to a few years ago and the people’s anger is palpable. During the previous month, there were 237 recorded protests, so from one month to the next, there has been a huge rise in the number of people speaking out against the ruling system.