The Uprising in Iran, and Why It will Continue
by Navid Felker
As the year turned for 2017 to 2018, massive protests erupted throughout Iran. They began in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, the second largest city in Iran, and spread across the county at a shocking pace.
Prices of basic staples sparked the uprising, but it became political in a matter of just a few hours. It quickly became evident that this was more significant than a protest, but instead a reflection of deeper, more profound anti-regime sentiments.
Tehran responded to the uprising with brutality. Officially, 22 protesters were killed. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, however, says that some 50 protesters were killed. According to the head of the Prisons Organization, they registered 4,972 arrests. Again, the opposition put the number of detainees at closer to 8,000 and this may be a conservative estimate.
On January 31 and February 1, protests and strikes by laborers and victims of theft and fraud by state institutions broke out again, with similar slogans that rejected the regime in its entirety. The protests caught most experts and Iran analysts in the West by surprise.
The Rebellion in Iran: A Comprehensive Assessment
MIDDLE EASTThe Rebellion in Iran: A Comprehensive Assessment Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan
In late December 2017 and in January 2018, massive protests erupted throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran. The largest countrywide uprising since 2009 started in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, the second largest city in Iran, and a few towns on December 28, and spread to some 142 cities and towns in all 31 provinces at a shocking pace.
The uprising was prompted by runaway prices of some of the most basic staples, such as eggs, but became political in a matter of just a few hours.
On the morning of December 29, protests emerged in the western city of Kermanshah, the center of the province of Kermanshah,which was struck by an earthquake in November. It quickly became evident that what was happening was more significant than a short-lived protest – limited to a particular region of the country – but rather a reflection of deeper, more profound anti-regime sentiments.
Workers' Protests Against Iran Regime’s Officials Across the Country
Speech of Ali Rabiee, Rouhani’s Minister of Labour, in the ceremony of February 12, in Qa'em Shahr, was interrupted by the protest of a retired worker against the regime. The furious worker interrupted Rabiee’s speech and, addressing him and other regime agents, said: "We have been working hard for 37 years, we did a revolution, our revolution went to the hands of the unjust, they came using the name of Islam, and there is no one to hold them accountable. I get a salary of one million and a five hundred thousand tomans ($300) , with four family members, I buy my own medicines, social security says, it's not our commitment ... The representatives who are gabbling here ... We say no to lip service! ... Every day they give us hollow promises.
The intelligence agents repeatedly tried to silence the worker, but he continued. The henchman Ali Rabiee, who has been the deputy minister of intelligence and among the highest security elements and suppressor of the workers for many years, first tried to silence him with deception, but the poor worker ignored. Rabiei responded shamelessly to this worker who said that he was eating bread and cheese for 37 years, by saying "What do you think we eat? We eat the same bread and cheese."
Strikes, Protests and Gatherings; Continue Against Iran Regime
The strike of agricultural workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane continued for sixth day in protest of failure to pay their three months' salary. Workers from other parts of the Haft Tapeh sugar cane also joined these workers and gathered in front of the management office. Workers who retired a year ago also joined the strike workers on Monday. By closing the gates of agriculture yards, the workers prevented the exit of loading trailers. The day before, scores of repressive forces occupied the factory, and by attacking the workers and arresting a number of them, were submissively trying to put an end to the protests.
1. Retirees of the Steel and Mine Industries of Esfahan gathered in front of the retirement office, and protested the non-payment of their demands by chanting “One less embezzlement - our problem is solved”.
2. The retirees of the Steel and Mine Industries gathered in Ahvaz opposite the Governorate. They chanted: "The non-operational self-sufficient credit union is to be dissolved", "Astronomical salaries; public misery", "Yesterday’s craftsmen, Today's Displaced people."
3. The workers of the Hepco factory in Arak continued their protest for eight months unpaid salaries, which began on Monday morning at the factory on Monday morning. Their protest continued from 18:30H, along with hundreds of people who joined them and formed a human chain, in the National Garden Square.
4. A group of Ziraab retirees (Mazandaran province) gathered in protest against the non-payment of their demands.
5. Workers of the Shafarood Forest Company in Rezvanshahr continued their previous day’s protest for failure to pay five months of their salaries.
6. At the Chukka Factory in Talesh, workers protested the non-payment of four months' salary and stopping production of the factory. The hand written banners of these workers read: "Imagine four months without salary."
7. A group of workers from the Rangin Nakh cotton factory in Semnan set up a protest rally in front of the governor's office in protest against the non-payment of their salary, benefits and years of service.
8. The NoBonyad Metro workers stopped working in Tehran in protest to non-payment of eight months of their arrears.
9. The crane owners in Birjand gathered in front of the governorate of Birjand in protest of the problems that the regime is creating for their vehicle fuel quotas.
10. In Khorramabad, a group of looted Taxi Development project gathered and protested in front of the freight and passenger transportation organization.
11. Taxi drivers in the new city of Andisheh in Shahriar stopped working and went on strike in protest of their livelihood.
12. Dismissed employees of the Caspian State Institution in Mashhad gathered in front of the Khayyam Branch in protest of their dismissal.
13. The members of the families of workers and crew who lost their lives in the Sanchi tanker fire gathered in front of the regime's parliament in Tehran. They want the return of the bodies of their loved ones to Iran.
HEPCO Workers in Arak Staged a Protest Rally, Supported by People
On Monday morning, February 5, about a thousand workers of Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) marched on the streets of Arak. In recent months, these workers have repeatedly stopped working and demonstrated in protest of non-payment of their salaries for eight months. A large number of people in Arak rallied in support of the workers.
The deprived workers chanted slogans regarding their dire living conditions.
Workers repeated their rally at the Arak National Garden on Monday evening, with hundreds of people joining them.
The Iranian Resistance salutes the brave workers of HEPCO, and calls on all the people, especially the youth of Arak, to show their support and solidarity with them, and calls on labor syndicates and unions as well as international labor rights advocates to condemn the anti-labor and repressive policies of the mullahs’ regime and to support the striking workers.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran February 5, 2018
Protest of the deprived classes, uprising throughout the country, on the eve of the anniversary of the 1979 revolution
On Thursday, February 1, on the first day of the 10-day ceremony of the regime on the occasion of the thirty-ninth anniversary of the theft of the Iranian revolution, the rising people in different cities of the country expressed their dislike of the regime of Velayat-e faqih. The people of Tehran and many cities came to the streets with slogans of death to Khamenei, death to the dictator, in spite of the alert of the repressive forces, and burned down images and banners of Khamenei and Khomeini, as well as many government and repression centres. Meanwhile, on February 1, protests by workers and other deprived groups continued like past days:
1. A group of workers who had gone to the Worker’s House in Tehran, affiliated with the mullahs regime, to protest the conditions of their livelihoods and non-payment of their wages for months, got into conflict with the regime's agents there.
2. The new round of strike of the Haft Tapeh sugar cane workers went on for the second day. The agents of the repressive police force went to the site to prevent the spread of protests outside the factory and the city.
3. In Qazvin, a group of workers rallied in front of the governorate in protest of the non-payment of their salaries for several months.
4. In Boein Zahra (Qazvin), workers of the Arian Steel Plant protested for the second time in front of the tax office of the city against the firing of 500 workers of the factory, as well as taxing from the workers' pocket.
5. Workers and employees of the Borujerd Municipality gathered for the fifth consecutive day in protest of non-payment of their eight months' salary in front of the city's central municipality.
6. In Sardar-e-Jangal street of Rasht, there was a clash between shopkeepers and street vendors and the road blocking agents when the regime's repressive agents attacked deprived vendors.
7. The people of Dezli village in Oramanat (Kurdistan province) objected to the suppressive forces attacking the village and blocking the border crossing point of Molkhord where porters cross. The agents of the regime besieged the village. On the other hand, people also blocked their commute to Oramanat.
8. The business owners of the destroyed Plasco building gathered in front of the municipality of Tehran, chanting 'Death or Plasco'.
9. Workers at Aran Sijj Factory in Shahriar, who have not received any salary for 8 months, protested.
10. Fired workers of the Gachsaran oil and gas exploitation company held a protest rally in front of the city's governorate.
11. The looted people of the Badr Toos Institute in Mashhad gathered in front of the radio and television station.
12. The looted people of Caspian State Institution gathered in front of the central branch of the institute on Africa streets in Tehran.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran February 2, 2018
Protest Gathering of the Railways Workers Enters 10th Day
The guild protest of the railroad workers in the Dorood region in the province of Lorestan (western Iran), which started 10 days ago, continued on Tuesday January 30.
According to the state-run ILNA news agency on January 30, one of the railroad workers announced the news on the gathering of the workers and said: “We are about 150 rail workers who have been working in Dorood region under the responsibility of Travers Company with high record of working years.”
According to him, the Traverse Company as the employer has not paid the workers wage arrears including three months of unpaid salary and four months insurance premium under the pretext of financial problems. For this reason, workers have stopped working in the maintenance of the lines 10 days ago and have gathered at their workplace to follow their legitimate demands.
“The workers want to determine the status of their outstanding claims payment. Until now, the district directors of Dorood in Lorestan province have not given a clear answer to our demands,” the worker said.
According to him, the current management of Travers, with irregular payment of wages and premiums for about 7,000 workers in the railroad districts of the country, has created problems for their families leaving them at a disadvantage.
“Beside the railroad workers of Dorood district, our colleagues in other province have also regularly stage protest against non-payment of their wages,” he said.
“Apart from the delay in paying the workers’ wages and insurance premium,” the railways worker said adding, “the employer deducts a monthly payment from the worker's salary for supplementary insurance, but we do not benefit from the supplementary insurance because the employer did not deposit the supplementary payment into the insurance company's account.”
According to him, in the past months, a large number of Travers employees with long work records have been laid off by the employer under the pretext of reducing the current expenses.
Travers is subsidiary of the National Railroad Company that manages railway line maintenance.
According to the state-run ILNA news agency, in the ensuing of the past three week’s protest gatherings by a group of Kiancord Factory workers across the factory building, on Tuesday morning, January 30, the workers also held a similar gathering in front of the governorate building in Malayer.
The number of the protesters who are “Kiancord Factory employees” in the city of Malayer, Hamadan province, is estimated to be up to 250 workers.
According to the protesting workers, during the gatherings in the past few days, the provincial officials in a meeting with the workers promised to address their problems in the coming days, but in practice nothing has happened yet.
They say that “although we are optimistic about the promise, but having received only one month of the six-month wage arrears, we cannot abandon our pursuit because of livelihood difficulties, and so today we have decided to go to the Malayer’s governorate.”
The 3500 Iranian steelmakers’ strike in Ahvaz enters its fifth day
The strike of 3,500 workers from the Iranian National Steel Industrial Group in Ahvaz, which began on January 23, entered its fifth day. They are protesting failure to pay their three months' salary and benefits and false employer promises, and demand payment of wages and social security premiums and their supplementary insurance.
Workers suffer from the shortage of basic work facilities and needs . They have also warned against restoring the previous corrupt management of this industrial unit, which has caused the current deterioration of the factory and workers. Protest workers say that despite the fact that the production lines are active, the plunderers are ignoring workers by giving hollow promises. The regime's agents are trying to force the workers to break the strike by threatening them to record their absences, depriving employees of the benefits, expulsion and identifying them to repressive organs.
With over 54 years of experience, the Iranian National Steel Industrial Group is a specialized manufacturer of large craft products with a capacity of over 3,000 people.
The huge factory, which during the anti-patriotic war with Iraq, was providing the needs of the war used by the Revolutionary Guards, including the production of mortars, was privatized in 2009, and following the revelation of a 3000 billion Tomans embezzlement of in 2011 for its massive debts, was handed over to the Bank Melli. The Melli Bank also plundered 400 million tomans proceeds of the sale of manufactured goods, and auctioned it at a low price in March 20 16.
The owner of Ahvaz Steel, who also owns the Zagros Airlines, Esteghlal Sport Club in Khouzestan, and Dariush Hotel in Kish Island and has usurped billions of dollars of the assets of the Iranian people, refuses to pay the salaries and benefits of the deprived Ahvaz steel workers. Meanwhile he has just announced the purchase of 28 Airbus planes (IRNA news agency – June 22, 2017).
The production of the National Iranian Steel Group has dropped by 10% due to the looting of its capital by the Revolutionary Guards and other government agents and the regular layoffs of the workers (Qods force Tasnim News Agency-December 4, 2017). The workers of this huge economic hub of the country, despite working in difficult circumstances, have been deprived of their low wages, which do not even provide the basic needs of them and their families, and every few months, they go on strike to achieve their rights.
The Iranian Resistance salutes the honorable and hardworking workers of the National Iranian Steel Group in Ahvaz, and calls on the general public, especially workers throughout the country, for unity and solidarity with them and to stand against the plunderers of national assets and robbers of the toilers, and calls on all labor unions to condemn oppression and repression against Iranian workers.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran January 27, 2017
Strikes and protests among various walks of society, continues across the country
1. On Tuesday, January 16, the protest of 220 workers of Tabriz Tractor-Sazi factory continued after more than a month. They are protesting for no payment of their salaries after 10 months and closing down the factory. They started their protest on Thursday, December 14.
2. The strike of the workers of 22, 23, and 24 phases of the South Pars oil and gas refiery continued for the second day. Their strike is for no payment of their salaries after four months. Workers closed down the company’s doors and announced that they would continue their strike until their salaries are paid. The agents of the regime's repressive forces, including police forces, intelligence, and plain- clothes agents attacked deprived workers and harmed them. The regime's agents sent all workers on forced leave for a week and promised to pay their salaries after they returned.
3. In Tehran, a group of workers working in the Persian Gulf Transportation Company gathered in front of the building of the Stock Exchange Company in the Vanak Square of Tehran in protest at late payment of their salaries. They came from their work, in Islamshahr, to Tehran on Tuesday morning.
4. A group of retired teachers in Tehran gathered outside the Ministry of Education to protest no payment of their salaries after four months. The protesters also objected to the arrest of teachers. They carried a banner which said “Teacher should be in a classroom, not in jail”.
5. In Qazvin, workers of ‘Iran-Qooti’ gathered in front of the Social Security Administration and protested for no payment of their salaries over nine months.
6. The people plundered by Caspian institute in Rasht, gathered in the cold and rainy weather, to protest the looting of their deposits by this institute which is affiliated to the IRGC. On the same day, the plundered people of Abhar held a protest gathering too.
7. On Monday, January 15, workers of Zhian Company at Rezvanshahr in Gilan Province continued their strike for the eighth day in protest at the regime’s no payment of their salaries after seven months and their insurance for several months.
8. Workers of the Mirza Kuchak Khan Sugar factory in Ahwaz also stopped working in protest against the regime’s agents’ failure to hire domestic workers.
9. Nearly 600 contract workers of the Gorgan Railroad continued protest rally for the third day in protest at the regime’s no payment of their salaries and insurance.
10. The workers of the Urmia Steel Group gathered in front of the Governorate in protest of no payment of their salaries for one year.
11. A number of people plundered by the Badrtus Institute in Mashhad gathered outside the regime’s radio and television in protest at the looting of their deposits.
12. On Sunday, January 14, the employees of the Hami-Mehrbanoo Company and Barg-Zaytoon club gathered in front of the company's office in Tehran in protest of their rights violations.
13. A group of municipality contractors also held a gathering to protest outside the Tehran City Council at not having received their delayed demands.
14. On the same day in Shahrud, some 600 coal miners of Tarzeh gathered to protest for no payment of their salaries after two months.
15. The Kian Kurd workers in Malayer protested on Malayer Road against the no payment of their salaries after five months and their advantages after two years.
16. Immunodeficiency patients gathered in front of the Ministry of Health in Tehran to protest against the increase in the price of IVIG drugs from 120 thousand tomans to 400 thousand tomans. These patients should take this medicine on monthly basis and for a lifetime.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran January 17, 2018
Assassination Attempt on Workers’ Representative of Iran’s Main Sugarcane Company, for Leading a Strike
The workers of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Agri-Industrial Company in the city of Shush (Khuzestan Province) once again went on strike in protest against the non-payment of their salaries and demands. The recent strike of the Haft Tapeh workers follows the last month protest that ended conditionally on December 14, 2017, with the payment of one month salary and the promise of regime officials to address other demands of the workers. Workers demanded payment of five months' wages and insurance premiums, as well as payment of the salaries of contracting workers for 2015 and 2016. Failure to implement the promises of regime officials and the predatory employer has forced the deprived workers of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company to go on strike again.
The recent strike, which began on January 14 at the Machinery Maintenance Bureau, quickly swept through all parts of the plant. Managing director Kazemi, as always, tried to deceive the workers and break the strike by hollow promises. He distributed among a number of protesters a month's unpaid salary. But the workers' representatives defended the workers and exposed the slavish conditions imposed on them and emphasized the need for workers to stand up for their rights. Ismail Bakhshi, a representative of the workers, called the work conditions in the factory as slavery, and in reference to the foolish statements of the Friday Imam of the mullahs in Tehran, who called the rising people in the January uprising as “garbage”, said: If a worker speaks up against all this pressure, an idiot official goes to the podium and says the protesters are garbage. You are the garbage that the Iranian people are disgusted of you. The day our people bring you down, you will know who the garbage is. Workers' representatives addressed the regime's managers and agents in the city of Shush, saying: "Do not scare us from dismissal. Life with dignity is better than living with flattery and humiliation."
Strike at Iran’s Main Sugarcane Factory
The Workers Union of Haft-tapeh Sugarcane Company announced that workers of the unit have staged strike on Monday, December 25, in protest against wage arrears and the company’s failure to pay five months unpaid salary.
One of the Haft-tapeh Sugar Cane workers said the number of striking workers was more than 1,000 people, saying they are unhappy with the unreliability and false promises of the private employer of the sugarcane company.
Workers at the Haft-tapeh Sugarcane staged a strike on January 7, 2017, but they terminated their strike following the employer's promise to fulfill their demands. However, they announced that they would strike again in case of false promises and if their demands are not met.
The strike on January 7 was held after the promises and commitment of the sugarcane private employer were not materialized following the large six-day strike of the unit's workers in December.
The workers have repeatedly been rallying and striking in protest of their situation, including wage arrears and non-payment of their salaries and premiums for months. The protests have intensified since the transfer of this unit to the private sector.
One of the workers said: “The workers of the Haft-tapeh Sugarcane Company, like the workers of many other companies such as Azarab and Hepco in Arak, Tractor Manufacturing in Tabriz, Kian Tire, Steel Industries, and many phases of Assaluyeh and petrochemical industry are faced with a large number of problems. Their wages are paid only after long delays.”
Meanwhile, the workers' union of Haft-tapehep sugarcane in its telegram channel announced the beating of Esmail Bakhshi, a representative of the workers. The workers union wrote that “Mr. Bkhshi was brutally attacked and beaten by a few masked men following his speech and after he was going home in the city of Dezful.”
According to the report, the worker was rescued by people, and “the masked gangs fled the area with their vehicles after they saw the people and Mr. Bakhshi’s resistance.”
However, according to the workers' union, Ismail Bakhshi, "has faced with dislocation and tear of the left shoulder region", but his physical and general health condition is good. The Workers’ Union of Haft-tapeh Sugarcane condemned the attack on Esmail Bakhshi.
Strike in Iran's Southern Pars Oil & Gas Refinery
Thursday January 4, 2018. The workers and staff of the prominent Iranian Oil & Gas Southern Pars refinery in the city of Asaluyeh, the capital of Asaluyeh County, in Bushehr Province Southern Iran, went on Strike.
It is notable that three days ago on Monday January 1, 2018 , in line with the nationwide protests against Iranian regime, the headquarter of the people’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) had called for strike in the oil industry in addition to military and ammunition production industries as a necessary and vital step to cripple the Iranian regime.