Labor protests, strikes widen in Ahwaz as Iran’s regime implements harsh policies



Laborers in the improvised Arab region of Ahwaz, annexed by Iran in the 1920s, are increasing their protests and strikes as the regime continues to delay their wages, as stated by sources affiliated with the Iranian opposition.

According to the sources, the regime's forces have arrested several workers in the national company of steel. They have been protesting the delay of wages that continued for months.

"Security forces prevented 300 workers from establishing the Friday prayer to protest in front of the Friday prayer leader and Khamenei's representative in Al Ahwaz Mohammed Ali al-Jazairi," Sudabah Rakhsh, an activist and journalist for the reformist Sharq newspaper, wrote on her Twitter account.

In a related context, the Free Trade Union of Iran announced more than 10 workers from the Iranian National Steel Group in Ahwaz have been arrested," noting that "these workers were transferred to the central prison in the Arab region."

The deteriorated economic conditions of the Ahwazi workers led them to take to the streets. Workers from the other cities in Iran marched on the streets in solidarity with their colleagues in Ahwaz.

These protests included chants against the Iranian regime, whom the workers say is the main reason for depriving them of their rights.

Opposition sources said that "the Revolutionary Court in the city of Susa summoned 11 workers working in sugar cane factories “on charges of organizing protests”.

 According to human rights activists in Ahwaz, four names of the arrested workers were revealed by the security services: Hasan al-Katheer, Amir al-Katheer, Majid Amiri and Rahim Abu Ishaq.

According to sources from inside Ahwaz, the principal problem facing those workers is the privatization of some companies. The government did not intervene to solve the problems of these workers and enable them to get their pay.

Ismail Bakhshi, one of the spokesmen for workers in Ahwaz, said "The government has not paid our salaries for several months and it wants to negotiate with us to resolve this crisis, but we do not need to negotiate and the leaders of the regime, specifically Iranian Vice President Jahangiri should intervene solve the workers' crisis in Ahwaz.

The harsh policies of the Iranian government against the Ahwazi workers have led the biggest portion of them to live in destitution. Since 2016, the Ahwazi workers have been protesting these grievances.

These protests increased in August 2017 after arresting dozens of workers in Ahwaz, especially in Mahshor and the capital city of Ahwaz.

This comes as the Iranian people are living through tough conditions at the social level. The national currency has sharply declined amid growing protests. The Iranian press said that the country has seen increasing protests in Ahwaz over the past 15 days.

A video that has gone viral on Telegram, the only permissible social media platform in Iran, showed a group of workers in the city of Arak chanting satirically 'the poor worker should be hanged, and the fat cats should be honored'.

These chants cast light on the massive graft cases in Iran, which include corruption and embezzlement.

There are about 4,000 workers in the national steel firm. Those workers are defending their rights in the face of the new board.

Local media outlets say workers' protests have become commonplace in the oil-rich country. Those workers had their purchase capacity diminished due to the deteriorating conditions and insufficient wages.

This news report has been translated from
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