Iranian Teachers Continue Protests
Iranian teachers kicked off 2019 with a continuation of the protests that began in late 2017. The brave educators have not given up their cause, despite threats from regime officials and the imprisonment of many of their labor representatives. During 2018, the teachers of Iran took part in several nationwide strikes and numerous protests, gaining widespread support.
The MEK and the Iranian opposition were among the vocal supporters of the teachers’ strikes.
Based on MEK sources inside Iran Mojahedin.eng reported on the teachers’ protests that have occurred since mid-January of 2019. The following is a summary of their report.
January 24th Protests in Kermanshah, Ardebil, Alborz, and Isfahan
Mohammad Ali Zahmatkesh, a teacher’s rights activist in Shiraz, was sentenced to two years imprisonment and one year of exile. His accusations are “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the Founder of the Islamic Republic”. pic.twitter.com/3hDy3D0wBh
— Iran News Wire (@IranNW) February 1, 2019
Teachers in Kermanshah chanted, “Livelihoods, housing, these our legitimate rights!”
“Free education is our right!”
“Workers, teachers, students, unity, unity!”
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) January 25, 2019
Teachers in Ardebil gathered in front of the regime’s Education Ministry offices to protest the regime’s lack of response to their demands
Teachers in Alborz Province chanted, “Inflation, high prices, answer Rouhani!”
Teachers in Isfahan protested the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in February 1970 with a demonstration. They chanted, “The revolution was not supposed to be this way. It wasn’t supposed to be imprisonment, corruption and poverty!”
Statement of Demands by Kermanshah Teachers
The protesting teachers in Kermanshah published a list of their demands. Their demands include:
- “The unconditioned release of all imprisoned teachers and the closure of their judicial files.
- “The classification of Kermanshah as a war zone…
- “An end to the threatening and persecution of teachers because of their activism for their rights;
- “The cancelling of the repressive ‘full-time teacher’ plan;
- “The adjustment of the 2019-2020 budget of the education sector based on real inflation rates;
- “Increasing the salaries of teachers above current real inflation rates;
- “Leveling the wages of teachers with other government employees;
- “The cancelling of inefficient insurance plans and the establishment of a functioning insurance system for working and retired teachers;
- “The provision of proper budget for schools and the creation of proper learning environments and free education…
- “An end to the “privatization” of schools;
- “Recognition of teachers’ associations and revoking all limitations and pressures imposed on teacher unions;
- “An end to education injustice for all students; [and]
- “A comprehensive grading of teachers
Protests by Iranian teachers in 2018.”
November 14 – #Iran
Teachers are continuing their nationwide strike on this 2nd day, demanding the release of their arrested colleagues & protesting poor living conditions.
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) November 14, 2018
Iranian teachers held three nationwide strikes last year, in which they refused to enter their classrooms. They made many of the same demands then, and they have repeated those demands in numerous protests before and since. The regime has refused to respond to any of their concerns or address the issues that have been raised. Iran’s teachers are responsible for the future of the country and are asking for better working conditions, better classroom conditions for their students, implementation of agreed-upon changes, the release of imprisoned colleagues, and the right to form labor unions. These are not unreasonable demands, but they have been ignored.